Thursday, December 13, 2012

How to hold a Permablitz: Garden Makeover at Asaba Art Square

Blitzers: Phil Cashman, Cecilia Macaulay,
Masayo and Yuji Saito, Benjamin Davis and one massive Yuzu

The main duties of a winter Permablitz, in a garden designed two years ago are as follows:

*  Pull up, chop up and compost any shabby plants in need of re-incarnation. See you again in spring!

*  Fill now-empty pots with soil and compost, ready to receive the seeds of spring. If we don't do this way ahead of time, there are too many steps involved for one little brain, too many mental barriers to the 60 second act of putting in seeds. What then happens when May comes, we just give in. We spend money on big seedlings, and throw away a bunch of plastic pots.

* Share things we have grown in our own gardens. This makes us feel proud and resourceful, and encourages us to keep going.

* Use our bodies like kids. 

*Teach each other things: what plants are called, how they like to be treated, and the cool things they will do, when the time comes.

*Enjoy each other. Maybe appear in each others lives as friends and allies, and inspire each other to do intrepid things.

Seeds bred by the amazing Phil Cashman

Sweet and glossy tatsoi, grown and given by
United Nations University's Benjamin Davis

2010 Summer: creating the garden with an enthusiastic 13 year old Kyohei

Summer 2012, with shiso and herbs for the cafe

2012 winter: Kyohei is now 15.
Mrs Asaba pays him to teach little kids after school at her Art Studio
He is joyful, hard-working,  and knows how to make everything turn out.

Ringo the housemate continues Asaba-san's training:
how to upload photos to Facebook.
Nice life.  71 years old.

Asaba's cat Kufu sits atop the family shrine.
Yes, the Egyptian king. Well named.

Things that would be happy over the winter:
tatsoi, pansies, a bit of lettuce to remind us this really is food.

Collecting composted leaf litter from the mountain,
It is dark and crubley, laced with white threads of fungi.
Compost re-activaor, soil conditioner, plaything.

So, who can help me translate the Permablitz guidebook? 
There will be an explosion of blitzes, come spring.
Its in the air.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting Kitty Love at the Cat Cafe, Tokyo

This is going to be so much fun!

Not for me.

Not for me.

Its kinda fun for me.

Cat Cafe Shibuya "Neko Cafe'

Introducing Tokyo's new craze: Cat Petting Cafe's

You aren't allowed to pick them up or swing them around.

You can put a cat on your lap, but only if you are on the floor.
Otherwise, you wait for the cat to choose you. They must come to your lap, in their own good time. 



Fail again.
They're just not that into me.

The street cats really go for me you know.
(doesn't care)

The mouse and me, we get along fine.

No problems with the tea either. The Macha Latte was great.

God bless Tokyo, for thinking up gainful employment for cats.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Japan's First Official Permablitz: Winter Love for Asaba Art Square

The doggy digging area of Asaba's garden:
Illustration by Cecilia Macaulay

This Saturday My Go-getter permaculture mates and I will have 'Japan's first Permabitz' at Asaba Art Square, the garden I drew up and everyone created, two years ago.

Creating Asaba's garden, a proto-permabliz event, 2010

Come to think of it, it may not really be the first time Japanese people have come together to help each other create something edible...

Just as the Foxes and bunnies are now putting on their winter coats, now its time to pack up the leftovers of summer.  Its time to check the compost systems, maybe do a harvest. Time to plant the winter greens that go super-sweet in the cold. 
Most of all, time to plan what to plant for a Springtime Spectacular. 

Lets make it an official Permablitz, and do it by the book. 
It's a cool name, and a new Aussie tradition worth going global. 
I want to come back in the spring for a heap of Permablitzes, in all my favourite people's houses an back lanes.

What happens on a Permablitz?

Designers make a plan, weeks before. 
Revellers come on the day. 
Maybe 40 of us, in our most festive old clothes, ready for a day of using our bodies, meeting creative people, and share whatever spare we have: Spare seedlings, spare energy, spare knowledge.
We feast, on the lovley dishes everyone brings to share.
We transform the whole place, in a day.
Then dance the PermaSalsa to celebrate.
Some people fall in love.
With the new garden, of course.

Creating Paradise Takes a Team

Asaba did it!
How great is this:

Photo Gallery from Asaba's 2010 Garden creation

We collected fertile 'fuyodo from the mountains.
A truck brought the rest

Amazing Nakano-san gave us cuttings from her Tamagawa Paradise

Members of my workshop series got dirty

Concrete, filming, digging, wall-making

We marveled at how gardening brings the most unlikely people together

Timber sleepers for permaculture beauty

Here are the timber sleepers we found on the side of the road. 
The whole garden was pretty much gathered from the wild.

Asaba Art Square: Art School, Cafe, WWOOF host,
Art festival, couryard garden,  and midnight bar

El-cheepo flow form: buckets catch and store rooftop rainwater
The air conditioner is hidden in the Table-top box 

Asaba's students work light up her bridge. Often, the paint is just drying.

Bitter gourds to climb over and hide the metal bridge

3D garden to clamber and find surprises in

What can you do?

Help us translate the Permaculture official website
Find a well-connected friend, who would use and love her garden.
Propose a permablitz! 
People bring food, seedlings, music
Afterwards, we dance the PermaSalasa. 

I will come and join in. xx

How to get to Asaba's 
Call Cecilia : 080 6689 6086
Walk 8 minutes from Kanazawa Bunko Station. 
See Map