Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 14. 2024

Now and Then by Dasilva Arthur

Every now and then I think about when I first lived in Japan and marvel at the differences since that time. Some of the norms that exist now, that didn’t then:
-Phone chargers at convenience stores
-Paying at vending machines with your train pass
-Waiting rooms on train platforms
-lining up to smoke in a box
-More English everywhere

Change. Change is good, they say, and it was exactly what I wanted when I came here on my first big solo trip abroad. Back then, Japan was an escape from my reality. It represented a new culture, a new language and new experiences. I didn’t know it then, but those first years would become pivotal in who I am now. I made new friends easily then- foreign, expat, local, tourist. We were young and relatively carefree, united in our joys and miseries of Tokyo life. Tokyo was our playground, a never-never land where we didn’t have to grow up if we didn’t want to. We ate at “Las Chicas”, drank at “Soft” and danced till dawn at “yellow” and “La Fabrique”. We slept in Denny’s when we missed the last train or went to Yoyogi park to “come down”. We paraded through the streets of Shibuya, Harajuku and Aoyama as if we owned them. We were DJs, photographers, models - music and fashion mavens, all of us.

And now?

The brands I wore and stores I knew have all but disappeared. I no longer hear whispers of “Kakkoii” behind me as I pass by. I’ve lost touch with all but a few friends from back then, most of our friendships not able to stand the test of time.

Time. It takes time to value certain aspects of life. Hopefully, we appreciate them before it’s too late. While I always had an interest in Japan beyond the surface level of an anime otaku or a Westerner’s cliche´d views of it, my appreciation lacked depth. I visited places more than a century old, yet wasn’t really present. I went to Hanami parties and saw the sakura flowers that dotted the city landscape in puffs of pink, but didn’t really see their beauty, never once bothering to examine them up close.They were merely part of the backdrop in a city that was my party central. Now, I recognize their literal and symbolic beauty, understanding all too well how fleeting it all is. I take time now. I let my experiences here, good and bad all soak in. But I wasn’t thinking like that, back then.

I’m back in Japan again, back to my remaining old friends, and my old stomping grounds, and I gotta say, the nostalgia feels good. Until that is, I get lost in the “then”of it all, my reverie and looking back leaving me feeling wistful. But as they say, you can’t go home again. So then, the question is, what am I going to do now?

時々、初めて日本に住んだときのことを思い出し、当時との違いに驚かされる。今ある常識の中には、当時にはなかったものもある:
-コンビニの携帯充電器
-交通系カードでの自販機の支払い
-駅のホームの待合室
-喫煙ボックスでの整列
-どこでも英語が通じる

変化。変化は良いことだというが、私が初めての海外一人旅で日本に来たとき、まさにそれを望んでいた。当時、日本は僕の現実逃避の場所だった。新しい文化、新しい言語、新しい経験の象徴だった。当時は知らなかったが、この最初の数年間が今の自分にとって極めて重要なものになった。当時は、外国人、駐在員、地元の人、観光客など、新しい友人が簡単にできた。僕たちは若く、比較的のんきで、東京生活の喜びと惨めさで団結していた。東京は僕たちの遊び場であり、大人になりたくなければ大人になる必要のない、決して存在しない土地だった。僕たちは「ラス・チカス」で食事をし、「ソフト」で酒を飲み、「イエロー」や「ラ・ファブリック」で夜明けまで踊った。終電を逃すとデニーズで寝たり、代々木公園が「行き着く先」だった。渋谷、原宿、青山のストリートを我が物顔で練り歩いた。僕たちはDJであり、カメラマンであり、モデルであり、音楽とファッションの達人だった。

そして今は?

