東京 ｜ ハローキティ
We had the pleasure to enjoy strolling under the rain in our second day of class. Rainy day in Tokyo means people out and about in a brisk walk in their colorful and cute umbrellas, myself included. It’s the only time I allowed myself wearing anything pink. ^_^
I wondered why the school choose to held the class in Roppongi. While it’s cool, I couldn’t help but being critical of the choice. Don’t get me wrong, Roppongi is cool and everything, but it’s also not really authentic as it mostly occupied by uninteresting block after block of skyscrapers.
Controversy has also surrounded the best-known development, Roppongi Hills, with its 54-story barrel-like office tower. When it was completed in 2003, the opulent complex — which includes fashion boutiques, condominiums and a television studio — was heralded as a symbol of the end of Japan’s “lost decade.” But it soon turned into a symbol of the excesses of Japanese revival, when its most famous tenant, a Ferrari-driving Internet entrepreneur, Takafumi Horie, was arrested for insider trading.
Set aside the hubbub on the controversy, there’s an upside of having the class conveniently held in Roppongi, which means the Mori Art Museum was just a stone-throw away. Isolated location aside, the private museum often showcase various inspiring exhibition, this time it was the first large-scale solo show from Asia’s leading female artist, Lee Bull ’From Me, Belong To You Only’. I had to admit, upon entering the exhibition hall, I was a bit repulsed by her sculpture works as it reminded me of decapitated monsters in post-apocalyptic zombie war. Then slowly as I went through her arts, they started to speak to me. The most prominent one to me was the Infinity Walls. It reminds me of Atlantis. Having a glimpse to her studio and her sketches, the word passionate seems too mellow to describe her. Obsessive would be more appropriate. One can tell that she isn’t your run-the-mill artist. She truly believes in her work.
I actually think this is an inherent condition of utopia
- to always has the feeling that it’s getting closer.
So human beings are always fared to dream of it and plan it.
And yet we’re also fares to be disappointed by the inevitable realization that it’s I reachable.
Still we dream. I’m fascinated by those failures,
as well as the dreams that the dreamers knew could never matiralize.
(Lee Bull • Tokyo • 2012.05.22)
Meet Hello Kitty…
Going back to class after enjoying such inspiring exhibition to sit in the afternoon session about Hello (who dat) Kitty, was not my idea of how I wanted to end the day. A bit like anti climax, if you asked me.
No disrespect to Sanrio, but boy, if we were to talk about Cool Japan, I wouldn’t include Hello Kitty in the conversation. For one, Hello Kitty is a has-been in my book. Not only was the hip happened before my time but Sanrio was no longer inventing anything new since the Kitty introduced back in 1974 in Japan. I was never into it. In fact, I hate cats. Give me anime, manga and robots anytime. Thank you.
However, it was kind of interesting to learn Sanrio’s journey to fame that eventually led to its downfall. Was it laziness, internal organizational politics (which I doubt it’d be publicly aired), or simply lack of innovation? I’m sorry, but slapping another color or change Hello Kitty appearance or accessories ain’t exactly what I would call ‘innovative’. It’s just repetition of the same thing and putting different label on it.
One couldn’t help but wonder whether Sanrio decline is a classic case of a brand being too comfortable that it cease to innovate?