So, the long weekend. Golden Week, a collection of national holidays that fall close to one another, frequently results in a block of time where offices are closed. Where there are gaps (like the end of last week), some companies will give their employees those days off. Since our company has global customers, we’re always open, with someone in the office. However, both my officemate and I were able to take Monday and Tuesday off (the other day of the holiday was last Tuesday, which I took off, but my coworker exchanged for today), resulting in a four day weekend for me.
Friday night the first part of my storage order from Nitori came, bringing me a coffee table, small bookcase (to be used as a nightstand as well), bathroom storage and a 4-drawer dresser (another bookcase is coming this Friday). By Saturday morning I had everything put together and most of my stuff put away. I still need something more for clothes, but haven’t decided on a hanging rack, small dresser or both yet.
Around noon I took off to meet three co-workers for lunch and a museum. Except we ditched eating lunch inside in favour of exploring the food options at the Dontaku Festival. Which is how I ended up having grilled squid on a stick; cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and lightly fried, served with nuts and honey; steamed crab on a stick, and a strawberry smoothie. Oh, and kuzu (kudzu to most of you) mochi dredged in either kinako (roasted soy powder) or green tea powder. All very tasty. We sat around in Tenjin’s Chuo Park for a long while, enjoying the sun and the sights of the parade entrants as they finished their work for the day.
At some point we wandered back to the museum and settled on seeing one of the special exhibits, a set of paintings by a young autistic painter, Ohta Kousuke. Modern art really isn’t my thing, and modern art that’s best classified as folk art (his works would not be out of place in the Folk Art section of DC’s Museum of American Art) particularly so. But I did find one piece that entranced me, his painting of two shrimp. Couldn’t explain to you why, but they just appealed to me.
After the museum, we went our separate ways. I wandered back up along the parade route, checking out Suikyo Tenmangu shrine along the way. After a bit, I headed to Lupicia for tea and scones, hit Daiso for more cute pink things and then home.
Sunday, talked with my parents on Skype, then headed back to Kawabata to have the hamburger I didn’t get on Saturday. Since lunch wasn’t until 11:30, I had some time to kill and went back to the Museum of Asian Art (right next door) and went to the Fujiko F. Fujio exhibit. Fujiko was the pen name of a pair mangaka (comic artists) who created one of Japan’s most endearing (though I’m not a fan) fictional characters, Doraemon the robot cat. Even though I’m a fan of only one of the pair’s darker, more twisted works (Minotaur’s Plate, which has some … biting things to say about raising cattle for food), I still enjoyed the exhibit as a whole. There were a number of original and reproduced manga pages, some animation clips, reproductions of the pair’s writing studio and a number of sketches of their characters done by other well-known artists (of which I recognized just one – Toriyama Akira, creator of Dragonball and Dr. Slump). There was also a very nicely done movie at the beginning, which showed off many of their characters.
Lunch was then had at Brooklyn Parlor: burger platter and Strongbow cider, both tasty. After lunch, I went back to the museum to see the actual permanent collection. I enjoyed the older works (1800s-1900s), particularly the paintings. Not so much the modern sculptures. If you have to explain to me what I should be getting out of a work of art, I think you’ve failed as an artist. Good art should elicit *something* from me other than “wtf is this?” Still, I’m looking forward to the Art Triennale that will be happening this fall, as it involves artists from all over Asia, all working in a variety of media.
After the museum, I had planned on going around all the food stalls at the festival, taking pictures, but there seemed to be even more people than the day before and I quickly gave up. I checked out Loft, to see if I could find a hair dryer, but failed to figure out where they had them hidden (not with the flat irons and hair products, oddly enough). Headed home after that, then back out briefly to the local coffee shop, where I discovered that the strawberry latte comes with a dollop of strawberry jam — very, very strawberry indeed.
Monday I headed back to Tenjin (didn’t I say that all roads lead to Tenjin? I’ve ended up there almost every day I’ve gone out, so far) to meet up with a fellow seiyuu (Japanese voice actor) and J-Rock fan. We had lunch in the underground mall, then went to the Tiger & Bunny exhibit at the Solaria Stage, which was lots of fun. The armor and bikes were impressive! Wish we could’ve taken pictures of them. The exhibit had just opened on Saturday and I thought it might be packed, but there were just a handful of folks, which made it pleasant to walk around and look at things at our leisure.
After the exhibit, we went to a nice coffee shop on the 12th floor of one of the nearby buildings for coffee and scones, after which we went to Loft and discovered that the entire top floor has been taken over by a shop called Animega (apparently the store just opened the weekend before). We wandered around for quite some time looking at the goods for sale – I was amused that the TV looping two of Granrodeo’s Kuroko no Basuke opening songs was right next to the one playing Attack on Titan opening songs – quite an odd juxtaposition. Found a nice display of Narcissus and Toga Q’s “In these Words” and “Father Figure” books, which made me happy. (They’re in Japan right now for a signing tour, but their schedule doesn’t allow for us to meet up, unfortunately.)
Finally was shown where the Beard Papa shop is in the train station and grabbed two green tea cream puffs that were to be Tuesday’s breakfast. Unfortunately, when I woke up Tuesday, I felt like a train had run me over. Spent most of the day asleep, except for venturing forth for some groceries. What a waste of a day off! But I guess my body had had enough of running around. To add insult to injury, my spotlight went out and I’ve had to order a replacement online. Wee bit dark in here with only the laptop and my lamp on. Feeling better today, but still exhausted. Was invited to go see the Softbank Hawks play tonight, but passed in favour of sleeping early. Now that I know tickets are generally available at the dome, will definitely go at some point.
Two more days of work, then another weekend … hopefully will finally get to explore Ohori Park, which is right next to my train station.