Guerilla Gardening in Japan by Huckleberry
?Most guerrilla gardeners are up against two main enemies. These are not people or organizations but two conditions of the landscape: scarcity and neglect, problems that come from how we all use the land. They are in some ways contradictory?if land is scarce you would not expect it to be neglected, and likewise in an area where land is being neglected you would expect there to be plenty to spare. But the world is not logical. People are not distributed according to what they need from the landscape, and rules and regulations prevent those who want land from making use of neglected space. Guerilla gardeners ignore rules and regulations, resolve the contradiction and have a lot of fun doing it.? from On Guerrilla Gardening by Richard Reynolds
?Which grave is your family`s??
?I don`t understand.?
?Whose grave are you cleaning??
?I`m cleaning all of them.?
?Oh, you`re a volunteer, that`s amazing. Thank you.?
This exchange took place in my neighborhood. As a person who likes to explore their surroundings I came across this cemetery/shrine while walking to the culture center where I teach an English class. I was shocked. There was trash everywhere, and the graves were overrun with weeds. On one grave there was a discarded rubber boot (which made me wonder why the hell someone would put a boot there, and also where was the matching boot?). I hauled four bags of weeds/trash out of there and planted about 80 sunflowers all around the cemetery/shrine.
My experiences with guerrilla gardening were not always so successful. I remember a late spring day planting sunflowers with my housemates all over the city of Tacoma, foolishly ignoring the reality that there would not be a drop of rain for the next 3 months. Neeedless to say, Tacoma was not a city of sunflowers that summer. But failure is beautiful, and it drives us to aspire for more.
And we should aspire for more. We should create a beautiful world for our friends, family and lovers. So often people look to others to create this world for us. But the politicians, bankers and your boss are not going to make the world a beautiful place. You, on the other hand, can do that.
Perhaps you have doubts about your gardening abilities, or worry that we need permission. When you think about climate change, and the very real threat it poses to our species, perhaps permission can take a back seat. Besides, BP didn`t ask your permission to dump large amounts of oil and chemical dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico. The Japanese government and TEPCO didn`t ask my permission to restart several nuclear power plants in Japan. So a permission.
The lack of permission is part of the fun. There is an element of danger (though this danger is small indeed) involved in guerrilla gardening, and that element gets our hearts beating a little bit faster. Just think about the kind of world we could live in if people were constantly involved with activities that made their hearts beat a little faster!
As for practicalities?I would highly advise you to get a day-glo work vest. This lends you credibility that you could not imagine. I am a foreigner living in Japan, a country that has about 99% Japanese people living here, so you could imagine that I might be a bit conspicuous if I was planting things on public land. But when I strap on my vest I am 2 legit to quit. Countless grandmothers have said ?thank you for your work? while passing by one of my projects
So enough of this ?let`s lower emissions by blah-blah percent by the year blah-blah.? Go out there and plant shit. If you care about yourself and the world around you, you owe it to yourself to enlist as a guerrilla gardener.
Or don`t! Go out there and just do it!