Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Hakuro: Swallows leave/ lycoris bloom (4 of 5)

September 18th, 2008

Hakuro 9 of 15Walking along the Tamagawa Josui (Tamagawa channel) in Mitaka (unintentionally in the wrong direction towards Musashi-Sakai rather than Inokashira-Onshi Park), I came across stands of the Lycoris radiata cited by the modern almanac. They are indeed in bloom. The blooming Higanbana (as it is called in Japanese) signals the presence of Autumn.

Along the Tamagawa towards Musashi-Sakai, we also came across what seemed to be a market garden. The main crop in season is winter melon. The vine has already started to die back and the ripe melons were perfectly formed waiting patiently to be harvested. An unattended counter outside the garden listed the vegetables for sale. Winter melon costs 200 yen (each or by the kilo?). They were also selling eggplants and potatoes. A couple of houses down was an impressive field of handsome bamboo.

The Tamagawa is a natural river that was once a source of fresh water for Edo/Tokyo. In the 17th century major work was undertaken to create artificial canals to feed water from the river to the wells in Edo. It is not surprising to learn that the needs of the growing population of Edo and later Tokyo had impacted both the natural river systems and artificial canals. Apparently, in 1984 the Bureau of Waterworks Tokyo introduced recycled water into the dried up system. More recently we can see works that have been done to try to rehabilitate the water channels and associated ecosystem.

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