Pink and red together again


Spotted in Harajuku, this pink scooter parked next to red azaleas. I am overwhelmed by the extravagance of this product juxtaposed with nature in full bloom, and, of course, the color combination. For all those foreigners who think that Japanese culture is full of restraint and minimalism, this image shows the other side. This mix of nature and industrial product reminds me of the psychedelic backdrops to the ubiquitous television variety shows full of shiny objects, moving parts, and more colors than the rainbow.

Sky Tree rises above Tokyo skyline


Tokyo Sky Tree is rising on the eastern side of Tokyo. As the new digital television tower, it replaces Tokyo Tower as a symbol of “new” Tokyo. It’s scheduled for completion at the end of this year, and is already visible across Tokyo. In this picture, you can see Nakano Sakaue on the right and Sky Tree in the center.

The Japanese name for Sky Tree sounds funny in English, with two syllables becoming five unrecognizable ones. It’s スカイツリー, or Su-ka-i Tsu-rii. Japanese English is truly its own language. It’s also funny that they chose to use “tree” as a metaphor for this giant tower. In this view from here to there, across Tokyo, there are very few if any trees, green walls or roofs.

My Japanese TV debut on Plants+ Club Live

Plants+ という番組に参加しました。初めてのテレビ出演! UStreamで見れます。ルークさん、せいこさん、しんごさん、Plant+のみなさん、ありがとうございます!

My first live Japanese television program, on Plants+ Club Live on Ustream. Thanks Luke, Seiko, Shingo & everyone!

Lucas from Knee High Media (makers of Paper Sky and Mammoth magazines and the Plants+ website) invited me to their monthly Plants+ Club Live which is Ustreamed. In Japanese broadcast tradition, I was one member of a large panel of eight, including hosts Ito Seiko and Yagyu Shingo.

I can’t seem to embed the video on this blog. You can see the 30 minute show online at

This is the 14th episode, and I was impressed by it being simultaneously DIY and very well organized. A quick stage was set up, two professional photographers set up camera, lighting, and computers. And there were at least ten more people “backstage.” Lucas introduced the youngest blogger on the Plants+ network, who is a 7 year old in Kobe.

I struggled a bit with the live and conversational quality of the show in Japanese, but I did my best to introduce Tokyo Green Space. The hosts were super-animated, and we shared on-air some persimmons from the publisher’s back yard in Shibuya.

Other guests included the founder of Green Sticks, which makes seed strips in the shape of match boxes, writer and photographer Ashikara Yoko, and talented mandolin player Inoue Taro.