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Thursday, March 22

Culturing Up

Not wanting to appear lazy in the face of last week’s adventures (and not wanting to sit around the house and mope all this week long), I roused myself early on Wednesday morning and caught a train to Yokohama. During my previous travels, I had noticed that there was an art museum there I had yet to explore. The information I had indicated that I would find works by Cezanne, Magritte and Dali there. Being a junky for all things artistic, I refuse to miss a chance to see work by these people. Or so I thought.

I arrived at the Yokohama Museum of Art and had a little trouble finding the front entrance. After a tour of the outside of the building, I managed to attain access to the foyer and opted for the ticket that included the special exhibit by a Japanese artist of which I can’t recall the name. All I recall now it that he was a banker in real life. It didn’t help that few signs were in English either. His rooms were the first I toured. Along those walls, there were also watercolors by other similar Japanese artists. This special exhibit was much more beautiful and interesting to me than I first expected, possibly because I simply haven’t studied enough Japanese art prior to my visit to really grasp the meaning behind the works. Of course, now I have to yank out all of my old art history texts and study up for my next Japanese art museum. Most important question… why do the Japanese paint one eye all crazy-like, aimed at the sky and the other piercing into the viewer’s brain?

Off to the permanent collection. After my initial excitement over the new discovery of Japanese prints, the permanent collection was a tiny bit disappointing to me. For two rooms (the museum had a total of six), there were only pen and ink, sketches and prints to see. Of course, many were works by Renoir, Degas, Manet, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and Picasso… but that was totally not what I was expecting to see for their works. Beautiful artistry, yes… but I wanted watercolors, oils and acrylics to bleed their colors into my mind’s eye. There is another art museum in Tokyo I have been wanting to get to which hopefully will fulfill my longings.

There was a photography room that was quite moving, focusing on what I think was the earthquake in Kobe in 1995. Again, limited English here to know for sure. The last rooms were back to a bit of what I was expecting with Japanese oil paintings, very Renaissance-like, which makes me wonder about how influence spreads in our smaller-than-we-know world. The very last room displayed huge Japanese painted screens and silk screenings, again making me wish I understood more of their art.

Finished with the museum tour, I headed back through Landmark Tower which only the day before I had come to discover had a Banana Republic hidden somewhere in its tall, gray walls. My intention was to take a quick peak while at the same time refusing to get my hopes up. I was oh, so right not to do so. Nothing in my size. No harm done. Of course, there is rarely harm done by me in a mall these days. Perhaps when I move home, the malls can simply remove anything remotely close to my size to keep me at arms length from future harm?

Time to go do that research on Japanese painting. Or… maybe I’ll just surf the website. Just for a minute. No harm done…



Mike S said...

Every time you mention Yokohama I remember one of my favorite places when there: Yokohama Train Station. When we were at a loss as to what to do (a rare occurance) the train station and shops were always a good bet, especially on a Sunday with free concerts and various musical performances combined with a great food selection. Shakey's Pizza was popular at that time as well.:)

Kimono Karen said...

There are free concerts in Yokohama? How did I not know this?