Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Japan Day 29 - Suntory Museum

Today we were scheduled to see the Suntory Museum by Tadao Ando but a lot of people had already seen it when a group went to see the Osaka Aquarium one of the free weekends. Since the museum is right next door, they went ahead and saw it while they were there. So it was just me and Dusty who headed down there today.

Japan Day 29

The museum is rather small with most of the building being an IMAX theater and then a small wing for special exhibit. I didn't really care to see the movie so I just saw the exhibit. It was all about Tadao Ando's works with water and was quite interesting. no pictures were allowed inside so that was disappointing because they had a large collection of Ando's original models of the projects.

Japan Day 29

I a bit sad today. On the way there, I forgot my umbrella on the train. It was my favorite umbrella too. I had manged to keep up with it for more than 4 years a record for me. O well, I check the train stations lost and found but nothing had been turned in yet.

Tomorrow we have a project review with Stan so now I'm frantically trying to get my project put into cad and try to have something nice to show.

Photos Day 29

Japan Day 28- Katsura Imperial Villa

Today I went to Katsura Imperial Villa. This is one of the treasures of Japan. It is free to visit but you have to make a reservation to see it. It is outside of Kyoto proper so you either have to take a train or bus to see it. I chose the bus, It was about a half hour bus ride from Kyoto Station and my bus pass worked even though it wasn't an inner city bus. Then it was a short walk down a street that could have really used an actual sidewalk.

Japan Day 28

There are several buildings to see at Katsura but you can't go inside any of them. All of the building sit in a large garden that was designed so you would have different view around every turn. The rain held of just long enough for me finish the tour and then the bottom fell out.

Japan Day 28

The tour it's self was short only about an hour. They had a free English Audio guide which was nice but it's descriptions were much shorter than what the Japanese guide was saying. The group had to stay together so there was bit disappointing to be rushed through the gardens only to have to wait standing in front of a building for the guide to finish. I felt like we were being herded like cattle. Oh well, I was still able to get some photos.

Photos Day 28

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Japan Day 26 & 27 - Shopping

This weekends goal was to check out all of the shopping in Kyoto and buy all of my souvenirs and gifts for family. Next week we are headed Tokyo and its going to be a full schedule through the very end.

Japan Day 26

On Saturday I went to the main shopping area here in Kyoto on street named Shijo. There are shops everywhere! There are three big department stores on the street and I took a quick peek inside each one. they were all very similar. They were all huge with 7 or 8 stories and sold everything from clothing to toys, housewares and food. All of them sold a very diverse array of goods. I saw lots of imported goods for sale but I also saw floors dedicated to selling traditional kimonos and the like. I saw all of the big labels back home sold here. One cool thing for me was actually finding a pair of Levi jeans in a size that would fit me. The Japanese are a lot skinnier than Americans. The sizing was interesting- they listed the US size in bold and in small print had the conversion to centimeters. It was the first time I've ever seen sizes like 28x32 and 30x34 actually out on shelves. I thought about buying a pair until I saw the price 12,000 yen ($120), yea that's not in the budget. The department stories had a crazy amount of staff. The place had 4 or 5 times the staff of an American store. Walking through the Men's section, I was amazed to see two or three dedicated sales people for each label's space (like Ralph Lauren 10m x 5m space) just standing around waiting to help.

I also stopped by the 5 story GAP Store (ok so it was very small on each floor) and saw similarly crazy prices for jeans. They had one style on sale for 6,000yen but that was still a bit much. I need to find out if they have Outlets like we have back in the States. I walked around Shijo for good part of the day over there but didn't find anything to buy.

Japan Day 26

On the way out I walked through the food market. The street was only about 2.5m wide and it was jammed packed full of people. There was quite alot of strange food for sale. all sorts of seafood, fruits, dried stuff and whole lot of stuff I put in the category of "Mystery" and "is that really edible?"

Today I went to the Kyoto Handicraft Center which the guidebook recommended. I found a lot of the stuff I was looking for at prices as good as or better than I had seen elsewhere. It was tough trying to pick stuff out There was way too much to choose from. I walk through the whole place a couple of times just surveying it and then once I decided on what type of things I thought I could bring home in one piece, I had to decide on colors, sizes and materials. I started one rack for half an hour trying decided what color someone would like the best. The good part is I have almost everyone crossed off my list now.

The weekend's photos

Friday, June 26, 2009

Japan Day 25 - Canals and Castles

Today and the next 3 days are free for me because Stan our Professor is helping to put on a Architecture conference this weekend. My main goal for the weekend is to finish seeing all the sites in Kyoto. The first one up was to go see Nijo Castle but on the way there I got distracted by a canal that was converted into a cool public park space.

Japan Day 25

It was a very nice space. Being below street level meant that the traffic noise was muffled and walls created some shade.

Japan Day 25

Towards the end there was an interesting student built hydroelectricity experiment.

next, I headed around to the Imperial Palace grounds and made my reservation at the Housing Office to see the Katsura Imperial villa on Monday.

Then I got on the subway to go see the castle.

Japan Day 25

The castle was very different from the one in Himeji. This one was only one story but it was very ornate inside with screens covered in gold with paintings on them. It is also famous for it nightingale floors. So called because the squeak when you walk on them even with lightest of steps. This was to keep intruders from being able to sneak inside. Too bad pictures weren't allowed inside.

The rest of the Pictures

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Japan Day 24 - The Market

Today we went to see the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine market. It is a huge monthly market that is set up around the Shrine. It was quite a spectacles to see their were vendors selling all sort of stuff from hand made crafts to antiques to used Kimonos. I wondered around most of the morning. The prices were pretty good and you could haggle with them too. I bought several things to give as gifts. I'm no longer going to leave japan empty handed.

Japan Day 23

Japan Day 23

Not many pictures today, But I took a long video walking through a section of it that I will post one day....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Japan Day 23 - Work Day

Today was a sort of a day off to work on our design projects. I started off the day doing laundry. The machines worked ok this time. I worked on my project. Sorted my pictures. Backed up my computer to my external hard drive. Nothing too exciting to write about.

Japan Day 22 - Church of the Light

Today we had a more relaxed day because everyone was still recovering from the charette. There was only one thing on the schedule to see today- Tadao Ando's Church of the Light. This is one of the buildings I most looked forward to seeing on the trip. I have used this building several times as president studies before so I have looked at pretty intensely and really wanted to see it in person.

Japan Day 22

It was very much like what I expected it to be. It is very cool space to experience. Probably one the most simple yet elegant churches I've been inside. The way Ando sculpted the light was amazing to see. The concrete made the space feel very cool. The outdoor spaces were also very comfortable because of the concrete still cold from the night before.

Japan Day 22

Afterward I grabbed a quick dinner because we were going to go part take in the traditional Japanese Tea ceremony. A student club at a Local school put it on for us. The school has 2 tracks, one is more like grad school that teaches traditional Japanese architecture and thin it has a vocational program that teaches traditional Japanese carpentry. They put it on for us in House that school had restored. The tea ceremony is pretty complex with rules like you drink the whole cup of tea in 3 sips. You can read all the details here While tea is still not one of my favorite things it was cool to experience.

Pictures Day 22

Monday, June 22, 2009

Japan Day 17 -21 - KIT Workshop

Wow what a weekend. We ended up finishing right at the deadline at noon on Monday.

I was in a group with Stacy and 3 KIT Students: Eriko, Kyohei, and Yu. The language barrier wasn't too hard to over come. They spoke pretty good English but sometimes we had to reword what we wanted to say or try to explain what a word meant. It sounded like the last time they had studied English was back in high school so after hearing that I was really impressed. I don't think I could even start to hold a conversation based on the Spanish I learned back in high school. They hardest thing I think was just trying to get them to make a final decisions about things, for example, like what site to pick. We had it narrowed down to two possibilities and they kept flipping back and forth. I'm not sure if it was they couldn't decide or that they were taking a while to translate their opinions into English. For the most part, after we had agreed on the concept we left most of design decisions to them to work out because it seemed to be able decide on things a lot faster and I liked most of what they came up with.

On Saturday I worked on the getting the site put into the computer while Stacy, Yu and Eriko worked on developing the floor plans. Kyohei wasn't there because he had to go to work.
By the end of Saturday we had finalized what the shapes of the different homes were going to be.

For the last 2 days we divided up tasks the Kriko, Kyohei, and Yu worked on the model, Stacy worked on the sections and I worked on the floor plans and elevations. I had gotten a quick sketch of the floor plans but it was a bit vague on sizes and what the facades were going to look like.

The meals Sunday are worth writing about.

For lunch we ordered take out. The Japanese students heard us talking about pizza and said that there was a place that delivers. I lookup the place and it turned out to be Domino's pizza but boy is it expensive here, close to $40 for a large pizza with pepperoni. That was too pricey for us so we ended up getting take out from Coco's, a Fastfood chain here that serves Curry dishes. It was good.

That night we went out to a local restaurant were you sort of cook your own food on a skillet built into the table. I had fried noodles and pork. They spread out on the table already cooked some and then you can cook it to what you want. The KIT students order this one thing that was like a pancake with chopped vegetables in it and then topped with fried noodles. Its was interesting to try.


When I got ready to work on the exterior it was very hard do get out of them what they wanted it to look like. They were designing it as they built the final model which wasn't necessarily bad but it meant they needed to get it finished in time for me to finish my stuff. I tried several time to get them to sketch their ideas but I don't think they even knew exactly what they were building.

The model wasn't finished until exactly at noon so the only thing of mine we ended up using were the floor plans. I just didn't have enough time to get the elevations updated or my 3d model updated to match the final model. I didn't really matter in the end. Their model looked very nice so any of my 3d stuff wouldn't have really added anything to the presentation.

The presentations were done in all English and most of the Japanese students got really nervous presenting and would only say about a sentence or two and then pass off to someone else. Our review went really well. The Project turned out very nice and is something I will definitely put in my portfolio.

More Photos

Japan Day 20 & 21

The charette went really well. I am exausted from staying up all night so you'll have to wait a bit longer to read the whole story.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Japan Day 19- Design Development

Today we had a long day working on turning our ideas in to an actual design. By nights end we had the site plan where the building go done. Our concept got critiqued by both of the KIT professors and so we made some minor changes. Then Stacy worked with the KIT students on developing the floor plans while I worked on getting everything entered into the computer. We finished for the night just in time to catch the last train home. We are still further ahead than some of the other groups so I think we are going to have no trouble finishing everything.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Japan Day 18 - Design Day

Just a quick update. We worked out our main goals of the project today and started coming up with a design. We discovered that 2 of the sites we picked are owned by different generations of the same family so we are going to create houses that share a common courtyard so that the parents and their children stay connected. We worked for about 12 hours over at KIT. 2 days to go....

Japan Day 17 - Kyoto Institute of Technology

Today we started our design charette with the students of KIT (Kyoto Institute of Technology). This is going to be very interesting. We met a 10:30 at KIT for a lecture from their professor Waro Kishi.

Japan Day 17

Another professor joined in and gave us a brief history of the Japanese home and then Waro Kishi presented some of his work. I'm happy to report, It's just not Americans who have trouble getting computers and projectors to work together. They have just as much trouble over here.

Afterwords they gave out the program- Our project is to design 3 infill houses on three sites of our choice in one of the remaining traditional neighborhoods. They split us up in to random groups with about 2 of us and 2 of them.

Then, went out for lunch in the KIT cafetiria. I wish USF had something like this. I had a nice peice of chicken, potatoes and rice for about 380yen (about $4). Afterwords we all crammed on a city bus and went to visit the site.

Japan Day 17

There were a bunch of good choices for sites to pick from and it was hard to narrow down. By the time we finally picked something it was dinner time.

Japan Day 17

We went out as group for dinner. I have too many crazy stories to share than what I have time to type so you'll have to wait until I get back....

Pictures Day 17

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Japan Day 15 & 16- Mt. Koya

The trip to Mt. Koya was very nice. It took about 4 hours to get there. I am very well versed in Japans offering of mass transit now. The trip there and back went something like this: Kyoto Subway->Hankyu Rail->Osaka Subway->Nankai Electric Railway->Nankai Cable Line->Koyasan Bus.

