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Keeping Chillicothe weird.

After coming back from a city that is truly a smorgasbord of eccentric people – foreigners, lolita girls, otaku’s, salarymen, death metal musicians, seniors, gangsters, students business owners, comedians, housewives, etc. – I was prepared for some dullness when I came back to Chillicothe.

In a big city like Tokyo, it is easy to take diversity for granted. Tokyo accounts for ten percent of Japan’s total population, not to mention that it draws around seven million visitors each year. Just in the university that I attended alone, more than eight percent of the students population was composed of international students from over ninety countries.

So when I came back to Chillicothe, I was ready to be the only minority in the town. Surprisingly, on my first day back, I met a woman from Fayette county who told me about her admiration for the Chillicothe downtown area. She marveled about the work small business owners did to keep the city alive and interesting. When I pressed to hear more, she told me about an impressive exhibition opening she attended to celebrate her artist friend’s work. “Which gallery?” I asked. “The one on Water Street,” she said.

And she was right about how impressive the gallery was. When I attended the August gallery stroll at the PVG, I immediately felt at ease and was excited to see a community of people talking to each other while enjoying art, live music, and food. What surprised me was not only the number of people who were present, but also the mix of people. There were students, people of different races, people from other cities, teachers, artists, musicians, business owners, dancers, veterans, and couples. The art world is often marked by pretension; so it is such an honor to work at a gallery that puts a strong value in uniting everyone. As they they in Austin, Texas, let’s “KEEP CHILLICOTHE WEIRD.”

Posted by Connie

無為徒食

無為徒食(むいとしょく)
何もしないで毎日ぶらぶらと遊び暮すこと
用例:そろそろ無為徒食の生活はやめて、ちゃんとした職業についたらどうだね。

Muitoshoku (Four-character idiom)
Idling one’s time away
Ex: How about finding a steady job instead of idling your time away?

I left Japan about a week ago. It was truly a blink of time.

From seeing Cezanne at The National Art Center Tokyo and The Vision of Contemporary Art at the Ueno Royal Museum to enjoying the Arab Express at  the Mori Art Museum and Boro-Japanse Textile Art- at the Amuse Museum to admiring Ken Kuroi’s illustrations at Matsuya Ginza Gallery and Luna Flora Soap Art Collection at Takashimaya Shinjuku Department Store, I feel like I saw an eclectic mix of art while in Tokyo. Yet, I regret how I could have spent more time exploring… If only I was not idling my time away.

Luckily, there’s a website called Spoon & Tamago to keep us updated :)

Posted by Connie

春日遅遅〜spring day being long and balmy〜

久しぶり!Long time no (cyber) see! Today, I’m going to post some photos of the museums I visited in Nagano, Japan. I lived in the “snow wonderland” for a month and a half before going to Tokyo for a semester-long study abroad program. Now that I have different perspectives on living in different cities in Japan (Tokyo, Nagano, and Fukuoka), I am determined that Nagano is the best place to live like an American. There is so much more freedom, but less bureaucracy in Nagano than in Tokyo. I definitely felt less constrained and stressed in Nagano.

The two most well-known cities in Nagano Prefecture are probably Nagano city and Matsumoto city. The two pictures above and the four pictures below are taken at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art and The Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, respectively. Both are located in Matsumoto, and both are excellent museums to visit if you are in the area.

Unfortunately, I do not have many photos from the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, but it is seriously worth visiting given its awesome exhibitions and permanent collections (See: 草間彌生, Yayoi Kusama). As the museum website indicates, Matsumoto is a beautiful city to wander around either before or after your museum visit. I cannot recommend it enough.

Another museum worth visiting is the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, located on the outer edge of Matsumoto. The Ukiyo-e Museum originated as a private collection of Sakai Nobuo, a wealthy businessman who collected over 100,000 ukiyo-e’s (Japanese woodblock prints that depict the picture of “buoyant and joyful, or floating world”). Here, you will see the original version of famous prints, such as The Great Wave off Kanagawa or the 36 views of Mount Fuji series. Not many people know about this hidden treasure; so you will be able to look at each piece slowly without much distraction. The architecture of the building is made with a lot of open spaces and intricate designs. The sun shining through the large window panes was a fantastic view for the cold but beautiful February.

