Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Soukou: Insects tuck themselves away/ first frost (1 of 5)

November 4th, 2008


[click on image to play]

Redmond’s desire to fly a kite led us to the Tamagawa (river) today, another ramble around the water, and many more discoveries.

The Tamagawa is 138km in length. Starting at Mt. Kasadori in Yamanashi, the river crosses into Kanagawa-ken and Tokyo-to, finally flowing into Tokyo bay. The river serves as a division between Tokyo and Kanagawa, but because of the Tamagawa’s tendency to change course after major floodings (which was frequent historically) one can see that the dividing line deviates from the river course in parts.

When we arrived at Futako-Tamagawa station, I fully expected to see the mighty Tama gently cushioned by vast expanses of green (grass, sportsfields, and recreational parks). The view that greeted us was one dominated by heavy machinery and the thin water course weaving and navigating through human activities on a grey riverbed. A little discouraged, we crossed the river over to the Kanagawa-ken bank in search of a suitable pinic and kite-flying spot.

After having a lovely lunch in the shade of a lone tree in a disused putt-putt course (just short of 1km from the Shuto expressway no. 3 bridge) and a successful kite fly (despite erractic wind conditions), we again felt embolden to explore the river. We were soon very much charmed by the river.

Redmond led the way through the dense bush that separates the sportfields from the riverbank proper. We found ourselves standing on the natural riverbed. The bed is composed of large rounded grey pebbles layered above thick muddy sediments. There were remanents of small fire stoves and fish traps made from the stones. Along the banks were a few old men were fishing and directly across further up the bank were some innovative homeless houses. Beyond the Tōmei Expressway, the river’s flood plains were lined with organised and productive community vegetable garden lots – with broccolis, cauliflowers, cabbages, lettuces, onions, lotuses, all doing well. Before we called it a day at Noborito, we were confronted by a most iimpressive homeless ‘house’ – a blue tarpolin teeppee topped with an umbrella, complete with its own vegetable garden, outdoor seating, and tree house.

5 Responses to “Soukou: Insects tuck themselves away/ first frost (1 of 5)”

  1. 1 Lucas
    November 5th, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I watched the video before I read the story. When I saw Redmond flying his kite, it made me think of fishing – the two hobbies involve similar physical action.

    So I was pleased that fisherman were featured in this story too!

    There’s something post-apocolyptic sounding in your description of this landscape, the emptiness of the disused putt-putt course, and the settlements of “homeless homes”.

    This week, up the hill on Asquith St in Austinmer, we discovered several cardboard boxes of old books, thrown out by a family who had moved out. They had been rained on, but weren’t too soggy.

    In the boxes, amongst treasures like a bumper Richard Scarry compendium, I found some vintage Charlie Brown comics. Do you remember how much trouble Charlie Brown has with kite flying? Poor old Charlie Brown. Redmond’s was a much more successful launch.

  2. 2 jolaw
    November 6th, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Lucas, I wonder whether it is coincidence that Redmond is also an occasional fishermen (he uses a line) – perhaps this is the reason why the similar actions ….?

    We had another go at flying a kite on the Arakawa today, but alas no wind. It made me think of your comment about Charlie Brown. He was always dragging his kite on the ground. May be his problem is that he keeps flying a kite when there is no wind.

  3. 3 Greg
    November 28th, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Definitely… skill, agility, style and grace!

  4. 4 jolaw
    November 28th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    I have to say: much more than me. When Redmond handed me the line, the kite immediately took a dive and crashed! How about we all go and fly kites in the Gong (or somewhere)?

  5. 5 Greg
    November 30th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Sounds like a plan! I have an old double lined one (I hope is still intact and locatable) that was hand made for me as a gift last time I visited family in Germany. They took it very seriously over there… more like a competitive sport crossed with ‘check out my kite bling.’ I was a lot lighter back then and the things would lift me off the ground. There was certainly no grace on my behalf.