Day 15

The ride on the train from Osaka to the the base of Mt. Koya was cool because it started out as an urban railway and then as we got closer, they shortened the train by two cars and started going up into the mountains. It was one of the curviest railways I've ever been. The wheels were squealing the whole way up as the flanges hit the tracks on all the curves. Then we transferred to the cable car which is funicular that takes you up to the plateau where the city is. Mt Koya is home to headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism and has 120 temples, many of which are monasteries where monks live and study at.

Day 15

We got to the monastery we were staying at around noon and were able to store our things there until check in at 3:00. We walked to the center of town about 10 minutes away for lunch and then we wandered around and saw the historic buildings in the town.

At 5:30 we were invited to attend there mediation ceremony. The monk in charge spoke english and guided everyone through how to meditate. Basically you sit cross legged with your back straight, close your eyes and take deep breathes. We then did this for about 40 long minutes. I think the only two people in the room who didn't fidget was the monk and Stan. Everyone else shifted positions at least once. A brief moment of giggles broke out in the middle of it from someone but lucky it didn't spread. I was happy when it was over because I ran of things to think about after 20 minutes and started counting how many times the air conditioning cycled on and off. It was a really long 40 minutes.

Day 15

Then we had dinner. They served us traditional Buddhist cuisine, which is 100% vegetarian. The soup and rice were good but some of the other items looked questionable. Luckily we could eat as much rice as we wanted.

Towards the end of dinner, an old lady came in (I can't remember her name) to share with us her life story. She was the wife of the former head monk and had lived at the monastery for the last 63 years. In her youth she had studied English literature at university in Tokyo and spoke very good English. She told us how english was just obscure foreign language when she started studying but when the war broke out she was scorned for studying the "enemy's language". It wasn't until American forces came to Mt Koya looking for weapons during the occupation that her language skills were needed and she had lots of work as a translator. Now her son is the head of the monastery.

Day 15

After dinner, Some of us decided to go see the Cemetery. The temperature outside had dropped so only those who brought warm clothes went. the Cemetery is totally different from anything in the west, it was a massive collection of monuments spread every which of way. It is also less creepy because there are no bodies buried there. Cremation was the norm.

We slept the traditional Japanese way on futons rolled out over the Tatami. There were two rooms for the girls and two rooms for the guys but they were all side by side and we were only separated by sliding screens. Next time you complain about your apartment walls being paper thin, it is much worse when the walls really are just made of paper. No private conversations here. The futons didn't do much to soften sleeping on the floor but it explain why our beds at our hotel are so firm.

At 5:30 we were woken up by the sound of a gong. We were invited to here their morning ceremony which consists of a chanting of their scripture. Very interesting to say the least. Then the Monk shared this really long story of how good thoughts can keep water pure and thus by the transitive property, Happy thoughts keep your body pure because the 70% that is water is pure. The monk had pictures and everything. It was one of those stories that sound like something for Mythbusters to test. It was almost comical some of the claims he was making.

We were served breakfast afterwords which looked a lot like what we had for dinner

Day 15

The rest of the morning were on our own. There were suppose to be some good hiking trails but after looking for most morning we couldn't ever find the entrance. Oh well.

After lunch we headed back to Kyoto and now tomorrow we start our charette (weekend design project) with some students over at KIT.

Pictures Day 15 & 16

Monday, June 15, 2009

Japan Day 14-Temples and Gates

Today we had a change of schedule. Instead of seeing a museum, The weather was nice out and Stan decided we should go see Byōdō-in instead and then see Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine on the way back


We took the the subway to the Keihan Railway Station and hoped on a train south to get there. The train station we got off at was one of the coolest I've seen.


The main hall at Byōdō-in is almost a 1000 years old and is one of the oldest wooden structures in the world. The primary reason we came though was to see the adjacent museum by Akira Kuryu.


It is really good example of how to design a modern building in harmony with such a historic site and have them relate rather than one tarnish the other. The museum was beautiful. Pictures weren't allowed inside and was actively enforced so I don't have any pictures of the interior :(. The rules at the place were a bit annoying because they have no sketching rule but you can take as many pictures of it as you want go figure.


On the way back, we got off the train a couple of stops early to see Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. It is famous for it's path up the mountain side that is lined with Torii Gates. When I say lined, there were thousands of them- one after another. We walked up close to the top but we took a wrong turn and ended up missing the last section. Oh well.


Tomorrow we are headed to Mt Koya to spend a night at the Buddhist monastery there. We won't be back until late wed so I don't think there will a be a blog post tomorrow so don't worry that I skipped a day.

Photos Day 14

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japan Day 13- Gold and Gardens

Today I wanted to catch up on everything so first I hopped on the bus and went to see Hakusasonso which I had skipped because of the rain earlier in the week.

Japan Day 13

They lady at the ticket booth gave me the student rate, so I only had to pay 500yen instead of the usual 800yen. The gardens were nice but not as good as the ones just up the street at Silver Pavilion.

Japan Day 13

After that I took the bus to the other side of the city to see Kinkakuji (the golden pavilion). I think me and everyone else went to see today. The place is a tourist trap. Its the one place that everyone who visits Kyoto goes to see. It was still cool to see. All that gold really does shimmer in the sun.

Japan Day 13

I had a lunch at a noodle place on the way back to bus stop. I had a bowl of udon noodles with beef on top. It was good. I hadn't had udon noodles before. They are very thick compared to your typical spaghetti.

Japan Day 13

Next I headed north to see Ando's Garden of Fine Arts again to see it with the sun out and recorded some video of it this time. It was much more enjoyable to see when its not raining. Then I went around the corner to get a picture of the Kyoto Concert hall with the sun out but I got there too late and the sun was already behind the building.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a bento box (a premade meal), some bread for breakfast. Dinner was OK, I've had better.

Japan Day 13

I played with Photoshop for a little while and merged some of the pictures I took of Kinkakuji in to an HDR photo. HDR is hard to expain but I'll try. Basicly you take a series of photos at different exposures and then you use software to merge them together into a final picture that has both extreme shadows and hilights. Wikipedia explains it in better detail. See this flickr pool for a bunch of examples.

Then I headed out to market area to survey the shops. I have quite a list of people I need to buy gifts for. I wondered around for a while but most of it started closing up around 8 so I ended up just walking around until I found the subway station and took the short ride back to the hotel where I'm getting ready to call it a night.

Photos Backed up- Check
Video Backed up- Check

Sleep time....

Photos Day 13

Japan Day 12- Matthew vs Laundry

Well the day started off with the plan to get laundry done first and then go out and see Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilian)

First I have to vent about the internet here at the hotel. Its a pain because it involves unplugging my computer and gadgets in my room and hauling my laptop downstairs to the lobby and plugging into the internet connection there and then babysitting it while it uploads pictures. I am completely spoiled by in room internet back in the states. There is wifi in the lobby but it is encrypted and they won't share the password (we've tried asking nicely). Apparenty Japanese are paranoid that people will steal their internet and use it for malicious things. Supposedly even the libraries here that offer free internet, don't offer wifi. Instead you have to plug in with hardline too. I can pick up the lobby wifi in my room and I am getting very tempted to try and crack their the password. It uses the old WEP encryption method which is flawed and is supposedly easy to crack. (FYI Use WPA2 encryption instead).

I got a late start and there were already people down in the lobby so it took twice along as usual to get all of Fridays photos uploaded. By the time I was done with the internet, It was lunch time. I cooked 2 mini pizzas in the toaster oven in the community kitchen.

After that I got started on laundry. Getting the stuff washed was easy- put 200 yen in each machine and off they went. The machines had a cool feature where they did self cleaning cycle before you put your clothes in. After that it was into the dryer. 100 yen per 15 minutes. I put 300yen in each and I though all was good but when I came back only one load was dry. the other set looked like the machine hadn't turned on at all- my clothes were still completely soaked. Off to the front desk I went and luckily one of the ladies who speaks pretty good English was there and I was able to communicate my issue to her. She came up and took a look at it and couldn't figure it out so she apologetically went down stairs and refunded my money and put an out of order sign on it. I folded the dry set and then I moved the other set to the machine that worked. While I was waiting. A man, who I guess was the manager, came up to look at the machine. He didn't speak much English and he gestured a question like "did I put coins in it?" I held 3 fingers and he ran off and brought me three more 100yen coins. I tried to explain that I had already been refunded but he didn't get it so I reluctantly took the coins. I don't think its possible to refuse Japanese hospitality. He put a coin in the bad machine and pushed the start button and the timer started counting down. Because the other machine was running it was hard to tell it wasn't making any noise. He started to take the sign off so I attempted to show him that the machine wasn't working by opening the door on the good one, stopping the machine and showing him that the other one wasn't making any noise. Ah he got it!

It was 4ish by the time my laundry was done it was too late to go see Kinkakuji becuase it's about a 25 mintute bus ride away and it closes at 5. So I ended up taking a walking through the park across the street which I hadn't seen yet and wondered around the local streets and found domburi restaurant for dinner.

I'm not sure what the place is called because their sign was only in Japanese but I knew from the ads in the windows that they severed domburi which are the bowls of rice topped with meat and other stuff. It is Japanese fastfood meal and the place was interesting. To order, you go to a vending machine that had at least 50 buttons (with pictures) of different meal combinations so you pick and pay and it prints out a meal ticket that you bring to the counter where they then prepare your food. It was simple, cheap and was tasty so I'll probably be back again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Japan Day 11- Ryoanji: YATUC

(Yet Another Temple Under Construction)

Today we had a more relaxed day to recover from yesterdays craziness. Today's assignment Stan gave us was to go see Ryoanji sometime before Monday and to meet with him in the afternoon.

Japan Day 11

I headed out with everyone who wanted to see Ryoanji in the morning with was little more than half of our group. Two Buses later we got there. We were sad to find out that main temple was also being renovated but we decided to go and see it any way. Ryoanji is famous for it's Zen Rock garden and is said to be the best example of it in japan. We paid our 500yen and went in to see the garden. The garden was interesting to see, but the atmosphere around was not conducive to experiencing the Zen of it. The everything except for the garden was wrapped in scaffolding as they worked on the building. The Hammering noise the crowds that brushed in and out made it difficult to really enjoy and the interior space weren't lite so we could see inside the temples rooms very well either. It was all very disappointing.

For lunch we went to Skylark which is like a Japanese Diner restaurant. The the main meal was good but I ordered a set with soup, drinks and dessert but the soup was pathetic, the They didn't have any flavors of soda I liked and I didn't like my dessert either. Oh well. Next time I'll save my money and order a-la-cart.

In the afternoon I meet with Stan and he liked my concept and Parti. I'll post it soon hopefully.

Pictures Day 11

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Japan Day 10 - Osaka Sky

Wow it's hard to believe I've been here 10 days already. It's gone by really fast. I'm having too much fun!

Today we took a trip to see several buildings in Osaka, which is about a 40 minute train ride away Kyoto. We took the Honshu line there instead of JR because its cheaper- only like 320yen ($3.20) oneway instead of 700ish to take a JR train there and the time difference is negotiable. We took the Honshu line for the first leg on Tuesday too.

The first stop in Osaka was to find 13 English subway maps which was a bit of challenge. We followed Stan around in a big circle around the Osaka Station looking for them. We finally found them close to where we started...

Japan Day 10

The first stop was to see The Osaka Sky building it by Hiroshi Hara the same Architect who designed Kyoto Station. Its facade was an interesting mix of materials- There was everything from granite to metal and concrete. Quite an interesting composition. We went up to the top "Sky Garden". Garden is a bit of a lie- it was just a cool observation deck. The only plants I saw was on the counter of the ticket counter. What makes interesting is the way you get to the top- You go up to the third floor in one tower then you take bridge across to the other tower where you take an elevator up the 35th floor which is where you by tickets. Then comes the coolest part- to get to the 39th floor you take an escalator up and over, back to the other tower. While you ride the escalator up you can look out and see the city all around you. the 39th floor had an indoor observation deck which wasn't a nice as the one in Hancock center in Chicago but it had a nice view of the city and of the escalators we just rode. The outdoor deck was two stories above that. It was quite windy up there and it was too cloudy to see very far but you could definitely get a sense of just how big Osaka was. Osaka is about the same size as LA. We had lunch in the building's food court which is down around the lush Garden.

Japan Day 10

Even though it was indoors it looked like a traditional Japanese street. We split up. It ended up that Me, Dusty and Stan all ended up at the same place. I had a Ramon noodles in a soy broth with rice. It was tasty and was one of the things I hadn't tried yet here. It was great deal at 500yen($5) for a very filling lunch.

Japan Day 10

After lunch headed to the next site was the Osaka Musuem of Art by Arata Isozak. It was a bit far to walk but wasn't far enough to take the subway... When we finally got there we were greeted by a closed sign. Its not a very big museum and it was closed while they changed exhibits. Most of the museum is underground to preserve the courtyard space above so we were only able to see the crazy metal pipe sculpture entrance.

Japan Day 10

The next site was Next 21 a Modular/living Residential project. It was designed so it would easy to change the project around and about every years they change the outer panels. The building looked very nice with all of the plants growing off it. For more information check out their website

The next site was further away. it was a public bathroom by Shuei Endo that Brandon wanted to see. On the way there we stop by a convenience store to buy drinks and I got something I hadn't seen before- it was Orange Fanta frozen in a bottle. Once it melts a little bit, you shake it and it turns into a slushy. It was good! On the subway platform while we were waiting by pure coincidence Stan ran into a former student of his who was touring Japan with two other people. Apparently they had tried to make plans to meet some time over our trip but hadn't worked out the details yet. They ended up traveling with us for the rest of the day.

Japan Day 10

The public Bathroom looked more like a cool piece of sculpture than your typical public bath. A few of the girls went in and used it and came out describing it as hell. So maybe great form doesn't lead to great function... It had traditional Japanese squat toilets and didn't have any toilet paper. to make matters worse some of them encountered mosquitoes too.

Japan Day 10

The final building of the day was to see a Shigeru Ban building that was nearby. While it was near by we didn't have firm direction on where it was exactly so it took a bit longer than could have. It was cool building. I don't know too much about Shigeru Ban but I'm now curious and looking up some more info.

Japan Day 10

We decided to have dinner as a group out in the main part of Osaka (I'm not sure exactly where we were because we took a bunch a subways there and back). I had a grilled chicken dish that was really good.

Japan Day 10

On the way back the Train back was packed full and this time it was us who were the squished sardines. luckily that only lasted until the next stop.

Now I'm back at the hotel working on sketch of my ideas to show Stan tomorrow. He wanted to meet with all tomorrow instead of Monday.

Photos Day 10

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Japan Day 9 - Silver Rain

After yesterday's long day, Stan gave us two places to see at our own pace today- Ginkaku-ji and Hakusasonso. The day started off very overcast and quickly turned into rain. I spent the morning hoping the rain would stop while catching up posting photos and checking the Magic game. (Yay they Won!) In the afternoon it was down to light rain so me and Dusty headed out to the sights a short bus ride away.

First we came upon Hakusasonso which is a nice garden to see but it was raining harder and at 800yen for admission, we decided to come back on the weekend and see it when it's not raining. I have a month long Kyoto subway/bus pass so transportation here doesn't cost me anything extra to come back later.

Further up the road was Ginkaku-ji I could tell when we were getting close because the road narrowed and became lined with small tourist shops. Ginkaku-ji is known as the Silver Pavallion. It was commissioned by Ashikaga Yoshimasa as a retirement villa to rival Kinkakuji- the Golden Pavalion (which is actually covered gold) but he died before Ginkaku-ji was finished and it was never covered in silver leaf. Admission was cheaper at 500yen and it had some covered areas so we decided to see it in the rain.

Japan Day 9

The main Pavilion was being renovated but they had taken down most of scaffolding around the front so we still got to see it. The gardens were very nice even in the rain we walked around for a while. It was too wet even under the covered area to sit down and sketch so we may be back again.

Japan Day 9

On our way out, we smelled smoke and saw a bunch of ladies run out of one of the small food shops on the end close to the Pavilion. We hung around a minute to see what was going on and then we saw the reason- flames were coming out of what appeared to be a oven. A man from the shop next door came over and turned the gas off and looked like the fire went out. Soon after the fire department was there. They sent at least 6 firetrucks which all didn't fit on the small road. They weren't going to let anything bad happen so close to one of japans most prized possessions.

Back the hotel I was tired (mostly from the day before still) and took a nap. I worked a little on the Parti (the core idea) for my design project thats due Monday and that was pretty much it for the day

Photos Day 9