Category: art

Stepping Into the Good Olden Days of Osaka

Only now that I realized that in the past 7 times that I have travelled to Japan, only few times did I went to a public art museum.  Reason maybe is because Japan in itself is one whole country of a public museum.  Everything you see, touch and feel seem worthy of being preserved, collected and exhibited.

When I go to a foreign country, I often set aside a day to visit either an art, cultural or historical museum.  I call it my “cultural day”.  A day when my soul is fed with art, history and culture.  But being in Japan, everyday seem to be a “cultural day”.

LIFE doesn’t come with an instruction manual, it comes with a MOTHER!

 

Though it is my 8th journey to Japan, this visit is still something different.  It is because I got to go and check on an actual museum.  And what is so unique about it is that I myself seem to be part of the museum’s exhibit.

While my nieces and nephews settled to go to Osaka’s Universal Studios, accompanied by one of my nieces, I, my sisters and Nengkoy went to Osaka Museum of Housing & Living.

super fun dressing up!
i love this shot!
what’s cooking?
gabi na! hahaha!

 

i call this the “rabbies shot”! hahaha!

The whole museum is a replica of an old Japanese town, specifically during Japan’s Edo period.  The cool thing about this museum is you got to rent and wear clothes of people during that era.  Thus, visitors donned in kimonos and yukatas can interactively feel how it really was 200 years ago in Osaka.

Adding up the modern Japanese technology, the lighting and sound simulations of the whole museum would shift, in which visitors would get to witness how it is to be during early morning dawn, daytime and nighttime period of the Edo era.   The awesome feeling was like stepping into  the good olden days of Osaka!

super fun peeping back into some japanese history…

Ang galing!

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Experiencing the Way of Tea

The ultimate measure for the most favorite travel destination to a foreign country of a traveler is the number of times that traveler has returned.  Intentions for such returns must be for leisure and never to count the reasons due to work, study, business or religion.

Me and Nengkoy’s most recent visit to Japan was our eight time.  And Japan, Osaka in particular never ceases to amaze us.  Both of us thought that we have basically done everything a tourist must do in Osaka and its nearby cities like Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.

We then decided to further plunged ourselves to the Japanese culture by attending and learning the Way of Tea, otherwise known as the Japanese tea ceremony. My niece booked us at Maikoya Osaka, a Japanese cultural experience center who fortunately holds some of their cultural classes in English.

tranquil, graceful, serene

hot!

serving nengkoy (who had a different set-up for she no longer can do the Japanese way of seating on a square pillow)

delicious japanese sweets prior to sipping the macha tea

mix!

doing my little ceremony at a corner

We got to witness how the tranquil purification process was done along with the very elaborate and refined steps of the ceremony.  The Way of Tea for me is like a transcendent ritual that truly demonstrate respect through grace, charm and poise along with the showmanship of how a high level of good etiquette should be carried out.

The Way of Tea ceremony is a total opposite from my being brusque, coarse and unmannered.  The beautiful rite was so calm, serene and peaceful.  It was so dreamlike, I wanted to lie down, sleep and snore right there at the tatami mat!

inside Maikoya Osaka, contemplating on having this as my halloween costume next year hahaha!

I thought my 8th visit in Osaka prefecture would be a bore but our first Way of Tea experience was such a refreshing encounter.  It provided me reasons to come back and further explore beautiful Osaka and its nearby cities in the future.

Malayo sa paghigop ng Tsaang Gubat!

Sexy & Romantic Portuguese

There will come a point in our lives that we would fall in love with a song in which the lyrics are written in a foreign language not familiar to us.  I have been feeling this for the past weeks.  I have fallen in love not with one but with three songs.  And what is so consistent with these songs is that these are all sang in Portuguese language.

There must be something special in the Portuguese language when sung.  I don’t understand a single word of Portuguese but the emotion and sentiment of this language evokes something special.  It’s romantic, it’s amorous, it’s passionate!

The expressive phonology, the sensual structure of words, the voluptuous syntaxes and the almost nostalgic vowels accentuates the feelings of passion and romance.  Apaixono, cafune and saudade are examples of quixotic-ly structured kind of Portuguese words!  People say that the unrestrictive airflow of spoken Portuguese words makes it ideal for singing songs of love and longing.  Maybe these are the reasons why I easily fell in love with the following songs…

  • My nephew Luis was dancing to this tune the first time he heard it.  Efemera by Tulipa
  • I first heard this song in a superb Brazilian movie. Vagalumes Cegos by Cicero
  • The 2017 Eurovision winner from Portugal. Amar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

These are the only foreign language songs in my Spotify playlist.  Some say its French, others say its Spanish, but for me Portuguese is the sexiest and most romantic language on the planet. Obrigado!

Bakit kasi walang letrang X sa wikang Pinoy? Ayan tuloy di tayo kaseksihan.

Interpreting Cupid’s Span at the Embarcadero

I am a big fan of art that are commonly found in museums.  The forms of art I often marvel about outdoors would be magnificent architectures and massive infrastructures.  But while having a walk along the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, one massive piece of sculpture struck me.  It’s the humongous bow and arrow monument in the middle of Rincon Park.

Upon google search, I learned that the title of this masterpiece is Cupid’s Span built in 2002.  The artists who created this gigantic piece made reference to Eros, the Greek God also known to the Roman’s as Cupid who shoots arrows into its would-be-victims.

Unexpectedly discovering this cool piece of art was great!  Perceiving and understanding the statement that Cupid’s Span makes – like any other piece of art – can be very subjective.  It is open to the personal interpretation of the individual.  You either like it or you don’t.  I happen to love it!  It blends well and stands out pretty impressive with the surrounding location.  You can actually view Cupid’s Span from different angles, backgrounds and perspectives at different times.  And this unique attribute of this masterpiece gives you different opinion and feeling every time.

