In 2010 one of the foremost women’s art universities in Japan started a new program in sculpture and I think Nana Koutzuka (江塚奈々) is one of their first graduates, exhibiting this wonderful statue called Chimera (キメラ) at the National Art Center earlier in March. It’s an amazing work and I really hope to see more of her work in the future! The title of course is an allusion to the mythical beast of ancient greek legends, the Chimera, but also the same word is used in modern Japanese science to denote a creature made up of parts of different creatures, as in this mix of farmyard animals. I wonder if we will ever see a real on of these?
Visiting the Mercedes-Benz showroom in Tokyo’s Roppongi district (just opposite of Tokyo Midtown) I saw these two electric anime decorated cars! Not what you’d expect from MB perhaps, but pretty cool. I’m all for electric cars, especially in a city like Tokyo. I believe that the anime on the cars is the Madoka Magica (まどかマギカ) which seems to be everywhere right now. I don’t know anything about it but if you are a fan you might want to rush over and have a look! They have a pretty swanky cafe as well, for those who like having their coffee within arms reach of multi-million yen machinery.
At the annual combined graduation exhibition of the five major art universities in and around Tokyo, I saw this awesome scrap metal fossil, by a soon to be graduate of Musashino Art University (武蔵野美術大学, Musashino Bijutsu Daigaku, MAU), Mr Kuroudo Tsuji (辻蔵人). It’s hard to be an impartial critic when seeing something like this, as my childhood memories of hours spent over books on robots and dinosaurs and even the robot dinosaur toys – Zoids! I didn’t catch the title of this work of art, but I think it speaks for itself. If Mr Tsuji ever creates anything like this again I’ll be first in line to check it out. Oh, and speaking of dinosaurs, maybe you remember the toy dinosaur from a couple of years ago?
More city photos, this time from Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi which is Tokyo’s latest commercial complex, shops, restaurants, bars, offices, expensive apartments and a big hotel (Ritz-Carlton). At night the whole area turns into a sort of Science Fictionesque labyrinth of polished brass, steel and glass. It’s just like I imagined the future would be like as a kid, just better color coordinated, less rivets and no flying cars or jet packs. Well, we can’t have everything! It is the fourth tallest commercial building in Japan and the tallest in Tokyo. Before this place come up the whole 20 acres were occupied by the US Military but since they left central Tokyo the character of the whole area has really changed, some nights there were more soldiers out in the streets than civilians but these days Roppongi feels like a different town altogether. One remaining legacy is the relatively poor public transport in the area, unlike the other major districts in the city there’s fewer connections into and out off Roppongi than any where else in Tokyo. Well, that still means we are connected by about four different subway lines within a couple of square kilometers, just no trains, leaving us to rely on busses to connect Roppongi with nearby Shibuya. Midtown is another one of those “don’t miss” places for tourists coming to Tokyo, and is most easily done together with visiting Roppongi Hills. I have a personal trimmed to perfection mini tour of Tokyo that I give to foreign friends with a day or two to spare, and we usually end up just about here after a full day of sight seeing! Maybe I should write it up and post it someday?