Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tokyo is not Vacant but Vacant is in Tokyo

I was in Tokyo for a week - November 24 - December 1, 2015 to install and deinstall a solo show - Ladders, Artifacts and Trees: Selected Works from Hiroshima, curated by Diego Cortez at the highly aestheticized space of VACANT - a cool, hip building owned by Yusuke Nagai = first floor is VACANT - part art/photo bookshop, part vintage clothes shop and nifty collectibles and the back half a very nice gallery / project space. Cool music plays all day long - like Magnetic Fields and Joni was a calm whirlwind - nothing went wrong and my show got big coverage in the Tokyo Newspaper!!!! Stayed in a mundane Air B+B apartment only 10 minutes away from Vacant in the Harajuku neighborhood - crazy young fashionistas and shops, malls, haute couture being right next door in Omotosando Hills.......

This was my first meal in Toyko - Afuri, a cheap noodle shop around the corner from my place....delicious and filling, cheap and cold beer on draft! Plus the chef winked at me!

Walking home at night, safe as can be, I was somewhat mesmerized by this series of anime billboards - such softly implied violence / force against women - perhaps subtle but it is there.....

And these netting structures outside of a restaurant made me think of Ruth Asawa's amazing work. I introduced her work to Yusuke and Marie Sasago - the two most delightful people to work with at Vacant....had 2 divine lunches with them and loved working with them - both with keen eyes and a strong work / focused ethic....

In a cab on the way to see the SHUNGA (sexual / eroticisim in Japanese Art from the Eido Period) I saw Amy White's signature on the back of a sign:

Sake barrels / bushels at the Meiji Shrine

2 bikes after Gabriel Orozco / after/for Felix Gonzalez-Torres

3 bikes / 3 window patterns

metal boxes for sale at Vacant

long broom at Meiji Shrine

The black and white wall at Vacant - hung spontaneously by me and Yusuke with the perfect help of Marie....photograms and solarized prints, rubbings, contact photographs and straight documentary images all together from Fukushima, Nagasaki and Hiroshima

After Ben Alper posted a cool photo of something in a mirror, I did this one of my carpet in the Air B+B

I do not understand what these flowers are for on the street with chubbiness signs. 

random detail of random poster on random board

my cyanotype of a Hiroshima ladder near the cash register at Vacant

 random but stunning wall / door in Harajuku near Vacant

Yusuke Nagai's father's work, neon, off

My EGGSLUT breakfast was quite delicious thank you.

This mark was burned into the center of the wooden floor of the gallery space at Vacant

Mt Fuji from the train. I almost missed it with hy head and heart sinking heavily into the amazing and disturbing book Voices from Chernobyl.

Walked by this building every day in Harajuku from my place to Vacant

Harajuku moon and tree

 Cinematic space in Harajuku

At Hiroshima Station waiting for shinkansen

Breakfast spot

Upon Diego's suggestion, I went to Honmura An's soba restaurant for my lonely Thanksgiving and it was divine. Even great art and design filled me with pleasure.

Beef carpaccios with daikon radisj and shiso leaves and wasabi....

a free dessert of delicious apricot mochi with a whole apricot inside!

cool Harajuku building

IMA Gallery space in Roppongi Hills where Nishino Sohei's show was, curated/organized by Ivan Vartanian - a cool show and love this bookshelf leaning!

Nishino's work is made up of over 10,000 photographs he takes in Tokyo and Johannesberg and then collages them together, printed seamlessly ultimately....

views from the Shinkansen - supposedly every 3 seconds someone commits suicide in Japan and many of them are done by jumping in front of these super fast "bullet trains". There are people employed to clean up the mess as fast as possible so the train can go again.

Peekaboo ladder outside of Vacant

Harajuku Sign

Meiji Shrine door detail

Meiji Shrine flower arrangements

This very young and dedicated monk came and sat front and center in this staged wooden space all by himself, unflinching as everyone took photographs of him and whispered. I swear he followed me with his eyes.....

The largest wooden Tori Gate in all of Japan at Meiji Shrine

Offering / prayer tree at Meiji Shrine

Why can't the U.S. have trains like these? Oh yeah, almost forgot, we spend most of our money on guns and weapons systems.

My 10 year old daughter Harper would love it here - so many stuffies, bears and cute things

super friendly hair salon women near Vacant - everyone is nice in Japan...and stylish

Harajuku Moon and Tree

Still am in disbelief that the main Tokyo newspaper covered my 3 day show with such a big headline, decent story and a great color photograph!

the one cool detail in my Air B+B

and a goofy one that Guthrie liked during our facetime chats

my Tokyo view

More views from the train + Photosynth Collages

On the way back to Hiroshima, this nice gentleman talked to me and took our picture and sent it to me via email. He had a foldable guitar in his bag and runs a business to save energy costs for homes.

 Here si the dapper Yusuke installing my show with the gorgeous Marie whisking by:

 One of the highlights of my Tokyo trip was meeting Mariko Nagai - introduced to me years ago by Bo Jacobs - a writer, poet. I devoured her amazing book DUST OF EDEN on the train "home". She moderated our discussion at my opening and was so great. We had two dinners together - a smoky smorgasbord and a fabulous healthy tufu dinner at a Neals Yard vegetarian place - and went shopping at Issaye Miyake and I just love her! She is spunky, smart, beautiful, talented, open, honest, challenging and super nice. I hope she and I get to work together again. I know we will stay friends. She is super and I highly recommend her book....She grew up in Belgium and the States but is a Japanese citizen. her novel is about a girl and her family sent to an internment camp in the USA during WWII. She also calls herself an "accidental photographer" and I love that. Here she is on the left with Yusuke taking photos of us and a big young fan of my work Masayo.

Detail of sidewalk in front of Vacant

Xmas decorations went up immediately after Halloween here

Yusuke and Marie - delightful!

Stumbled through Koreatown one day in Tokyo as I walked aimlessly for hours making photographs and crying in pet cemeteries.

In the swanky fashion neighborhood next to Harajuku, Omotesando Hills, Christina Dior window

Never have I seen a dog grooming place like this

A beautiful little shrine in a garage on my street

I could have followed this woman all day and wish I had!

My show

And this poodle?! Poor thing, he has no idea!

This was the 2nd woman I filmed at this Temple / Shrine who was washing this Buddha

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