Good Morning, my dears.
Our time in Kanazawa is drawing to a close. For this, I am sad. This city is one I could stay in forever.
There is public art everywhere, sculptures and statues and gardens and temples. The arts scene here is really vibrant, both performing and visual. And the people…….what a bunch of joyous vibrant kind folks.
2 weeks ago, we went to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
Holy Macaroni, this is an incredible museum!!!
I have to say that this might be my favorite museum ever. And definitely the most well-conceived.
It is a completely immersive museum. Your experience begins outside, before you even go inside. There are several large sculptures, most of which are meant to be walked through, around, and on. Frank’s favorite is the color wheel spiral. That is exactly what it sounds like. It is made of large sheets of plexiglass, so that light passes through each one. As you walk around the spiral, the color changes and so does your perception of the world. It’s gorgeous. There is a lamp in the center of the spiral and though I haven’t seen it at night, I bet it is lovely when it is lit. Frank and Daddy spent at least an hour racing around, in and out of the spiral, Frank laughing his head off. Many, many Japanese tourists now have pictures of some silly, delighted white people playing in the color spiral.
If you just stay on the yard of the museum, you can still have an incredible experience. The museum is made of glass and is round, so it becomes an exhibit as well. As you stroll around the grounds, checking out the gramophones that poke out of the ground, and sitting in some strategically placed chairs, you can watch the people inside the museum as if they themselves are an installation. Oh! Words are really failing me right now, I have to say. The experience was….human. Somehow this museum captures what it is like to be human and does it in the most honest way I have ever experienced. There was no slyness, no cynicism present. There were exhibits that I did not like, that did not reach me. But, as a whole, the experience left me completely and totally sated.
Once you go inside, the museum experience becomes even richer. You never have to pay to see the exhibits, if you don’t want to. There are several installations inside that you can look at, a cafe, a library, several lounges, and a kid’s art studio. Yep. A Kid’s Art Studio!!!! That is free. Entirely. We stayed for an hour and a half at least. Frank and the attendant played with blocks, both giant foam blocks and tiny weird shaped blocks that had to balance against each other and made glorious crazy shapes.They built animals and other creatures out of clothespins and rulers. There were vast amounts of paper and paint markers and pipe cleaners and paper cups and tin foil, etc. to make whatever you wanted. Frank was a little overwhelmed with all the choice.
We stayed 30 minutes past closing time. It was that good.
Ben and I are learning how to go to museums with a child, so this experience took twice as long as it might have, with many breaks for playing and lunch. And snacks. And ice cream. It is worth it, though. We hope we are giving him a good foundation and try to make the experience fun for him, since we love it so much. We don’t mind spending the whole day at one museum, we aren’t marathoners. And if he goes away from it with rich memories, all the better.
One more quick Kanazawa delight before I close for today. The cranes!!! We are surrounded by sea and rivers, many marshes, and rice fields. And so, there are cranes. Everywhere. Frank and I look out for them when we ride along on our bike. It is great fun to watch them swooping down onto a rice field and stand peacefully for a moment before pecking down into the grain, eating whatever bugs or seeds they are snacking on. Luckily for us, along one of the rivers that is full and lush with bushes is a nesting ground. Hundreds and hundreds of cranes are nesting and having babies in the bushes. What a sight! What a sound! Glorious squawking and flapping and soaring. We go visit as often as possible.
Well. For all of these things I am grateful. Kanazawa has been good to us. Next week (and last stop in Japan) Kyoto!
Thank you, as always, for reading.