Saturday, December 21, 2019

Changing times ?

This has been a very strange fall. We went directly from hot humid sauna weather to early winter.

Trees began dropping their leaves without changing color.

Other plants seem to be confused as well. The spider lilies around the neighborhood only sent up one or two flowers from beds that are usually full. The white ones came into bloom at the autumnal equinox but the red ones were about a week later.

Usually they pop up suddenly within days. A few weeks ago, what looks like a spider lily popped up in the pot beside my gate. The flowers are still opening one-by-one.
The strange thing is not only the timing, but the color is a light purple.

I have never seen one this color and I'm wondering if it is a volunteer hybrid.

I have a number of agapanthus, and when I looked at that pot hanging on the fence, what should I see but a flower of the same color there. Definitely, they are not the same.

What is really strange is that the agapanthus blooms in early summer. Another confused plant... Maybe competing with the newest addition to the garden?

And, with most of the toad lilies finished, there, in the same front bed was one just beginning to open. A confusion of the purple flowers all at the same time.

Our usual winter is a season of bright blue skies. I remember one winter when my parents visited, every day in the month was sunny. These days we have revolving sun, clouds, and rain. The wind rattles the shutters and there are plenty of green leaves falling along the street (from my own plum tree) that I go out to sweep several times each day. If I don't get them swept as they fall, I will have to walk farther to pick them up all the way to the corner.

Coming home from my cub scout meeting, I see the Tokyo Tower, usually lit ln warm red tones has taken on a different look.

Maybe for the holidays? I always pass tourists? taking selfies as I walk to and from the station.

The moon will be full on Christmas eve ... but will we see it? Rain is predicted .... though I think the weather app on my cell phone should get the pinocchio award, as it is wrong most of the time ... or does it not rain because I carry an umbrella on those days?
Well, sometimes I come out of the train station and before I step out into the pouring rain, I check the app once again. Well, it says "Partly cloudy" I must be under the cloud at that time and by the time I get home, the rain will be back in the cloud.

After watching the lights installed each Monday morning as I drive to church to pick up the onigiri for delivery, The street running between Aoyama and Harajuku station is now lit each night.

I noticed on Thursday that music was playing on speakers along the street and the lights were going off and on in a variety of patterns.

Years ago this custom ended... maybe to save money or protect the keyaki trees ... but I think these lights attract lots of shoppers and tourists to these high end shops. A few years ago, the custom returned.

And, a bit of a sad change to my neighborhood is the number of lovely large old houses being torn down.

The crane is parked in what was a lovely rose garden last week. Those roses bloomed all year long, even in the winter. That is rather rare because Tokyo soil is really not very rose-friendly.

I have watched many of these houses and gardens lately completely wiped off so this seems to be the new normal.

One huge space was filled with six new homes (all only a foot or two apart). The most recent is all flat now waiting for the next step. Gone was a big beautiful Black pine that had been trained to make a bridge over the path to the entry.

My daughter snatched up a number of bulbs being bulldozed from the garden.

The place along my small street was replaced with an apartment building with 8 apartments that can't possibly be any larger than a 9x9 foot room with bath and toilet and maybe a small kitchen sink and hot-plate.

Tomorrow, home will be a bit more lively with the coming of the first of my holiday visitors. After promising myself to get things sorted and picked up, I am still struggling to make space for visitors to sit. At least the bedding has been set up and the lights are on the wee tree. I think I will let the granddaughters put on the decorations when they get here. I'm sure they have plans for things to do and time will fly with choir duty and homeless feeding tossed in as well.

AND .... In today's mail was a postcard stating that my Partnership block will be in quilt #14 at the Tokyo Dome quilt show. There is a discount ticket included in the card but it is more expensive than other years. Still, January will be starting and ending with lots to do.

Warmest Holiday wishes to all my blogging friends.


  1. I am intrigued that weather in Japan seems a lot like weather on the East Coast in the US. We had a very strange Fall. In fact, my Japanese Maple never dropped its leaves and there they sit all brown and shriveled and now covered with ice. Other leaves didn't fall until well into November. It was unusually warm and now unusually cold! I read somewhere that the north pole is shifting??? I drove home through a snow squall the other day that was amazing! You could see it coming and suddenly I was engulfed in large snow flakes swirling all around. The ground was covered in only a few minutes. Thankfully, the highway department had used enough salt to melt a glacier so the road did not get too slippery.
    Your pictures of the lights are beautiful!
    So sorry that your neighborhood is changing so much. That is hard to deal with especially when nature is taken away.
    Enjoy your visitors! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  2. I enjoyed reading the descriptions in this post very much. It prompted me to read your last post and I was a little spellbound. We have just had to go through the same thing with our 12 year old German Shepherd who also was a rescued dog. Like us, I believe you did the right thing and I am so sorry for your loss. I too will be finding hairs for many months I know. :)

  3. Ah, Julie !! Mother Nature is angry with everyone !! In the South of France, it is only storms, floods for two months, I am sad for these poor people. Here in Brittany, it's quieter ... but winter is just beginning !!I love reading your posts that tell about your life in Tokyo. I wish you and your family a very merry Chrismtas time :) Love , Isa

  4. A full home will be so wonderful, as Nikko would want for you. Changes, down our street a section was levelled., gravel laid down, and two older homes were relocated there., no doubt to be for rent. Rental accommodation is scarce, so these will be a good addition. Christmas lights, guess there are lots here too, but we don't drive at night now.Love the spider Lily, seasons are so different.We have 9C this morning at 6.30 a.m. I am almost in winter tops and pants again.I remember when I was a child summer started in November and went through till late March,Hay was made, cool drinks every day, and the ground was so dry and cracked in places.

  5. I love reading your posts about your life in Tokyo - you give wonderful descriptions of your surroundings - I feel like we are chatting while we sew together! Enjoy your family and the holidays, Julie - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! - ;))

  6. We are currently experiencing wild bush fires here in Australia. Eventually when there is new growth coming back, it will be interesting to see if the plants and flowers are the same as they were. Your post was a wonderful read. Have a merry Christmas and a happy 2020 Julie.

  7. Congratulations! How exciting to have a quilt accepted to the Tokyo Dome quilt show! It's sad to see old homes along with their beautiful gardens being torn down to make room for modern apartments.

  8. I got my card too! Yeah! I think my plants are confused too. We found a ripe strawberry on one of the forgotten strawberry pots outside!

  9. I hope you had a fun time with your guests. Our weather has been weird, too. We had snow for Halloween, but 56 degrees for Christmas day (2nd warmest Christmas in Chicago area ever).

  10. Happy New Year Julie! Lots of changes in your neighborhood. I got my postcard too - quilt #9. Hope to meet up with you at the show.... maybe for bentos up on the stands?