Okay, last weekend in March, go!
This is Village Vanguard Diner, Hannes' new favourite pre-show burger spot. Or, like, the only one I guess, because he didn't have one before this. It's a popular chain of stores and we had no idea there was also a restaurant. It's also worth noting how much better the one at Ogikubo is than the one at Nishi Ogikubo, which is just a little closet.
I was already pleased with their corn and taro chips with guac even though the tiny portion below is like $6 (typical for Tokyo) as well as their white wine smoothie when I stopped mid-story to grab this from behind Hannes' head. This photography book has been on my Amazon wishlist since like 2007!
Or was this the red wine smoothie? This must be red. Right?
Either way, they're nice.
Ogikubo/Nishiogi probably means Pit Bar, and holy shit, look at these shirts Daigo is selling on his site! Hahah. Gross. Love it.
So there's this chick I've never seen before at Pit Bar, and she's like, super cute. Cutoff shorts, ripped tights, Siouxie and the Banshees shirt, a beret, cat eyes and red lips. Seems really nice, gets all excited when the best friend she's clearly been waiting for shows up, in Cleopatra eyeliner. And it turns out she plays bass in this great ethereal post punk band called Solvent Cobalt.
Her name's Sayaka Suzuki and she's absolutely my current girl crush.
High school me would've lost her shit completely, current more mature me
is just really glad that this kind of aesthetic still exists.
Daigo playing with Anal Volcano, always a good time
These two in the middle are pretty great: Jeremy and his stupidly pretty girlfriend Hilary, from Australia. They're much younger than they should be and he's a pretty talented tattooist. Also they have a mame shiba (miniature shiba inu) with a terrible case of resting bitch face.
Awesome show, one of the better ones since we've been here. And Sayaka was so happy that I fangirled her and got all touchy and huggy toward the end when she was plastered and I promised to message her and her friend (Chihiro) about their music and artsy side project/zine which I still have to do!
The next day was an awesome gallery circuit and Girls' Day Out, first in Omotesando, and then in Jimbocho. I really wanted to go to an exhibition by an American artist living here named Natale Adgnot called Mineral Siblings at Commune 2nd, this trendy outdoor space with vegan food carts and occasional live music and whatnot. We ended up staying and chatting with her for quite a bit because she's really nice!
Love the earthy tones in this one.
She explained to us that, while cutting and burning the edges of these plastic pieces to make the crystals, and squares, she ends up with a lot of little shriveled and crispy screw-up ones that she wants to do something with if she can. Although it would also be very cathartic to just fling them into the fire apparently.
Ugh, Rejon and I talk about how we wish we could afford art all the time.
I mean, these small minimalistic ones are, like, $90. One day! ><
Here's Natale, including the scarf she was wearing that I thought matched her work quite well!
Love this huge one (repeating patterns, you know how it is) and congratulated her on having sold it.
Group selfie before leaving
I will go back and find the name of this artist eventually lol
The pieces are made of layer upon layer of cut tape and are very expensive.
Even the borders are done with special hardware tape, which the gallery owner came up with herself and even cracked open her supply closet to explain after Rejon noticed and asked about it.
SFB, all over the place but never old
What is Blackinder? What does it mean?
That light with the interesting electrical tape art on it is at Pinpoint Gallery, an aptly-named little basement gallery in Omotesando that you'll totally miss even if you're trying really hard.
The layers of cut tape guy was just a coincidence we happened upon, as often happens to me alone and with friends just because of how densely packed with galleries and cafés this overwhelming collection of compact boxy spaces tends to be, but Pinpoint Gallery, like Mineral Siblings at Commune 2nd, was definitely on my Tokyo Art Beat list.
Take a moment to prepare yourselves for these names: this was "From Grassland" by Baasansuren Bolormaa and Ganbaatar Ichinnorov. Any idea where they're from?
They are a Mongolian couple who have been living in Saitama (outside Tokyo)
for a decade, and who illustrate childrens' books in a unique, whimsical, folk style.
