Shibaura House

“Have you seen my rice field?”


「私たちの田んぼを見ましたか」と聞かれました。畳屋のオーナーは歩道に置いたバケツで稲を育てています。Shibaura HouseのKanto Tour Guideの途中で偶然に会いました。家の畳を変えようかと考えています。

On Shibaura House’s Kanto Tour Guide in Suginami, we saw an open door and a man making tatami mats above the garage. The friendly proprietor of Haketa Tatami shop in Shin Koenji told us that his family has had this business in Suginami for decades, starting with his father. In addition to showing us his craftsmanship, he asked us whether we had seen his “rice field.” It’s in the white bucket, to the left of the shop sign.

I also learned that tatami mats should be changed every 3 or 4 years. Ours are coming up on 6 years, so maybe it’s time to order a new set?


Shibaura House’s Kanto Tour Guide makes a stop at my favorite tonkatsu restaurant


Shibaura Houseの依頼で、Kanto Tour Guideの杉並ツアーを書きました。先週、そのツアーを実際に一緒に歩いてみました。最初にとんきという一番好きなトンカツ屋で昼食を食べました。Kanto Tour Guideについては、こちらへどうぞ

Shibaura House asked 10 foreigners living in Kanto to design half day and one day tours, primarily for Japanese to re-discover their country with a new perspective. I wrote a short guide for Suginami, starting with my favorite Higashi Koenji tonkatsu restaurant named Tonki. Shibaura House even made a small tour group flag. I think the chef was surprised by our visit. Afterwards, we visited Amp Coffee, cookie shop Steka & Mojl, Kuge Crafts (手仕事屋久家), and the Suginami Childrens’ Traffic Park near Zenpukuji river.

There’s some great photos on Shibaura House’s Facebook page. Also here. More information about all 10 tours on their website.

Tanuki offers giant shade structure to passers-by outside Shibaura House


.@shibaurahouse の「友達を作ろう」のワークショップの参加者とタヌキさんは、歩道の日陰を提供するために、身体を変えました。

With help from Shibaura House’s Making Friends participants, tanuki transforms his body into a giant shade structure. 94760020

Tanuki finds double-takes, rejection, and friendly souls outside Shibaura House

.@ShibauraHouse の辺りでは、タヌキがいつもとちがう反応を受けました。

A few people did a double take when they spotted tanuki taking a nap in the small wild space in front of Shibaura House. Tanuki shows how his 4 meter scrotal shade can quickly be turned into a blanket for anytime napping.

Below he approaches a glass office tower, but there’s no response. Nearby office workers avoided eye contact, but delivery men and laborers were happy to accept an umaibo salty snack and chat with tanuki.

More photos coming from the film developer soon. Many thanks to A Small Lab‘s Chris and everyone at Shibaura House.  IMG_2058 IMG_2048

These seven office tanukis took the Making Friends workshop back to work


芝浦ハウスの「タヌキと友達を作ろう」のイベントで、参加者が7つのお面をオフィスに持ってかえりました。@watanukinow さんが、オフィスの方たちの写真を送ってくれました。ありがとうございます!

Tanuki sent one of the Shibaura House Making Friends with tanuki lunchtime participants back with seven masks and some snacks wrapped in a scrotal cloth resembling fabric. Thanks, @watanukinow for sharing this great photo of your co-workers! 

Thanks Shibaura House for hosting Making Friends with Tanuki



On a hot day, tanuki offered shade to office workers, shared salty snacks with laborers, and interacted with children. Tanuki brought surprise and wonder. Many people, including elementary school students, kept a safe distance from this foreign element. Photo above from Shibaura House’s Facebook.

Come on a tanuki adventure with us at Shibaura House next Tuesday


Please join @a_small_lab and me for a tanuki adventure next Tuesday, July 9, noon to 1 pm, at Shibaura House. Details below. Many thanks to Shibaura House for their support.