僕が着ていたブランドや知ってる店は、すっかり姿を消した。通り過ぎるときに背後から「カッコイイ」とささやく声も聞こえなくなった。当時の友人たちとも数人を除いて音信不通になった。つまりその友人関係のほとんどが時の試練に耐えられなかった。

時間。人生のある側面を大切だと認識するには時間がかかる。願わくば、手遅れになる前に敏感に察知したいものだ。僕は常に、アニメオタクや欧米人の陳腐な日本観といった表面的なレベルを超えて日本に関心を持っていたが、その鑑賞力には深みがなかった。100年以上前の場所を訪れても、実際にその場にいることはなかった。花見に行き、街の風景にピンクの花を点々と咲かせる桜の花を見ても、その美しさを実感することはなかった。今、僕はその文字通りの、そして象徴的な美しさを認識し、そのすべてがいかにはかないものであるかをよく理解している。僕は今、時間をかけている。ここでの経験、良いことも悪いことも、すべてを染み込ませる。しかし、当時の僕はそんなことは考えていなかった。

また日本に戻り、残された旧友たちや古巣に戻り、ノスタルジーに浸っていると心地よいと言わざるおえない。しかし、「あの頃」のすべてに思いを馳せ、とりとめなく懐かしさにひたっていると、切ない気持ちになる。しかし、よく言われるように、もう家には戻れない。では、これからどうすればいいのだろう?


Plain Talk

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD TNB Throwback: JUNE 14. 2019

Home Is Where The Heart Is by Jeff S. Jones

A Canadian friend recently traveled back to her hometown for the first time after not leaving Japan for many years. When she got there, she decided to do some shopping. She was surprised to notice that one of her favorite shops she remembered from childhood was no longer there. She asked a person on the street if the shop had moved to another location. "It's been closed for a few years," the person said, "Where are you from?"

She said she felt strange replying that she was from that very town, because she no longer really felt like that was home.

"Where are you from?" seems like such a simple question, but it gets more complicated the longer you live abroad. I remember my own first journeys out of Japan after living here for years. I was vacationing in Wulai, Taiwan and someone casually asked me, "Where are you from?" I remember answering, "I'm from the United States." Yet, for the first time, that answer somehow felt incomplete, as if I were not giving all the facts. Sure, I was born in the United States, I grew up there, but I had lived in Tokyo for many years. I would be much better at recommending a good restaurant in Tokyo than my old hometown, for example.

As I was already 27 when I moved to Japan, my cultural identity was mostly formed. In the case of my Canadian friend, she moved to Tokyo at age 22, so she integrated into the culture much more deeply at that age. Most of her days were spent speaking only Japanese with Japanese friends and living a completely Japanese lifestyle. I have always had both many Japanese friends and many international friends from all over the world in Tokyo. I use Japanese a lot for work and daily life, but I also still use a lot of English. I like the identity of being an international person. I never want to fully "become Japanese" nor do I only want to be someone from the U.S. For me, I enjoy being a multicultural person, a citizen of the planet.

I think it's actually a good sign when you feel a bit weird mentioning only where you were born but not how many years you have lived in Japan. It's a sign that you have integrated into the culture enough that it has become a part of your identity. Because people usually ask you "Where are you from?" as a way of breaking the ice and making small talk, they will probably follow up with questions about wherever you answer. It would be strange to talk only about a birthplace where you haven't been in years, when instead you could tell them so many interesting things about the place where you actually live your life.

Since moving to Japan, I have also traveled to 17 different countries from here. I love traveling and I love meeting people when I'm traveling. I'm a loyal pen-pal and keep in touch by email with friends around the world I have met on the road. And now when I'm in a new country and people I meet ask me "Where are you from?", I answer, "I'm a U.S. citizen who is a resident of Japan." Or sometimes when I'm feeling more long winded, I will say, "I am a North American, with a U.S. passport, who is a resident of Japan."

That's an answer that feels complete, feels authentic, and acknowledges the incredible experience I've had living in Tokyo. But it's still not completely the truth. If I were being totally honest, I'd have to admit, "Actually, I'm just on a permanent vacation."


Unfinished business

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 17. 2019

Farewell to a Japan Jazz Icon by David Gregory

The messages from all over Japan read aloud during the service helped us realize how widely Koyama-san touched lives and how many like us were feeling something newly missing from our worlds. But, although wonderful and sometimes saddening us, they did not trigger crying. That happened next.

