Yokohama day 2
The next day it was my (almost) free day. Absolutely necessary, specially for those who are not used to long flights and big time zone differences. Not my case, but I’m still glad I had that day off… specially in Japan!
So I got up early, dealt with my emails as quickly as I could, had tradicional Japanese breakfast, I met my friend and client Komaki-san, and after the meeting I left the hotel. My first stop, of course, was the Yokohama Museum of Art. I had no idea they had such a great art collection: Constantin Brâncuși, Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Jimmy Ernst, René Magritte, Henri Matisse, Ossip Zadkine, Pablo Picasso… Dadaist and Surrealist works are especially well represented. The museum also features work by important Japanese artists, especially those with connections to Yokohama such as Imamura Shiko, Kanzan Shimomura, and Chizuko Yoshida. But the real surprise was to see Cai Guo-Qiang: There and Back Again exhibition. While not a huge fan of his art, his “Head On” signature piece is extraordinary. I was surprised that nobody seemed to notice the glass wall onto which the wolves flew and crashed: it’s the whole point! But then again, most people do not ready about the artist or the works they see in a museum or gallery, and quite commonly they don’t even think about what they are seeing.
Another surprise was to see the flyers rack announcing art exhibitions and events around Yokohama: it was a whole lot! Too bad most were in Japanese, but I did manage to get some info in English.
After the “morning art session” I got on my way to another art space: artBANK1929, passing through the Studio Ghibili store and enjoying the sunset on the way.
My purpose to visit artBANK was double: to check out a space so intimately connected to Kazuo Ohno (the “Godfather of Butoh”) and to explore a collaboration for the international art exhibition that I am currently curating in my “spare time” (as if I had any of that!).
The first objective was more than accomplished, for they were hosting the photography exhibition “Kazuo Ohno Festival 2015”. I even had the chance to meet Julie Larisoa, a London based Madagascar butoh artist-in-residence at the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio who will be performing there in a few days, and was practicing.
The second one was also quite successful, because I met with the Director and the Vice-Director (I love that title ;), and we are exploring the options. Anybody wants to become an exhibition sponsor, an art patron?
To top off a great day, I walked all the way to Chinatown. Who knew Yokohama had the biggest Chinatown in the world? I didn’t but I was glad to discover it.
There were many shops, and I realized the Chinese have finally figured out a way to conquer Japan: using pandas! Everybody knows the Japanese love kawaii or “cute things” (who doesn’t?), and there are few things, if any, more kawaii than a panda. So most shops carried all kinds of panda related objects, clothing, stationary, gifts, and even food. But the one thing this Chinatown has more is Chinese restaurants.
While it felt like an unforgivable crime to have Chinese food being in Japan, I could not resist having some very interesting “fried dumplings filled with soup”. Quite a culinary experience! The dessert sweets were quite yummy too.
On my way back to the hotel I made one more stop: the Yokohama Oktoberfest Festival. Whaaat? Yes, exactly.