The Winter is coming but still the autumn lingers for a little while longer. I took these photos last year from a very misty Imperial Palace outer grounds, with the ground strewn with fallen red leaves and the mist covering most of the pine trees near the grand office buildings of Marunouchi. I hope you have the chance to go out and see the majestic autumn colors around Tokyo this weekend – despite the forecasted rainy weather!
Not far from Tokyo’s downtown Nezu subway station you will find the tiny and remarkably charming gallery Maruhi. If you look really well that is. It is almost hidden away in a tiny nearly 100 year old house inside a tiny alley not wide enough for even two people to walk down. When I visited the gallery had an exhibition called Kuronekoten, showing the black cat themed work of nine different artists, from sculptors to kimono weavers. I dare say that Maruhi is Tokyo’s best hidden gallery, and if you are in the area it is well worth a visit. Finding it is part of the fun!
Even if you are not into the art the building itself is nothing short of amazing. It is a very careful restoration of an old 1917 (Taisho-era) pawnshop (hence the large safe!), and quite beautiful inside. My photos do not make it justice.
The next show is a ceramics show running from November 21st to 29th, you can read more about the gallery and the coming shows on their Facebook page here or their homepage here (all in Japanese of course!).
A few years ago I randomly stumbled into an underground bar/nightclub in Tokyo’s Aoyama District. I don’t usually go out after dark (I am morning person) but my friends wanted to stay out so I obliged! It turned out a lucky stumble though, as shortly after getting a table in the tiny (but very very cool club) Jimisen entered the tiny stage (well, room corner to be more exact) and proceeded to play one of the most perfect club gigs that I have ever experienced. Jimisen is a Jimi Hendrix Tribute band, four men who manages to look and sound as close to the real thing as anyone could ever wish for. Like many others around the world, I have a Jimi Hendrix phase when I was young, so I know all the songs by heart and have certainly annoyed friends and family with trying to copy the more famous riffs every time someone let me have a guitar for a few minutes. Seeing Jimisen perform was just one of those perfect moments in life: you know it isn’t really Jimi Hendrix, but it is just so good you don’t care.
Jimisen (look them up on Facebook) is playing several gigs in Tokyo this month, including a big Halloween gig and a smaller gig at this very same club, Red Shoes. If you are in Tokyo and want a very memorable experience to take home, this might be just what you are looking for.
And since the club was the size of a medium sized American kitchen I got to sit as close as I wanted, and I could shake the hands of the guys after the gig. Fun!
At the annual Omiya Matsuri in Omiya City north of Tokyo, in Saitama Prefecture, I saw the splendid ladder acrobatics of the local team. The weather was perfect for ladder acrobatics and they had the whole square in front of Omiya station for themselves. Ladder Acrobatics is probably one of my favorite things to see in Japan, when it comes to traditional culture. It must take some special kind of courage and team work to pull this off!