Monday, November 20, 2006

Nara Yoshitomo

Saturday, some brave adventurers and myself went to Kanazawa for some quality arting. We arrived at the museum right after they opened and had a good wander. I was surprised to see that the artist in residence, Yoshitomo Nara, was anything but. They had two rooms in the main museum devoted to him, and a side building used as his personal studio with a tiny attached cafe, you could enjoy coffee or tea in. We wandered around the rooms, and I was impressed with the typical Nara-fare. It was good. Heavy on the puppies, but good.

The sad realization came when we found the studio lacking in the actual artist. He was nowhere to be found. I kept my eyes peeled in the museum, thinking, perhaps he was enjoying his fame and relative visual anonymity, but to no avail. Little children were scheduled to be wandering around the museum on "Pup Patrol" starting at 2pm, so we went away to see Kenrokuen and have lunch.

Upon returning, we spotted two kiddies dressed as pups. They were both looking rather worse for wear, and the little boy was about ready to faint in the thick fabric puppy-suit. I circled the museum a few times, which is something in and of itself, because the place is set up like a labyrinth, but no more puppies.

I went back to the studio later, to find a note penned by Nara-san. It said that he would not be in the studio from the 8th-23rd of November. Hmmm!? Where was this note this morning? Did the museum staff forget to put it up? Why would they have bothered taking it down in the first place. Damn, I am bitter.

I had to amuse myself by watching a hopelessly unaware man thwapping one of the stuffed dog sculptures viciously in the nose, and seeing the docent freaking out but in typical "meek young woman" fashion, not say anything. I continued to observe as he approached the wall where the costumes were hanging. I knew what was coming, but the docent bit her lip and tried to will away the inevitable. The man proceeded to man-handle the costumes quite roughly, and another docent, hiding slyly in the corner, started bellowing at him.

In another room, there was an intriguing piece displayed on floor. It ran the length of the gallery, and was made of wax, frosted glass, and a graphite spiral drawing at one end. Pretty cool, very fragile. Did I mention the place was crawling with kids? There was a presentation given to primary school kids, letting out when we first arrived. They were proudly adorned with nametags, school uniforms, and their moms (some of whom looked as if they had no concept of museum etiquette). So, back to the fragile sculpture. The room it was in had 3 large sculptures, and 2 docents. The first docent was chillin on the left side of the room guarding two tall pillar-like oceanic/marble formations. The other was in charge of the glassy/wax thingy. She was in a perpetual state of nervous anger. Her hands were stuck somewhere between going back down to her side's and shooing children away. The look on her face was priceless. I would not have traded her places in a million years!

Here are a few of the rugrats playing on the sculptures outside of the museum.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

after the storm

Its been a hellacious past few days here in Takaoka. The weather has been insane and spiteful. The moment you walk outside, the downpour begins. You are teased out again by the sunlight piercing your curtains, just to see the dark clouds looming in the north, ready to descend. But this sunset makes it all worthwhile.

In other news, I had to buy a new electronic dictionary last month. Should have gotten the Canon wordtank in the first place. The thing is a frigin dream. So, I had to unload my other jisho I bought last year for discount prices. I still spent a decent chunk of change on it, but didn't feel right charging anyone for it, cause it was just sitting around my apt. gathering dust. So, one of my eikaiwa students has a son who is studying English, and needed a dictionary. I brought it in, and gave it to her. She was in shock, and didn't want to accept it, but I made her. This evening, she picked me up for class, and surprised me with a gift from Kyoto (where she went last weekend). Its a beautiful green silk embroidered shawl, and a picture frame. Completely unexpected, and really sweet! Thanx Shoko!

Monday, November 06, 2006

kawaisou, tori

My 1-3 class had an interesting experience today. I was in the middle of a game of 20 questions, trying to help my JTE/friend, Yuta, discover that he was supposed to be Doraemon (he had a picture taped on his back). Somewhere around question 6, my eyes were drawn to the window, as per usual. I was looking at the sky, when I see a brown dart, and hear a "THWACK!"

I ran over, unlatched the window, and had to lean out dangerously to see if I could find the bird. It turns out that the poor thing died instantly. I wanted to go down to check if it was alive, but hitting a window at full speed, then falling 3 stories into a gutter full of leaves did him in. I was really sad, and the kids were all shocked. I had one of my girl's leaning out the window next to me, and Yuta on my right. I went home a little bit ago to pick up my laptop for English club, and it started raining. When I returned, I went to go find the bird (looked like a chickadee). He definitely broke his neck, because his eyes were still open. At least he didn't suffer.

Man... that was the saddest game of 20 questions I have ever played.