Those first few notes of the "'Round About Midnight" Miles Davis version, the cut Koyama-san always used to open Jazz Tonight, performed by a live piano and trumpet duo up front near the coffin, did it: Instant recognition, recollections, sighs around the room, eyes closed, arms crossed, heads dropped back or down, and tears, at least for me. How many times had we heard, after Miles breathed his somber opening, Koyama-san's low, raspy voice welcoming us into the studio with, "Minna-san, gokigen ikaga desho-ka everybody, how are you feeling?"?and never thought that someday we would hear him ask about us no more?

Koyama-san's widow, whom, like him, had never known me, stood alone at the coffin head and bowed in silence to everyone in turn after they placed flowers around his body as the duo continued with another slow number, the trumpet sounding so strong and crisp and unusual in a memorial service hall. After we placed our flowers, she responded to my hand on her shoulder, a touch just meant to console her, by immediately turning and reaching for me?a total stranger?burying her head in my chest, and breaking down. She needed that hug that everybody sometimes needs. She let go after her respite when she was ready to face the coffin and everyone else again, and returned to her position. Going to Kashiwa in a snowstorm was worth it just for those few moments when I could do something for her.

So our Kashiwa day was both sad and good. But, why did I even want to go a funeral for a man whom I only knew by voice, and who, although linked to jazz, was not even a musician?

Koyama-san and his Jazz Tonight program I listened to since at least the early 2000s. For more than sixteen years, while my life in Japan has been filled with huge uncertainties, he has been here Saturday nights on the radio, reliable, keeping me connected to the world's music and opening my ears to music from Japan I would not know without him. Listening to him always made me feel good, no matter what had happened in my life during the week or what was coming up in the weeks ahead. Koyama-san and Jazz Tonight were my respite. How well can I replace that comfort?

Koyama-san, thank you for helping this foreigner feel good in Japan. Please rest well in jazz heaven.

NHK Radio, thank you for giving Koyama-san a way to connect with us. Please encourage other DJs to continue doing what he did so well.

To Koyama-san's surviving family members: Please care well for yourselves now, and thank you for supporting and sharing Kiyoshi with us.

 

 

The Smallest Box by David Gregory

She came over to my table and asked if I remembered her.
“That’s my boyfriend over there.”
Their table hugged a pillar blocking the sunny Tokyo Bay view enjoyed by the other customers that afternoon in Chiba’s AquaRink ice skating facility café.
“Maybe we will marry next year.”

On my way out, I stopped to congratulate the potential groom to be. What I later heard happened with Hiromi and Hiroshi that night at another place also close to the bay sounded so too good to be true that I visited that place to confirm it really happened. It did.

Hiroshi had reserved for the course menu that night at OCEAN TABLE, next to Chiba Port, on the second floor, where tables sat by the huge windows facing Chiba Port Tower and Tokyo Bay. No view-blocking pillars there. And they had a wait, even with their reservation, because it was Christmas Eve, which in Japan matters much more than the following day; the Eve is the year’s couples’ night out, and single women without dates that night can feel their whole year was wasted.

Hiroshi had changed into a suit after skating, and had urged Hiromi, against her protests about overdressing, into a plaid one-piece, raising expectations. They had never come to a place this nice, one requiring reservations. Saizeriya was more their speed: fast faux-Italian, cheap, and everywhere.
The unexpected wait made Hiroshi antsy. He relaxed and all was perfect after they were seated.

They talked. They ate the Christmas Dinner courses. They ignored the soft Christmas background music. They admired the gleaming, golden Christmas Tree rising from the first-floor buffet area through the open center space across from their table. They could see outside the sparkling flashes and half the tree in Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination, and beyond, the lights from the ships on and facilities around Tokyo Bay, appearing almost twinkling. Perfect—but not for Hiromi.

