Day 29

Wednesday 13th of July. Today, it is really rainy. No way we can hang laundry on the balcony. A good day to wash bedsheets and towels, which are nicer machine dried. Within 15 meters from our apartment building, there is a 24 hours laundromat. Samuel washes one room’s bedsheets (the other room will be for tomorrow: kids are still sleeping) then shleps the wet laundry for 30 minutes in the dryer. Noe leaves for Waseda, and once the bed is made with fresh and dry bedsheets, Gadea, Eyquem, and Samuel leave. It is pouring rain, so the first stop is to buy 2 more of the transparent umbrellas that are ubiquitous in Japan. You can find them in every convenient store, albeit at different prices in different neighborhood. The one we but in Takamatsu, that Eyquem has grabbed, was 500 yens. The ones from the Okubo Korean convenience store come for 350, so we buy two. 

And off we go to take the Yamamote line. We stop at Meguro and add to our stamp collection. In Megro we walk towards the hotel Gajoen Tokyo, a fancy hotel that has a lobby full of Japanese art has a famous museum section. Next to the hotel, there is (you probably guessed it) a shrine, and we start our visits by touring the shrine. Stomachs can be heard, however, so we decide to go eat, and find a delightful single dish on the menu, tiny, restaurant 5 minutes away. Japanese vegetable curry, prepared in front of us, with a mini lassi. Delicious! 

We go back to the hotel Gajoen. Historically it was often called as a “department store of ornamentation”, or a Palace of the Dragon King of Showa Era. It was built in the 30s, after the great earthquake. But in 1988, most of the old building was destroyed to make way for the widening of the Meguro river. Only one section of the old building remains, and is integrated in the new building: the Hyakudan Kaidan. It is a stairway with 100 steps and 7 highly decorated rooms. In this setting, this summer, is a special exhibit called Wa no Akari x Hyakudan Kaidan. The theme is ‘Light and Shadow: One Hundred Stories’ and it is  inspired by the tradition of telling ghost stories in the summer. One can find installations at each room that use light and shadow to illustrate ghost stories. The surroundings are full of traditional paintings and decoration. From the hotel lobby, you have to take a fantastically decorated elevator. You then reach a goldfish lantern installation, and this is just the start of it. Since the rooms are tatami rooms, you are asked to take off your shoes and carry them in a provided plastic bag. Then you reach the stairs and start walking up, entering rooms at each level. It is really a marvelous exhibit. 

Next we take a walk in the Meguro neighborhood in order to reach the Meguro Parasitological Museum. This small unstaffed museum (there is a ball to ring if you want to buy something from the gift shop) is quite instructive, if a bit scary. We learn about insect, animal, and human parasites in some details, and see some preserved rests. After this instructive visit, we get back to the Meguro river and walk towards Ebisu. On the way, we decide to take a break and have a drink at the Yebisu Beer Museum. Yebisu has been bought by Saporo and is not independent anymore, but it is an interesting place to spend a few minutes. Well rested we reach the Ebisu train station, collect yet another stamp, and get back home just in time to join Róbert and Noe for dinner at a Korean restaurant not far from home. After dinner, Samuel has an internship thesis defense to attend to on Teams, and it is resting time for the others. 

Modern art, or…?




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