It is one unique landmark in SF which I guess celebrates love and how an SF visitor’s heart can actually get stuck and held immovable by the beauty of the sights and culture of San Francisco.  For me, it is an unflinching representation of the famous line, “I left my heart in San Francisco”.

And while taking photos of this massive masterpiece, I was gleefully unashamed singing Rachel Alejandro’s song, Mister Kupido! (click the LINK to that song) Hahaha!

Ba’t hindi panain, ang kanyang damdamin ng ako ay mapansin…

Traveling In Strange Circles by William Allan

I am in San Francisco.  And in keeping with my personal tradition of visiting a museum every time I travel abroad, I went to SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts).  Like what I personally do in the past inside a museum, I let those pieces of art feed the cultural facet of my soul.  And the one that most moved me will be featured in the Nengkoy blog.

one of the iconic works of andy warhol

I thought that it would be the works of Andy Warhol that will most fascinate me.  Though seeing his works is one of the highlights of my San Francisco adventure, it was actually this that nudged a silvery spur into my little brain:

traveling in strange circles by william allan
great shot by the equally entranced lady

I was easily entranced by the work of William Allan.  This big piece of acrylic painting on canvass is entitled Traveling in Strange Circles done in 1973.

An old lady who was with me inside the gallery, I guess saw some glow spilling out from my body, she involuntarily volunteered and asked if I would want a photo with the piece of beautiful art.  I of course obliged.  She too was so impressed by the works of William Allan it took quite a lot of time before both of us left that specific section in SFMOMA.

Before I left the William Allan gallery, I told the old lady, “I want that piece in my room!” while pointing to the great piece of art.  The lady then smiled and told me,”You then need quite a lot of fortune before you can own such an excellent piece of work”.  Both of us laughed and bid each other goodbye.

Traveling in Strange Circles though made in 1973 is very modern and is very on with the times.  It is a happy painting.  I never imagined liking a piece of painting that centers a pair of sneakers in it.  Or maybe the painting in a way represents me, a person who loves to travel.

Akong ako ang peynting na ‘to. Kalyehero!  

Nengkoy’s Snail Mails

I have one seem-to-be-odd and old-fashioned question.

I won’t be asking you what your wishes this Christmas are.  Neither would I ask where are you gonna spend it.  I won’t inquire whom your gonna spend it with or what look are you gonna don with on that joyous day.  My question would be: Do you remember when was the last time you sent a Christmas card to a friend or a relative through the classic postal mail?

With the advent of the internet, convenience of the social media and the availability of modern day apps, I’m pretty sure you cannot remember.  Or maybe, if you’re really young and part of the millennial generation, I guess you haven’t even sent yet a letter through snail mail.

I have sent a couple of merry Christmas greetings already via social media for the past few days, but Nengkoy still settles for the classic and traditional mode.  Just 2 weeks ago, she showed me a bunch of envelopes filled with Christmas cards to be sent to relatives in USA and Canada via old-style and old-fashioned postal mail.  And while taking photos of these classic form of greetings, out of nowhere, I suddenly wanted to receive a Christmas card sent via snail mail.  It would be one earnest feeling, I guess.

nengkoy's snail mails
nengkoy’s snail mails
3 generations: neil, nengkoy and my nephew gabby, a millennial who I guess has not yet sent a letter via classic postal mode
3 generations: neil, nengkoy and my nephew gabby, a millennial who I guess has not yet sent a letter via classic postal mode

Though I no longer remember, I have sent letters and greeting cards via postal mail in the past.  And I know how much time and effort that is poured in handwriting as well as the time and effort of going to the nearest postal station.

Handwritten letters and classic greetings cards for me is a beautiful thing.  Merry greetings received through this mode, I guess, is warmer, sincerer and more heartfelt.    It is one art, culture and tradition that is unfortunately on its verge of extinction.

But going back to my question if you happen to remember when the last time you sent a snail mail was. Nengkoy for sure can easily answer such an odd and old-fashioned question.

Klasik ng lola mo!

Ringing the Massive Bell of Bosingak

One of the beautiful highlights of my recent Seoul trip was something unplanned and unexpected.  Me and my colleagues were lucky enough to be at the right place and at the right time when we happen to experience one traditional South Korean ceremony.

bonsingak: a totally different belfry
bonsingak: a totally different belfry

During the Joseon Dynasty, the Bosingak Belfry was used to keep time.  In the very old days when Seoul was still enclosed by 4 main gates, the bell of Bosingak would ring 33 times at 4:00 AM so as to signify that people can be allowed to enter Seoul.  And by 10:00 PM, the bell again would ring 28 times to alert the public that the gates to the city are closing.

On our way to Insadong (one shopping capital in Seoul), just outside Jonggak subway station, we happen to pass by one oriental-looking structure.  Being first timers and tourists of South Korea, we of course were lured to take photos of the massive building.  When we were called to step in at the rather old compound and was informed that entrance for free, we temporarily suspended our shopping itinerary at Insadong and instead marveled at the beautiful structure in front of us.

i love the colors...
i love the colors…
ring my bell... hahaha!
ring my bell… hahaha!
high fashion!
high fashion!

While taking photos of ourselves, the buildings and the guards in traditional and colorful Korean clothing, we were told that we can participate in the day’s ringing of the bell ceremony.  But before we were allowed to hit the bell with a massive wooden log suspended from the ceiling, we were told to first change into Korean traditional costumes.  The changing into colorful Korean clothes even made this awesome experience more unforgettable.

And at 12 high noon, we were hitting the massive bell of Bosingak to alarm the whole Seoul, South Korea!  And after this awesome experience, we were so inspired, ended up buying lots of traditional South Korean goodies at Insadong.

Kampanerang kuba ang peg!