Wednesday, October 19, 2016


A unique museum recently opened in Tokyo.  It is called "Archi-Depot."

Here you can see a variety of architectural models designed by renowned architects including Kengo Kuma.

The place started as a storage space where architects kept their architectural models created for presentations and competitions.  Then Archi-Depot came up with an idea of archiving and displaying those models at the same time.  How brilliant!
The models are neatly displayed on storage shelves.

Some models have been realized and others ended as a plan, but all models represent the idea of the architects behind them.  

Each model is very well made, like a work of art.  It is just fascinating to look at.

Archi-Depot is in Tennozu, a little off the center of Tokyo (accessible by monorail or car,) but it is already popular with architecture fans and professionals who intently watch the models.

The model below must be one of the newest, "Koh-tei" by Kohei Nawa.  The real one is in the Shinsho-ji Temple in Hiroshima Prefecture.  It is also a must see.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Close Encounter with the Owls

You may have seen owls before but perhaps only from the distance in the zoo. Here is the place to interact with them. 
Among foreign tourists coming to Tokyo, "owl cafes" are becoming hot destination.  They 
are relatively new compared to cat cafes or maid cafes, which are now established as Japan's tourist attractions. 

I recently went one in Harajuku.  There were 14 owls, small and large, on the table along the walls.  You can touch them and feed them.  Some of them may cry and spread their wings, but they do not attack you because they are not hungry being constantly fed by guests and staff. 

When the large owls were static, they looked almost like objets d'art.  They are such beautiful creatures. 

You are allowed to touch the owls on the head and also choose one to hold.  You will wear a thick glove to protect from the sharp claws.  As I was holding the rope tied to the owl's feet, the owl could not fly away but fluttered vigorously.  I felt the power direct to my arms. I had never observed an animal so intensely.  

If you are not interested in cats or maids, owls may catch your heart with the round eyes and dignified posture.  


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Long live the flowers!

This year's cherry blossoms are amazing.  They started blooming here on March 21, over 2 weeks ago, and they are still everywhere in Tokyo in full bloom!

It is such a prolonged luxury of spring.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Visit to Yu-an, the Obayashi Collection

Recently I had a fortunate opportunity to visit Yu-an, the private museum that showcases the Obayashi Collection artworks.  The museum stands in a quiet residential area, and is closed to the public.

The owner gave us a tour around the house which was full of commission works of world's finest living artists.  The glass and concrete building was designed by Tadao Ando, and the courtyard, covered by over 6,000 shining tiles, was done by Olafur Eliasson,

Like public museums, the exhibits change every few months, and when we visited, the solo show of Simon Fujiwara was going on, coinciding with his another solo exhibition at Opera City Art Gallery in Tokyo.

It also serves as the owner's personal two-bedroom guest house where his guests can dine and sleep amid the world's finest artists' works.  Tokujin Yoshioka's beautiful glass table reflects the light coming from Eliasson's courtyard and creates a most artistic bar!

The place was a real hidden gem.