Yayoi Kusama Museum

I’d love to visit the upcoming Yayoi Kusama Museum in Shinjuku, opening in October — not only to take in her work, but the building itself looks quite nice. You’ll find more details in this Spoon & Tamago post.

On a related note, here in Montreal we live near the Musée des Beaux Arts, and this summer they’ve set up an outdoor collection along Sherbrooke street, and we’re lucky enough to have a piece by Kusama near our place (pictured below).

Urban Layers

golden-gai-street-at-day

My friend Mare is a game creator (maker, with her partner Raigan, of the fantastic N series) and she’s currently spending some time in Tokyo, something that has turned into an annual sojourn for the team. The reason for this post though is to share a fantastic mood board that Mare just shared through Pinterest, which she called “Game 1 – Urban Layers.” Having spent a lot of time going through these images — a lot of them relating to Japan, like the shot in this post of a section of Golden Gai in Shinjuku — I can’t help but dream of a game that is inspired by all of this visual goodness.

YMCK October Calendar

ctpzf_9uiaevpzo

Looks like chiptune band YMCK has been sharing a special calendar each month — pictured here is the just-released October one (from this tweet). Also, YMCK vocalist Midori Kurihara will be DJing tomorrow night (Sunday, October 2) at the 8bit Cafe in Shinjuku, 19:00 to 23:00. Found via Tokyo’s Coolest Sound.

I’m So Over This Summer Thing

So how’s your summer going? Is it hot enough for you? I can assure you that here in Tokyo we have had our fair share of hot weather, and it’s in no hurry to stop: A quick look at my weather widget shows a pretty steady mid-thirties for the rest of the week. Enough of this already.

The real question is, how are you dealing with it? I’ll readily admit that summer is my least favorite season — not a fan at all, actually — and so it tends to take the form of a constant countdown until fall. Yes, September can’t come soon enough for me (even though it tends to still be hot in Tokyo, psychologically I can tell myself that the weather is on a downward spiral towards something reasonable).

Of course, it’s also a challenge for my dog — summer in Tokyo is obviously not what a Great Pyrenees needs. But he’s used to it — it’s his 3rd summer — and he just pretty much stays indoors during the day, sleeping near a fan or air con. Walks are done at night, when the air is a bit cooler (but it still doesn’t take very long before he starts panting). We did manage to take an epic walk from Ikebukuro to Harajuku this past Saturday — it takes us about 2 hours both ways — but we left around 3-4, and got there a bit before 6, so we were at least past the midday heatsuck.

Above, a photo taken as we were walking — this is somewhere between Takadanobaba and Shinjuku.

Okutama

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been out hiking, something that was rectified earlier today when we headed out to the Okutama area. We decided to head to Mitake mountain, and took a cable car up (pictured above), with the idea of walking down (we didn’t really have time to walk both ways).

It may be silly to say — and believe me, I did enjoying the walk — but one of my favorite things when we go out hiking is that we usually pick up a bento (lunch box) for the trek, and since we passed through Shinjuku station, we were able to get some really nice ekiben (bento that is aimed specifically at people travelling long distances by train, sold at stations that have lines that leave the city).

And what I always like to point out as well is that all of this happened within the bounderies of Tokyo-to, meaning you don’t even have to leave the city to go on these wonderful hikes.

To get there, from Shinjuku station you hop on the Chuo line (the orange line) and switch trains at Ome (you may need to switch at Tachikawa on the way, depending on your train), to then get off at Mitake station. Across the street from the train station is a bus station, with buses that take you up to the cable car station (270 yen for the bus, 570 yen for the cable car, one-way).

Taking It to the Streets

This past Saturday we walked all the way down from Ikebukuro to Harajuku with the dog, mostly because we wanted to spend some time at the big “dog run” area inside Yoyogi park. It made for quite a pleasant outing (if a long walk), and we also walked around Aoyama a bit — I wanted to check out the Magazine Library event — and also spent some time at a cafe. As you can imagine, we get a lot of attention when we’re out and about with him, and it’s quite normal to have to stop so that people can pet him or take photos.

Above, a photo taken as we were walking through Shinjuku. Below, walking up Takeshita Street in Harajuku.