student

“We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” That’s the welcome message for prospective students.

.@ilynam とユキさんと一緒に農大に来て、強い雨に降られました。入口に、「すくう人。環境学生』のポスターを見て、うれしくなりました。鈴木先生のために、海外に作られた日本庭園のことについて学べるサイトを作ります。デザインと庭と画像と土を一緒にするので、このプロジェクットは楽しいです。

It was raining when @ilynam and Yuki joined me for the first meeting to create a website for the 500 garden database of Japanese gardens outside Japan, a project I am helping Suzuki sensei with this year.

At the entrance to the school, somehow this rainy scene was an apt start for this exciting project where we will mix design, gardens, pixels, and soil. Bringing this knowledge online will be very helpful for people around the world who are interested in knowing about and visiting hundreds of Japanese gardens in dozens of countries. And working with design stars Ian and Yuki, I am confident that we can combine simplicity and beauty in the interface.

The banner offering campus tours for new students says, “We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” The word sukuu means “scoop” and also “save.”

Potting plants for Shiho student ceramic show

今日は史火陶芸教室の展示会の準備をします。どんな植物がいろいろな植木鉢と似合うだろう。着生植物や季節の花と紫キャベツを使おうと思っています。土曜日から展覧会が始まります。写真は、最後の植木鉢の釉がけ前のです。

Today I am potting up plants and getting my flowerpots ready for the Shiho student ceramic show. Above are the last two larger flower pots. When I go to the studio today, I’ll see how they look after being glazed and baked.

The one with the holes can be used with a candle, or you can place a plant inside that you’ve bought at the nursery in its original plastic pot. I like that it’s lighter weight, transparent, and easy to swap plants in and out.

I am also showing small pots and smaller bonsai pots. I have an idea for untraditional bonsai plantings, including air plants that can be removed so you can see the whole ceramic pot. For the larger pots, I’ll try to mix seasonal flowers, purple leafed cabbage, and some of the plants Matthew left in the back garden.

The show starts this Saturday and runs for five days. I’ll be at the gallery on Saturday from  3ish to 7, on Sunday from 5 to 7, and sometime next week depending on my work schedule.

Shiho ceramic studio’s student exhibit

来週は、史火陶芸教室の生徒展示会です。今回で三回目の参加です。植木鉢花瓶を作りました。時間があれば、是非、来てください。11月19日から11月23日まで、ギャラリー彦にて。杉並区松庵3−37−21です。

Next weekend, November 19-23, is the Shiho ceramic studio‘s annual student exhibit. This will be my 3rd time participating. Please come by in Nishi Ogikubo if you can. There’s a very wide variety of ceramic types and styles, from kitchen goods to accessories and decorative pieces with many affordable items. I’ll be showing some recent flower pots and vases, along with the cafe ole bowl I made as part of this year’s theme.

The address is below. It’s a 4 minute walk from the South exit of the JR Nishiogikubo station on the Sobu and Chuo lines. Gallery Hiko is open from 11 to 18 everyday, except the last day when it closes at 17.
167-0054 Tokyo Suginami-ku Shouan 3−37−21
167-0054 東京都杉並区松庵3−37−21

First flower pots finished using 3 colors of clay

史火陶芸教室でこの三種類の粘土を使った植木鉢が出来ました。ちょっと驚きましたが、なかなかいいと思います。何の植物をいれましょうか?11月に生徒展示会があるので、作品を作りに、よく教室に行きます。

I blogged before about these three color flower pots I have been making at Shiho ceramic studio. Now they are finished baking with a glossy transparent glaze showing off the three types of clay. Although the result is not exactly what I had intended, I like how they came out.

I wonder what to plant them with in November for the student show. I am going to the studio twice a week now so that I’ll have enough to show then. Below is another view, using a “nostalgic” filter.

Small flowerpots at Shiho student ceramic show

私の作った小さい植木鉢が史火陶芸教室の生徒展に出されます。砂の「化粧」をしてます。見に来てください。

Come see my small flowerpots at Shiho ceramic studio’s student exhibition. They are wearing makeup!