SHIBAURA HOUSEに来て、江戸時代から有名なタヌキさんに会いませんか? 2人の外国人が、タヌキさんをまた東京に呼び戻したいと考えています。東京メトロに乗ってタヌキが友達を作る企画(は、ロンドンのテクノロジー関係の学会で承認されました。スマートフォンがなくても、タヌキさんは友達を作ることが上手です。
今回SHIBAURA HOUSEで開催するイベントでは、こんなことを一緒に考えます:都市に、動物は必要でしょうか。野生で予測できないものは、都市の生活に大事でしょうか。

Please come to Shibaura House to meet the famous tanuki from Edo. Two foreigners want to welcome shape-shifting tanuki back to Tokyo. Their photo story about Making Friends with Tanuki in the Tokyo Metro was selected by a London technology conference for its unusual real-time interaction. How come, even without a smartphone, tanuki is so good at making friends? Why do we need animals in cities? What is the importance of wild and unexpected things in our lives? Please bring an open mind and your own bento. Let’s go on an adventure.

Photographs and slides from Shibaura House’s Community Herb Garden event


I’ve posted the photographs and slides from my recent talk at Shibaura House‘s Community Herb Garden event. My purpose was to encourage city residents to plant herbs because they are easy to grow and have many uses (culinary, cocktails, tea, scent, butterfly attractors).

Newly planted herbs at Shibaura House kick-off event



This is a photo from Shibaura House‘s Community Herb Garden project kick-off. I love the bird house planters, and the fact that the large wooden planters have hidden wheels to make the garden easily reconfigurable. Thanks to so many friends who came to the event!

Speaking and planting at Shibaura House’s kick off event May 25 for “Community Herb Garden” project


今年も芝浦ハウスは、素敵な妹島 和世さんがデザインしたモダン文化センターで野菜やハーブを育てています。今年で二年目です。今年のテーマは「コミュニティー・ハーブ・ガーデン」です。キックオフとなる5月25日は、13時から16時まで、団塚 栄喜という有名な日本ランドスケープ・デザイナーと一緒に、トークイベントとハーブ・ガーデンづくりを実施いたします。定員は20人、費用は1000円。芝浦ハウスのサイトで、是非申し込んでください

For the second year, Shibaura House is planting edibles in its handsome glass and steel culture center designed by Sejima Kazuyo. This year’s theme is Community Herb Garden.

I’ve been asked back for the kick off event on Saturday May 25, from 1 pm to 4 pm. I’ll be talking with one of my Japanese landscape design heroes, Danzuka Eiki (団塚 栄喜), and afterwards we’ll join the participants in planting an herb garden.

Space is limited to 20 people, so please register on Shibaura House’s site if you’d like to participate. The cost is 1000 yen. (The event is in Japanese, but I think language should not be a barrier).

Shibaura House の年報に、私のプロフィールが紹介されました。


去年は、Shibaura House で、子供たちと一緒に種爆弾を作る教室、フィールドワークの散歩、そして、食べられる緑を植えるイベントをさせていただきました。

Thanks to Shibaura House for including me in their annual report. Last year, I organized a kids’ seed bomb workshop, a fieldwork walking and mapping event, and vegetable planting at Shibaura House.

5月から7月にかけ、都会で生活しながら気軽に緑に親しむことをテーマにした緑化プロジェクト「たべるみどり みるみどり」を実施し、様々なイベントを通して緑の楽しみ方を提案しました。ジャレドさんは、芝浦地域を探索するフィールドワーク、子ども向けのワークショップ等の講師を担当。

Jared Braitermanデザイン人類学者/東京農業大学研究員



東京の緑地空間について研究しています。最近では「海外の日本庭園[*1]」という、海外にある日本庭園をまとめたウェブサイトの制作にかかわりました。私自身が運営しているブログ「Tokyo Green Space[*2]」では、東京の自然を観察し、写真とエッセイで紹介しています。

「たべるみどり みるみどり」では、3つのイベントを担当しました。シバウラ・フィールドワークでは、三田の「芝の家」からSHIBAURA HOUSEまで、街なかの緑を記録しながら散策し、参加者のスケッチや写真を集めて、グリーンマップ(緑の地図)をつくリました。 道端の草花を観察したり、通ったことのない細い道を歩くことで、芝浦という地域が参加者の皆さんにとって少し身近な存在になったのではないかと思います。残念ながら雨が降る中での散策になってしまったけれど、皆さん積極的に楽しんでくれたことが印象に残っています。子ども向けワークショップでは、泥だんごの中に植物の種を入れた、タネだんごづくりをしました。子どもを対象に、しかも日本語で講師をするのは初めてでした。とても緊張しましたが、子どもたちが泥を触ることを楽しんでくれてうれしかったですね。片山陽介さん(植物自由区代表)と対談したトークイベントで、都会で緑を楽しむ方法や、海外と日本の緑の比較などについてお話しできたのも楽しかったです。さて、今年はどんな緑を植えましょうか?


