Saturday, August 14, 2004

Museum day

Today was a major museum day.

I went to Uguisudani with Kasumi and Yoshida-san. Our first stop was the Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan).

Here was the order we saw/did things.

1) Checked out the Kichijoten National Treasure painting of Lakshmi. In addition we saw objects from the Yakushiji temple and its pagodas, mostly from the 8th century. The Lakshmi painting was definitely the centerpiece.

2) Saw a gorgeous resplendent collection of fine and decorative art from Japan as displayed in exhibitions in the west in the 19th century. A couple of things really struck me. One was a black underglazed porcelain framed piece. The artwork looked exactly like the kinds you see with the blue underglaze, but the black was a twist on it. It looked very cool and elegant. Another was a couple of shiny gold knife bejeweled knife cases.

3) We ate a fabulous lunch at the Hotel Okura Garden Terrace located in the Horyujikan. I had the Gastronomy Lunch, which included a fillet of beef steak along with shrimp in a reddish-orange creamy sauce. It set me back 3150 yen plus tax but was well worth it. The bread too was nice, seemed like a multi-grain brown bread.

4) Looked at a fine collection of objects from the Horyuji Temple, mostly from the 8th century. Some pieces that stood out in my mind were paper with sutras written on them. The kanji looks like the same characters as now. There was also a sutra in Sanskrit which looked exactly like today’s Devanagari scripts, not that I know them or anything. The writings were so clear and so neat they could have been done yesterday.

After this we walked into Ueno Park. We came upon the Tokyo-to Bijutsukan (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum). There was an exhibition of objects from the Sechuan period in China. I wasn’t that interested but they were. It cost 1300 yen to get in. I decided to be a good sport, and also to take in these cultural things when it is foisted upon me. I probably sure as hell wouldn’t go on my own, but we grow as a result of both our own choices and also going along with what those close to us are doing.

After all this I was pretty museumed-out. As we continued walking through Ueno Park we passed by a science museum. Yoshida-san asked if we want to see that but I said I am overflowing with museum info at this point.

We then got on the Yamanote Line from Ueno Station’s Koen-guchi and went home.

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