urban thoughts


Juxtaposition of small and large in central Tokyo

Friday, 21 May 2010

The grass is greener.

There is hardly any grass in Japan. Its either too wet or too hot. That's why there is a moss garden in Kyoto.
No one has a garden either - and Japanese gardens are for observing from inside and not for playing in. That's why you find tiny parks and playgrounds through out the urban areas in Japan.
The parks and playgrounds are just dirt - which is very dusty and dirty to play on and very hard to fall on if you are learning to ride a bike. This is the Robot Park at Roppongi Hills where the architects ordered every slide from the catalogue in every colour. In winter, the air is so dry the children get a static electric shock going down the slides.
It makes you really appreciate the green grassy parks and gardens in England - especially today when the sun is shining.

Saturday, 15 May 2010


As you may know, I think small dogs are not served well by the UK retail scene. So I was happy to see 'Holy Dog' featured on Zombory Moldovan Moore Architect's website. Still, in Japan the range of merchandise and services available for dogs and their owners is remarkable.

Monday, 10 May 2010

after Tokyo London looks so grubby

Walking along City Road straight after 3 weeks in Japan was a bit grim. Even on a sunny afternoon. Narrow pavements, litter, old grubby buildings - and people who have not bothered much with their appearance.

The Barbican looked better and it was lovely to see good friends for tea - and amazingly the circle line got me to Paddington as rapidly as Phyllida promised.