She went to the toilet. Still he had not asked. The day was done. The reservation system only allowed them two hours there. They had been together all day. He had remembered her birthday-just by coincidence, also that day-with a necklace at AquaRink. Nice, but was that all? He had pestered her since early December about what Christmas present she wanted until she had finally exploded with, “Nothing! Don’t you know I just want a proposal?!” And had added she wanted it to be a surprise. Here he had the perfect chance, and he was wasting it.

She could try enjoying what was left of the evening. Dessert was next. At least here was better than Saizeriya….She was still stuck when she returned to the table, and had no chance to do or say anything, anyway. It was his toilet turn.

Their desserts came. Hiromi sat and waited and pondered the future. Outside, the tower stood alone against the dark sky and Tokyo Bay’s inky darkness.

Their desserts waited. Maybe his tooth was bothering him again. Maybe he was just tolerating it to make the night go well. Maybe for her. Maybe she should go to check on him. Wait-maybe she just heard his voice across the room.

No, only Santa Claus, posing for photographs with diners at the far table. He then started circling the room, giving a small present from his big sack at each table. She could check after he was done.

Hiroshi still had not returned to his seat when Santa reached their table. He handed Hiromi a big, red stocking, by far the room’s largest gift, accompanied by a squeaky, “Atari! You’re a lucky one!” Yeah. She set it aside and Santa moved on. What was he still doing in the toilet?

Santa finished his round, returned to Hiromi, and pointed at her unopened stocking with squeaky, “Un! Un!” grunts. The other diners had opened their presents. She forced a smile and said she was waiting for her boyfriend to return. “Un! Un!”

When Hiromi still resisted, Santa took the stocking in his white-gloved hands and opened it himself. Out first came a big, pink box, heart shaped. He opened that and pulled out another heart-shaped box, and then, from inside that, another heart-shaped box. Another smaller, heart-shaped box followed. He removed from that an even smaller heart-shaped box, and thrust it to Hiromi with one more squeaky, “Un!”

Still gone. Well, he’d miss it. Hiromi obeyed Santa this time and opened it, the smallest box in the room …and her mind and face went blank.

After that frozen moment passed, Hiromi looked at Santa. The second shock hit, and more followed. Santa Claus had ripped off his gloves, furry hat, sunglasses, and huge, flowing beard. He took the box from her?she was still speechless?dropped onto one knee, held the open box out and up to her in both stretching hands, and said in a voice loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Hiromi-san, boku-to kekkon shite kudasai! Hiromi, please marry me!”

Outside, to anybody looking, Port Tower’s Christmas Illumination still flashed, and the lights on and around Tokyo Bay still appeared almost twinkling. Inside OCEAN TABLE, on the second floor, everything was happening so fast that Hiromi just did not know which was more difficult to believe: Hiroshi and the ring he first tried slipping onto the finger on her right hand, the one he had taken in his before she held out her left hand, or the following PAN! and PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! PAN! and PAN! PAN! and PAN! explosions ripping and ribbons shooting around the room as diners at the floor’s other tables popped the party crackers they had found with the notes in their presents from Santa Claus.

Copyright © 2018 David L. Gregory All rights reserved.

 

I Did It! by David Gregory

She had been here before. But, those were tour-guided or hand-held visits. After living most of her life in white-bread suburban USA, driving everywhere, shopping in giant malls and supermarkets, and needing only one currency and one language, my mother ventured out on her own, within and beyond Chiba, during one trip to Japan. From her notes, here are Dorothy's...

ADVENTURES IN JAPAN
Grocery Shopping in Neighborhood―Walk five blocks...buy only one bag...walk five blocks back. Survived it!

Shopping in City Center―Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus fifteen minutes. Arrive at stores. Walk around. Look. Decide: cookies.

Buying: “Ikura desu-ka how much?” Hmm. “Kakimasu kudasai write please.”

Paying options: give large bill, let clerk figure change, or open change purse, let clerk take out correct amount. Decide to just give some cash.

