I like to shock Japanese friends by skipping rice, sometimes. This Aoyama farmers market seller clearly has another opinion.
空っぽになったベランダを見て、びっくりしました。ベランダの二百種類くらいの植物が東京の家族の小さな庭に移転されました。パートナーがこの写真を取って、Say Hi というサイトに載せました。ビルメンテナンスのために、二ヶ月以上、家に庭がありません。
It’s a shock for me, too, to see this photo of my empty balcony. The 200 or so plants on my Tokyo mid-rise balcony have been relocated to my in-laws’ small garden.
Our building is undergoing a two and a half month exterior renovation to patch cracks, replace drainage pipes, and otherwise maintain this 40 year old building. My spouse Shu Kuge took this photo and posted it to Say Hi.
In the garden’s absence, I’ll be focusing more on photos and stories about my neighborhood and Tokyo. Next up is a blog series documenting the demolition of two neighboring homes near my apartment.
Why is this major intersection so ugly? Pedestrians deserve better.
Some people think that Omotesando is Tokyo’s Champs-Élysées. There is an incredible zelkovia tunnel and many posh global brands. However, at the main crossing, just above the Omotesando train station, the aggressively barren non-landscape is shocking. The small in-ground landscape triangle and the four above ground planters contain nothing but dry soil and some lonely weeds.
I wonder how long they will remain this way. In a city where most people commute by train and foot, the areas above stations should be amongst the greenest, with nature being used to make these frequently passed areas more pleasant and inviting.
Why is the entrance to Roppongi Hills so ugly and uninviting?
Every time I walk from the subway into Roppongi Hills I am shocked at the extremely ugly first view of this mega-complex. In addition to the elevated freeway, pedestrians are greeted by this horrendous, wide, astroturf-covered dead space in front of Roppongi Hills North Tower.
How could this make people want to enter Banana Republic? And what does this say about Mori Building’s vision for integrating their properties into their neighborhoods and communities? I feel that this forgotten and dirty space implies that the real landscape only begins at the podium level and that the North Tower is not of equal status to the rest of the complex, despite being in the front. It’s as if they imagine that their important customers enter the complex only by car.
This lack of respect for pedestrians, neighbors, and context is completely unnecessary. The smallest gesture would improve this space and make it more inviting and alive. If Mori Building reads this post, I hope they will consider improving this entryway to their otherwise well landscaped property. If anything, improving the entrance might also provide an opportunity to consider how to extend their landscape ideas further out into the neighborhood, creating connections with other shops and residents, and building a larger and healthier eco-system that would benefit Mori and their neighborhood.
Last night I attended the last Pecha Kucha Tokyo of the zeros decade, one block west of Roppongi Hills, and remembered that I had taken this photo weeks ago. Each time I am shocked as if for the first time. Outside of the expensive office towers and glittering malls, I wonder how such an ugly neighborhood can be attractive to multinational companies and foreign ex-pats.