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Posts tagged museums

Tokyo National Museum Garden and Tea House

teahouse japanese

The Tokyo National Museum kills you on most days with this view of the lush garden and tea house they have out back. There are doors to go out and enter this wonderland, but they are locked except for a few days of the year during cherry blossom season and when fall foliage hits its peak. We were there on a rare cool day in summer. The rain had just stopped and the outdoors looked like the perfect place to be. Instead we were locked (it felt like trapped) inside.

Arashiyama painting

tokyo national museum

I forgot to photograph the artist’s name of this painting of Arashiyama (found in the Tokyo National Museum). It reminded me of some photos I took of the same place a few years ago.

Kyoto Beauty in Summer Makeup

gion seitoku tokyo national museum

One nice thing about the Tokyo National Museum (東京国立博物館) is you can take photos of many of the works. I took this picture of Gion Seitoku’s (祇園井特) “Kyoto Beauty in Summer Makeup” (京美人夏化粧図).

Horyuji treasures

tokyo national museum

During a recent visit to the Tokyo National Museum I took today’s photo of the main room in The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (法隆寺宝物館) in Ueno Park. The room doesn’t really look like this to the natural eye. I set my camera on the floor in the corner and left the shutter open for 8 seconds to get this view.

The room is actually very dark with a small light on each of the dozens of Kanon (観音) statues. I found the atmosphere to be amazing and very un-museum like. Instead of things lines up against the walls, there is nothing against the walls. Instead, there are the “glowing” pedestals lined up in neat rows. The statues are from different countries and artists spanning a couple hundred years (mostly 7th and 8th Centuries). But they are all somewhat similar in size making them both unique and uniform.

Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ) @ Ghibli Museum

mitaka kichijoji tokyo japan

There are plenty of reasons to visit Inokashira Park near Kichijoji. The reason that took us out there a week ago was the Ghibli Museum.

I saw my first Miyazaki (宮崎駿) movie way back in 1989. He was virtually unknown outside of Japan at that point, but I was in Japan. In fact, I was living in the setting of his current movie at the time, My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ), on the edge of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture.

Ellie and Ryan also became big fans, as well as most of the rest of the world, so we have been wanting to check out the museum for a while. Tickets aren’t easy to come by if you want to go on a weekend. With Ryan and Ellie in school on weekdays we finally landed some Saturday tickets by purchasing them within a day of their going on sale more than a month in advance.

Shown above is a picture from the top of the museum. This is one of the robots from Laputa: Castle in the Sky (天空の城ラピュタ).

Henan Museum

One of my students was ordered, by a professor, to be my tour guide for a day. I thought this was rather strange as I was standing right there watching the command take place. I would have preferred he ask the class if anyone was willing and able to show me around instead, but that’s not the way he operated. The student was very kind and hopefully had a good time despite the lack of freedom he was granted.

We planned to visit the Yellow River, but the weather was not going to make that worthwhile (as it was raining), so instead we went to the Henan Museum (河南省博物院) in Zhengzhou. The museum is fairly new, and quite nice (compared to everything else I saw in China anyway). Admission was free, and the exhibits were loaded with amazing items. The human history in this area of the world is very ancient. The Yellow River is referred to as the “cradle of Asian civilization.” Many times Zhengzhou was the capital of China, including the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The top item is made of ivory and is over 2,000 years old.

These bronze bells have not aged much in the past few thousand years.

What do you think the above item is?

Comfy, eh?

Items with early Chinese characters were some of my favorites.

Why does a museum sign say “No spitting” you ask? Thanks to the polluted air, and the Chinese male addiction to cigarettes, Chinese people make strange hacking sounds with great regularity. They also spit those contents regardless of where they are. I can’t even count the number of people I saw spitting on a single day the numbers were so great. The sidewalks, and many other locations, are covered in the stuff. Really gross, I know, especially since no one spits in Japan, and that is what I’m now used to.

The guy on the right in this picture is my aforementioned student (and his roommate is on the left and was also my student). His English was pretty good. Perhaps that is why he was ordered to take me around. We went out for ramen after the museum, and it was quite different from the Japanese version of Chinese ramen. The noodles were wide and flat. The ramen included tofu that was noodle like. I was told that the local ramen is very different from that found elsewhere in China. Maybe the ramen that is more like that found in Japan can be had in other parts of China. Although different, it was still good.

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