(now and again)

Tokyo DIY Gardening Hands-on gardening for a crowded city

Edible Subscapes and Sensual Substitutes

by Chris Berthelsen

Real Touch (USA), pioneer of teledildonics, in strategic partnership with deflated and delisted Sony (JPN) develops sensual fruit substitutes. Gummy, electro-sensitive omni-articulating and non-degrading gels remotely deliver the texture, scent and nutrition of fruit in a mix of generalised industrial juices and code snippets.

In an atmosphere of nationalistic fervour fuelled by hard economic timez the product line resonates with the sterile and budgetarily constrained mouths of freeters, stay-at-home moms, debit-card-toting toddlers, commuters and pensioners.

DRM-infused code candies dribble Tokyo Traditional Produce (persimmon, yuzu, natsumikan) into the mouths of believers from always-on data-farms by way of secure downloads and gift-packaged coupons. Delectable Codescape.

Satisfaction now delivered in code, the production of real fruit cracks as demand dies. No more supermarkets, no one knew what to do there anymore. The nutri-tech sector pressures an already corrupt government into eradicating self-grown food – Fruit taxes on self-growns enforced by roving bureaucrats result in thousands of acres of edible environments destroyed for tax escape.

industrial Imperative and imperial Diktat have always accelerated Tokyo’s food heritage towards the unpalatable and inconvenient.

Bare and dead plots. Aggressive corporate plazas.
Stacked freeways and door-to-door pavement erase the memory of soil.
A city of dog turds and plastic bags.


Resistant Subscape
Weirdo enthusiasts now prize independent fruits and herbals found blooming from the mouths of basements. Whispered along off-grid bbs sites:

“Our city is rich enough, it could become elegant enough, to flaunt a garden of native weeds!”.

They rebuild rich, dark soils in rotting tatami mats and imported peat moss; seeking out, nurturing and replicating nutritious heirlooms – “we grow it ourselves, prepare it, and eat it. But we don’t have factory jobs, we have philosophical debates with tools in our hands.


A Checklist for Edible Subscapes
Fish-fuelled aquaponics.
Chicken-heated greenhouses.
Super-effective DIY ventilation in the G-Cans and hidden subway lines.
Pigeon shit repositories burrowed deep.
Strange subterranean fruit species.
Peach stones on the subway tracks.


The Social Subscape
leach a connection. review soft annotations. knock on a door. In a strange town someone you don’t know gives you candied persimmon and strong citrus detergent in exchange for mending a hole in the crotch of their Uniqlo trousers. A convivial antidote to everyday hunger accessible only to the networked few operating malleable location-aware devices beyond smartphone walled gardens.

the produce is succulent. but never again Above Environment.
wet Mouths, dry Skin.


●    Long Term View: Above: Teletechnologies of generalised taste. Below: Resilient and distributed asynchronous economies of mutual reciprocity.

●    Connection of People and Places: Above: Always-on consumption makes sites of labour, commute and sleep indistinct. Below: Production in treasured safe-havens.

●    Relations between People and Food: Above: Autocreated and transient taste-lists and nutrition drips.  Below: Clandestine relationships. Intense bonds. Treasured inheritances.

Code Candies
Remnants of Edible Subscapes
Chicken Heated GreenhousesChicken Heated Greenhouse – Image from Permaculture Reflections
Above: Stacked freeways. Below: Productive pigeon-shit repositories burrowed deep. Below image from Rudofsky (1964) plate 103.Exchanging fruit for trouser mending services

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