Suburban Japan

I’ve been in Japan this week, working with  World Co as part of the day job. On a walk through suburban Tokyo I was struck by how, despite the small amount of space the average Japanese family has, they still work hard at making their tiny patches of pavement green.

There’s always an abundance of pots, lined up and well tended, along the narrowest strip of concrete, with the occasional welcoming sign for visitors. Above, on the left is a very rare bit of old Tokyo, a small wooden house just about hanging on between two new ones, and on the right is the display of a carpenter, working in amongst the residential area to make signs and bird boxes for locals.

I love the Welcome sign…

The plants they use for pots are quite small, money plants, little yukkas, some hydrangeas, sedums and a few verbenas, mostly they are NOT lush and floral like we’d use in Europe, they are less showy and quite dull.

The lack of space means Tokyo has some clever space saving ideas, we liked these double bike racks and its worth noting that the hundreds of bikes parked in these areas are all left completely unlocked…..can you imagine?

Bikes in front of houses here…

Also the nursery schools have a neat way of moving the cute kids around, they put them in these padded trollies in groups of 4 -6 and wheel them to the park, or wherever, they look unbelievably cute.

And why do smart signs when you can draw as well as this on a blackboard?



  • Louise says:

    This post reminds me of the At Home in Japan exhibition that was on at the Geffrye Museum earlier this year (see here:
    What a great set of photo’s and observations – I would so love to go to Japan!
    There is a nursery near us that transports the children in the same way – very cute – though the padded carts aren’t nearly as nice as those you photographed…..

  • Lilac says:

    My last visit to Japan was in 1989 when I was 25. I no longer have a perm (!) and the menus contained no English back then. Hoping to go again soon, I wonder what else has changed?

  • Amanda says:

    Louise, I went to that exhibition too, it did a really good job of giving you the feel of a Japanese home, Lilac, the menus are still mostly in Japanese, but with some very amusing translations, including ‘happy snacks’ for potato crisps at one bar. Much better name for them, don’t you think? A

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