Tag Archives: sculpture

Tokyo, Day 3: Jimbocho, Marunouchi

I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
2014-07-26 08.33.10My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.

(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)

2014-07-26 08.29.55I don’t know who this guy is, but he must be a pretty big deal.  His face was plastered on every other building along my walk.

He’s cute.  Love the bangs, too.

Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why.  I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity.  I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella.  It really helps.

My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.

2014-07-26 09.05.30This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways.  It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.

2014-07-26 09.30.43You can see the Dome in the background of this shot of a lily pond.

When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby.  It was very surreal.

After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.

There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds.  I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.

2014-07-26 09.52.05Okay.


I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture.  So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.

Or sea creature.

Or water faucet.

It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.

On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo.  Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.

imperial moatThe Imperial Palace was just a couple of blocks from my hotel, so I walked along it’s enormous moat — with many brave people jogging in the heat — then headed into the business district for lunch.

Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city.  Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.

2014-07-26 12.27.20But the ancient passageway is small and rather understated; I don’t know that I would have noticed it unless I was looking for it.

The expressway overhead plays a big part in that.  It casts a long shadow.

Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.

I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).

2014-07-26 12.41.47The kites were really beautiful art pieces, displayed as kites, framed under glass, and covering the walls and ceilings.


2014-07-26 12.39.582014-07-26 12.39.30








I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!

I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.



Funny business

What is the funniest joke of all time?


Two cannibals are eating a clown. One cannibal turns to the other one and says —
“Does this taste funny to you?

My all-time favorite.

What brought this to mind?  I found a sculpture online — a modern take, if you will — of two zombies eating a clown that was inspired by that classic vaudeville joke.

two zombies eating a clownI don’t know…from where I’m sitting —

Clown looks pretty tasty.

Stone cold fox

Ever found it difficult to get excited about classic sculpture?

Just couldn’t relate??

Well, hold on to your fig leaf — Today I Learned Something New, a UK-based website, has brought together the past and present in their feature…

‘Classical sculptures dressed like hipsters’
hipster statues2hipster statutes








Gone is the overwhelming expanse of chalk-white skin, the blank stare, the disproportionately small family jewels.  These male models’ newly casual look and ‘tude would do any catalog or magazine ad proud.

And if they’re quiet on a date…well, that’s really to be expected.

Lady luck

When it comes to bugs, I earned my wimp card years ago.

I’m not a fan.

But the ladybug?  That’s one very different beetle.  It’s cute, it eats a lot of harmful insects and it’s lucky.  (That’s a scientific fact.)

If you like ladybugs too, you might consider this Ladybug Nightlight that my friend Stephanie sells at Stoopher & Boots on the Upper West Side.

Look at that face.

And you might stop reading right now.  Because the rest of this post on ladybugs will freak you out.  It did me.

Hungarian Artist Gabor Fulop also likes ladybugs.  A lot. So much so that he created 20,000 and hand-painted them.

He then applied his ladybug creations to a  sculpture of the human form, forcing viewers to imagine what it would feel like to have ladybugs crawling over every inch of their bodies.

Me?  I wouldn’t feel lucky at all.

A doll’s life

Barbie…a hoarder???

That’s no dream kitchen, sister…

It’s a nightmare.

It kept Carrie M. Becker up at night.  So the St. Louis native, photographer and sculptor created “Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse,” a photographic exhibition at the Riney Museum of Fine Art at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.

I love the idea of Barbie as a hoarder.

The girl is so perfect in every other way; you just know she has to act out somehow.  What better way than trashing that powder puff pink nightmare of a townhouse?

Which begs the question…

What is Ken’s secret?

To the tape

The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games have been a continuing source of inspiration.

Athletes facing injury, personal tragedy, and seemingly insurmountable odds have performed amazing feats of skill and courage, winning the the highest honor in their respective sport and a permanent spot in Olympic history.

Ya gotta love it.

But not everyone can be an Olympic athlete.  And that’s…okay.  There are other ways to express your skill, creativity, and passion to be the best.

I’m talking about the Scotch Packaging Tape art competition, of course.

The ‘free-form’ competition takes place in the United Kingdom, and features artwork made of — well, tape — and other materials to support it (like wire or cardboard), as long as the ‘other’ is less than 10 percent of the whole.

The photos are pretty amazing — jellyfish, a complete office desk, a lady on a swing — and all made with Scotch Tape.

Rumor has it Scotch Tape sculpture is being considered as a sport for the next Winter Olympic Games.

I’m kidding,  of course.  (It is so clearly a summer sport.)