Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Attack of the plant hunters, green carnivores and fleshy girls

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

A selection from the exotic green world of Seijun Nishihata, whose plants are currently on display at Ultra Plants Exhibition at Ginza's Pola Museum Annex.

A selection from the exotic green world of Seijun Nishihata, whose plants are currently on display at Ultra Plants Exhibition at Ginza’s Pola Museum Annex. (Rina Yamazaki photos)

Living in a concrete jungle, it’s not surprising that many Japanese are eager to bring wildlife back into their lives.

Plant hunter Seijun Nishihata, at Yoyogi Village (Satoko Kawasaki photo)

Plant hunter Seijun Nishihata, at Yoyogi Village (Satoko Kawasaki photo)

One pioneering figure in this field is plant hunter Seijun Nishihata. The fifth-generation representative of major plant wholesaler Hanau Co., he travels around the world in search of unique flowers and plants. Whether it’s down to his charm, his Kansai-influenced sense of humor, his sense of adventure or the exposure he received on the documentary TV show “Jounetsu tairiku,” Nishihata clearly has struck a chord with many people.

This summer, Nishihata is presenting a sample of this green world in the form of “Ultra Plants Exhibition,” at Ginza’s Pola Museum Annex. The selection of rare plants includes a desert rose from Yemen, a prickly tree from a Madagascar thorn forest, and a rare flower from the Indochina peninsula (which was supposed to be featured on Nippon TV’s “Sekaiichi Uketai Jugyou” until staff realized that its smell was too strong). Many of Nishihata’s favorite seasonal plants are also displayed throughout the year at Yoyogi Village’s garden.

Qusamura is another Japanese company that’s cultivating this market for green exotics. Run by “plant sculptor” Kohei Oda, its mission is to find one-of-a-kind plants that are beautiful in unconventional ways. Oda also travels widely in search of unusual plants, some of which can cost as much as ¥70,000.

Qusamura

Prices of plants sold on Qusamura’s website range from ¥1,000 to ¥70,000.

In addition to selling plants, Qusamura has held multiple art exhibitions this year, such as “Kurogane and Koppaku,” where plants and flowers were presented in bowls created by ceramic artist Shiro Hamanaka. This May, Oda collaborated with American ceramic artist Adam Silverman to release “Grafted,” a collection of photographs of Qusamura plants adorned in Silverman’s pots.

For those who are more into seeing exotic plants in action, several venues throughout Japan —  Osaka, Kyoto, Kochi, Kanagawa, and Tokyo, to name a few — are exhibiting carnivores from the plant this year. In addition to showing how plants that look like cobras attract and digest insects, the exhibitions will present experiments that investigate whether the carnivorous plants’ digestive fluids can melt more than just insects.

According to T-SITE news, Staghorn ferns are the newest trend in interior plants. Just as its name implies, staghorn ferns resemble the shape of deer horns. Some say it also looks like flying bats. Fern fans and interior decorators love this plant because it’s an epiphyte, an acrobatic type of plant that grow on other things, walls or ceilings; no pots necessary.

A photo posted by aki (@hibi15) on

Grow a new boyfriend with ‘ikemen’ seeds

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

ikemen-seeds

Sick of waiting to meet your dream man? Why not grow your boyfriend from the ground up?

That’s the idea behind “Tabegoro kareshi Ikusei Setto” (“Ripe Boyfriend Growing Set”), a line of vegetable seeds that are adorned with cute ikemen.

The manufacturers hope to turn up the heat in the greenhouse as each vegetable features a handsome animated character (Mr. Habanero Pepper has fiery red hair, Mr. Eggplant as smooth purple hair, and so on). Girls are encouraged to buy their favorite boy and watch him grow right before their eyes . . . after some tender love and care.

Gardeners might have to turn the hose on themselves to cool down after reading the salacious details and backstories behind each boy. Spoiler alert — Mr. Mint likes to eat mint chocolate ice cream.

The mail-order males can be purchased for ¥900. Available vegetables include cherry tomatoes, arugula, baby carrots, mint, habanero peppers and eggplant.

Pulsations (8.18.13)

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

Bon odori: dancing for the spirits of the ancestors (from Tokyo Food File): This simple post appreciates traditional dancing at a summer festival on the beach.

Tama — the station master cat who raised over $10 million and helped save a train line (from Spoon & Tamago): This profile of the real-life maneki-neko features plenty of photos.

Wild Japan (from Noel’s Garden Blog): A visit to Japan yielded some great flora pictures.

Top five things to do at the Hakodate morning fish market in Hokkaido (from Texan in Tokyo): A guide to a fish market that is, at least going from this account, quite different from Tokyo’s Tsukiji.

Mark Smith’s 1/144th Scale Gem Collection (from Aviation of Japan): Model hobbyists like the ones who wrote this detailed post were interested in the work of Jiro Horikoshi way before the latest Hayao Miyazaki film.

So, How’s That Japanese Manga on Steve Jobs? (from Kotaku):  Take a look inside the comic based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder.

Video Pulse

This year’s World Hiphop Dance Championship took place in Las Vegas Aug. 7. Three Japanese teams made it to the junior finals after battling through a prelim featuring 34 teams from around the globe. Two were penalized for noncompliant clothing or overusing props, but JB Star Jr. (4th place) managed to jam out to “Gangnam Style” among other tunes in their mix free of point deduction.

Apartment dwellers go potty for growing their own veggies

Friday, July 29th, 2011

John Moore's organic workshops has become increasingly popular

Over the past few years a trend for growing potted vegetables has been taking root on balconies throughout urban Japan. Driven by an increased interest in organic produce, many have been deciding to have a go at growing their own produce on tiny strips of sun-kissed balcony. Now with the crisis at Fukushima utmost in many people’s minds, the idea of growing your own vegetables is even more attractive.

Since the mid-noughties, a bumper crop of books containing the words “veranda saien” (balcony vegetable garden) have been published. Indeed, March this year alone saw three new titles hit bookstore shelves. “Easy to Grow Vegetables in Containers and Pots,” for example, shows budding gardeners how to grow veggies including cress, carrots, egg plants and cucumbers. According to Nikkei Trendy who reported on the “boom” back in summer 2008, one of the easiest plants to grow on a balcony are baby tomatoes, but as we reported a little while back, “green curtains” grown from goya have also been popular with those who want to use foliage to provide natural shade for their windows.

John Moore, a British resident of Japan, teaches classes in Tokyo on how to grow organic vegetables. Moore says that he has noticed a significant rise in the number of pupils recently.The numbers to our workshops have been increasing for the past three years. Safe food, safe DNA for the next generation and clean safe living is foremost in Japanese people’s minds, and also in the minds of overseas customers of food from Japan,” he said in a recent email interview. “On balconies, or inside the house in various places, good food can be safely grown, no insects, no climate worries, no nuclear worries, etc.”

As concerns about the safety of produce mount and vegetable-centric cuisine grows in popularity we think the trend looks set to spread even further. Japan’s cities are notoriously short on green spaces, so this is trend also has the advantage of making the concrete jungle look that little bit more leafy and pleasant.

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