Yayoi Kusama at Forever Museum

Wake up slightly hungover from our karaoke binge last night. The indoor smoking here in Japan is murder on the limited travel clothes we’ve got. Ah well, I just jam on the same jeans and sweater as last night and get ready for our return to Kyoto. Gotta finish the job, although it feels like you need at least a week there and you probably couldn’t say that. Three tour days should be good.

Shower up and exit Namba Oasis towards the station. There were a ton of restaurants near there, shouldn’t be too hard to find something. We spy a second floor French place called Cafe de la Paix and decide to try it out. The French breakfast theme has been treating us well. Ooooh this is fancy pantsy.

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Grand piano and high ceilings. There’s a relaxing classical/jazzy piano mix playing. The place is practically empty. They offer us an ashtray w breakfast. We decline and go for a breakfast sandwich, some egg triangle pockets and coffees instead.

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Cute

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The view out on the main strip is nice, touched up with some potted flowers

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Done and done. If I know Kyoto we’ll need the whole day to check out 3 awesome locations. Gotta get on it. While we’re waiting to pay at the cash the girl is trying to entice the cashier to attend some sort of Dracula musical and hands her a flyer.

We hit the subway and backtrack to Kyoto. The Elegant Saloon 8000 double decker train comes in to pick us up. This thing is great, are the commuter trains between Osaka and Kyoto just better than usual? We’re quick to get to the observation deck and nab the last window seat on what I’m assuming to be the scenery side since it’s the one that filled up so fast.

A Japanese dude in our car is wearing an amazing shirt that says “Blow Change Minds Around You”

We take off towards Kyoto. It’s filled with those slide by moments that can only be observed briefly and not conveyed well through text or caught in pictures. Nice bridges. Golf course. Urban areas outside of city life. It would be neat to visit our flight-mate Matt from the Institute of Planetary Materials in his little town. Maybe we’ll have time for some smaller towns at some point on this trip.

Yayoi Kusama exhibit at Forever Museum

We get back to familiar Kyoto and beeline it straight to the Forever Museum where we spotted the Yayoi Kusama exhibit a few days earlier. Easy to find with her iconic giant yellow pumpkin sitting out front

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We head in and are instantly greeted by a caretaker there. She leads us to the start of the exhibit and explains that we can take pictures in the first area but not throughout. And then there’s the living legend herself in a huge portrait on the wall

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Beside this is the art piece from the background of her portrait. The 3d looking designs with it’s dark lines and spacing of dots remind me of those hologram posters you stare at long enough for an image to pop out of. If you stare at one spot in this it kind of looks like it’s moving and slithering. It’s a massive piece consisting of three large panels.

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There’s a handwritten note beside it that I’ll have to google translate some day

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The exhibit itself is great. Filled with her unique style of abstract dots and triangles, butterflies, the red dress, a bazillion pumpkins of all colors and some scenery pieces, including a nice rendition of Mt Fuji. There are 5 watercolors from her earliest work as well (1950 I think). So you get a good look at the evolution of her designs from early works and follow the dots to what she’s doing currently. It’s a tad personal and a whole lot of fabulous.

At the end is an installation piece from 1989 entitled “A boat carrying my soul”. It looks like she made a boat from a number of pieces she’s sewn and stuffed (or more likely attached them to an existing boat).

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Afterwards we take a moment to check out the beautiful garden around back. There are a number of viewing cushions to sit and meditate on while looking at the blissful scene outside.

Narcopiggy and Zonabunny take some time to reflect

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I think they’re doing it wrong

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The garden outside is tranquil and the architecture of the building itself is quite beautiful viewed from there.

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Well that was a treat. Location #1 down, what’s next… looks like Daitoku-ji, a Buddhist temple with a bamboo garden!

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