Friday, March 11, 2011

Tokyo Sketches

We took an overnight bus from Osaka to go to Tokyo after the tiring day at Mount Koya.  The bus company we chose was Willer Express, who offer a variety of different bus types.  I chose the business class seats because I’m not exactly fond of sleeping on moving vehicles, so I might as well be comfortable. We arrived in Tokyo around 7:45 near Ikebukuro station.  Since our hotel only opens up at 9:30 we’d decided to go to Ueno park, and have breakfast somewhere in the area.  We settled on Pronto cafe, where this sketch was done.
These two sketches were done at different times.  The first one was after we’d checked in at the hotel and showered and rested.  This is in Hibiya Park near the Imperial Palace, where there stand a marker and bust of Jose Rizal.  Unfortunately that day we were unable to find him, although we did succeed on our last day in Tokyo.  This sketch was one of my most half hearted ones because I’d made a mistake in rendering the leaves properly and I didn’t have the energy to really go back and fix them.
The sketch on the right was actually done two days later, on our last full day in Tokyo.  We wanted to check out the Tokyo National Museum (partly because it was raining out and we wanted to stay warm and dry) so we headed back to Ueno where we had one of the cheapest breakfast meals we had in Japan, a 390 Yen breakfast meal (a sandwich and coffee) at Becks cafe in Ueno station.  That’s where I did this quick sketch of a Japanese salaryman having a power breakfast.
I’m not sure why we ended up in the National Museum of Western art instead of TNM, but it was an excellent decision because paintings by such luminaries as Manet, Monet, Courbet, Pissarro, Picasso, etc. were on display there.  While these aren’t Japanese at all, they are the closest we’ll get to seeing painting like that till we go to Europe in like, 20 years.  We just barely missed out on a Rembrandt exhibition, which was too bad.  The sketches on the left were of the cast replicas of statues by Rodin, most famous for “The Thinker”.
After Western art we decided to go to our original breakfast destination, the Tsukiji Fish Market.  The stalls bordering the Market have the freshest seafood on hand since they get them straight from the source.  The sheer number of fresh food on display was sensory overload, and we would have had a hard time picking a stall to have lunch in had I not read a blog post about Tsukiji Donburi Ichiba.  This sketch is the rare exception to the general rule that we ate our food too quickly for me to make a sketch of it.  However, even this is kind of a cheat since I based this off a picture at the stall and not the actual chirashi don that we ate.  Take a look at this and tell me you would have been able to restrain yourself from attacking that bowl for more than 30 seconds.

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