Sunday, 14 September 2014

A few photos from Tokyo

We arrived in Tokyo early yesterday afternoon and I got most of the fabric buying out of the way before we headed off to Asakusa and the Ryokan Shigestsu where we are staying for the remainder of our trip.  The Kaminarimon (above) is one of the places you just have to get a photo if you come to Asakusa.

Today we went to the Japan Folk Crafts Museum via Shibuya station - Shibuya crossing is above.  Although the museum website gives information about how to get there, it didn't mention that the Keio Inokashira metro line runs express ('rapid'?) and local trains, so we managed to board an express that overshot the station where we were supposed to get off.  But once we got the right train, it was easy enough to find.

No photos allowed inside the museum unfortunately.  There was an exhibition of Kantha and Sashiko/Kogin pieces, so it was a shame there wasn't a catalogue, although I picked up a small booklet featuring some pieces (in black and white) and I already have many illustrated in other books.

The museum was much smaller than I expected.  The building was beautiful - Japanese tradition meets the Arts and Crafts movement.  The collection was founded by Soetsu Yanagi in the early C20th.  The displays were very much of the objects in glass cases with small (Japanese only) labels and I imagine this is how pieces have always been shown here.  I would have to say that the Amuse Museum in Asakusa has a more interesting and informative display of koginzashi.  Certainly, the mingeikan has some very old pieces of Kogin, Nanbu Hishizashi and Sashiko, but the general feeling in the exhibition was that it was rather staid and lifeless.  I think we have been spoiled on our trip by seeing Koginzashi and sashiko as living and evolving traditions, as well as some excellent private collections of work.  The same can be said for the ceramics and lacquerware collections.  The Serizawa exhibition mentioned on the museum's facebook page is actually at Takashimaya department store in Nihonbashi, but as that is only 16 minutes by underground from here, I think we should go to see that too.

In the afternoon, we went to Harajuku.  Yoyogi Park has been closed due to the first dengue fever outbreak in Japan in seventy years, so we kept away from the park side and headed for the shops. There were a few people out in their finest weekend fashions, but mostly it was full of high school girls shopping.

Looking at cute stuff - seifuku (old style school uniform) outfit.

Tonight we just had a stroll around the Sensoji temple at Asakusa before dinner.

More exploring tomorrow, and hopefully going to the Serizawa exhibition.  The Amuse Museum is closed Mondays, so that is the plan for Tuesday, among other things.

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