日本での一年間

September 14, 2010

A Day At Naoshima (Part 3)

Filed under: Domestic, Shikoku, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:01 am

This is my final post about Naoshima, the island famous for modern art that is found between Japan’s largest island of Honshu and its other major island, Shikoku. My first post can be read here and my second post can be found here.

I end my short tour of Naoshima with the pumpkins, the most well known symbol of this island.

Yellow Pumpkin

Most tourist guides or books about the island use this pumpkin sculpture as a symbol for the island, so it's no wonder that it is almost always surrounded by tourists clamorring to take a picture.

Yellow pumpkin

A close up of the above pumpkin.

beach

Kids play at the beach next to the yellow pumpkin, as if giant pumpkins are always looming over beaches where children play.

Red pumpkin

The yellow pumpkin gets all the glory, but there is also a red pumpkin, right next to the ferry terminal at Miyanoura.

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September 13, 2010

A Day at Naoshima (Part 2)

Filed under: Domestic, Shikoku, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 4:17 am

This is a continuation of my previous post.

After spending a leisurely hour or two at the Yemeni Cafe, we finally headed to our next destination. We had to wait a while before boarding a bus to Tsutsujiso. It was a very hot day and you could see people doing whatever they could to stay cool.

Heat fatigue prevention

These girls had fans, sweat towels, parasols...anything to help them stay cool under the hot summer sun.

We finally got on a bus and headed to the south part of the island. There are 2 large museums there: the Benesse Art House, which also has an expensive hotel, and the Chichuu Art Museum. We had heard from the Europeans we met at the Yemeni Cafe that the Chichu Art Museum was the one we should go to and not having enough time for both, we headed straight to the Chichu Museum.

On the bus

A view from the bus while headed to the Chichu Art Museum

Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any pictures inside the Chichu Art Museum. The museum is expensive, but very cool. I figured I’m not in Naoshima everyday, so why not splurge on a somewhat expensive museum. The building was designed by the famous architect, Tadao Ando, and it features the work of only three artists, Walter De Maria, James Turrell and Claude Monet.The whole museum is underground, but you don’t really feel like you’re underground. Getting through the museum is a little confusing because it’s a maze and we almost missed a very interesting part. Or maybe we missed a second half of the museum. It’s hard to tell. It was also surprising that every single staff member spoke English. Every other place we went that day, we were spoken to in Japanese, but here it was exclusively English.

pond

Outside the museum, we found this pond filled with lily pads.

September 12, 2010

A Day at Naoshima (Part 1)

Filed under: Domestic, Shikoku, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:33 am

I took a day trip to the island of Naoshima (直島) last weekend with the friend I was visiting. The island is in Japan’s Seto inland sea (瀬戸内海), between the largest Japanese island of Honshu and the smaller major island of Shikoku. (Japan has 4 main islands: Honshu 本州, Shikoku 四国, Kyushu 九州 and Hokkaido 北海道.) Naoshima is in between Okayama prefecture on Honshu and Kagawa prefecture on Shikoku, but it is officially part of Kagawa prefecture. Therefore, although I have never set foot on the island of Shikoku, if anyone asks, I can now tell them I’ve been there. Nice. Anyway, we went to Naoshima because it is famous for its modern art museums and public art. The most common picture of the island used for promotion and taken by tourists is of Yayoi Kusuma‘s giant pumpkin sculptures. Several of them can be found around the island. Unfortunately, in most of the museums, you cannot take pictures, so I don’t have very many pictures of the art, but I can show you the pumpkins and some views of the island. The ferry ride from the main island was a quick 15 minutes, so clearly this island is not too far away.

On the ferry

View from the ferry, about halfway through the ride. There are many other little islands there.

Getting around the island was fairly easy. There are three main areas where everything is located. The ferry let us off at Miyanoura (宮浦港) and the buses go between there and Tsutsujiso (つつじ荘), where the major museums are, via Honmura(本村), where the Art House Project is. All buses cost 100 yen, or about 1 USD. We first took the bus to Honmura and went to see the Art House Project (家プロジェクト). The Art House Project took a bunch of abandoned houses and turned them into a collection of art galleries.

Go'o Shrine

The first house project house we saw was actually a shrine. The Art House ticket allows you to go under the shrine and see....I'm not sure what we were supposed to see actually. There was a stone passageway and stone cavern, but I did not understand why we had paid money to go under the shrine. The Japanese guests all seemed to love it though, so maybe we missed something.

The other house I was able to take a picture of was called Haisha.

Haisha house

The Haisha house. It looks a lot more decorated than most of the other houses, which tend to look like typical traditional Japanese houses from the outside.

Statue of Liberty

A giant Statue of Liberty 2 stories tall was inside the house.

Before heading to the next place, we stopped at a little cafe we found in the Art House Project area, run by a Yemeni guy and his Japanese wife out of a 100 year-old house.

Yemeni Cafe

Inside the tatami room of the Yemeni cafe.

While we sat there sipping out ginger infused honey drink (which is apparently not something they drink in Yemen, just something the owner’s wife likes), we talked with a group of Japanese women, who shared their boiled corn with us. It was a very hot day and it was nice to take a break to beat the heat.

September 9, 2010

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Filed under: Domestic, Shikoku, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:33 am
Fire Prevention sign

A sign asking you to be vigilant about preventing fires on the mountain. It looks like the trees are a bit apprehensive and the rabbit at the bottom of the sign looks quite nervous. But this sign is kind of getting lost on the brush, so what if someone doesn't see it and casually tosses away their cigarette?

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