survive

Camellia has red-tinged new leafs

camellia_leaf_detail_balcony_nakano

新しい葉の赤い色が好きです。ベランダの椿です。

This camellia has survived in a small pot for many years. Since the photo was taken, I realize it’s already setting buds for winter.

Abandoned local house has super-sized garden plants

abandoned_house_hydrangea_nakano

廃墟になった家のまわりに、だれにも世話をされていない庭がどんどん大きくなっています。アジサイはかなり背が高いと思いませんか? 東京では、一年中雨が降ります。

This is one of the tallest hydrangeas I have ever seen. It’s growing outside this once handsome house near where we live. Tokyo’s ample year-round rain make it easy for plants to survive without our help. I’m hoping they won’t tear down the place soon, because this wild garden only requires being left alone.

Small fox shrine survives between coin parking, an empty lot, and a 6 lane road

新宿駅の近くで、この小さな稲荷神社と成長した木が生き残りました。
I love that this fox shrine has survived the construction of a 6 lane road decades ago, and the demolition of its neighboring buildings. Now it’s surrounded by coin parking and a weedy lot, a stone’s throw from Shinjuku station.

Thousand year old tree damaged in last week’s typhoon

先週の台風のせいで、この千年ケヤキが破損していました。この木は近所で一番古い木だから、とても悲しくなりました。木が生き残ることを願っています。

The oldest tree in my neighborhood, which a sign claims is a thousand year old zelkova, was damaged in last week’s typhoon. I often pass by it, and recently posted about the beautiful wood support recently installed. Unfortunately, the part that fell was the larger main branch that was also previously damaged and repaired. I hope the tree can pull through this major damage.

Wild parrots in Hiroo

Walking on a small street in Hiroo, in central Tokyo, we heard a strange noise and saw some people staring at a persimmon tree. On closer examination, we saw that there was a flock of wild green parrots gathered in this tree. The green on orange colors perched on a leaf-less tree is sublime.

I have seen wild parrots throughout San Francisco, and there was even a movie about them. I didn’t realize that Tokyo was warm enough for them to survive outdoors. I wonder how many there are.

Speaking with a woman recently about urban ecology, she told me that she enjoys city bird-watching. It made me realize that bird-watchers, particularly those who enjoy their hobbies in the city, can be an important voice for improving urban landscapes and habitats. Maybe urban bird-watchers are analogous to surfers who have been active in the clean ocean movement.

Flower breaking through the pavement

Much of Tokyo is covered in concrete and pavement. In the photo above, a low traffic small street has impermeable pavement. There is a wide, unnecessary brick sidewalk in the foreground built to accompany a recent apartment building. Two private residences also have concrete car-parks and cement surrounds. If you look very closely, to the left of the red traffic cone, a canna flower is breaking through the concrete and blooming.

Up close, the flower is brilliant on a sunny November day. Even more remarkable is that the plant has somehow managed to break through the pavement. How did it get there? How does it survive the city’s relentless drive to bury every grain of soil? Do the neighbors appreciate this floral beauty and the power of nature over the built environment?

After the jump, a closer view of the plant in its context.

Continue reading