Friday, March 18, 2016

Experiment ctd. : What is happening at the place where we had an art exhibition last summer?

Do you remember last summer we have visited the Art Exhibition in the Forest of Yokohama? At that time, I told you the forest they had the show till 2014 would be closed due to the construction work for botanical part of Yokohama Zoorasia. The work was started last November. The trekking road between Zoorasia and Niiharu / Miho is now closed due to the construction. It is supposed to be completed by the end of this month … I visited the forest recently. One of the construction crew told me they found water veins here and there so that the progress of the project is disappointingly slow … They plan to complete the job by the end of coming May, but a debate is going on if they should extend the planned completion date by the end of June 2016. A-ha. I’m not surprised. Even top of the hills and peaks of Yokohama often have natural fountains.

Telling you the truth, I was shocked to see, over the fence to limit the access of the public, the trees, roads, small hills, grasses, the previous years’ art works  … the scenery I was familiar with completely gone.  Around the planned entrance gate of the Park, the previous geography and vegetation are replaced by yellow bulldozers and a flat large open space surrounded by the trees that were spared from the cutting. Sure enough, the leveled terrain had lots of puddles. I remember before the place was very muddy when we went there after rain. Didn’t the architect of the new Park know it? Anyway, when I went to the other side of the construction via residential areas of completely different direction (… I mean, the simple way into the Forest is closed now …), nightingales and other birds were chirping with the background noise of bulldozers. Nature is tough. We’ll have a forest again.

Before, this place was like this … 
and it is now.
Muddy, muddy, then ...
Revenge of the mad mud, now ...
Once upon a time this place was a secret spot
for locals to harvest wild Japanese parsley every spring …
Now it is like this … a crew told us
we can collect the veggie once their work is done.

When the construction is completed, the Forest hosts the 33rd National Urban Greenery Fair 全国都市緑化フェア, March 25 – June 4, 2018. Prince Akishino 秋篠の宮 opens the event and the Forest will be called YokohamaSatoyama Garden, expected to attract 4 million visitors as the similar event did for a suburb of Tokyo few years ago … hmmmm … yeah, it might be better to be called a garden than a park ... sounds cozier, maybe. The area for the Garden included a professional farm land which has been sold to the City recently. The farmer rented a part of his land to allotmenters for more than 20 years, and the holders of the allotment are now requested by the City to move out as well. One of them, a grandpa, told me this summer will be their last for tomatos and cukes. He nurtured a pine tree stood next to his plot, and said smiling, “You know, I planted it when it was just a tiny seedling … about 25 years ago. It was brought from my home village in Gun’ma … Well, I have to say goodbye to him. I’m really an old man now.” … The place next to their allotments, which was once a commercial farmland, is now geometrically partitioned with borders where the workers were busy planting colorful pink and yellow flowers … pansies and primulas. It will be called “the Grand Flower Bed Full of Beautiful Flowers of Yokohama.” It looked pretty, yeah …

Invasion of beautiful flowers
Surrounding forest is receiving thinning.
Off limits!

Oh, by the way, Kanachu Bus is planning to operate
a new service near to the Forest,
probably as a part of the prep for the Fair.
The nearest stop will be this one,
“Jichi-kaikan Mae” from JR Nakayama station.
The forest on the back of the stop is already a “botanical garden.”
This route is still in a pilot stage.

The allotments are on the north bank of a small stream whose source would be from the underground of the water puddles at the construction site. The south bank of the stream is the place where the Art Exhibition was held last summer. According to the allotment members, the landlord of the place keeps his forest from the City, and allowed survival gamers and off-road bikers to enter. Though, when the construction started those people also stopped coming. Hmmm. Thanks to this change (or not), the place is now quieter and the soil is softer. I enjoyed walking inside, even though we can figure out the moving of yellow Caterpillars between the trees on the other side. (Mr. Trump! Japan is not necessarily penchant for Komatsu!) The freshly constructed mole hills were spotted everywhere. I even found a bird feather. The hunt was taken place inside the Forest. A bird of prey could operate there. Wow.

On the north, under construction.
The droppings of survival gamers
Yeah, the place is wild.
Hello, moles!
This is a REAL survival game.

The wild forest is accessible from the road
running along the Zoorasia. Find this sign.

The art works exhibited last summer were almost all gone, except the wood sculptures around the former main entrance of the show, and the installation by Kazuo Ishikuro that is almost in decay. The entrance has a storage hut of GROUP the Creation and Voice of the Woods 創造と森の声 who pasted a notice on the door. It said this wild part of the forest would also be a part of the Garden … looks like some politics is going on, don’t you think so? They are saying they are doing the forestry work and will have another art exhibition coming summer there. They are inviting anybody to join: (phone) 090-9137-3329, Ms/Mr Ishiyama.

King Kong is falling.

The “Wild” Forest has lots of cute flowers of lonicera gracilipes. They are called uguisu-kazura (nightingale vine) in Japanese because their pale pink innocent flowers come out when nightingales return to Satoyama early spring. Nightingales! I’ve met singing spring in Satoyama, then. J

Lonicera gracilipes

If you find a problem in the Forest, please make a contact with

Office for the Park Greeneries in the North 北部公園緑地事務所
Yokohama Municipal Government Creative Environment Policy Bureau 横浜市環境創造局
Phone: 045-311-2016 (I guess in Japanese only)
FAX: 045-316-8420 (I hope there is somebody who can read English …)

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