Definitely a cool spot between Shiba Koen and the office and commercial district leading to Hamamatsucho.
I recently noticed this giant evergreen tree called camphor (or kusunoki in Japanese). A single, well cared for tree can easily become a local landmark. The above tree is in a mountaineous area of Izu. Below in front of a glass and metal tower in Shiba, across from Tokyo Tower.
Just a few hundred meters down river from an ugly stretch of buried Shiba river, I found these beautiful boats shining beneath the freeway. It’s lovely to see these boats and to know that the river is still being used by some people.
I love how these Shiba festival musicians are performing in a wooden boat. The musician closest to me put on the mask when he saw me reach for my camera. I love that there’s a boat in the street in front of McDonalds.
On a wide boulevard normally devoted to multi-lane auto traffic, nothing could be more beautiful than the site of elegant ladies in matching kimonos and hats dancing in synchronized movements. The summer and fall Shinto festivals transform business Tokyo into a series of village parties evoking an agrarian culture rarely sensed inside the megalopolis.
Below are photos from the Shiba matsuri. The sub-group near my friend Bas’ home displayed photos from the 1945 festival, just a month after the end of the war in which the entire neighborhood and much of Tokyo was burnt to the ground. The last photo shows a man who is both telling stories and selling bananas, a continuation of an Edo-era festival character.
In the photos you can see how on a special holiday, the streets, overpasses, convenience stores, and other mundane urban spaces are transformed into a very social and well dressed public environment.
Before the Shiba outdoor pool closed in mid-September, I spent more time admiring Tokyo Tower, both from the pool itself and from park surrounding it. I’ll post a few photos of this rare Tokyo landmark in the next week.
Next to the Shuto expressway in Shiba are baseball fields, tennis courts, a shrine, office buildings, hotels, and the vestiges of a river. Tokyo’s density still astounds me.
Is there anything alive in this river? Cutting through Shiba in Minato-ku, it’s covered by the Shuto freeway and cut off from the street with a chain link fence. What a color!