Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dried Persimmons, On Top of a Mushroom Cloud and Umeshu

Yesterday, Saturday, October 17

I have quit coffee 100% with no intention. Just have fallen in love with green tea. Have cut my alcohol intake to at least 30% of the norm, again with no intention. I live in an alcohol-free World Friendship Center, which irks me sometimes but ultimately, I find focus and calm and comfort in this rule and surprisingly, effortlessly obey it! I am also trying to take some "down time / time for myself" (per Bo Jacobs delightful reminders - also think of Emma Goldman's command that there should be no revolution without dancing!). So decided to take this weekend slowly. Woke up yesterday to work on the new directional streetsign for the WFC, as the old broke in half and fell to the pavement. Almost finished.....used the still wet paint to spruce up these collages:

Pretty beautiful interior passage from my "villa / guest house" to the main house/center, through this little garden.....

 and while I mostlky work outside or in my tatami sun room, there is also a storage room that Bernd cleaned out before my arrival with a big table where I work on projects for the center and for myself. This is my view from that room - Bern adn Maggie's balcony for hanging the center's laundry:
 Walking to the tram past a Love Hotel's entranceway with this big phallic rock and Shinto paper dangling blowing for Harvest Festival = each fall neighborhood celebrate agriculture and the harvest season with small local parades with drums (posted a video from the Fukushima one last week) and processions...
Took the tram to the bottom of Hijiyama Hill where I lived with my family in 2008 for 3 months - John Hersey writes about in Hiroshima because many took refuge on the superficially undamaged hill - on top of which sits RERF (radiation effects research foundation, previously ABCC, atomic bomc casualty commission) and in the middle a Manga Library / Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art - one iof my favorite museums in the world with a focus on Hiroshima. My favorite OKONOMIYAKI 
restaurant is at the bottom of the hill - Sun Sun - where the woman makes this traditional Japanese dish in the back of her house and she makes her own divine SHISO JUICE!!!!!! It is not on the menu but I remenbered it from 2008 and asked for it and she went and served it to us for free. I love people. 
 We chose to sit at the grill to watch her prepare the meal and to eat straight off the grill! But I have sat at this cool table in the one-room dining area - the only table with Japanese soap operas playing on the TV
 this almost-Marimekko kleenes box cover made me happy 
Here she is preparing the Okonomiyaki - starts with a thin pancake, spices, cabbage, noodles (udon or soba) spices, meat or lots of other things - I just went vegetarian), cheese (a new addition since 2008), scallions, egg, lots of other spices like garlic powder, pickled ginger, dried daikon, sauce.....

The Museum of Contemporary Art is an amazing place - a bit remote from the city but expansive and quiet. The great curator Yukie Kamiya was the chief curator but has recently left to run the Japan Socitey in NYC as chief curator. Amidst the concrete and overwhelming architecture are real architectural gems like the ascending and descending staircases:

 and this courtyard for semi-permanent installations like this one by Kosho Ito, red and brown work by ochre for Hiroshima, 1988 (thinking of Amy White)
 and the glass panels that seperate the courtyard from the museum interior have little reflective circles on them - to warn birds? structural elements? decorative? Regardless, I used them for this "selfies" that I love (always a narcissist)

 Could not take photos of the special exhibition of  Part Two of the Hiroshima 70th anniversary/memorial, A Bird's Eye View of the World. While I found it underwhelming as a whole (surprisingly, as I usually love every show), there were some real knockouts: Matthew Day Jackson's wood and lead map of Hiroshima; Kenzo Tange's architectural model for the Peace Park installed next to his inspiration, Le Corbusier's architectural model for the Palace of the Soviets; Taiji Matsue's impressive large color aerial photographs of cities, flattened, compressed; Jananne Al-Ani's riveting film, Shadow Sites I, a flying moving camera above middle east landscapes; Naoki Hojo's enormous color photographs of sites, including Hiroshima, in which he uses a large format camera but plays with the focus so that the places appear as miniatures, with much of the picture blurry; YAMAGUCHI AKIRA's Department Store, Tokyo Landscape on a folding screen, his nuclear triptych (Tokei / Tokyo) amazing painter/drawer; Shu-Kai Lin's obsessive and post-surreal paintings titled The Civilization of Balcony City Series: To Duplicate a Brief Moment and the real showstopper: NIPAN ORANNIWESNA, a baby powder map called Until Pebbles grow into a Boulder and Become Covered with Moss - a map the size of a large room surrounded with bare bulbs, smelling of talc, temporary and fragile like Wolfgang Laib, conjuring war rooms, replicas, dioramas, dust to dust.....

But I could take as many photos of the permanent collection as I wanted and it is a dynamite collection - always rearranged/reinstalled in fresh ways with different pieces, like these:

This piece made me think of Lien Truong's older work:

This cruciform pinhole color photograph of an upside down ship blew my mind - breathtakingly beautiful, a respite, exquisite

 another architectural moment

so well installed - pieces echoing, ricocheting, shadowing, calling, remembering, witnessing, tracing

Thinking of John Neville here:

 stray cats in Hijiyama Park - I remember the kids and I feeding them - leaving little cans of cat food out for them and watching them devour it with their kittens....

And last night I was invited to go to Bo Jacob and Carol Agrimson's lovely home up near the magical Mitaki Temple

On my way up the steep hil from the Mitaki Station, I come upon this, BEWARE OF WILD BOARS

Bo and Carol's door

heavenly mushroom brschetta

even more heavenly dried persimmons

and the most divine of all, Carol's homemade UMESHU - one of my favorite of all liquors - soaked green plums in a special Japanese liquor.....

the last set of steep stairs to their home that overlooks the city - why didn't I take a picture of the view? I was too busy enjoying it!

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