Japan is the 97th country we have been to….only 131 more to go!….depending on whose list of countries you use, that is. After the sheer calm and quiet of our idyllic beach in Bali, Tokyo is exactly the opposite. It is busy, crowded, expensive, avant garde, contemporary….much like any other metropolitan area. It reminds us a lot of New York City. Tokyo has been the Japanese capital since 1869, and today is the world’s 11th most expensive city. In our experience so far in traveling the world, it seems to be the most expensive city, but we do believe statistics, so we suppose we need to discover the first ten most expensive cities!
The MORI Digital Arts Museum has become one of the premiere destinations in Tokyo. Located toward the edge of the city on Tokyo Bay, in a large warehouse complex, the museum is a series of dark rooms lit up only by projections on the wall, and objects (such as lanterns and giant balloons) lit up by ever-changing colored lights. It may be hard for readers to understand what they are seeing, but look at each photo as if you are standing still, which of course we were. There are lots of mirrors to make the images even more confusing, and many of the floors are reflective, so lights are shining from them, as well. Most of the projections moved across the walls, like a parade. The first three photos are from the installation called the Forest of Resonating Light. We had to wait in a 45-minute line to enter, as only about 25 people at a time were allowed in, unlike the other rooms. Interestingly, as we looked from the outside through a window into the actual room, the lights inside were only, ever, a shade of orange. Once inside and taking pictures, we experienced what you see…many different colors. In the third photo, you can see the two people in the center taking photos, and you can also see their reflection in the floor. The lights are doing the exact same thing…reflecting like crazy.
The next three photos were a “parade” of rabbits and frogs, walking along, following a wheeled cart. When you got close to them, they turned and looked at you, pointing their fingers! After that are two photos of a special carpet…a lizard and a frog, hopping around. If you stepped on any of the animals, they squirmed out from under your shoe and ran away! But then, of course, they reappeared just to tease you again. Then there is the Balloon Room. Balloons were hanging from the ceiling and were tethered to the floor, in a mirrored room of course, so that you could walk through and get lost in the middle of them as they changed colors. All of the rest of the museum photos are in the Flower Garden, a number of interconnected rooms that change patterns and colors. Some areas had irregular ramps to walk up to get closer to the wall and ceiling. Quite challenging for old people in the dark, but the kids loved it. There was even an area where the children could slide down a lighted area, but it was inside a dark room. Overall, a great place to spend an afternoon. The museum was jammed, and at $30 US per adult, they are doing quite a brisk business.
The photos after that are from our day’s shopping trip to the Ginza, Tokyo’s version of Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue. Every designer brand we could think of had not only a store there, but entire buildings. We saw at least four Giorgio Armani stores! There was also a normal street that would normally have traffic, but traffic was prohibited and it became a temporary pedestrian walkway, but we don’t know why. There were even people lying down in the middle of the road, taking pictures in glee that there were no vehicles.
The last three photos are unusual. We each only own one pair of shoes, so we are not shoe addicts, but these were so unusual. First is Miss Petite with the heaviest mega-shoes we have ever seen. Second is a pair of canvas shoes that look like they are made for a Two-Toed Monster. And the last photo defies even us. As you can see, it looks like a tennis shoe that a high-top has plummeted into, creating two heels and a boot. Whaaaat!??