Thursday, 22 August 2013


What I did today....

Came late for internship, went into the room.

I sat down and introduced myself in Burmese, which I tried to do everyday so that I don't forget the phrase. As you can imagine, this moment is awkward.

I take out my sketchbook and start to draw the old man next to me who is smoking tobacco and creating a nice frame for the old poster in 1960s.

He asks me simple questions for me to learn Burmese.

The other man comes in and greets me. He also makes frame for the old arts.

We are surrounded by historical materials but every single thing is dusty. I always feel like I am in the colonial period of Burma since the collections are mostly from that term.

I finish my sketching and get down stairs to eat Burmese lunch.

I meet new visitors there at the gallery where I have lunch. Visitors come from all over the world. Business, Volunteering, creating democracy, sightseeing, art buyers, they have their own purpose to visit here. The owner treats them equally and serve tea for each person.

I finish lunch and go back to the research center. Two old man trying to explain me about the incident happened in 2011 which is not the Monks demonstration.

The story ends up talking about whether Japan should have military or not.

Then one of them starts to teach me Burmese.

I always wonder if they are sacrificing their time to spend good time with me or if they are just enjoying the moment. We have been talking and talking for hours. They are both very very very experienced men, who are making frames for arts now.

The guy offered me to eat another Burmese food and we continued talking about Burmese history and culture.

"I believe that foreigners should go back to their country and just think about their country. They don't need to come here and take everything. I am not talking about you, you can come here and spend your time."

The guy is really nice but he is sometimes critical about fully accepting the foreigners. I sometimes get mixed feelings talking with him.

The rain gets harder and they go back home earlier than me.

I get back to the shelf which I was cleaning up and categorize the files.

A girl come to me and take pictures for the art journal that they are making.

I smile and go back to my work.

I am not helping the poor people, I am not directly supporting democracy in Burma, I am not teaching for children, I am not helping the injured. I am not in NGO.

I do art and I enjoy it. I talk with people and I enjoy it.

That's all.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Internship in Burma

I started to do my internship from yesterday in Burma, Yangon. So I decided to write some stories of what I have been experiencing here. It has been only two days but there are tons of stories to write. The place is called Pansodan Art Gallery and Canadian woman whose name is Nance and Burmese man whose name is Aung Soe Min started this gallery. Although it is called Gallery, they are working on other things, too.

So far, I am doing my job at the research center of this gallery, and there are tons of documents, photos, ads, paintings, and so on. They are all just squeezed into the room that it is almost like a jungle of documents. U Thein(I don't really know how to write his name) showed me around and I was just amazed with the rich Burmese history and his effort of collecting everything. So I've decided to clean up and organize that research center since everything is just piled up in chaos. I am especially focusing on the old photos of Burma where you can see some family photos, old architectures, news photos and so on. With this many documents, I could open up at least three museums, but they are still sleeping inside this room. U Thein showed me the old Japanese currency used in Burma during the colonization. I could read the old Japanese characters. 50 years ago, this money was used in this country!!! There were also some Japanese documents, too. I wish I could translate them into Burmese!!

Everytime I touch something, I feel the deep history behind it. And I feel the pressure and the excitement inside me. Although it has been only two days, I really enjoy my job. Nance actually let me do anything what I want to do, so the first week, I will just try to do my best to organize things and figure out in my head what I can do to be creative!

It is just nice to be surrounded by arts, and people who appreciate them. Burma is famous for its political and economical reasons mainly, but that is only one part of the country. I believe that there is no simple word to express a country and art explains that a lot.

Different kinds of people come and go to this gallery, Dutch guy filming a democratic debate in Burma, German guy starting his own Beer company, travellers buying lots of paintings, students exploring the country, artists selling their paintings, writers producing their books, and so on. I am willing to meet new people and discover more. SO if you are interested, feel free to follow my blog!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Museum Reviews 2

        Andreas Gursky (Until Sept 16th)
       I was recommended by a friend to see this exhibition. Sadly, I have never heard his name, but he was a famous photographer in the world. The museum was also famous and I have been visiting there a couple of times. The architecture is beautiful and you can just come in and have a seat there. It's also located in Roppongi where the Mori museum is. They have some exhibitions as the same time so you can enjoy the day there with restaurants and big museum shops. The exhibition was surprising. The photos were extended and the size was almost like a wall. I realized that his works are challenging the border between photography and paintings. Those photos are almost like paintings and you get tricked some times. Also you realize that how "ARTFUL" your surroundings can be with some techniques and good eyes.