The last picture is unfortunately the only picture I shot at the Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum,  which boasts an impressive collection of paintings by Higashiyama Kai. The serene setting of the museum perfectly complements the soft and dreamy paintings of Higashiyama. I once asked a Japanese student who she thinks the most famous painter in Japan is. Without hesitation, she answered Higashiyama Kai. Go take a look at his masterpiece, 緑響く(echoes of the green).

Posted by Connie

Grit

Here is to another sentimental post about mothers. My mother wanted to be a fashion designer when she was young. Her father chose architecture for her. Nonetheless, she continued to make her own clothes and tailored her friends’ clothes during her spare time. When she didn’t have the money to buy a wedding gown for her wedding, she made her own. I remember seeing the pictures of her wedding when I was young, first bursting in laughter because of the pink fuzzy sweater and the brown pants that she wore, but later being struck by the utter glamour of her outfit. Recently when I asked her to tailor a woolen skirt that was too big for me, I saw her inner spark. I sat there sweetly admiring the way she touched and examined the fabric, paying minute attention to every corner of the garment while mentally calculating the fit. It was so beautiful to see the artist working away, especially the intensity of her concentration and determination. I wear my skirt with pride.

Posted by Connie

Sunshine Gold

 

Happy 2012! It’s the third day of the new year, yet all I have been doing is catching up with the yesteryear. Watching movies, reading books, listening to music–all the things I missed while chalking away during the school year. I realize that I’ve been a slacker: I have only written a total of seven posts in 2011, but.

The day I came home after school ended coincided with my mother’s return from Mauritius, where she has been working for the past year. Our family reunited, but 2/3 of us were jet-lagged, and 1/3 of us was sick; so instead of a big tight hug, we all collapsed. After Christmas, we all had our shares of recuperative shopping spree–my mom with her two day tour of mall after malls, me with my wishlist on Amazon, and my dad with a trip to the Houston Chinatown. Before New Years, my mother dug these jewelry out of her treasure drawer and passed them on to me. I think it was an excuse to get rid of things in order to buy new ones. But I happened to like everyone of them, because my mom has a kickass taste.

Jewelry passed down from moms and grandmas always feels so precious to me. They are reminders of love that I can carry with me wherever I go. I feel protected. Poised.

It’s what made them so beautiful. If only I carry with me a sliver of that beauty.

What are your favorite jewelry passed down from your mom, grandmas, grand-grandmas…?

Posted by Connie

798 Art Zone in Beijing through the lens

As I continue to bring you the energetic art scene in China through my Canon lenses, I wanted to make sure that I write a little about the 798 Art District in Beijing. This perfect mix of galleries, exhibitions, shops, cafes, and restaurants made it one of my favorite and least favorite destination in China. It was my favorite because I didn’t want to leave, but it was also my least favorite because I didn’t want to leave.

First, the rebuilding and makeover of this large military factory complex by a group of architects and artists is delightfully unique and visually pleasing in that many of the Maoist slogans and iconic industrial machinery, as well as the large-scale buildings have been preserved. Second, an eclectic mix of cute, avant-garde, modern, post-modern, and traditional Chinese art can be found as you walk from one stop to another. Third, there is art everywhere: outside, inside, on the walls, on the floor, on top of the buildings… Yes, there is a physical limitation to how much art you can absorb in a day.

Both my friend and I ended up getting a headache after seeing a piece that was so powerful to the point where we couldn’t avert our eyes. We felt like our bodies, along with our psyches, started to collapse after staring at the details of the painting for so long. The painting drew us in so deeply that we felt dazed and confused by the time we left the building. So beware when you visit — make sure to get a healthy dose of food, drinks, and air before you get lost in this amazing place.

Posted by Connie

Hello from China!

I stumbled upon a really cool gallery/restaurant/bar/spa/hotel a few weeks ago while traveling to the city of Dalian, China. It is called Thai’s, and I felt as if I found a treasure — just like how I think PVG is a little gem in the city of Chillicothe. My friend and I were the only guests there during the entirety of lunch hours. We ended up spending two hours at the restaurant talking, eating, drinking while enjoying the beautiful decorations. Take a look!

The first floor is full of sculptures, paintings, furniture, etc.

The beautiful ceiling!

Thai themed art

Pleasant surprises

Love the simple designs!

Have no idea what those are. I assume they are decorations?

Delightful staircases

The second floor is the restaurant/bar

The third floor is also for dining

Where we ate

Thai curry. Perfect size and taste for the afternoon.

A touch of green makes everything even better

Map of Thailand

Wish we had the time for a massage…

I don’t wanna leave!

Posted by Connie

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