Quite a journey to have a rooftop and backyard school garden in super expensive Tokyo. Though with limited space, time and budget, I envisioned the gardens as haven for educational activities, nature art open-air classrooms, venue for bbq/outdoor parties, morning/afternoon tea with adult students, picnic area for Moms & Kids Classes, unique area for our students’ self-discovery of their multiple intelligences, ”meditation & international koinonias,” and rendezvous for seasonal thematic events.

Planned in the last quarter of 2017. Backyard demolition started in the first month of 2018. Finished today, May 4, 2019! As Japan is savoring the Golden Week & extended public holiday because of Emperor Akihito’s abdication & new Emperor Naruhito’s coronation, I’m actually busy finalizing the physical arrangements of our 2 school gardens and monitoring the host country’s unique historical events.

In between the busy garden work, I was introducing to my neighbors and students our herbal plants that they can freely pick & eat anytime. Needless to say, I highlighted the Olympic theme in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics. I’m also writing related books and the gardens serve as ”location setting.” The book illustrator, my adult student, and I are volunteers for the Olympics. The olympian head coach of Goalball in Japan, my student, donated a goalball & shades for Olives School students to learn more about this Paralympic sport for the visually-impaired athletes. (Check my student’s regular appearance on Goalball socmed ads: (1) https://youtu.be/PRNZESdAoZI (2) https://youtu.be/6DMbDa6AHiw)

What a great way to end the Heisei Era and welcome the new Reiwa Era of my host country — offering not a Japanese garden but a cozy interactive nook for humans & nature. 

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