If you’re a fan of the sparkly and shiny, and you live in Tokyo, you’re in luck. Two (unrelated) exhibitions that opened in January are bringing a prismatic shine and a microscopic sparkle to Tokyo. And they’re just 10 minutes apart.
The Watanabes have about as much in common with the popular Japanese surname as the English band The Smiths have with, well, Smith. The 80s English band once said “[The Smiths] was the most ordinary name and I thought it was time that the ordinary folk of the world showed their faces.” And it’s with a similar dedication that British brothers Duncan and Selwyn Walsh decided to form the Watanabes and establish Japan as both their base and muse.
In the Northeast suburbs of central Osaka stands a curious train station unlike any other. Kayashima Station features a rectangular hole cut into the roof of the elevated platform and, from inside, a giant tree pokes its head out like a stalk of broccoli. It’s almost like a railway version of Laputa.
If you’ve ever studied ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, you’ll know that one of the most important principles in orienting your piece is that it must look beautiful from the front. Taking that restriction to heart, and reinterpreting it, Japanese art student Anju Miyawaki created a series of two-dimensional pressed flower arrangements.
Art student Maho Takahashi has created an intriguing series of sculptures. Simply titled “Lines” the minimal, geometric sculptures utilize only 2 materials: paper and mechanical pencil lead.
Our industrialized economy has consistently evolved to become more rational and efficient to the point that so much of our food is now processed so that it looks the same, tastes the same and can be shipped anywhere in the world. Raw fruits and vegetables are one of the last un-touched frontiers of food but even that is changing with genetic modification.
My kids, 10 and 8, are hooked on rakugo. I never thought I would say that, and it still feels weird that they look forward to watching an ancient (at least for them) form of Japanese comedic storytelling.
Rakugo originated in the 9th and 10th centuries by Buddhist monks who sought to make their sermons more engaging. Rakugo as we know it today was formed around the mid-1800s when the word, which literally means “fallen words” began to be used more commonly.
Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, with its old temples and gardens, is a picturesque city as it is. But add heavy snow, like a lot of Japan saw over the weekend thanks to a cold front, and these sites get transformed into magical wonderlands.