Sunday, September 26, 2010

and now for something completely different

Today I went to a California native plant sale and despite our move to Tokyo, bought plants. These are tough "don't give any summer water" salvias, buckwheats and alum roots. Such a totally different kind of gardening and overall lifestyle much of it driven by climate.

Our garden in Kawasaki is filled with shade and moisture loving plants. Azaleas and Hydrangeas being two plants I recognized off the bat. These plants would fry in my yard.

I'm totally excited about learning about this different eco-system. The part that scares me more is how it affects living in the traditional house. I have been reading that Japanese houses are built for summer not for winter. Supposedly this is to keep the airy and cool. What worries me is the moisture combined with the heat. Airing out futons? Drying tatami mats in the sun? bedbugs? eeeeeeeekkkkkk. Ok, ok, I lived in Sweden - very cold and dark and I adjusted. I'll adjust to this too. But any tips or any confessionals from other wimpy Californians would be very appreciated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Missing Daddy

We are, of course, all missing Daddy who is already in Tokyo. The first week was tough as my son and I both got sick, I had to outdo him of course and let it turn into strep throat.

Communicating with my husband has been entirely through Skype and during his early morning when they first open the doors at his Tokyo law firm. It's not ideal but he doesn't have Internet at the house we are renting.

The house is also proving to be less than wonderful in many ways. It is old and apparently not insulated at all. It was very very hot this past week, even late at night. We Northern Californians are weather wimps and so we melt easily and freeze easily.

Back here in the Bay Area we are having our typical, wonderful, late summer weather. We can still play outside in the backyard after I pick up the kids from school. I'm really relishing the personal space and privacy of our yard, not to mention the apples which are ripening. We are also enjoying watching the birds discover the grapes/raisins on our Roger Red grape vine.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A place to call home

I feel incredibly fortunate that we not only found a home in Tokyo, it is actually a house, with a real garden. It is in Kawasaki City, which is a large suburb southwest of Tokyo. The neighborhood is called Shibokuhoncho and in the neighborhood is a very nice park called Higatsitakane Forest Park. My water creature loving son is pretty excited that the park has a large pond and a "swamp plant garden."

I don't yet know to what extent I can garden in this already very mature Japanese-style garden. At a minimum I'll be able to do veggies and herbs in containers. And as a good permaculturist, I plan to start worm composting so we can give back to this little oasis. It will be exciting for me to learn all about the plants there and to find out about their native habitats/guilds/companion plants.