Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Soukou: Insects tuck themselves away/ first frost (4 of 5)

November 7th, 2008

Soukou 14 of 15Advised by the Japan Meterological Agency’s that there was 70% ‘probability of precipitation’ today, we planned a day at the National Nature and Science Museum in Ueno (but what a fine day it turned out to be!). Apart from the main buildling, which was completed in December 1930, after its former residence as well as its entire collection were destroyed in the Kanto earthquake of 1923, the museum also consists of an 1998 addition within the complex, a number of annexes and satellite facilities in other parts of Tokyo (including the Institute of Nature Study in Meguro), and active research departments.

Our first mission was to investigate the special exhibition on fungus! The temperate climate of Japan is a mycologist’s dream come true. The number of species on display is certainly impressive, ranging from massive ones to ones that can only be seen under a microscope, from the glow-in-the-dark varieties to the edible kind. And of course, given a certain obsession with food, about one third of the exhibit is dedicated to everyday ‘useful’ fungus.

Next we tackled the Earth and its living inhabitants in jam-packed 7-floor new building. The roof top has a herb garden, an interactive parsol garden, solar panels and views of Tokyo. The third floor has a confronting massive diorama of ‘animals of the Earth’. The first floor has an immersive ocean exhibition. The fossil collection on the first floor of the basement is amazing and the displays give the visitor a solid introduction to some unusal species (e.g. ancestors of the modern elephant).With no time to loose we ducked into the Japan Gallery to glean a little more knowledge about ‘Japan and nature’ as well as ‘Techniques of observing nature’.

Diorama is the display method of choice and excellently executed (makes one want to rush into Tokyu Hands to start building dioramas of one’s own). Soon, however, Auld Lang Syne started up over the speakers, we, various salarymen, young couples dating, mothers and daughters, and groups of work colleagues, were urged to make our way to the exit. But that was okay since my camera had run out of battery by that time and had Redmond and I.  So we headed for the nearest soba eatery.

2 Responses to “Soukou: Insects tuck themselves away/ first frost (4 of 5)”

  1. 1 Lucas
    November 17th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    “auld lang syne” through the PA system to make you leave is hilarious! I will use that one day. What an annoying song.

  2. 2 jolaw
    November 21st, 2008 at 11:32 am

    It goes with the Japanese somewhat ingrained relunctance to ever say ‘no’ or refuse you anything. So a gentle song that may suggest: ‘it’s time to go, everyone’ is called in to do the job. They also play this in Shinjuku Gyoen when they are closing the gate.

    I think maybe you can try it in your next event at the TLC screening or one of your tours.