Culture · Culture Shock · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Pictures

Kanazawa Day 3: Contemporary Art, Knitting, & Chestnuts

paper lanterns outside the museum
paper lanterns outside the museum

Our last day in Kanazawa was probably the most uneventful due to the fact that we all were pretty exhausted by this point. I did happen to make a discovery on our last trip down the elevator though: good old floor number 13. We had actually been staying on that floor the entire time, but I never took notice until then. I was too amused by the fact that there was a 13th floor, so I took a picture of the elevator buttons while in a very crowded elevator of Japanese people. Jun’s great aunt was very amused by this and asked me why I took a picture. This then turned into me giving a quick American (Christian?) lesson about the image of the number 13 and how we just would not find that number in most, if any, hotels in America.

how did they get down there?
how did they get down there?

After my little mini lesson, it was time for some breakfast and two cups of coffee for an overly sleepy me. After breakfast, Jun’s great aunt and father went back to the amanattō store to pick up her order while Jun, his mother, sister, and I headed off to check out the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Here is how the museum’s official website describes the museum:

This art museum is round in shape as if it were the sight of a UFO that has touched down, all the walls are made of glass, and the building has five gates, which looks like a part opened in all street directions.

Everything was certainly contemporary and I am afraid that, even after reading the description of each exhibit, most everything in there went pretty much over my head. For example, there was this one “room” that was just four glass panels to create a sort of green house feel. The floor of the room was a cement pathway lined with black and grey stones. There were a total of two tiny spots where some green plants were sprouting…and this was supposed to send some sort of message. Maybe the message was that Totoro came to visit? Another room was nothing but a giant black dot on a slanted cement wall. There were things that I enjoyed looking at, but I think everything was too contemporary for my brain to comprehend. My favorite exhibit was one entitled “Knit Café: in my room” in which the artists, Minako Nishiyama and Mitsuharu Hirose, pursues an “admirable” or “ideal” world for both the individual and the community through her own free-form language. It was an room filled with nothing but original knit pieces.

I really liked this statue
I really liked this statue

After wandering around the museum and Jun and I discussing various pieces of art to try and figure out if we really understood the meaning, we walked around the surrounding area for a little. I ended up taking pictures of the plants and flowers because there was some great contrast going on between colors and textures. After a little, we headed back to the hotel to regroup and then returned to the same French restaurant for one last meal before hitting the road to start the long drive back to Saitama.

chestnut (kuri) rice and all the fixings
chestnut (kuri) rice and all the fixings

On the way back, we drove through Nagano Prefecture to go to a place where you can eat kuri-gohan ・栗ご飯 (Japanese chestnuts in rice). I love kuri (chestnuts) and my favorite way to eat them is when they are mixed in an anko syrup like sauce. This is usually severed in a can and you can heat it up to put some bake mocha on top of it. I personally just eat it straight from the can. You can also put the contents of the can over some vanilla ice cream for “a nice autumn flavor.”

After eating dinner, we got back into the car and continued to drive until we arrived back at my apartment.

All in all it was a good trip, but I wish it had not zapped so much of my energy on that first night, I probably would have enjoyed myself more and not needed to drink 2 – 3 cups of coffee every morning to just get through the day.


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