At a major intersection in Shin Nakano, across from Sugiyama park, you can see how several Showa-era two story buildings with shops below and housing above refused to give way to the mid-rise apartment building boom of the past decades. I love the colorful wall ceramics and roof tiles and the local history they evoke.
I don’t know if you can eat these mini-pomegranates but they are really stunning. This is just on the other side of the wall from the yellow sunflower image I posted yesterday. I love how this gardener maximizes space by extending out into the public realm. The road-side part of her garden also gets more sunshine.
In the shadow of Roppongi Hills, one of Tokyo’s most expensive neighborhoods, there are still old factory buildings, Showa-era two story houses, and even empty lots alive with weeds. This mix of scale, land usage, and non-design is delightful.
Living in Tokyo you become used to the continual process of demolition and new construction. Not the ten or twenty year boom and bust cycles I’ve seen in San Francisco and New York City. Even in the perpetually shrinking Japanese economy, Tokyo continues to morph and grow. The photo is from the demolition of a post-war Showa house in Nakano, a residential neighborhood. It will undoubtedly be replaced with a multi-unit structure made of pre-fab materials and slightly customized, standard layouts.
Closer to my house, I’ve seen the local liquor seller vacate his main storefront, which was replaced by a brand new 7-Eleven in less than four weeks. I watched the incredibly fast work to the interior, modernizing a 1970s storefront into the faceless, placeless space of a convenience store. They also installed enormous heating and cooling structures on the roof. I was glad to see that the liquor store owner has retained an adjacent, closet-sized space for his liquor sales. He seems to enjoy interacting with the neighbors.
雨の日の田町、ハナミズキが昭和の建物をもっときれいに見せています。隣の建物が今はコインパーキングになってしまいました。@Shibaura House の岩中さんと散歩して、来月のフィールドワークのワークショップの準備をしました。
On a wet day in Tamachi, this mature dogwood beautifies a Showa era building. The building next door has been replaced with coin parking. I took a long walk with Iwanaka-san of Shibaura House to prepare for next month’s “field work” workshop on green mapping.
Because of this parking lot, the result of another building torn down, you can see into the back garden of a Showa house in Shibuya, not far from NHK’s headquarters. The two story house is the last remnant of the older neighborhood that was replaced starting in the 1970s with taller, mixed use buildings. I’m glad this early blooming cherry tree has survived until now. It was a pleasant surprise after a Barbados lunch with @a_small_lab and @jessmantell.
This beautiful bonsai was decorating the very chic Omotesando Koffee shop. The cafe is a modern cube inside a Showa house with a cozy front garden. The very cheerful barista explained that the owner made this bonsai himself. I like how the bonsai looks next to the cappuccino and the aged wood of the house and cupboard. The moss is especially lush and lovely.
Winter provides a glimpse into this small Showa-era garden. Close to the house is a plum tree in bloom. Bordering the new development are evergreen plants including bamboo and the shuro palm.
Few buildings in Tokyo are as iconic as Tokyo Tower. In a mega-city that sprawls as far as Japan’s second largest city, Yokohama, Tokyo lacks a single center, a recognizable river, or a conventional view of its skyscrapers, unlike NYC’s Hudson River or Central Park views.
I like how the top photo’s framing of Tokyo Tower mixes auto traffic with mature trees and a shrine entrance gate in a nostalgic ode to the 1950s. The lower photo shows its reflection at night in an office mid-rise.
This almost 50 year old short firm provides a nostalgic view of daily life in 1963 Tokyo: a family wakes up in the morning, takes the train to work, shops in Ginza, and travels through the metropolis. Showa Tokyo’s trains and sheer density don’t look that different than today. While fashion changes and the city gets even bigger, it is amazing how much remains the same. (Via @rolandkelts).