デザイン人類学者。東京農業大学研究員。ブログ「Tokyo Green Space」では、東京の小さな緑が「都会の森」へとつながる可能性を探求している。 * *

See Tokyo by water, including Japanese garden, funny boat, & historic Asakusa

With A Small Lab‘s Chris Berthelsen, I’ll be leading an afternoon tour tomorrow of Tokyo Bay and the Sumida river for Still City, an exciting workshop hosted at Shibaura House with international participants interested in urban design.

Anyone is free to join us tomorrow, or to use the itinerary on your own at any time. I like the layers of history visible when viewing Tokyo as a once great waterway, and the current reverberations of last century’s apocalyptic earthquakes, war bombing, surrender, and reinvention. The centuries old Japanese garden uses salt water from the bay for its ponds, there will be early fall folliage, and we will ride Himiko, the crazy boat in the photo above.

Still City is a Dutch-Japanese workshop looking at opportunities suggested by viewing Tokyo as emblematic of post-growth urban life. It’s supported by the Japan Foundation and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with its local embassy.


Still City Tokyo Program: Tour (30 Oct. 2012) — Tokyo by Water with Jared Braiterman of Tokyo Green Space and Chris Berthelsen of A Small Lab

Overview: We’ll visit a traditional Japanese garden near Shibaura House, recall Tokyo’s river heritage on a water bus up the Sumida River, and explore Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s oldest neighborhoods. A frugal afternoon exploring a few still spaces in this churning megalopolis. Spontaneous picnicking, beers from final-generation liquor stores, and foraged city food are all possible.

1. Enjoy a traditional Japanese garden: Meet at Hamarikyu Garden at 1.00 pm (Nakanogomon Gate entrance)
Hamarikyu Garden is an Edo-style garden situated between the glass high-rises of Shiodome and Tokyo Bay. A traditional Japanese garden dating back hundreds of years, this spot by the bay played a critical role in the negotiations between US General McArthur and Emperor Hirohito in settling the war and the fate of the imperial family. Perhaps they partook in duck hunting together, a ruling class pastime marked with a religious shrine.
Where: Hamarikyu Garden is a short walk from Hamamatsuchou, Shimbashi, and Shiodome stations, about 2 km from Shibaura House. You can easily walk from Shibaura House, or take the Yamanote line or the Yurikamome monorail.
Cost: 300 yen admission

2.  Boat up the Sumida River to Asakusa: Meet at Hinode Pier’s Waterbus Station at 2.45 pm
The water bus from Hinode Pier to Asakusa takes about 40 minutes. Going upstream on the wide Sumida River, you can experience Tokyo’s river heritage, and see a good part of eastern Tokyo, including the new Sky Tree. For those new to Tokyo and even for those who live here, viewing Tokyo by boat is a rare and fun event.
Where: Hinode Pier is half way between Hamarikyu Garden and Shibaura House. There’s also a Yurikamome monorail station there.
Cost: 720 yen. Boat leaves at 2.55 pm.

3. Explore old Tokyo at Asakusa: Arrive by water bus at 3.30 pm
Asakusa is one of Tokyo’s oldest neighborhoods. It has been less gentrified in the post-war years, and retains an old Tokyo feeling. We’ll check out a shrine, a market, and some back street gardening. Time permitting, we’ll stop at a neighborhood bathhouse to relax after the tour. Feel free to return at any time.

Return to Shibaura House: Take the Toei Subway Asakusa Line to Mita station, then walk. 18 min on express train, 210 yen.

Sidewalk morning glory grown from seed outside Shibaura House

5月のたべるみどりみるみどりでジャレドさん@JBraiterman と一緒にSHIBAURA HOUSEの前に蒔いた朝顔がこんなに花をさかせました!