Tag Archives: museum

都民の日

1 Oct

Today (October 1st) is 「都民の日」 (Tokyo Residents’ Day).

I wrote about this day last year (Click here to read it).

Students in Tokyo have the day off today, and public zoos, aquariums and museums offer free admission today (private ones normally don’t).

If you’re in Tokyo and you want to go somewhere free (and don’t mind the inevitable crowd)…here’s a list of places in Tokyo offering free admission on October 1st every year (there may be others…these are the ones I remember off hand):

Koishikawa Korakuen
Tama Zoo
Ueno Zoo
Tokyo Sea Life Park
Inokashira Zoo
Yumenoshima Greenhouse
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

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Tokyo Residents Day

1 Oct

All prefectures and wards in Japan have a “Residents Day”.

Wards (similar to U.S. counties) normally have a festival for their Residents Day … and prefectures (similar to U.S. states) usually give kids the day off from school and that prefecture’s zoos and museums offer free admission.

Today (October 1st) is 都民の日 (Tokyo Residents Day).

Normally zoos and museums in Japan are closed on Mondays.
Today is a Monday, but Tokyo’s two government-owned zoos (Ueno Zoo and Tama Zoo) are open today and admission is free.

The zoos in Japan always on Mondays if it’s a holiday (though free only on a few days a year)…but they close the day after the holiday — so Tokyo’s zoos will be closed tomorrow (October 2nd).

A typhoon hit the Tokyo area yesterday but the weather is nice today, so the zoos are sure to be crowded today.   

So if you’re in Tokyo now, and you don’t mind a crowd, you can go to one of Tokyo’s zoos for free today (I recommend Tama Zoo but it’s not as conveniently located as Ueno Zoo).
Just don’t plan to go to a zoo or museum in Tokyo tomorrow … they’ll be closed (the ones in the neighboring prefectures are closed today but will be open tomorrow … as usual).

Machu Picchu exhibit in Tokyo

16 Jun

Yesterday my wife and I went to a special “Machu-Picchu” exhibit at a museum in Tokyo.

Have you heard of Machu Picchu ?

They are an ancient Inka ruins in Peru that wasn’t known to the Spanish when they invaded South America…therefore it wasn’t plundered when it was discovered by an American archaeologist in 1912.

Since this year is the one-hundred anniversary of the discovery of Machu-Picchu, the 「国立科学博物館」 (National Science Museum) has a special exhibit about the Inka people and Machu-Picchu, titled 「マチュピチュ発見100年インカ帝国展」 (“The Inka Empire, 100 Years after the Machu-Picchu Discovery”).

Machu-Picchu flyer

The flyer for the special “Machu-Picchu” exhibit.

Among the items in this collection, you can see actual mummies and a short twelve-minute 3-D movie that takes you “into” Machu-Picchu.

This exhibit can be seen at the 「国立科学博物館」 (National Science Museum), not far from 上野駅 (Ueno train station) in Tokyo until Sunday, 2012 June 24th.

熊田千佳慕 R.I.P.

13 Aug

熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) was an artist born in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan) in 1911.

He was a graphic designer until the age of 26 when he changed careers to do something he was passionate about. He became a botanical artist.

He loved children and he loved nature…especially insects. So he wrote books for children about plants and insects.

kumada-book

He was often called the 「日本のファーブル」 (“Japanese Fabre“) or even 「プチファーブル」 (“Petit Fabre“).

He was called that because ジャン・アンリ・ファーブル (Jean Henri Fabre) was a French entomologist (insect scientist) who lived from the early nineteenth century until the early twentieth century.
He’s pretty famous in Japan.

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

My family and I are interested in insects. (Click here to see a couple photos of our latest “pet”.)
Last year we went to a ファーブル (Fabre) exhibit at a museum in Tokyo.

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Flyer for "Jean Henri Fabre" exhibit in Tokyo

Like Fabre, 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) loved insects.
And he drew detailed illustrations of plants and insects for children’s book even when he was into his late 90s!

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This year, the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store in 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) is celebrating it’s 140th anniversary.
As part of it’s celebration, they’re having an exhibit of the artwork of 熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada) on the 8th floor from yesterday (2009 August 12) until August 24.

kumada-art01But what makes this exhibit especially significant is that it is now a memorial to the artist…since, one day after the opening of the exhibit, he died today at the age of 98.

Tragically, it wasn’t old age that took him. He may have very well lived past 100. He died today when he choked to death on food that he swallowed wrong.

My family and I plan to go to the exhibit of his artwork in the 松屋 (“Matsuya“) Department Store this month.

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熊田千佳慕 (Chikabo Kumada): 1911 July 21 – 2009 August 13 (age 98), R.I.P.

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13

Chikabo Kumada, 1911/7/21 - 2009/8/13

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iKnow!

