senior center

Grass going to seed on a Shinjuku sidewalk

歩道のねこじゃらしから種ができています。このねこじゃらしは人間の助けなしでも、東京の真ん中で元気そうです。新宿のネオンがこの自然を超自然的に見せています。ここでは、自然と都市が調和して見えます。

Tokyo summer has been incredibly hot, humid, and wet. I love seeing this grass growing on a sidewalk a few steps from Shinjuku station. The bright neon makes the grass glow in a hyper-reality. This perfect complement to its surroundings appears with no human planning. Looking at it going to seed I am sure it will multiply.

U Goto Florist

U Goto Florist, dragonfly and cactus candles

U Goto Florist in Roppongi is one of Tokyo’s oldest and most luxurious flower shops. The tray above is a stunning summer arrangement of bamboo fireflies, cactus candles and sand. Founded in 1892 and owned by the third generation of the same family, U Goto prides itself on being Western-style and employs three European flower designers trained in Dutch and French flower academies.

U Goto Florist green bouquet

Housed in a 1990s company-owned office building near Roppongi Crossing, U Goto is Western- style in a way that only Japanese could perfect. Multi-roomed and multi-layered, the high ceilinged shop includes cut flowers, fake flowers, and potted plants, and also offers flower-arranging classes. Some examples of unusual arrangements and bamboo framing were on display. The shop fittings– stone floors, marble work tables, distressed cabinets, an excess of crown molding that is still somehow rustic chic– evoke Manhattan or Paris.

U Goto Florist champagne gift

I was charmed that the staff offered me a demi-tasse of coffee, which gave me the opportunity to carefully observe them arranging and wrapping lavish bouquets of roses, dahlias, sunflowers and orchids in the finest papers. Orchid petals were carefully protected in cloth paper wrappings.

U Goto Florist twig and bamboo wreath

U Goto’s extremely high standards necessitate removing all flowers and plants that are even slightly past peak. Cut flowers are donated to hospitals, and plants to senior centers. The summer window display below would be replaced after the Obon holiday with a fall display, in spite of the continued heat and humidity. One designer was already thinking forward to the Christmas display.

U Goto Florist summer store window

Tsukishima: green wall on senior center

Tsukushima: green wall on senior center

Near the Tsukishima riverbank community garden, there is a mid-rise senior center with two simple green wall of ivy. I wonder why it’s not fuller, and whether they are using rainwater capture. Or do the residents or staff water the small pots on each outdoor hallway.

Tsukushima: green wall on senior center