No matter how long I live in Tokyo I still can’t pass through Marunouchi and the Tokyo Station area without going up to the fifth floor balcony on Marubiru and taking a photo of one of my favorite Tokyo views! The work on the station building is coming along nicely, I really love this fantastic piece of architecture! While up there I also got a few snaps of close ups of the surrounding. The taxi area was pretty crowded as usual, but I am sure, this being Japan, that they have some sort of fair system in place. If you’re in the area, I really recommend catching this view!
A couple of weeks ago Marunouchi was invaded by dinosaurs from Fukui prefecture on the north coast of Japan. Japanese kids, like kids everywhere I guess, have a serious love for dinosaurs, and they’re also lucky in that Japan is a good place to go fossil hunting. Three complete skeletons (casts) were on display as well as a few other interesting animated dinosaurs and educational videos and even life sized dinosaur scientists that were a great hit with the kids! First of we had the carnivorous 12m long Acrocanthosaurus atokensis from Oklahoma USA, and a Pteranodon longiceps with a wing span of 7m was hung in the ceiling. The Japan native Fukuisaurus tetoriensis, a herbivore Iguanadontian. Seeing these exhibitions in Marunouchi Building and the nearby Oazu Building really brought back memories from when I was dinosaur crazy kid myself! I think a trip to Fukui prefecture really must be arranged some time soon.
One of the great bonuses of living in a huge city like Tokyo is that there is always so much going on in terms of art and performances. Most of the major shopping and office buildings in central Tokyo use art as a way to attract more people and bring life to the otherwise rather sterile large skyscrapers of glass and steel. Last summer I saw these fantastic wooden statues at Marunouchi Building, by Tsuneyoshi Nakamura (中村恒克). They are called Hikiwake and Kakitsubata. Japanese sculptors have this amazing talent for carving wonderful works of art from wood! I think the future of modern art will be much more interesting for Japanese art-lovers. Up until now Japanese modern art have been largely ignored by the mainstream art critics around the world, but if even a mere fraction of all the talent we see coming out of Japan’s many excellent art universities make it big, it would be a fantastic boom for Japanese art! I think Mr Nakamura will be one of the successful ones.
As a kid one of my earliest memories of there being a place like Japan was watching a documentary on the legendary Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical troupe from the western city of Takarazuka in Hyogo prefecture. Founded in 1913 as a way to attract customers to a new train line and to cash in on the popularity of western style music the troupe still operates with a sort of by-gone era grandeur that takes the western musical concept to a whole new level. Members are admitted in fierce competition as young girls and train for years to train for the role of either male or female. If you’re new to the Japanese music scene and wondering about the success of girl bands like AKB48 and similar groups, remember that it all started in with the Takarazuka Revue. During the weeks leading up to Christmas there was an exhibition and performance in both of the Marunouchi Buildings in central Tokyo. I didn’t catch any performances but I got to see the exhibition of genuine Takarazuka stage clothes. If you are seriously into musicals and ever visit Japan, a trip to the Takarazuka theater in Takarazuka City or here in Tokyo, is a must!