Clerk shakes her head (“NO! MORE!”), then counts out correct amount needed from register and shows me. I mimic her action from my change purse. Smiles! Deep bows with many, “Arigato gozaimasu thank you very much!”-es.
(My error: thought there was decimal point in Yen price....)

Open cookies, expecting pirouettes with chocolate centers. Instead, peanut butter waffle rolls, no chocolate. No wonder, now I see peanut sketch on package. “Shoganai can’t be changed,” I did it to myself. It could have been worse!
~~~
Travelling to Visit Friend’s Family on Other Side of Chiba―Walk ten blocks to train. Purchase ticket. Electronic lady on ticket machine screen says, “Arigato gozaimasu” and bows. Ride train twenty minutes, watching for correct stop, get off, walk seven blocks to house. I did it myself!

Visiting Hisae Overnight―My Japanese study partner in USA returned to Japan, now lives on other side of Tokyo Bay.

Take large purse and large tote bag with jacket, nightie, toothbrush, cosmetics. Walk six blocks to bus stop. Ride bus to train station. Ride train eighty minutes to Yokohama. Find correct exit from station. EASY. Did not even look at note in pocket explaining route and Japanese signs. And, look! Hisae and three-year old Kei are waiting! “Hello!” they say! Many hugs!

I did it!

Then, still more travel: train together fifteen minutes, short taxi uphill to lovely apartment, sunny and bright.

Returning to Chiba, just reverse process. Next time, we can meet at a station halfway in between. I can do it.
I can do it!

Copyright (C) 2015 David Gregory. All rights reserved. Chiba, Japan

Book Review

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD MAY 11 2018

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014,
291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

Reviewed by Randy Swank

video maker and scriptwriter Rey Ventura won the 2015 National Book Award for his third collection of essays, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami, but for some strange twist of fate you will find very little information on this book. You can’t even buy it on Amazon. This is a shame because Cherry Blossoms... is a beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking book.

These 11 essays, some of them autobiographical, see Ventura travelling back and forth between the Philippines and Japan, his adopted country, often portraying the many ways Filipino lives have been shaped and affected by their rich quasi-neighbor. Like in "A Suitable Donor," where the young men who live in the Manila slum of Banseco tell of how they came to "donate" a kidney or another organ to help a rich person in need − often from Japan.

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami
by Rey Ventura
Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2014, 291 pp, USD34.00 www.ateneo.edu/ateneopress

In "Miniskirts and Stilettos" we meet Ginto, a young lady who comes to Japan dreaming of making it big as a singer and entertainer but has to deal instead with a much darker reality; while "Mr. Suzuki Tries Again" and "Into the Snow Country" are tragicomic tales of arranged marriages where the dreams and expectations of bride-starved farmers from Japan's Deep North clash with those of young Filipino women who want to escape their poverty and go into marriage "as a girl goes into a convent." Ventura tells these stories with a great eye for detail and manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest corners, or poetry in the midst of a nuclear disaster.

The book's first essay is called "The Slow Boat to Manila" and indeed, slowness is the first word that comes to mind when considering Ventura's approach to writing. Everything Ventura does is slow. He is no magazine reporter after all, and will spend days or even months getting to know a person he wants to write about. That's the kind of personal commitment and deep connection with his subject that one feels when reading his essays.

 


Tokyo Fab

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 14, 2024

The Do-Over TOKYO 2024

The Do-Over returns to Tokyo at a big outdoor park venue in Odaiba on June 22nd (Sat)!
People are beyond excited for the awaited return to do it all over! Special surprise International Guest DJ’s alongside some of our favorites from Japan. Presented by HUF, and supported by Akila.
Whatever the weather, The Do-Over always brings out a bit of California sunshine in everyone.
