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They paved paradise

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By William R. Jones

I tuned-into NHK World-Japan, the English-language current affairs TV channel headquartered in Tokyo. By chance I caught an interview/documentary with the contemporary landscape architect/designer Michio Tase. He was showing and describing a 20-hectare botanical landscape garden in the Minato area of Tokyo.

The botanical space is completely surrounded by high-rise corporate buildings and concrete and asphalt. Emerging as a small fishing village and even up to the overthrowing of the last shogun in the 1860s, Tokyo was still quite forested with native flora and fauna. Change is inevitable and most often gives rise to accompanying unintended consequences. This struck a note with Joni Mitchell who expressed in her 1970 song "Big Yellow Taxi": "They took all the trees, Put them in a tree museum, And they charged all the people, A dollar and a half to see 'em, Don't it always seem to go, That you don't........

© The Korea Times