Tokyo National Museum | Japan | Living in Mexico

Tokyo National Museum

Our last outing in Tokyo was to the Tokyo National Museum. This is a place we could easily have visited without guides, and, as we were to discover shortly, their real payoff was going to be in Kyoto. But the museum exhibits were spectacular, and Steve was able to provide us with a great deal of information about the exhibits.

Arriving at the museum, we found ourselves a minority. Most of the visitors were uniformed schoolchildren. The girls were dressed similarly to Mexican schoolgirls: Ironed white blouses, pleated skirts, jackets, knee socks.


The boys, on the other hand, wore outfits reminiscent of Prussian military uniforms, a holdover from pre-war days when all things German were much admired in Japan.


They almost manage to bring off the stern, authoritarian look until you saw their white running shoes.

The garden at the entry to the museum grounds set the proper mindset with—a clock. Of course. No wasting time, kiddies. The university entrance exams aren't far off, and if your scores are low, they'll doom you to life as a salaryman.


For pictures of a few of the museum exhibits, check out this flickr photoset. It was impossible to take enough photographs, although even one was too many, because we couldn't keep track of the significance of each object. Looking at the photos now, I'm amazed at how little I know about the exhibits. For me, museums always provide far too little explanation, and the situation at the Tokyo National Museum was compounded because all of the information cards were, of course, in Japanese.

Afterwards, we walked through a park across the street from the museum entrance where we came across an evangelist speaking to a large group of people sitting on the ground. It was the first Christian artifact I'd seen since arriving.


The photo below is of the museum entrance, seen from the park. Of interest to me is the group of four gardeners sitting on the ground. They are hand-weeding this huge lawn. No broad-leaf herbicides used here! These men meticulously removed each weed, working across the grass in a totally organized way. The unworked lawn area forms a perfect rectangle.


Jean has an expression she uses to describes things that confuse or frustrate her. She says, "It drives me waka waka." So I was delighted to find a panel truck emblazoned with: