Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2008/03/04 Kiyosumi-Shirakawa, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

With an open morning to beat jet lag, I decided to do some sightseeing. Last August, we didn’t have enough time to make the trek east across the river. I took the metro out to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa. Coming out of the subway station, I was impressed by the clear directions to the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

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The signs lead back to some small streets. The Shirakawa area is a east of the Sumida River, so it seems more residential and out of the way for tourists.

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In another city, walking through back alleys might feel threatening, but in Tokyo, ever block is neat and well-kept.

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Turning around a corner, I found a neighbourhood temple.

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I presume that the large boulder out front is sacred.

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To the left of those front doors, Japanese gardening has produced a tree that is the full size version of a bonsai.

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Across the side street is the cemetery, with a prominent statue.
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The tomb markers are packed together tightly. The many painted wooden planks suggest that (a) friends and relatives have visited recently, and (b) the temple is well-funded.

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Looking left, the apartments across the street show that the cemetery is in the middle of a developed urban area.

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Down the street is one of the ubiquitous Lawson stores. They’re more than convenience stores, but somewhat less than supermarkets.

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I’m glad that some street signs are in English, as a reassurance of direction.

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On the main street, a construction team was working on a small lot.

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I was amused at the playpen for the kids as the childcare worker took them for a walk.

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The MoT is on a campus on the south side of the street. There were some hoardings for construction obstructing the view.

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Befitting a museum of contemporary art, the building is modern.

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On the front courtyard is some large scale sculptures.

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The temporary exhibitions were being changed, so only the permanent galleries were open. In the large first gallery was Reflection, by Do-Ho Suh … or at least the lower view of it.

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On the second floor was the top view.

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Back down the stairs, the windows reveal the trees and landscape outside.

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The feeling of nature inside complements the nature outside.

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South of the MoT is Kiba Park. It didn’t see much, so I guess the park is landscaped to make the spaces more intimate.

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Turning back to the MOT building, a moat flows on the ground floor.

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The pond is a natural attraction for mothers with kids out for the day.

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The large sculpture would seem a natural for kids to run up and down, but it was blocked off that day.

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Further east, a round sculpture has been positioned in the the upper pond.

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In the southeast corner of the campus is a Wish Tree for Tokyo, by Yoko Ono.

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On the east side of the MoT building, I was impressed by the line of trees on Daimon Street.

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I don’t understand the meaning of the charm attached to the base of the tree.

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Returning to the subway station, I passed by a class of kids probably on their way for lunch.

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Back at the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa metro stop, I had to figure out how to pay the fares again. The cards that worked last August aren’t sold any more, so it’s back to cash.

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Inside the metro station is a reminder that we’re near an art gallery: a mural.

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The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo was a destination that was worth seeing. In Tokyo, though, every trip can be an adventure

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