Sunday, December 3, 2017

INTERMEDIATHEQUE: Archaeology in Design

There is a unique museum open for everyone.  Intermediatheque is in the KITTE building, which was a former post office in front of Tokyo Station's Marunouchi exit.  It is run by Tokyo University and exhibits the university's collection of specimens.  Yes, like bones and fossils, and items of academic interests. 

At this point, you may not feel inclined to visit if you are not a huge archaeology fan, but this museum is worth a visit, especially if you love good design.     

The archaeological specimens are showcased in such a fashionable way in the two-floor space that you may feel like you are in a design store.  (Photo is not allowed inside, thus it is a pity that I cannot share images here.) 

It also includes a small corner called Quai Branly Tokyo, a branch of Paris' Quai Branly Museum, which focuses on ethnic art and cultures.  It blends well with other archaeological exhibits.

Even if you are not interested in other academic museums, you will enjoy the display and space of Intermediatheque.  And you may find yourself enjoying seeing the exhibits.  Admission is free, so you can just drop by between shopping, sightseeing or dining. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Enoura Observatory - A Place to Experience

There is no one word that can aptly define the place.  Hiroshi Sugimoto's Enoura Observatory is a place to experience. 

About 90 minutes away from Tokyo, the Observatory stands on a quiet hill in Odawara overlooking Sagami Bay.  The sea is stunningly blue despite the proximity to the metropolis.

Odawara is known for sea products, has a castle, and many people pass by the station when visiting Hakone, but the city had almost no connection to art.  Sugimoto chose this place because the sea of Odawara was the origin of his childhood memory.

There are several architectures and exhibits meticulously placed in the large land, often based on astronomy.  At dawn on the summer solstice day, the sun penetrates straight through the glass and stone "100-meter gallery, " along which the artist's "Seascape" series is exhibited. 

There is also a tunnel that faces direct to winter solstice sunrise.  And you can see the natural seascape at the end of the tunnel.

In the garden around the Roman theater, you will find authentic artifacts from different periods and various areas of the world.  They seem so natural like having stood there since long time ago that you may just pass by, but each has a history behind it. 

The artist built the observatory as a place to go back to the ancient times when people observed the stars in order to know where they are, which was the origin of art. 

It is a place to experience.  Advance reservation is required to visit.  Why don't you take a day trip from Tokyo and travel back in time?