Review 60/100
Worth seeing for Japanese who are not really familiar with photography. For foreigners who want to see some Japanese art, the museum has also Japanese art collections so you can visit there.

        Playback Artist Talks (Exhibition ended)
       My friend got two tickets of this museum so we decided to have a look at the exhibition. I remembered I went to this museum before when I was small but it was still remaining as modern and fascinating. It is true that the museum has more history than mori museum or the National Art Center but, the architecture was surely beautiful as a modern building. It is located right next to the emperor's house. The permanent exhibition is also worth seeing and first of all, the ticket is much cheaper than the others! That is important for us students! Art should be priceless is my opinion! The exhibition was quite interesting since you get to hear the background stories of the art works and the artists real voice. There were paintings and art pieces and next to them, there was a screen so you can hear the artists' ideas. Sometimes you don't understand or even misunderstood the ideas behind the art so I thought it was a great idea to have this kind of exhibition. However, there were too many artists and each artist talked more than 20 minutes so I got really tired of listening and concentrating on each interview. It might be better if they could shorten the interview or give us a ticket which we can visit again.

Review 55/100
Great idea, but should be more sensitive about picking the artist and considering the energy of the observers.

To be continued....

Friday, 16 August 2013

Museum Reviews 1

Since I came back to Tokyo, I managed to visit as many museums as possible. I have been willing to write the reviews about them even though I haven't taken notes of what I have thought about. Well, why don't I just try. There are some of those who are visiting Japan right now, if you haven't tried one of these museums please have a look. It doesn't matter if you don't like ART. I would especially recommend to those who don't like them at all.

         "JR -Could art change the world?-" (Exhibiton Ended)
        I came back to Japan and the day after, I visited this museum only to see JR's work. It is the smallest museum I have ever been in Tokyo and the price was not cheap( although with the ticket, you can visit again and again until the exhibition ends). I watched JR's performance by TED. He was challenging problems around the world by art. But could he really change it? I still don't know. Still I believe that art is more than entertainment or culture, it has so many possibilities, and that is what JR wanted to prove I guess.

Review 30/100
Not bad, but it was just enough to see the TED video.

        "ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE" (Until Sept 1st)
        This was also the exhibition I wanted to see after I came back, so I went the week after I went to WATARI-UM Museum. The exhibition was greater than I expected and felt like I should come again, which I did. They had variety of artists who all struggled to express love. You can not only see some Japanese "weird" cultures, but also enjoy the artworks from all around the world. It is definitely worth seeing.

Review 70/100
Pretty good as Modern art museum, plus you can see the city view from 52nd floor with the same ticket! But the museum was pretty cold don't forget a jacket.

To be continued....


Thursday, 4 April 2013


This animation pretty much explains every thing.
I am not opposed to job hunting.
I am opposed to SHUKATSU. That is a different thing.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

sometimes you need vision.

The guy(?) who commented on my previous article replied me with this animation and I thought it is worth watching :) Thanks to royal gala!!!

Monday, 11 March 2013


SHUKATSU is a Japanese word meaning job hunting. However, today I want to tell you that it doesn't mean job hunting at all. It is all about following the rules of the "adult world" and losing all your sensitive senses.

The word contains so much negative image that not many people want to face this shukatsu season. Some say it is a time to face the reality, it is a time to say good byes to the long holidays, it is a time to be the slave of the company.

I've been hearing this term since freshman. My school is especially known for being good at this job hunting, and sending students to big and famous companies and institutions. Therefore, shukatsu is part of our school life and at the same time, what people don't want to face.

"Although I got a steady job, I would never do this again."

My senior told me when I was starting to know what this word actually means. Job hunting is something very important and affects your life. But for shukatsu, it is a whole different thing.

First of all it starts in middle of your studies. Japanese uni is for 4 years and this shukatsu starts from the middle of the third year when you actually getting used to your studies and when you want to study deeper. People have to skip classes since the seminar and interviews are on weekdays when the companies are running. Professors take it for granted that shukatsusei( students who do the shukatsu) are not attending classes. People usually apply for more than 30 companies, sometimes 50. My senior applied for 80.

Any business meetings, or seminars, of course interviews, you have to wear the shukatsu suit. In England, not many people wear suits. However, in Japan, they have the shukatsu suit which doesn't look sexy at all. ( Sorry I am a big fan of guys wearing suits) I call them onigiri, or konbini onigiri. They look plain and ready to be cooked in a big factory with all the other onigiris.

Well, why am I writing this horrible shukatsu story?? Because I might be one of them and it is not avoidable if you are seeking a job in Japan. Especially my friends who are in the same grade are facing this. So I decided to write about it.

It continues....