They also made and painted kokeshi-style wooden dolls to accompany the paintings and illustrations. Most of them are by the woman, Bolormaa, but her husband contributed some less-detailed but distinct and charming pieces of his own. He's usually the one who writes the text.
Life in a yurt. This reminds me very much of medieval Japanese scroll paintings and I wonder if the birds'-eye view, dozens of small figures moving about, and transparent walls so that we can peer inside are influenced by Chinese and Japanese painting at all, if Bolormaa intentionally or unintentionally absorbed the aesthetic and incorporated it, or if it's all just a coincidence.
They were incredibly, almost painfully nice. They jumped out of their seats and offered them to us when we came in, and we had to politely refuse a few times before they would sit back down. They also had what I imagine must have been very rare and expensive Mongolian cheese, made of both cow and goat milk. It was powdery and tangy; I liked it.
This book was absolutely darling (the title is something like, "The Old Man In the Plate") and all three of us enjoyed the story and illustrations thoroughly, but unfortunately, none of their books have been published in English. One was published in French, I think it was? I found it on Amazon a few months ago. But all told, they are very obscure. This is the kind of thing I think about when I wonder what's involved in curating and publishing artwork: how could I get this published in English? Not just to make a percentage or whatever, but because these artists are legitimately talented and I want the world to see what they do.
These hand-painted rock magnets were pretty cute and initially we were like,
oh! something we could afford maybe?
But alas, they were only gifts with the purchase of an original painting.
Next we went to the The Loving Hut, an international vegan chain run by a crazy but probably harmless cult lady you might remember from my Seoul posts, or that you might know from your very own neighbourhood. There's only one in Tokyo, but I had really been wanting to go, and it turned out that Saturday was an all-you-can-eat buffet for only 2000円, which is really quite a steal. The mini not-sure-what-it's-made-of-if-not-eggs quiche there and the smoky barbeque not-chicken mini skewers were especially tasty.
Look, they even had potato-based okonomiyaki! I tried all the things.
Even the banana bread for dessert, even though I really shouldn't have >_>
We also went to The Loving Hut because it's in Jimbocho,
which is where the highlight of that day's gallery walk was taking place.
No, it is not this spoopy hamburger skeleton, but he does seem like a fun guy.
It was this! An exhibition of antique natural oddities such as old tools for observing the stars, illustrated tomes, animal skulls and taxidermy, and creepy old religious items. Plus they used a Yuko Higuchi illustration for the oversized postcard flyer and it was taking place at the flagship location of my favourite store, 神保町いちのいち, so I was sold without even having to pause to consider what it was.
The arrangement of it all was so excellent, much aesthetics, many pleasing, wow.
It was also really weird how you could pretty much touch and pick up almost any of the items even though they all seemed like they belonged in a museum or high-end private collection.
That there in the center is the larger version of the tool I'd been wanting to lift from the いちのいち in Tokyo Station, but they got wise and placed an employee and a large display in front of the completely open collection of incredibly valuable antiques.
Hannes and I saw some much smaller versions of these
at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin!
They had tipped over so I stood them back up - they were incredibly soft and fluffy ><
Antique glass slides of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
backlit and placed in a small gothic writing desk? Yes please.
I don't know who Yuko is, but as you can see,
this print is most excellent even though it's not an antique.
"Paint me like one of your French girls. No, seriously."
Because once, someone somewhere had a glass eye collection
There were also little antique bottles with beautiful labels.
And hey, look! Famous composer masks!
Best. Group selfie. Ever.
The actual shop downstairs had some real gems too, including
but not limited to these wonderful handmade miniature books.
On the way to the gorgeously creepy exhibition I had spotted a cute Japanese sweets shop, so we went back to it and I purchased the last of their 亀もなか, or sweet red bean wafer turtles, and we took our goodies to a coffee chain next door to have a bit of a sit down before heading home. Look! My charming tea time snack was absurdly perfectly coordinated!
Their strawberry daifuku also looked just lovely.
What a wonderful, perfect marathon weekend.