Established in 2005 in Los Angeles, The Do-Over has been supplying the best summer daytime party options ever since. The magical tropical daytime get-down has built a following like no other, all thanks to the deep consistent vibe and hang loose attitude, curated by founders Chris Haycock, Jamie Strong and Aloe Blacc.
Over the years, The Do-Over has spread it’s fun-loving funky sounds across the world with a philosophy of keeping all guest DJ’s a mystery encouraging attendees to leave all hype and expectations at home. Well-known for a template of sangria, buckets of beer and an all day BBQ, The Do-Over is a stone cold winner to all who’ve experienced, proving to be the only sensible conclusion to a proper weekend of partying.
What’cha Wanna Do?

June 22nd (Sat) @ ODAIBA SHIOKAZE PARK (Daiba Sta. on Yurikamome)

https://thedoover-jpn.net/

Body&SOUL

Started in 1996 and held every Sunday afternoon at NYC club VINYL, Body&Soul has influenced and led the deep house and serious dance music scene worldwide. FRANCOIS K., DANNY KRIVIT, and JOE CLAUSSELL, three of New York's leading DJs, each with their own singular talents, will play back-to-back to create an open-minded sound. The DJs, lighting, dancers, and other performers, as well as the management staff involved in the party, and the visitors, who are a racially, sexually, age- and economically-disparate mix, truly love the music and create a space full of friendship between the two. Body&SOUL is one of the few places where the beauty of the party of a bygone era is preserved and where one can find something important and valuable.
When Body&SOUL first arrived in Japan, it was a challenge to host the event outside of New York City for the first time, but the venue selection, de´cor, and sound system were all done with the utmost consideration given to DJ Francois K.'s requests. The result was a party that reproduced the atmosphere of Body & Soul in New York, but with a new value. The wonderful synergy between the open-air atmosphere and Body & Soul now exists as a promised place where many Body & Soul lovers, young and old, celebrate reunions with smiles on their faces.

June 26th (Sun) @ KIRANAH GARDEN TOYOSU (Ichiba-mae Sta. on Yurikamome)

http://www.bodyandsoul-japan.com/


Have You Benn To...

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 14, 2024

Oishi Park [Oishi, Yamanashi]

Oishi Park has a beautiful view of Mt. Located on the shore of Lake Kawaguchi, this is a superb spot with a clear view of the foot of Mt. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing view of the lake and purple lavenders against the backdrop of majestic Mt. Kawaguchiko Herb Festival is held in conjunction with the lavender season, and a variety of events are also held.

Nyoirinji Frog Temple [Ogori, Fukuoka]

Nyoirinji Temple is popularly known as “Frog Temple. It is said that the temple's priest brought back from China a jade frog ornament, and since then, the number of frog ornaments and souvenirs has increased. In June, a wind-bell festival is held and a tunnel of wind-bells is created along the approach to the temple, with the cool sound of the wind-bells echoing in the air.

 

Hakone Tozan Railway [Hakone, Kanagawa]

The Hakone Tozan Railway runs between Hakone-Yumoto Station and Gora Station, and is known as the “Hydrangea Train” during the hydrangea blooming season in June, when both sides of the train line are filled with colorful hydrangeas. During the period when hydrangeas are in bloom, the train is illuminated at night, and the beautifully shining hydrangeas are a must-see.

 

Suigo-Itako Iris Garden [Itako, Ibaraki]

Itako flourished as a major water transportation center in the Edo period. “Suigo Ushioi Iris Festival” held every year from late May to late June, where 1 million irises of 500 varieties are in full bloom at the best time of year. During the Iris Festival, many events are held and the park will be lit up. Please enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the waterfront through the poetic charm of early summer in Tidal River.

 

Tokyo Voice Column

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD TNB Throwback: JUNE 12. 2015

Living in Tokyo for twenty something year olds. by Charlotte Woods

Having now lived in Tokyo for almost two months I have fallen in love a little bit more each day with a city that by its true nature seeks to excite, enthral and embrace those who embark upon its streets. Tokyo - a city whose culture, colour and spirit ignite surprise and unprecedented joy into the hearts of even the most experienced travellers. A city to be explored and feasted upon, a city which will never tire and will by no means cease to amaze.

