The headline does not refer to some kind of exotic disease but to all the small lungs of the cities. I knew Japan was densely populated, but it was much greener than I had expected. I don’t mean the parks and Japanese gardens, because I expected those, but the small patches of green everywhere else. The shoulders and central reservations of the expressways were green, pink, red, white, etc. depending on the season and which trees and bushes were planted there. And everywhere these ‘green spots’ were well-kept and in immaculate condition.
In Fukuoka I saw a building where they had brought up the park to the 12th floor or so. Across the street from my hotel in Tokyo they were restoring a building and the riggers had put up the scaffolding around a tree. I. e. a large branch was in the way, but the scaffolding was constructed around this branch, so the workers would have to climb up or down to get past it. It made me think of the urban renewal in my block when they chopped down everything which was in the way of the builders and their machines. The big tree in our backyard was totally disfigured and is still recovering today, 20 years later.
Some flower beds in the city were an abundance of colours. Very designed, groomed and organized. But other places I saw flowers I usually do not associate with the city, like the beds with (I think they were) poppies by the streets in Ginza, Tokyo. Somehow I thought that wild look was even better than the well-groomed one.
The more unusual green spots I saw were in Kanazawa. By a parking lot was something unlike anything I’d ever seen before. It can best be described as a vertical garden, I suppose. Since then, these have appeared many places, of course. In the same town, by the Saigawa river, someone had used old ladies shoes, painted pink, as flower containers. Needless to say that was also a first for me.
Private gardens were very small, but I found out you really did not need a garden to have one. What I mean is that many people had lots of plants in the small space between their outer walls and the street. Others had a small display of fresh flowers outside their front door. A private home in Kyoto in the same street as my ryokan had flowers in a granite bowl outside. I walked past it every day and noticed it was constantly changed. Not much, just a small detail. My picture was taken in the morning, and when I returned in the afternoon the big leaf had been replaced. Hard to explain but it put me in a good mood to walk past these flowers every day.
© emenel 2020