With nothing planned for the day, we dropped in on a udon shop in Jimbocho – had a craving for good udon after watching the movie Udon in the plane.
With our hunger quenched, we headed to the National Art Center in Roppongi, hoping to see an exhibit of the 115 most famous post-impressionist paintings from Musee d’Orsay in Paris – Musee d’Orsay is undergoing renovation – but we were a day early. The National Art Center interior is impressive, designed by Kisho Kurokawa, who passed away a couple of years ago and is best known for the capsule tower. I also like that the center has a nice selection of designer chairs (Egg, Wing, etc) you can relax on.
From the National Art Center, we walked aimlessly through Aoyama Cemetary where we came across one freaky looking cat.
In Aoyama we came across the house/studio of artist Taro Okamoto – which is now a small memorial museum. There is also a much larger Taro Okamoto Museum of Art in Kawasaki City.
From Aoyama we headed to Omotesando and Harajuku
At Omotesando Hills, NTT docomo had their Mobile Tide 2010 exhibit. On exhibit were all cellphone models docomo has produced since 1987 – that’s a lot of cool phones (over 500 different models) – all of which have never been sold outside Japan. The primary reason for their failure in the global market has been attributed to “Galapagos syndrome” – where Japan is Galapagos and things evolve in isolation from what is valuable to the rest of the world. It’s also used to describe Japanese society especially the younger generation who are increasingly becoming more inward looking, uninterested in going abroad to work, study or visit, and the long economic downturn has put them in defense mode.
We didn’t have enough energy to walk any further, so we took the subway back to Yushima for a tonkatsu dinner at Isen – another craving satisfied…temporarily.