Originally living and working in London moving to Tokyo was quiet a change from the everyday ‘norm’. As every dutiful traveller is obliged to do so, I did my research and scrolled through the endless Internet articles and links, blogs and vlogs. Insightful as they were, they didn’t do anything to prepare me for what I might actually feel once I had and started to settle into my new life as an expat living on these distant shores.

If I can provide you all with perhaps one analogy to summarise the feelings evoked during my time here, it is the sense of living within an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world. As a Western traveller you have fallen down a rabbit hole and ended up in a place full of unexpected twists and turns, where everything is a wonderful surprise and above any expectation you might have had. Walking through Harajuku and eyeballing the perfectly and creatively dressed to looking down at the world from tilted windows of Tokyo’s SkyTree, you will be lead through doors − in to bars and restaurants where imagination, expertise and culture all seemingly roles into one beautiful experience. An experience where there is something for everyone, a realm of wonderment, variety and soul.

東京に住んでおよそ2ヶ月たちこの都市のもつ魅力に日々ひかれていく。東京、この都市の文化、色彩、精神は旅慣れた人でさえも驚きで満たし、味わった事のない喜びで燃え上がらせる。多いに歩き多いに食べて楽しめる都市、東京は人を退屈させることなくわくわくさせる。

出身地のロンドンに住み働いていた私が生活拠点を東京へ移す事は日常的な『基準』から大きくかけ離れた変化だった。旅行に出かける人なら誰しもするように、私もインターネットであらゆる記事やリンク、ブログを検索しリサーチした。洞察に満ちたものばかりだったが、母国から遠く離れた地に降り立ち外国人として暮らし始める私が実際何を感じるか、準備しておくべきものは何かまではわからなかった。

もし私が日本滞在で得た印象を一言で表すなら、「不思議の国のアリス」での生活。欧米人の訪問者がうさぎの穴に落ちてしまい、そこは思いもよらぬ紆余曲折に満ちた所で、これまで体験した事は想像したことがないような素敵な驚きの連続だ。原宿を歩いたり、かっこよく個性的に着こなす若者をガン見して、東京のスカイツリーの傾斜型ウィンドーから下界を見下ろした後、バーやレストランの扉を開けると、そこでは想像、ノウハー、文化が一丸となったすばらしい体験が待っている。誰にも何かしら得るものがあるその体験は、まさに驚き、多様性と魂の領域だ。



MUSEUM -What's Going on?-

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 14. 2024

Brancusi: Carving the Essence

− What is real is not the outer form, but the idea, the essence of things −
The sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), who was born in Romania, is known as a pioneering artist who, through his exploration of pure form, carved out new territory in twentieth-century sculpture, post Rodin. This exhibition makes his sculptures its core in weaving together, through his two-dimensional works such as fresco, tempera, drawing, and photographs, showcasing the totality of Brancusi’s artistic activities. It is the first exhibition at an art museum in Japan to present Brancusi comprehensively. About ninety exhibits include over twenty sculptures on loan from the Brancusi Estate and museums and other collections in Japan and abroad, plus paintings, and photography.

Constantin BRANCUSI, Fish,
1924-26 (cast: 1992),
Polished bronze, Brancusi Estate

While Brancusi is famed as a leading twentieth-century sculptor, until now no museum in Japan has held a major exhibition focusing primarily on his sculptural works. This exhibition is the first opportunity to experience his creations themselves. This exhibition presents work by Brancusi from his early period, when he retained the influence of academic realism and Rodin, to the 1910s, when he reduced the forms of his subjects to their essence, and then the period from 1920 on when he made his subjects increasingly abstract, as in Bird. The exhibition thus achieves a thorough presentation from which we can glimpse Brancusi’s path as a sculptor.
This exhibition also introduces paintings and photographs by Brancusi. While he consistently made sculpture the core of his creative work, his approach of exploring crosscutting fields, using other techniques in relation to his sculpture, is quintessentially modern. His acute awareness of the nature of his materials, evident in his sculptures, is also highly craftsmanlike. This exhibition highlights his many aspects as a creator.

Period: - July 7 [Sun], 2024
Venue: Artizon Museum Closed: Mondays
Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 / - 20:00 on Fridays (last admission 30 minutes before? closing)
Admission: General ¥2,000 / Under University college high school students including Children through junior high school Free *Advance booking required.

For more information, please visit

https://www.artizon.museum/

Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei

