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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Green Tokyo

緑 東京

As a metropolis, Tokyo is all about superlatives. With a daytime population of almost 15 million it is one of the world’s biggest cities, and the minimally regulated state of its construction makes for a more jumbled look architecturally than most Western cities. The streets are crammed with shops and residences, and the spacious properties that the middle class takes for granted in most surburban settings overseas are an almost impossible luxury here.

As a concrete jungle, Japan’s capital is partly redeemed by the number of parks and gardens in Tokyo, but even more so by the passion its inhabitants maintain for greenery.

A remarkable feature of Tokyo is the number of potted plants kept in front, and on the roofs, of shops and houses, and even on apartment balconies. However tight the alley and grim the streetscape, the points of cultured greenery always give it something of a lift and add, literally, touches of life.

I wandered around my neighborhood with my camera last weekend. I live in the Asakusabashi district of Tokyo's Taito ward (near the electronic mecca of Akihabara; the tourist center of east end Tokyo, Asakusa; and that mix of high and low culture, Ueno). My aim was to document some of the greenery that relieves the monotony of this rather unlovely part of the city.

The slideshow here is the result: a random medley of just a few examples of the effort Tokyoites put into keeping their city green. Enjoy!

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