Here’s a few more photos from last weeks trip to Tokyo’s oldest park, the Korakuen. Did you notice the bound woven mat around the tree trunk in some of the photos from the last post and also in the fourth photo of this post? They are traditionally called Komomaki (菰巻き) in Japanese and is a traditional method of pest control! The main target of these traps are the common Pine Moth (Dendrolimus spectabilis – here’s some very interesting but probably fatal photos if you have phobia of caterpillars or bugs) who lives in the branches of the pine trees during summer and autumn. In November the komomki is placed on the tree trunk at about 2m (lower trees have the komomaki placed lower) and when the insects migrate downwards to seek shelter from the coming winter cold they find snug and warm hiding places in the komomaki. It is stuck in place by two ropes, the lower of which is wound very tightly around the trunk while the upper rope is very loose to allow the insects ample crawling space. In the early spring these komomaki are removed from the trees and burned, getting rid of the pine beetles at the same time. The only snag is that another beetle that forest managers usually want to save, the Velinus nodipes or Resin Assassin Bug who preys on Pine Moth larvae also nests in the komomaki. However, controversy around the effectiveness abounds and a study in 2002 showed that at least the modern method of applying these komomaki cannot be proved to have any effect on pest control, leading to some public gardens giving up on the idea and stopping it. The research was carried out in a single park and in order to get a proper understanding you’d probably need to carry out the experiment in two physically similar parks, one with a history of komomaki and one without, as it is possible that by employing these komomaki for hundreds of years the pine moth problem has been kept under control in a manner that is hard to understand from a study in one single location in just a handful of years. It would be great if these komomaki were proved to work though, because they really are attractive.
Tokyo might not have a lot of greenery per capita, but we do have quite a few parks, just smaller and more intensive than most other capitals around the world. I have blogged before about the oldest public park in Tokyo and here is the oldest private park, the Korakuen (actually the full name is 小石川後楽園, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, but most people know it by the shorter name adopted by the nearby station and fair ground). Construction of the park was begun in 1629 as the private garden of the lord Tokugawa and his clan and is very clearly influenced on the gardens of Hangzhou in China, due to the Tokugawa patronage of a Chinese scholar, Zhu Shun Shui, who had escaped China to seek refuge in Japan. The park was opened to the public in the 1930′s but was severely damaged by the fire bombings of March 1945. Due to old age of many of the trees in the park the autumn leaves display of color gets pretty spectacular and it is a favorite spot of Tokyo people to view the changing of the seasons. Here’s a few photos I took, but I will post more during the week. I hope you enjoy!
This last week has seen very little action here on Tokyobling. I’ve been flat out busy with work and on top of that my usually so generous WiFi connection (limited to a couple of square meters on top of my roof – not a nice place to blog when it’s minus -20 degrees with windchill) has been turned off. On the plus side I have been to some very interesting parties (no photography allowed) and have more lined up. I really need to do more shooting. Here’s a photo from back in the days when I had time to play around, a handful of leaves thrown up in the air, shot with my Nikon Prime 20mm lens. This week I promise to post every single day!