Sunday, January 12, 2014

Favorite places in Tokyo: a bookstore and a museums complex

We arrived in Tokyo from Moscow at one-something pm last Tuesday, drove our luggage to Akihabara and hurried back to the metro station. Boyfriend had to go to the uni, and I went to my favorite bookstore (my japanese classes were to begin on Friday (what kind of a bad joke is that?), so I planned all the places I have to visit before starting the new trimester. The plan wasn't sophisticated:
  • Tuesday the awesomest/biggest bookstore I've ever seen in Tokyo.
  • Wednesday huge complex of at least 10 museums/art galleries, not far from our home.
  • Thursday Harajuku cherries picking.

I had a really good time at the bookstore as well as in the museums complex (especially, I enjoyed the National Museum; it had a bigger collection of artifacts than anywhere else.)

Made a high-quality scan of the very nice and touching The Royal Tenenbaums spread from some food zine (you can click on it, it's huge).

When I took some pictures, bought some nice things and my search through the bookshelves was over, I went to get some coffee. There is a coffee shop inside one of the bookstore buildings, so you could buy a drink, find a nice place somewhere inside (there are endless cosy labyrinths filled with tables and chairs) and read all the books and magazines that you want to. However, when I came there, all the tables inside were occupied, so I had to take my drink and find a place to sit outside..? I hesitated at first, but there were a few people sitting outside, still alive. "At what temperature does the human body freeze? Never mind." What a relief it was to know, that at some point, it was warmer to sit outside, because next to each table stood a heater. And the warm air was blowing right on you. I've never seen a place offering anything other than a warm blanket before.

can you see these big mushrooms made of steel? these are the heaters.

The sun set quite soon, and the staff began lighting the candles. It also started to get really cold, and the heater already wasn't enough for me. Moreover, Boyfriend didn't answer the massages (he fell asleep, I didn't doubt it for a sec, just wondered if he got home or passed out on the train). I started packing up.

The bookstore area gets prettier in the evenings. Although, the workers have removed a great amount of the christmas decorations from the streets, this place is continue to sparkle. And the light bulbs there are almost perfect!

I bought one book and one zine that day which I'm going to (nah maybe) review in a couple of days, because these things are more famous than I thought they were. No great expectations there, though.

The next day was the ~art galleries~ day. I put on Boyfriend's red béret got some coffee and headed to the museums area. By the "museums area" I mean Ueno park. It's a huge park with a zoo (yeah, it means pandas. it does), several shrines, cafes, monuments and nearly ten museums and galleries.

I picked three places to visit: the museum of western artthe tokyo national museum and the japan art academy showroom. In the first museum I made a load of marks, in the second even more pictures and the third place made me super upset.

Truth is, the reason I made so many marks was that Renoir was the only artist I knew from the museum collection (well, at least among the artists I paid a special attention to). I couldn't even remember Doré! I read Dante's Inferno with Doré's illustrations, but his work, that was presented in the museum, was absolutely different. It was oil on canvas. Anyways, his graphic skills is the most impressive thing I've ever seen. I mean, literally (you should better look through all this gallery of his works). And that day, I discovered the other side of Doré.

" L a  S i e s t a "

P. S. ahh (•ˇ‿ˇ•)

" L e s  O c é a n i d e s "

P. P. S. I'm stopping, I'm stopping.

" A   M i d s u m m e r   N i g h t " 

Another thing that caught my attention was the wall with only two almost identical (I'm sorry!) landscapes by Jean-Victor Bertin on it.

" G r e e k   l a n d s c a p e "  vs.  " I t a l i a n   l a n d s c a p e "

I also noted Hubert Robert's work "The imaginary view of Rome" with a mark "details!!", however when I googled his works from another "imaginary series", I liked "The Louvre in ruins" and "The grand gallery in the Louvre" even better.

" T h e   i m a g i n a r y   v i e w  o f   R o m e   s e r i e s "

I don't know why, but David Tieniers' paintings make me giggle.

" T h e   t e m p t a t i o n   o f  S t.  A n t h o n y "

Ok. The last one. I was told that this guy Gillis van Coninxloo is really famous. I feel so ignorant! But also, how cool is that I finally know him and can now adore his technics (leaves!).

" L a n s c a p e   w i t h   t h e   j u d g e m e n t   o f   P a r i s "

I was aware of the fact that the souvenirs at the art galleries shops are one the lamest things ever, but it was only the day I saw these cuties when I finally believed this legend. I mean, just look at this teddy bear made of Moné’s lilies and these Hello Kitty Skrik souvenirs why of course i bought them both!

beautiful stained-glass windows in the Tokyo National museum

My second destination was The Tokyo National Museum which is located two minutes from that art gallery. It's my favorite museum in Tokyo and the whole area around is so nice.

This is a part of the National museum complex. The most beautiful building and the most meaningless one. There is nothing to see inside but the white plastic chairs. There was no special exhibitions inside the main building too, so I just went to look at the main collection.

These artifacts are from the Tea Ceremony room. In the gif: ash spoon, fire tongs,
kettle lifting rings, tea kettle (I almost laughed when i saw it) and two tiny lid rests!

In the picture above: thingies! but really: fittings for mudflaps, sliding-door handles and nail covers, something, horse bells.

In the picture below: painted shells for the "shell matching" game, nice cap, articulated hawk (his neck, wings, tail and even his claws are movable), pillows and papier-mâché boxes.

About these two pillows. I read somewhere before, that geishas were made to sleep on this type of pillows laying their necks on them so that their hair wasn't touching the floor in order not to damage the hairstyle. In the beginning of the study process, the pillows could be also surrounded by rice. ... The cat shaped boxes are cute though!

Sake bottles were pretty.

I was tired but in high spirits when I walked out of the museum and was walking toward the metro station when I saw one more gallery with an announcement "CONSTELLATION 2014 4/1-11/1". Constellations. One week only. I was intrigued. The ticket was twice as expensive as the previous one. What did I feel when I finished seeing the exhibitio? I can't tell you for sure. But it was a bad feeling, kind of angry to say more.

this... (¬_¬)

Agh, whatever. I took two more pictures in the park and went home.

The city is seen through the trees of the Ueno park

A fragment of the futuristic bus I saw near the Ueno park.
There are always the prettiest buses in this area.

I think, I'll write about Harajuku the next time. Sorry for all the nerdy stuff.

P.S. More pictures from the National museum will be posted on tumblr.


  1. seems like you really had a great time in tokyo. would love to come one day. aah that IT by alexa chung! i need that in my hand right now <3

    1. i had indeed, thank you very much! i live in tokyo, actually. and yes, it would be great if you could come visit me one day!

      haha, i have no idea why people obsess over "IT". i mean, right, the book is nice and touching and somehow naive, but that's it. i would love to read your review of it, though! tell me if you purchase it. have a nice day! (⑅ ॣ•͈ᴗ•͈ ॣ)