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Tea Leaves

Tokyo's mini-gardens are more than patches of green

Lovingly tended by avid green thumbs, these tiny oases reflect the city's soul

Smiling with her eyes while wearing a face mask, a friendly obaasan -- a grandmotherly woman -- waters her plants on the curbside of a wide avenue in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. (Photo by Edward M. Gomez)

Just as fortune-cookie wisdom advises that even the longest journey begins with the first step, the task of saving the planet might begin with the planting of a single seed.

This is one of the messages I've sensed lately while strolling or cycling around Tokyo as the worst phases of the coronavirus pandemic recede into memory, even though most Japanese still value the sense of protection that face coverings provide.

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