Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Nov: Japan: Tokyo: Roppongi

Roppongi is a district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, famous as home to the rich Roppongi Hills area. Many foreign embassies are located in Roppongi.

The name "Roppongi", which appears to have been coined around 1660, literally means "six trees". Six very old and large zelkova trees used to mark the area; the first three were cleared, and the last were destroyed during World War II. [Reference]

What Roppongi offered me on this trip?

Franciscan Chapel Center (Roman Catholic) - The English-Speaking Roman
Catholic Parish of the Archdiocese of Tokyo
Address 4-2-37 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032 JAPAN
All English Mass: Sat 8 AM, **6 PM**; Sundays 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 Noon 6 PM


Maman (sculpture) 
It is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois. The sculpture, which depicts a spider, is among the world's largest, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide (927 x 891 x 1024 cm).[1] It includes a sac containing 26 marble eggs and its abdomen and thorax are made up of ribbed bronze. The title is the familiar French word for Mother.

It alludes to the strength of Bourgeois' mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection.

The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.
— Louise Bourgeois

Mori Art Museum presents Lee Mingwei and His Relations
Take Part, Make Art. (Sep 20, 2014 - Jan 4, 2015)

The Art of Participation - Seeing, Conversing, Gift-Giving, Writing, Dining and Getting Connected to the World

"Relations" is a word that calls to mind "human relationships”, “casual relationships" and other mutual connections and relationships among multiple people and things. And words like "connections" and "in-between are an opportunity to focus our awareness on the condition and extent of such relations among things. Not considering people and things as individual, independent entities, but focusing our awareness on the "in-between" space where they are intricately interconnected.

The Mending Project is a project in which the artist or a host mends articles of clothing brought to this gallery by visitors.  From the conversation that takes place while the articles are being mended, various "relationships" and "connections" are established turning the gallery space into a dynamic installation.

"Participatory Art" - My favorite is the "The Moving Garden", in which you are challenged to be contagious to others.  You can only get a flower from the exhibit if you promise to give it to a stranger on your way back home. 

Next, is writing the letter to who you wanted to say something but was not able to.  You have the option to include the recipient's address and the gallery will send it on your behalf.  Others are open letters, in which visitors can also read the messages from previous participants.

If I had to pick a quote that hits me from this exhibit, it be coming from John Cage - "Works for Relational":

There is no such thing as 
empty space, empty time.  
There is always something to see, 
something to hear.

Tokyo City View (52F, Roppongi Hills)  

Plus 500 yen then you can reach the Sky Deck (open-air observation).  This is good, if it is not too cloudy or rainy during your visit.

Summary of 4 days itinerary in 2014 Autumn Toyota Trip:

Places to see
Food and Restaurants
Where to Sleep
Day 1
Arrival at Narita Airport
Catholic Church
Roppongi Hills
Optional: Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa
Dinner in Ippudo, Roppongi
Day 2
Fuji: Lake Kawaguchiko 
Optional: Akihabara
Inside the Lake Kawaguchiko Bus Terminal and Train station
Restaurant along Ningyocho St.
Hotel Horidome Villa
Day 3
Optional: Oedo Onsen in Odaiba
Liberty and Gundam in Odaiba
Disney Sea
Gundam Cafe, Diver's City Mall
Hotel Horidome Villa
Day 4
University of Tokyo 
Optional: Imperial Palace East Garden (closed on Mondays)
Ginkgo Avenue (Icho Namiki) near Aoyama-Icchome Station
Harajuku (walking adventure until) Shibuya 
Ebisu Garden 
Tokyo Station
St-Marc’s Café, Kodenmacho Station
Caffe Solare, Harajuku
Café and Bar Avion
Hotel Horidome Villa