This was a terrific day and I would love to share it. I bought airmail stamps and mailed letters, cards and a parcel – all in Japanese at our local Post Office. Yes, it’s these simple achievements that can make us happy!
Google Maps cannot deal with huge cemeteries. My walk to The National Art Center was “18 minutes” but started to go around in circles in Aoyama Cemetery so I made a big mistake and asked two very little, very elderly ladies which direction to the museum. They were delightful but insisted on walking me somewhere (Google Maps now said “25 minutes”) until fortunately we saw a delivery chap on a bike, who insisted on walking me onwards…….We have encountered this kindness before – ask for directions and you will be escorted by someone who indicates it was where he/she wanted to go all along!
How could I possibly have missed this anyway? One of the largest, all glass buildings I have ever seen:
And inside there is space to land a plane. Three storeys each with 6 huge galleries, and a cafe on top of each inverted stone cone. I saw the Renoir exhibition, paintings from the Musee D’Orsay, on its 30th Anniversary (remember when it opened?). Beautifully exhibited, and I remembered how much I love his landscapes and still-lifes. Then – a wow of an exhibition in a gigantic gallery: Miyake Issey. I wondered at the colors, fabrics, shapes and sheer inventiveness of his costumes. How I wished I could see the Invertigo dancers bring them to life!! No photos allowed, sadly. You can see the ‘flying saucer’ style hanging above the lobby. I will have to go back to his 3 shops which I passed in Omotesando and photograph their windows!
I know from Toby how hard it is to find practice space, and looks like Tokyo musicians have the same problem. I made another detour through the cemetery to find out who was playing Debussy’s Prelude L’Apres-midi d’un faune.
Then a delightful break – a chalkboard at the entrance to a narrow alley included two words that popped out at me “after noon” and I recognized tea in kanji. It was a tiny room with two tatami mats and a small counter, 3 stools. Delicious green tea and adzuki jelly treats. Because I did exit through the gift shop I had a bag showing on it the logo for the National Art Center, and the only other customer was a lady who had also seen the exhibitions. She had also visited Paris and the Musee d’Orsay two years ago so we had a great conversation. Some English, some Japanese, some pretty good acting and visual aids.
I carried on through the small back streets where all kinds of shops, cafes, and businesses can be seen and came across a little gallery with bamboo growing around it and a lively exhibition opening going on, was invited in and saw beautiful work by a local bamboo artist, whom I met.
There is so much going on around – and a walk through the city is always an adventure. Tomorrow’s museum is the Ota Memorial Museum and its latest rotation of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. However – now it is time to meet Shogo, Sumiyo and Sachiyo for dinner at Napule which has on its card “Innovazione Bio”.