If you happen to be in or around Tokyo’s Midtown in Roppongi you might be interested in seeing the (very) short light show at the Godzilla statue on display until the end of August. Every hour and half hour from 1900, for a couple of minutes, smoke, light and scary roaring is turned on, much to the enjoyment of the (mostly kids) people there to see it. As I was crouched down in front of the statue during the show it was actually difficult to hear the sound effects over the noise of the excited kids screaming in unison with the great beast herself, or at least the 6.6m tall scale model.
Tokyo Midtown is easy to reach on the Toei Oedo subway line, Roppongi station, or the Hibiya line Roppongi station or even the Nogizaka station on the Chiyoda line.
If you happen to pass Tokyo’s famous Roppongi Hills this month you will have the chance to 66 different life sized Doraemon figures, all over the square in front of the main building. Doraemon as comic book and anime character is to Japan what the Mouse is to the USA. There is basically no way to over estimate the importance of the blue cat in at least two generations of Japanese and possibly more.
Why so many figures? Doraemon is a wonder cat and has access to all kinds of strange and wonderful stuff to help him and his friends in their daily lives. Often the premise of the stories is that the characters express a wish to avoid something or concern over something and Doraemon will produce the seemingly perfect object for the occasion, for example a piece of bread that gives the eater amazing math skills or a head mounted propeller that gives them the ability to fly. But of course, inevitably something goes disastrously wrong and Doreamon is forced to take his gift back from the kids. 66 of these things are represented in this installation of figures and it is pretty easy to see which of Doreamon’s toys are the most popular (hint: the Takecopter).
The figures aren’t kid proof however, and despite the staff doing their best to keep the figures safe the kids are all over them as soon as the staff turn their backs. The figures will be on display until August 24th.
Tokyo finally got a slightly larger Godzilla statue last week, due to the promotion of the latest Godzilla move. A smallish statue has been erected in the Tokyo Midtown’s park, and it is open to the public from morning to night every day, with a very short smoke and light show at night (pictures from that to come later on!).
You might have seen the smaller bronze Godzilla in Hibiya or even been to the actual spot where Godzilla fist steps onto Japanese soil in what is today Kitashinagawa, but if you are a real fan of the big beast you have to go and see the statue in Roppongi Midtown. Fittingly, there’s a Baccardi bar garden just next to it where you can stretch your legs, sip something cool and imagine the roar of the beast.
I saw this mixed media artwork at the National Art Center’s art university graduation ceremony a couple of weeks ago. The artist, Atsushi Adachi of Zokei University (足立篤史), has created a miniature diorama dream world, complete with train tracks, tunnels, light houses, zeppelins and hangars for airplanes. I love these kind of miniature worlds, like the art of Ichiyo Haga (here and here), the Housing Estate N by Area N, the Papercraft castle, even the diorama hat by O.Moro Design! Another great artist this reminds me of is Takanori Aiba’s miniature cities. Yes, I have a very soft spot for dioramas and miniatures!
If you want to see more of Mr. Adachi’s work you have plenty of chances this spring and summer as he is pretty much exhibiting all through the year. The closest one is at the Tabloid Gallery in Tokyo’s Hinode, March 20th to March 23rd, and then at the Ouchi Gallery in New York’s Brooklyn, first in the end of April early May and then again in June.