6 Dec

Do you study 日本語 (Japanese)?
Have you ever seen the website called ” iKnow! “?

iknow1

It’s a excellent site for language study drills. English speakers can study Japanese, and Japanese people can use it to study English.

You can customize it to your level of ability and it drills new words different ways: 漢字 (kanji) → English, ひらがな → English, and English → Japanese (both 漢字 (kanji) and ひらがな), and also shows the 漢字 (kanji characters) and has you type in the reading for them.

(I believe you can also study Japanese using only alphabet characters instead of 漢字 (kanji) or ひらがな if you can’t read Japanese characters…but I haven’t tried it that way, so I’m not positive)

It’s a quite good program. And the best part is…the beta version is free! (Click here to visit the iKnow! page.)

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Yesterday, the weather wasn’t so cold in Tokyo…but it rained hard. So, although today’s a nice clear day,  it’s colder. In fact, the 天気予報 (weather forecast) for today says it will snow on the other coast of Japan!

Here’s today’s 天気予報 (weather forecast) for all of Japan (東京 (Tokyo) is sunny):

japan-tenki

And this week’s 天気予報 (weather forecast) for Tokyo:

tokyo-tenki

It’s forecast to rain again on 火曜日 (Tuesday) and 水曜日 (Wednesday)! 😦

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All of last week, my second daughter had 職場体験 (work experience). Most Japanese junior-high school students work at a local business for a week to an idea of what it’s like to have a job (and maybe help them decide on a future career).

Last year, my oldest did her 職場体験 (work experience) at a local 幼稚園 (kindergarten). And last week, my second daughter just finished her’s at a nearby 動物園 (zoo).

Both of them really enjoyed the experience.

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Speaking of the 動物園 (zoo)…yesterday, my youngest daughter’s class at school took a field trip to 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) and the 博物館 (museums) near the zoo.

Luckily it didn’t rain until later in the day, so they were able to enjoy the 動物園 (zoo).

She took all of these photographs (she took alot more photos…but I’m not posting any of them that show her or her classmates):

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And tomorrow, we’re going to watch my youngest daughter’s Koto concert. (Koto is a traditional Japanese musical instrument that my daughter plays).

浮世絵

16 Nov

I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe: Japanese woodblock prints).

Have you ever seen 浮世絵 (ukiyoe)?
It’s a traditional style of Japanese “painting“. Instead of using a brush, the picture is carved into woodblocks which are used like a printing press to make the picture.
But the whole picture isn’t carved into one block…different parts of the picture are carved into different blocks. So the picture is printed in layers.

It must have been alot of work!

I have seen a number of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) exhibits at museums over the years.

As with many people, my favorite artists are 北斎 (Hokusai) and 広重 (Hiroshige).

One of the most famous (if not the most famous) 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) works is 神奈川沖波裏 (“The Great Wave Off Of Kanagawa“) by 北斎 (Hokusai):

wave1

I like that picture alot, too. But my personal favorites are the 妖怪 (monsters):

yokai2

浮世絵 (ukiyoe) subjects aren’t usually 妖怪 (monsters) though. Common themes of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) are 相撲 (sumo), 歌舞伎 (kabuki), 芸者 (geisha) and 自然 (nature).

Anyways, this month, the 江戸東京博物館 (Edo-Tokyo Museum) in Tokyo is having a couple of special exhibits.

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One is the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) collection from The Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston of America, and the other is a 「浅草今昔」 (“Asakusa: Then And Now“) exhibit.

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I went to see them yesterday. It was pretty crowded in the museum because it was a Saturday, but it was enjoyable. As I said, I like 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and I also like 下町 (traditional downtown areas of Japan) like 浅草 (Asakusa).

The 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) in the exhibit from the Boston Museum were items that were from three American’s personal collections.

It was interesting to see the types of art that Americans like to collect compared to the types of 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) that a Japanese person might choose.
Americans seem to like the very colorful, almost flashy pieces…but Japanese tastes tend to be more simple. I’ve lived in Japan for awhile now…I guess my style is more Japanese now.
It’s just an observation. Not to say one culture is better than another…just interesting to compare.

Inside the museum, there are places that it’s indicated that it’s OK to take a photo…but the 浮世絵 (ukiyoe) and 浅草今昔 (Asakusa: Then And Now) areas were marked 「撮影禁止」, which means “No Photography Allowed”, so I couldn’t take any photos of those exhibits.

But there was a traditional Japanese dance show at the museum that I was able to take a few videos of.

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I took eight short video of this group, and uploaded them to My YouTube Page. They’re pretty good, click here to visit my YouTube page and you can see all of my videos.

Here’s one video of them:

After the museum, we walked to 浅草 (Asakusa), and visited a Japanese Garden there.

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There was a man at the Japanese garden playing a 三味線 (Shamisen) which is a traditional Japanese instrument.
I took this video of him: