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Friday, February 11, 2005

Back from Kanazawa

and I've gotta say, I miss city living. Leaving Kanazawa to return to Takayama, I had a little "Zva Zva Gabor/Green Acres" moment.

Kanazawa is a pleasant, very livable, slightly sleepy city on the Sea of Japan (the China side). Good food, good shopping, nice little art scene... not the urban sprawl Tokyo is by any means. But damn, it was nice being in the midst of hustle and bustle again. Well, maybe more shuffle than bustle. Kanazawa's got a slightly mellow vibe and somehow an academic feel. It's not the madness of Tokyo, it felt like a mix between Oxford, England and Sante Fe, New Mexico somehow. Can't explain it. But I could just imagine settling in for awhile.

And the stated reason for going, the 21st Century of Contemporary Art, was well worth it. It's a great museum. The building is based on a circular design, the exterior wall is one big unbroken wrap around of glass. It's a big place, but it doesn't feel overwhelming at all due to the openness of the design. We spent at least 6 hours in the place.

It's designed to be open and accessible to the public and in an innovative scheme, the perimeter of the building is free of charge. You can walk all the way round the interior wall through several galleries, a library, nursery, kid's studio, café, museum shop. To get into the central exhibition galleries, which are visible from the free areas, you have to pay.

In the public galleries there's a show of photographs by national bad boy Araki Nobuyoshi (beware, some images definitely NSFW). To commemorate the opening of the museum, he's taken portraits of local folk ala Richard Avedon- high contrast black and white shots against a white backdrop.

While I was there, one of the subjects showed up to have a friend take of photo of her in front of her photo... of which I took a photo (I've added the red circle so you can more easily identify which photo she's in).

The opening show is quite good, with a fair mix of both Japanese and international artists represented. There are too many pieces to describe any in detail. But if you're interested, click here for a further description.

The other thing Kanazawa is known for is it's fish market.

It's a rather spectacular place.

But I don't think I'd want to meet the fella these suckers were attached to.

But back in Takayama, 2 king crabs, 8 huge scallops, and a dozen shrimp made there way into our bellies by way of paella this evening. Thanks Kanazawa for the fish and memories.