Monday, 29 June 2009

Trip to Kanazawa #04: Shin-tatemachi Area 新竪町商店街

Ten to fifteen minuite walk from the 21st Centrury Museum, you find Shin-tatemachi shopping street 新竪町商店街. The street goes only for about 200 meters and it looks pretty deserted, but if you see carefully you find some interesting shops selling antiques and japanese homeware zakka made by local artists here and there along the way. Many of the buildings seen here are the traditional machiya (town house) style and throughout the street there is a really nostalgic feel to it. I wouldn't say it's a must-see place, but if you have some extra time it could be interesting to wonder around.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Trip to Kanazawa #03: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Ever since this museum opened in 2004 I've been longing to see it. After 5 years finally I got there, it was fantastic! And yes this was the main purpose of my Kanazawa trip.
I kept going back to my favourite James Turrell's "blue planet sky".
Famous "swimming pool" by Leandro Erlich was fun!
I just loved walking around and around taking photos in the round shaped museum building, enjoyed the transition of the scenery as the time passes by, it was so beautiful.

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Architecture by SANAA
On Fridays and Saturdays they open till 8pm (other days close at 6), i think it's best to visit there in the late afternoon (if in summer around 5pm while the sun is still pretty bright) and stay untill the evening on Friday which I did!

I found a good movie about the "swimming pool" on Youtube:

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Trip to Kanazawa #02: Omicho Ichiba

Kanazawa is blessed with beautiful food and Omicho Ichiba (Ichiba means market) is a must-see spot for foodies! Generally Hokkaido is known as a home for great seafood, but apparently Kanazawa area gets much better quality seafood, ama-ebi prawns and zuwaigani crabs are very famous there!

And this is what I had for lunch - Omicho Kaisen (seafood) Donburi! It is huge and is full of local fish sashimi. Each slice of sashimi is about 2.5 times thicker and bigger than what we normally get in Tokyo. Oh I want another donburi now!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Trip to Kanazawa #01: Chaya District

Kanazawa is an old city full of history and culture, it's much much smaller but some parts of Kanazawa reminds me of Kyoto. Kanazawa has three well preserved Chaya districts, "Chaya" literally means "teahouse" but is actually something like an exclusive type of restaurant where geisha entertains the guests with dance and songs. These pictures are from Higashi Chaya District, the biggest chaya-gai out of three. I just loved walking around the narrow backstreets there. All the buildings you see around here are so beautiful and very well preserved, some of them are nearly 200 years old.

Most of the chayas are run by the "ichigensan okotowari" system, this means unless you are referred by someone who is already a customer there, you can't enter the chaya. But there are a few chayas that are open to tourists to have a look inside during the daytime so people can learn about the secret chaya culture. The one I went into was called "Kaikaro" and the each room was very beautifully decorated and was really interesting to see. Guided tour must be booked in advance so I only helped myself looking around taking photos with not much information, but I would've loved to take a tour to learn about this not-so-known unique culture of chaya.

I'm just adding this map from kanazawa-tourism.com so you get the idea of where Kanazawa is. It's one hour flight from Tokyo.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Hello..

Hello! It's Monday morning here in Tokyo, wet and humid. I haven't been able to take care of this blog for a while because I took a little holiday and went to Kanazawa, one of the beautiful old cities in Japan, and a couple of days before I left I got a new work and my client gave me a really tight schedule so I had to work REALLY hard (I still do). It's funny but everytime I plan a trip I get new work and I end up working extra hard! At least I get something, should not complain I know...

I've taken so many photos in Kanazawa so you will be seeing a lot of it here from now on. (hopefully starting soon...)
Have a lovely week to you all!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Homemade Umeshu

This year's ume (Japanese plum) has arrived and it's making umeshu time! We can get good ume for making umeshu only at this time of year - we use unripe green ones for this and they need to be really fresh. Oh they smell beautiful.
Normally Umeshu is made with shochu or sake, but I love using brandy. This is my third year of making "brandy umeshu" - it's the best!

After about 10 hours, rock sugar start to melt and it looks like this.

And after a year (of waiting and tasting), this! Look how they've gone so smaller and wrinkly, all the good stuff has come out. They don't really look so beautiful now... I probably should have taken the ume out sooner but anyway.

They say you can start drinking it after 3 months, but I wait at least for 6 months. When it's over a year old, it gets really good :) I always try to keep them for years but it's hard to resist and my 3-year-old umeshu is almost gone.... Can't wait till December to try my new umeshu now!!!Check Umeshu on Wikipedia, and here is a really good all-you-need-to-know-about-umeshu post.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Taro Okamoto at Shibuya Station

Taro Okamoto is one of the most important and most influential Japanese artists from the 20th century.
He started working on "Asu no shinwa" in 1968 and completed in 1969 in Mexico. It was to cover a lobby wall of the new opening hotel in Mexico city. However the construction of the hotel was never completed due to the financial reasons of the hotel owner and Taro-san's mural was left inside the unfinished hotel and went missing.
The mural is called "Asu no shinwa" which means "Myth of Tomorrow" and it depicts the moment of an atomic bomb explosion. "Asu no shinwa" is the largest and most important piece of Taro-san's work.

Miraculously, the mural was found after 30 years by his wife who was searching for it for many many years. It was finally shipped to Japan in 2005, restoration began soon after the arrival and was re-born after a year.
Today, anyone can see "Asu no Shinwa". And guess where? At Shibuya station! This 30-metre-long mural appeared in Shibuya station for permanent installation in November 2008 where 300 thousand people walk pass every day infront of it. It's just so powerful and has such strong message, everytime I walk pass it I get so overwhelmed not just by its size. It was quite surprising that this place was chosen for the permanet installation but I really like it being there and I love looking at it with so many people passing by.
First three images are from Asunoshinwa official website. Bottom three were taken by me about 6 months ago.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...