yuzu

What fruit is in season in Japan’s winter? Fragrant yuzu.

yuzu_inseason_farmersmarket

日本の冬は、どんなフルーツがシーズンでしょう? 良い香りのユズです。レモネードやドレッシングやお風呂に使います。特別な味と香りがします。

There’s giant ones and small ones at this Aoyama UNU farmers market stall. It’s good for lemonade, salad dressing, and bath water.

Where the soup comes from. The weekend farmers market.

favorite_unu_farmersmarket

ここでスープの材料を毎週買います。一番好きな売店は味が美味しくて、並べ方もすてきです。

This fall I started going to the farmers market every week. Usually by bike, and sometimes meeting my friend Luis. This beautifully arranged stall is where I stop first to pick up turnips, carrots with their leaves still attached, green and red peppers, yuzu, lemons, celery, and sweet potatoes. At United Nations University farmers market, in Aoyama, which is open every Saturday and Sunday.

Making new year’s ornaments at Shiho

史火陶芸教室の生徒さんの一人、萩原さんがしめ飾りの作り方を教えました。材料はとても素敵だったと思います。様々なマツ、松ぼっくり、紙垂、稲穂、リボン、縄、ベリー、バラの実、乾燥した葉や花を使いました。お店で買ったしめ飾りよりずっと素敵です。萩原さんはこのブログをいつも読んでくれています。ありがとうございます。

Fellow Shiho ceramic studio student Hagiwara-san organized a new year ornament or shimekazari workshop. It was so fun to work with beautiful, fresh materials, including several types of pine needles, pine cones and woody seed husks, Shinto folded paper, rice, ribbons and ropes, berries and rose hips, even dried chocolate cosmos and other leaves.

In past years I’ve bought them from Muji or even the supermarket. It was fun how all of the hand-made shimekazaris turned out differently. Some had circular and oval bases made of twigs and bamboo, others were tied together in a bunch. I used wires to attach the mini pine cones and even a yuzu.

Hagiwara-san is also a loyal Tokyo Green Space reader. Thank you!

Ceramic studio spring garden

I take care of my relatives ceramic studio garden. Last year’s 5bai midori “satoyama unit,” installed during a fall typhoon, is coming back with lots of new growth. This photo shows off the yellow flowers “yamabuki”, a vigorous Japanese shrub. Sometimes you see white flowers, or multi-petalled yellow ones.

Shiho ceramic studio‘s back yard is a small l-shape raised beds. Much of it is shaded by persimmon and plum trees and the neighbors’ homes. The garden includes a volunteer shurro palm tree (しゅろ, 棕櫚) and a Japanese herb called sanshou (サンショウ) that traveled from the neighboring store’s bicycle parking lot.

A lot of what I planted at the end of last year has come back, including hydrangea, lilies of the valley, hostas, rosemary, jasmine, and a lantern flower vine that almost fully covers the chain link fence. And the giant cymbidium orchid has been blooming through April. It’s great to hear that the ceramic teachers and students are enjoying the garden.

I think the eight bags of compost helped a lot in improving the soil and make this shade garden thrive.

One plant that didn’t survive the Tokyo winter is a plant commonly called “purple princess” in San Francisco. To fill the gap left by the plant and my hope for it growing large fast and covering the cinder block wall. I brought over a kanamemochi shrub: a quick growing and very popular Tokyo shrub with distinctive red, new spring leaves. I also planted a yuzu lemon tree and a white single petal yamabuki.

Zoushigaya walk: winter citrus trees (part 2)

On our walk through Zoushigaya, we came across this mature yuzu tree, growing in the small space between the street and a residence. Yuzu is a special, perhaps only in Japan citrus fruit.

It’s also another example of how a tree planted in a styrofoam container managed to send roots through the disintegrating styrofoam, down a sidewalk crack, and into the earth below. It is amazing what a great climate Tokyo provides for plants to go renegade.

We also saw this gorgeous orange tree full of fruit. The oranges, the old house, and the hill above make you feel that you are far from the big city.