Based on the South Side of Chicago, IL, Theaster Gates (b. 1973 in Chicago) has earned international acclaim for a practice that traverses multiple media and genres, primarily focusing on sculpture and ceramics but also encompassing architecture, music, performance, fashion and design. Trained as a sculptor and urban planner, Gates has been influenced by Japanese craft and culture over the past 20 years. He first traveled to Japan in 2004 to study ceramics in Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture. His deep encounters in Japan and across the Asia-Pacific, coupled with his experiences as an African-American man with roots in Mississippi and Chicago have been the keystones of his creative process. Gates, who has explored cultural hybridity over the course of his practice, coined the term “Afro-Mingei,” his unique conceptual framework fusing the philosophies of the Japanese Mingei movement and the aesthetics of the “Black Is Beautiful” cultural movement that played a significant part in the American civil rights movement (1954-1968). Theaster Gates: Afro-Mingei is Gates’ first solo exhibition in Japan and largest-ever in Asia, made up of following sections: Shrine; Black Library & Black Space; Blackness; Timelines; and Afro-Mingei. This exhibition showcases major bodies of existing and never-before-seen work that demonstrate the influence of Japanese culture on his practice.

*

As the world reexamines the historical and contemporary prominence of certain voices and seeks to diversify the perspectives represented, the global art scene has been increasingly interested in the multiplicity of experiences reflected in the work of leading Black artists. While Black histories remain relatively little known among the Japanese public, this exhibition demonstrates its growing attention to Black art through the multidimensional practice of Theaster Gates. Afro-Mingei will convey the importance of contemporary art that honors craft, ask us to consider questions of race and politics, and celebrate the hybrid possibilities of culture.

 

Period: - 9.1 [Sun], 2024
Venue: Mori Art Museum (53F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower)
Hours: 10:00-22:00 / -17:00 on Tuesdays (last admission 30 minutes before? closing)
Admission: Adults 2,200 yen / Students (University/Highschool) 1,500 yen / Jr. High Students and under free

https://www.mori.art.museum/en/


Strange but True

TOKYO NOTICE BOARD JUNE 14. 2024

How to Stretch Your Petrol

Life is incredibly expensive at the moment. From soaring energy bills to food shops, we’re feeling the pinch in all areas. Petrol is another everyday cost that’s spiked in price, with some mums even saying they may have to ‘home−school’ their children − with the price of the daily school run sky-rocketing. In fact, fuel prices recently hit an all-time high − with current petrol rates at 157p per litre, and diesel at 170p on average across the country. But it seems there are a few ways we can actually make our petrol last longer. An expert explains that ensuring your petrol cap is closed really tight can help your car gain some extra mileage and go that little bit further. Also, ditch any additional weight in the car that’s not needed. It’s simple logic − the heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it uses. Lastly, keep your tyre pressure high to be safe and to decrease the tyre rolling resistance.

Vegan Dogs?!

Forget giving your dog a bone, new research has revealed that feeding your dog greens may be healthier and safer than cooked meat. The "largest study to date exploring health outcomes of dogs" examined 2,536 owners who fed their pets either a conventional meat, raw meat or vegan diet. Its findings suggest that "the healthiest and least hazardous dietary choices for dogs are nutritionally sound vegan diets". This means we could see a surprising change in the foods owners feed their pets. "Dogs on raw meat diets appeared to be healthier than those on vegan diets." However, researchers noted several factors that prevent a conclusion that raw meat diets are healthier. Previous studies have linked raw meat diets for dogs to increased risk of pathogens and nutritional deficiencies. There are many factors that may influence dog owners to choose unconventional diets for their pets, including environmental concerns, the treatment of animals used as food and the health of their pets.

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