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an unexpected view of the world's largest city
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    カナメモチという植物を知っていますか。きれいな赤色と緑の葉の木で、ブラインドの代わりになります。東京でよく使われます。今、ベランダの洗濯機を隠したいです。 This red and green leafed bush, called kanamemochi (カナメモチ), is one of the most common hedges in Tokyo. I have a single plant, which used to be in front of the air conditioner. Now that we’re using the AC and blasting hot air into the balcony, I’ve had to move all the plants that …

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    渋谷川の端に、複雑な雑草を見ました。汚いところで、こんなきれいな植物が育ちます。 Next to crumbling concrete, trash, and a drainage pipe, I saw this beautiful weed with red and green flowers on the hard edge of the Shibuya River.

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    開店ときに、歩道に花を見せる習慣は素敵だと思います。有名なイギリスのブーツ・ブランドの開店祝いに、きれいなピンクと赤い花のブーツを飾っていました。 Store, bar, and even ramen shop openings often feature sidewalk flower displays. I love the inventiveness of this special pink and red boot for the Dr Marten store opening in Aoyama.

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    夏にこのカナメモチの木をもっと大きな植木鉢に入れました。今新しい赤色の葉がたくさん出てきています。 This summer I up-sized the pot for this wonderful kanamemochi bush, so common in Tokyo. In spring the new leaves are red, and it’s very easy to prune the bush into a hedge or any shape you want. I want to use it as a screen for the washing machine or air conditioner.

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    農大に自転車で行く時、この小さい農園をいつも観察します。最近、ナスとトウガラシが熟していました。 Viewed through a chain link fence, ripe eggplants and chile peppers are growing in a small farm between the road and some apartments. I enjoy seeing this farm on my bike ride to Nodai.

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    セロシというベランダの花は、とても濃い赤色です。 This celosia flower (セロシ in Japanese) is so saturated that the color seems unreal. I also like how its leaves have red veins. Here’s what it looks like in portrait view.

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    浅草から、柳とスカイツリーが一緒に見えます。 Viewed from Asakusa, not only is Sky Tree bigger, but you can see more details of the lighting scheme.  From Nakano, you hardly notice the blue light, and the more subtle red trim. I also like how the willow references Tokyo’s Edo past, and Sky Tree, although newly built, appears to be a 1960s’ …

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    赤色の低い木が小さな坂にそって植えられています。東高円寺の公園で。 In the park next to Higashi Koenji.

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    パナマ運河で働いたことのある日本の技師が荒川運河と水門を1920年代に建てました。花見にとても良い場所です。 A Japanese engineer who had worked on the Panama Canal created this important floodgate and canal alongside the Arakawa River in the 1920s. The red paint and the cherry blossoms make it scenic as well as functional. UPDATE: Above is the film version, which took awhile to be developed. The colors seem much richer …

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    たくさんの赤色のチューリップのあいだに、黄色のチューリップが一つ咲いています。ニューヨークのパークアベニューで。 Visiting New York City the last week of April, everything was in bloom, and tulips seem especially popular this year. I love how on Park Avenue the beds of red tulips have random yellow tulips breaking the conformity.

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    小さな植木鉢の草の先は赤くて、風で動きます。今年の夏、大好きな植物の一つです。 In a narrow ceramic flowerpot, this red edged grass provides color and movement with the wind. It’s one of my favorite plants this summer.

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    花がいっぱい咲いている蔓植物が路地の前の窓にちょっとしたプライバシーを提供しています。濃い青色の陶器タイルもきれいですね。 I love how this easy to grow vine sends its growth down. The owner has trained it over the street-side window so that it provides additional privacy. There’s also two types of bamboo shades, and three spider plants. I also like how the blue ceramic tile adds a decorative element to what is a …

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    palmsundaelantern_flower_koenji_windowpalmsundaelantern_flower_koenji_window

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    夏のベランダで、琉球のアサガオが一番目立つ存在になっています。マンションと都市の間に、きれいなブラインドになってくれています。 When it was blooming prolifically, the Okinawa morning glory became an exterior screen between the apartment and the city outside. The shades of violet, red and blue are stunning.

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    このきれいな花瓶は日本の両親の四国からのお土産です。柿渋という方法で作られました。 This vase is made with kakishibu, a dye made from persimmons. The vase was a gift from my in-laws, who brought it back from a trip to Shikoku. The bright red of the keitou flower (celosia argentea, or plumed cockscomb) seems to overwhelm the film.

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    この多肉植物は花びらみたいです。まんなかのは、手触りが柔らかいです。 WIth enough sunlight, succulents are very easy to grow. They are slow-growing, and look good year-round. I like how some have petal-like forms, others are red, and still others soft to touch. I’ve paired them with hand-made ceramics with geometic patterns.   

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    今年の夏、八番目に買ったつる植物が江戸アサガオです。斑点のある葉がすてきでしょう? The eighth, and most recent, climbing vine I bought was a 150 yen variegated Edo morning glory. The flowers are red, and the two colored leaves add variety to the green curtain. It’s not too late to get one started this summer.  

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    空の状態によって、アサガオの色がいつも変わります。この二つは対象的な色ですね。それぞれの花は半日くらいしかもたないので、もっときれいに思えます。 The colors of these two morning glories depend on the sky and change during the day. They are always contrasting: pink and violet, red and blue. Flowering for less than a day, their impermanence adds to their charm.      

    palmsundaemorning_glory_pink_skyline_balconymorning_glory_blue_balconymorning_glory_pink_detail_balconypalmsundaemorning_glory_pink_skyline_balconymorning_glory_blue_balconymorning_glory_pink_detail_balcony