Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2007/08/11 Ueno Park, Kiyomizu Kannon-do, Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo

Ueno Park is a patch of green in the midst of urbanity, with skyscrapers surrounding the area. This weekend marked the beginning of a holiday when many Tokyo residents go back to the their home towns. We started at the south entrance to the park, and walked north.

20070811_Ueno_Park_south_entry.jpg

It’s unclear whether this is the normal state for Ueno Park, but we noticed that the ground was more littered than we had seen elsewhere. Since it was a hot day, perhaps many people had left their apartments for the shade of the park.

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We encountered the entry for the Kiyomizu Kannon-do. This design is related to the Toyokuni shrine that we had seen at the end of walking tour in Kyoto.

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As we stepped down into the ravine, the long series of torii indicates that this is a prosperous temple.

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In comparison to the bright colour of the torii, the altar doesn’t make as much of an impact.

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Back on the main path, a fork in the road had a symbol from the other side of the Pacific: a totem pole.

20070811_Ueno_Park_totem.jpg

In my search for contemporary art, I had thought that the Metropolitan Art Museum would give us a taste of works produced by living artists in today’s Japan. The museum includes six galleries.

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Coinciding with the holiday week, however, the galleries were being cleared out, in anticipation of new exhibits. Some were stripped bare before we got there.

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Another large gallery — in a sunken room — was under active construction.

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In the courtyard was some large pieces that don’t move. Presuming that these were indicative of the type of art that are normally in the museum, I’m disappointed at our timing.

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We left Ueno Park before sunset, to return to the hotel before an evening out.

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We stopped by a few stores — including a Bic Camera — but didn’t spend any money. Mostly, the air conditioning was some relief from the summer heat.

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