Summary: Rainy day ramble cut short by torrential downpour. Rainbows, curbside sunflowers and chilis, stolen pumpkins and watermelon, hot chili taste test, a present of a large terracotta planter, arid deadspace, swollen canals, blueberry picking spots, blueberry jam vending machine, massive suburban green curtain, hiding out amongst the kiwifruit plantation.
A rainy day always refreshes me and gives me energy to make a book (a-small-lab.com/projects/child-scale-city) (or something). A double rainbow helps me relax in the morning.
Curbside sunflowers are a key element of Tokyo summers (evidence here Tokyo-DIY-Gardening.org and on Tokyo Green Space).
Curbside sunflowers are kept company by this pretty flower.
Witness frugal care and support for curbside plantings.
It’s reassuring and calming to discover that these curbside chilies are back again this year (evidence from two years ago tokyo-diy-gardening.org/curbside-chili-garden/).
After rudely awakening the gardener from his afternoon nap/shochu he tells me this is the tenth year of raising chilies in this rare spot of open dirt. This year he also grew watermelons, which he trained up over the hedge – the dense plant structure softly cradled the ripening and swelling fruit (actually a berry, not a melon) but shortly before the crucial moment of harvesting it was stolen. The same thing happened with his pumpkins last year, and his potted tomatoes that he was growing on the other side of the curb. Chilies are of no interest to thieves, he tells me.
Perhaps as payback for interrupting his afternoon I am offered a hot chili, with the assurance that ‘it’s mild’. Nibbling off a rice grain’s worth I am still burping hot oils an hour later.
To keep me from exacting my own revenge in the form of a midnight pee on his crops he offers me his large terracotta pot for my blackberry plant. I accept his terms.
On another stretch of the road I’m always saddened and inspired by empty and arid curbside deadspace….
…and arid corner soils.
Tokyo canals are usually dry as a bone, even a short burst of rain turns these flood protection measures (as well as the streets) into raging torrents. I wonder if Tokyo’s flood vulnerability would improve if more of the concrete and asphalt was returned to soils and plants. Perhaps it’s too later (at least in terms of timeframes that humans can comprehend). (More evidence on Tokyo canals here tokyogreenspace.com/?s=canal).
A wide surburban road near Tezuka Architects’ Fuji Kindergarten hosts many blueberry and kiwifruit orchards.
Vending machines dispense blueberry honey jam and kiwifruit, not synthetic energy drinks and fake coffee.
No pesticides used in this orchard.
Kiwifruit ready for the eating!
Only use 100 yen coins in this machine.
Contact details for Tachikawa blueberry picking.
Out in the western suburbs of Tokyo homeowners set and break new boundaries in green curtainage.
A kiwifruit orchard crowbarred in between single family dwellings, a mechanic’s garage, a storage facility and impressive buildings from a homestead with a long history may provide shelter as the downpour begins. I should have listened to the vege store owner when she warned of the ‘danger to come’ as she handed over my looooong kyushu nasu.
Not much shelter but a chance to test the ripeness of the local kiwifruit.