Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5.27.09 Pecha Kucha Night!

Tonight we went to SuperDelux, the club which hosts the original Pecha Kucha! It was packed, about 300 people attended, and we got to see Klein + Dytham! Dytham offered to buy us drinks. 

Thats Klein + Dytham, incase you can't tell. They're relatively famous architects, especially in Tokyo. Both are fluent in Japanese!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

5.23.09 Gokayama

This was dinner! Freshly caught river fish. Some people got scared, but they were actually pretty tasty. 

We spent a night in Gokayama which is part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. In case you don't know, UNESCO is basically a philanthropic organization which preserves historic sites/buildings/radical things in general. The village is totally secluded, we took a very expensive and sketchy bus ride to get out here. The houses have thatched roofs and most of them are either traditional Japanese Inns, or small shops. One shop had delicious fresh milk, the REAL kind. Yum! There wasn't much to do here, but we visited the next village over which had similar houses, and a small dance festival going on. This was pretty much the opposite of Tokyo, its a nice contrast to see the extremes of lifestyle/architecture that still exists in Japan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My new ride. 5.22.09

Here I am, pimpin' in my new ride! Just kidding. Its part of a museum exhibit riding around in SANAA's 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. I chose the bicycle which was pink and shaped like a big barbie hairbrush, duh!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fumie Sasabuchi

New obsession with Tokyo based artist Fumie Sasabuchi.. He draws over fashion spreads using ink, pen, colored pencil.. genius! Liking this style.

5.19.09 James Turrell House

Warning: this is going to be a long blog post! 
We saw so many incredible things in the past 2 days. Starting with a hot spring hotel in Echigo-yuzawa where we took a ropeway trip up to the top of a mountain just for fun. At the top there happened to be a "summer time bobsled" as they called it, which of course we rode on. It was the most rickety piece of plastic which runs on a metal slide down the side of the mountain, with a brake which works most of the time. Of course, we got ice cream at the bottom of the ride :) Its nice to do something non-intellectual once in a while! The following pictures are taken at the top of the mountain.

Cal Poly architecture summer-bobsled team! 

After this we took a train to this random town (I'm still not sure of the name) where we saw an MDRDV building which was completely ridiculous. Surrounding it was a bunch of installations placed strategically in this forrest. Japan is such a strange place, sometimes its almost comical how bizarre the things we are seeing are. Anyway, the random sculptures and such are these installations surrounding this building. 

Finally, we arrived in Tokamachi to spend the night in James Turrell's House of Light. What a special experience! Sleeping (or trying to) in a James Turrell installation was un real. We watched the light change inside of the house for an hour at sunset (6:15 pm) and an hour at sunrise (3:15 am!!! yes.. thats correct). During these times the roof retracts to open up a very Turrell-esque square in the roof completely open to the sky. As the sky color changes, the interior of the house changes, as well as the way this thing is captured in photographs. It's hard to explain this experience, since James Turrell's work is about the subtlety of light affecting space. However, at times I found the light to be extremely dramatic. Waking up at 3:15 for the sunrise  light show was definitely worth it.. This square in the photographs is the opening in the ceiling, which when photographed looks much more like a Rothko painting. Below are pictures of the house, as well as the room with the open ceiling "light show"

The exterior of the house, the roof at the very top (shorter one) slides all the way to the left, this is what reveals the open sky.
The following are all pictures of the open ceiling, the sky changes colors so the entire room changes, it is actually an open space, Im not just photographing a piece of paper (although it seems that way)

Monday, May 18, 2009

5.18.09 Utsunomiya and Sendai

Today was a long traveling day since it marks the beginning of our last 1 week trip around Japan. We started with Utsunomiya (on the way to Sendai) to see the Sumika Project which consists of 4 houses designed by Sou Fujimoto, Toyo Ito, Terunobu Fujimori and Taira Nishizawa. I was pleasantly surprised by these... for more information
I posted pictures of my two favorites. The black one was my favorite, the entire wall opened up because it was made of a series of doors. In this house the light moves as the day progresses because all the light comes from the ceiling, there are no windows. Then we moved on to Sendai and saw the famous Sendai Mediatheque. I enjoyed this building, but I still think its a bit silly. Tomorrow night we are staying in a James Turrell House so I am excited about that! 
This is the first very architectural post I've put up in a while... But I'm not sure if anybody is reading this blog anymore

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tokyo Times

Here is Mizumi showing us the right way to drink Shochu...

The Park Hyatt

So, on Friday evening we met up with Henri and Traci de Hahn for a tour of the Hyatt (where they filmed Lost in Translation) and ended up at a boy band themed Japanese style pub. Saturday Bianca and I met up with her friend of the family Taylor, who took us to the Yebisu brewing factory and to dinner and drinks. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

5.14.09 Sumo !!!

On a whim, we decided to go to a sumo match. Best decision we ever made!! Also, we sat in $100 dollar seats the whole time after buying cheap seats = better view of the blubber!

P.S. Watch the video! I'm so high-tech-nical!