This is my third Shiho ceramic studio student art exhibit. This year I created four small flowerpots with saucers, and my friend Matthew Puntigam helped me with planting them. We used mostly succulents, an ornamental cabbage, and pansies to complement the design and signal the season. Matthew did an excellent job with plant composition, placement, and ornamental sand and rocks. He told me that Sinajina‘s Kobyashi sensei refers to the decorative sand and rocks as plant “makeup” (化粧).

The student exhibit is from today through Wednesday (Nov 20 to Nov 24) in Nishi Ogikubo. Please see the last image for a map. It’s three minutes walk south from the train station. If you’re planning on attending, please email or call me since I can’t be there during all the opening hours.

Edo morning glory

Even though I planted the seeds back in May, it’s only recently that the Edo morning glory vines have climbed up to the top of the balcony and begun blooming. As their name implies, the flowers are most spectacular in the morning. By afternoon, they wilt and are finished. Each day there are about a dozen new flowers.

Last year, I visited the famous Iriya morning glory festival and bought five different colors. Last year I harvested seeds from all the plants (and also bitter melon, chamomile and some that I forgot). It’s interesting that all of my plants, and those I gave to friends, are this red and white variegated variety.

Here you can see that I stored the seeds in sake cups bought from a student at Shiho ceramic studio.

Visiting Nagano and Niigata with Nodai

Niigata Dream House

Last week I visited Nagano and Niigata prefectures with Nodai. It was my first experience seeing the incredible beauty of the countryside, the rice fields and satoyama ecosystems, steep hills, wood houses, and small towns. The focus of the trip was rural revitalization and experiencing history, both centuries-old and more recent, in landscape.

Although I had heard of satoyama from 5bai Midori, I had not expected to be so overwhelmed by the exuberant greenery of rice field, abundant water and forest. In some ways, the agricultural landscape looks like it had been there for 2,000 years of co-habitation between people and nature. Because of the small plots and terraces, much of the farming is still done by hand, and there was no evidence of industrial agri-business like flat Kansas wheat fields or Maryland chicken mega-factories.

Matthew Puntigam photo of Niigata satoyama

Our university field trip made clear that this is no pastoral eden. Abandoned houses and schools reflect a rapidly aging and shrinking population, and we witnessed buildings from Japan’s 1980s Bubble that were shuttered or on the verge of bankruptcy.

The trip included three major locations connected to efforts by Nodai’s professors in the Garden Design Laboratory and Landscape Architecture Science. The tour was led by Professors Shinji, Suzuki and Hattori.

1. Obuse in Nagano: an Edo town that was once a center of commerce and culture due to its location at the confluence of the Matsu-kawa River and Chikuma River, with a six hundred year history of chestnut trees and one hundred year old sake distillery. Today there is a famous Hokusai Museum, restaurants, chestnut foods, sake production, a marathon, and an “open garden” town program.

2. New Greenpia (ニュー・グリーンピア), a massive resort built in the 1980s to provide outdoor experiences for working class urban residents. A central feature is a garden designed by a Nodai professor, and the resort history shows how the exuberance of the Bubble laid a poor foundation for the past two decades. Its name refers to its green mission and its uto*pia*n ambitions.

3. Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial, which describes itself as “350 artworks, deployed in communities, rice fields, vacant houses and closed schools, are the fruit born from the collaboration and exchanges between rural locality and city, artist and satoyama, and young and old.” A Niigata Art Triennial director spoke with our group outside Marina Abramovic’s Dream House (see Nodai Trip, part 4, for more on this installation and Niigata Art Triennial).

Nodai Students in front of Niigata Dream House

The trip also included a chance to speak informally with the professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and Research Fellow, plus banquets with enormous portions, visits to Japan’s giant highway rest stops, and onsen bathing.

Nodai students at trip banquet

And lastly, there was an informal lesson on making onigiri for my foreign colleague and me.

I’ll post more photos and observations from the trip in the next days.