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Okinawa morning glory became dominant element of summer balcony garden

balcony_morning_glory_midsummer_nakano

夏のベランダで、琉球のアサガオが一番目立つ存在になっています。マンションと都市の間に、きれいなブラインドになってくれています。

When it was blooming prolifically, the Okinawa morning glory became an exterior screen between the apartment and the city outside. The shades of violet, red and blue are stunning.

Dense planting on balcony provides natural screen from big city

今年のベランダの植物は、ずっと濃くなりました。遠くに、都庁のツインタワーが見えます。

This year the plantings on the balcony seem extra thick. The twin towers in the distance are the offices of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Up-sized bush is getting bushier

夏にこのカナメモチの木をもっと大きな植木鉢に入れました。今新しい赤色の葉がたくさん出てきています。

This summer I up-sized the pot for this wonderful kanamemochi bush, so common in Tokyo. In spring the new leaves are red, and it’s very easy to prune the bush into a hedge or any shape you want. I want to use it as a screen for the washing machine or air conditioner.

Kita Kamakura looks elegant, even from inside the train

電車から、きれいな北鎌倉の自宅の写真をとりました。駅の仕切りの格子は自宅の木の塀と調和しています。木の塀の下に、夏の草がたくさん生えています。

I spotted this lovely Kita Kamakura house from inside the train. I like how the station uses a simple screen that echoes the house’s wood fence. I also love how the summer weeds are running rampant at the bottom of the fence.

Furin & chandelier decorate homeless camp in Shibuya

風鈴がホームレスの家を飾っています。宮下公園の下、渋谷スランブルの近くにあって、この家はとても整然としています。東京はいつも何かと隣り合わせになっていて、垂直な層になっています。例えば、半分公共の空間と空っぽの空間、デザインされた空間とデザインのない空間、住宅、スケードポード場、飲み屋、そしてバイクの駐車場。

A furin is a glass wind chime whose sound Japanese find cooling in summer; something about glass and metal striking. I was amazed to see this domestic symbol, along with a white chandelier (below), decorating two homes in this long row of wood and blue tarp cubes sheltering the homeless. (The furin is just to the right of the rolled up bamboo used to screen door).

I am struck by how incredibly orderly these living structures are, and how on a warm day when you gaze inside, the homes seem orderly and common place: tidy kitchens, matt floors, shelves and storage, on a scale just slightly smaller than what most Tokyo-ites live in.

This long alley of make-shift homes is just below Miyashita Park that paces the Yamanote line for a fe blocks. It’s just past Nonbei Yokocho and near the center of Shibuya. There was controversy over gentrification and corporate funding for city resources when the city accepted Nike sponsorship to renovate the park with design by Atelier Bow Wow. It seems the homeless merely migrated to the area just below the fenced-in skate park and fusball court.

Now it is a typically Tokyo close juxtaposition of semi-public and vacant space, design and non-design, and living, sports, drinking, and parking spaces.