The art museum in Hamamatsu

Monday, May 31st, 2010


I went to Fuku Akino Art Museum in Hamamatsu City. Hamamatsu is located in the western part of Shizuoka Pref. and has many excellent companies such as Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawai etc. The founder of Honda, Soichiro Honda was from this area and so was Fuku Akino. Why has this area produced these powerful people   Is it because of Akiba Shrine ? If you keep going northward up to the mountain (through an area I call deep Hamamatsu), you’ll reach Akiba Shinto Shrine. The name Akihabara ( Tokyo )is derived from this shrine.

The museum isn’t a big one but I really love the building. Since Fuku Akino (1908~2001) fell in love with India she started going there regularly from the age of 53 to paint. She also traveled to many other Asian and African countries. This museum’s architecture interested me. I heard it’s an Indianstyle building. Unfortunately on that day only a few paintings of Fuku Akino’s were on display. They had some exhibition of other authors. The person I took is a big fan of Fuku Akino and was very disappointed. Since it is named “ Fuku Akino Museum “ I expected that we might see more of her work. According to the museum, they don’t have enough display space. This time the special exhibition took up a lot of space so they didn’t have much room for Fuku Akino’s work. This explanation didn’t convince me but complaining doesn’t help and I concluded that we have to come back at the right time in the future. I may be a sore loser but I always find something unexpectedly interesting when I have a setback. This time 1. Inexpensive and delicious noodle shop( ramen). 2. beautiful lake where we can enjoy rowing boats  3. Better roads to get to the area.

I bought some post cards and book-marks.

Exciting Ryogoku Tokyo Japan

Friday, May 14th, 2010

During Golden Week, a string of consecutiove public holidays in Japan, I visited Ryogoku in Tokyo. Ryogoku has The Edo Tokyo museum and Kokugikan (the National Sumo Stadium) and is the gateway for cruises on the Sumida River. And you can see Sky Tree, due to become Tokyo’s tallest building, under construction.



It also has some sumo stable houses and you might see sumo wrestlers training even on the street early in the morning.

On the days I stayed they had a festival in Ryogoku. Many shops and sumo-related people opened their shops on the street.They are currently holding an exhibition about Ryoma Sakamoto who was very active at the end of the Edo period. Right now his story and the time he lived, at the end of Edo, are being televised, so many people rushed to the exhibition. Even some who might not normally be particularly interested in or familiar with Japanese history might enjoy this museum’s  regular exhibition.

Ryoma is a hot figure right now and some people tried to sell a lot of goods related to him. He was involved in trading in Nagasaki so he might be happy to see people buying goods marketed in his name if it contributes to the Japanese economy.


Here’s a new icon to advertize sumo, Sekitori kun. Since that Mongolian wrestler left this world, some people worried about the decline of the popularity of sumo but it looks like it is doing OK.Despite the high price of sumo tickets, it looks like they are selling well.







At the festival, I tried chanko. Chanko Nabe is a special dish for sumo wrestlers. They have to practice hard and have to eat a lot to build up their body. Chanko-nabe is said to be body-building.

First I hesitated to try it because I don’t want to gain weight any more. But when I tried it I found it is very healthy . It has a lot of vegetables of various kinds and the broth is rich in collagen from chicken. This bowl of chanko was only 500 yen. It tasted very good.







Then I went to Ekoin Temple where Nezumi Kozo , other people who were killed by the big fire in the Edo era or any other people and even animals are buried. Nezumi Kozo was a famous ( infamous?) thief who was active in Edo. He took things from rich people and distributed them to the poor. On that day they had gagaku and bugaku performance. It was very good. I thought gagaku and bugaku are only 

performed at shrines but they are also performed at temples. This art came to Japan from China with Buddhism. The priests from Zojyoji Temple, belonging in the musical division, told me.   All in all the festival in Ryogoku was a lot of fun.















Green tea picking part 2 ( continued from April 27th )

Thursday, May 6th, 2010


After enjoying the tea festival, we hurried to my favorite buckwheat noodle restaurant in Asagiri .

That restaurant is far away from anywhere and doesn’t have any advertisement but as soon as the shop opens the place is occupied with avid soba eaters. On sunny clear days, it has a view of Mt. Fuji out of the windows. For some of my friends this place was new. In fact I want to keep this place secret and yet I ended up taking new people there again!

This shop serves good tempura but we have already had a lot of green tea tempura so we ordered only noodles. The reasons I like this place are :                                                  1. The food they serve is great. They use the best ingredients but the price is reasonable.

2. The shop is comfortable and makes me relaxed – I like the owners.

3. I like the furniture, cups, dishes, chopsticks. The toilet is always clean.


Only a five minute drive brought us to this flower field. It’s a part of “ Milk Land “ where you can enjoy shopping, dining, eating icecream, playing with animals or experience milking cows, churning butter etc.

We took a walk in the oilseed blossoms. I didn’t know these blossoms smell so good.