Art gallery. Promenading and picnics.
14.04.2013 18 °C
Well the breakfast here is very nice. At last there is a nice hotel breakfast buffet. I was slightly perturbed when a half American half Japanese girl turned around and started to talk to me. She thought I was her Japanese mother! I suppose we had the same hair, glasses, same height and wearing glasses..... But surely I look younger?
Today we did lots of walking again, it's really a good way to see things and feel the vibe. We headed for one of the many art galleries here. I cannot go on holiday without viewing something arty. We visited the Hiroshima prefectural art museum. In here we got a taste of some modern sculptural artists, some Japanese artists from the 1920-1930s and some special exhibitions. There is a Japanese author called Natsume Soseki (I had actually already heard of him!) who alluded to art in his work, so the special exhibit was about him. It showed art for his book covers, art inspired by his stories and art he referred to in his stories. At the end, it showed showed some of his own art. He had he said he wished he could paint and draw, but I think he did a pretty good job! There were some famous paintings and artists here, like Dali, Magritte, some of the pr-Raphaelites, Turner and some Hogarth prints. I am very much into art, and anyone who read my USA blog will know that I could get carried away, but since it doesn't interest all, I shall try to keep myself under control here . So in summary, I learnt about Japanese art and saw some famous western artwork too. As usually I had my notebook to jot down thoughts and notes to look up later at home.
We had a light lunch of miso soup, nigiri balls, each with a different centre filling and green tea. Grand total of $11 for us both! Thanks art gallery tea room!
After a quick visit to the museum shop, we had a walk in the beautiful garden outside. It is called the Shukkeien gardens. Here it has been designed to look bigger than it actually is by clever use of plants and perspective. It is laid out in convoluted circular shape around the perimeter of a lake. There is a bamboo grove, tea garden, red bridges, stone bridges and mini pagodas, herb garden and so many flowering shrubs! Just so pretty! Very pictureque every time you turn the corner and get a different view. The lake has big carp, small cute turtles and some cranes. I saw a long thin snake which gave me a fright. I've lived in Australia for over 30 years and never seen a snake in the wild. The first wild snake I see in my entire life is in Hiroshima in a beautifully manicured garden! Go figure.
After enjoying the garden, we walked past the school where Sedako Saseki went to school (she was the girl of the 1000 cranes fame, who died of leukaemia). There was a small monument to her at the school, the bigger one is in the Peace Park with many colourful paper cranes there.
Afterwards,we just strolled along the river side. It's Sunday. Some strange goings-on were taking place along the banks...... People reserve a spot nice and early in the morning. We saw this as we headed out. On the way back, we saw what and why...... It's a big family party! This is Serious picnicking. They have tables, chairs, tatami mats, or tarpaulins, bottles and KEGS of beer all set out like a full on bar, barbecues with hunks of meat, huge Eskies of food. This is major picnicking. Happy intoxicated but not ugly drunk people having a good time.
As we walked back, it started to rain, so we found food for our own picnic in the hotel room..... Never in a million years would I buy food at a seven eleven, but in Japan it's OK because it's fresh and healthy. We were treated to a small but atmospheric lightning and thunderstorm. We bought some mystery drinks in a can. At this point may I just say, that the shredded green cabbage is an over-represented vegetable in Japanese salad and cooking. I managed to find a salad without cabbage today!
Tonight we have to pack up, forward the suitcases to Osaka and pack day packs for the one night stay on Miyajima Island tomorrow. It will be another big day and I have a surprise entry for tomorrow...... !!!! I am looking forward to it a lot.