Saturday, March 31, 2012

Here Comes the Season

In Tokyo cherry trees officially started blooming today despite the stormy wind.   It is exactly the timing as Japan Weather Association has forecast.  Good job.  It can be very chilly at this time of the year and I still cannot put away my winter clothes, but the news of cherry blossoms always makes me feel the spring season which symbolizes the start of life's new cycle.

Art Fair Tokyo, which is another event that reminds me of spring, started yesterday.  Last year it was postponed to July because of the earthquake, and it came back to its regular season.  I see it has been getting more attention year by year and has established a position as an international art show with the consistent quality of galleries and artworks. 

Although cherry blossoms are gone by then,  Art Kyoto 2012 will be held from April 27 to 29.  What used to be a hotel exhibition show is being expanded to an international art fair for the first time this year.  It is an interesting sign that art market in Japan is opening up to wider range of buyers.  It can be worth traveling for.     

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Cosmic Travelers" at Espace Louis Vuitton

"Cosmic Travelers - Toward the Unknown" is the first group exhibition held in Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, the one-year-old art space on the 7th floor of the brand's flagship shop in Omotesando.  

The moment I walked into the floor,  I was struck by the balance created by the combination of unique installations, lighting, and the architecture.  It looked beautifully surreal against a backdrop of dusk sky.

The show is held through May 6, 2012.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Under Bhutan's Clear Sky

I visited Bhutan in February.  Although it is much closer than Europe and United States are from Japan, it is still a distant destination to most of us.  The lack of direct flight is not a big reason.  The Gross National Happiness concept sounds so fabulous that it mystifies us a little.

It turned out that Bhutan is a country of good people, great culture and beautiful nature.  I think what is underlying all these is the sense of respect.

Bhutan is a Buddhist country.  They learn the teaching of Buddha since childhood and it becomes an integral part of their life and their way of thinking.  I did not see it as a blind dependence on a religion, but I think they naturally respect the deities, nature and people.

Once in Bhutan, one can easily see that people LOVE and admire the current 5th King and his father the 4th King.  Their photographs are everywhere including temples.  I see why.  When the 5th King visited Japan in November 2011, he visited the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami of the previous March, including areas near the destroyed nuclear power plants.  People who watched the news and who actually met the King all felt his compassion and sincerity.  You cannot just act it.  The Bhutanese people must be proud of having such a leader.     

I was also impressed to learn that a good part of the country's income comes from the sales of hydro power electricity to India.  Clean energy.   How advanced is that.    

Almost all the people in Bhutan speak English besides their own dialects.    They do internet and Facebook and have iPhones, and stay clad in their traditional costumes. 

I once asked my Bhutanese guide,
"Are people happy?"
He thought for a second and replied,
"Yes.  I think in general people are happy."

Can we even say that when asked about our own country? 

At night I looked up to the starry sky through the clean air.  It is a small country with a population of 700,000 but has many things we don't have.  I hope to go back one day and find more keys to happiness of the Earth.