An odd bucketlist but it was my goal to head to Aomori and also the Aomori Museum of Art (青森県立美術館 site). Back in 2011 Japan Railways ran these commercials on their trains called “My First Aomori“. They were really cheesy and featured a very handsome train conductor and some girl from the big city discovering all of Aomori’s charm. This was because of the expansion of highspeed rail. Me and my man would make fun of the whole series of commercials and everything we visited in Japan became “My First…”, but well it got stuck in my brain. So I finally did “My First Aomori” and it is truly a really cool place to visit.

One of my big complaints about the Japanese art scene as its portrayed in Museums is how little Japanese art there actually is. There was a huge boom in Japan collecting overseas art and even in extremely famous museums you may not see much art from Japanese artists (Mori Museum, Tokyo National Gallery, Bennessee Art House to call out a few).

It’s an absolute shame because Japan has had a lot of great artists!!

Aomori Museum of Art was one of the rare places I’ve seen embracing Japanese artists. Aomori Museum of Art was such a shock it actually became my favorite museum in Japan.

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The Aomori Museum opened in 2006 so like the Matsumoto Museum of Art it’s another new edition to the crew. It’s designed to resemble the Sannai Maruyama buried ruins from the Joumon Period of Japan which is right next door. So most of the museum is underground.

Reading up on reviews on this museum people seem to hate it for two seasons:

1) Its concentration modern art

2) Its complicated system of entry even though its (supposedly) minimalist

3) Mostly you cannot take photos.

You can read more about the architecture of the Museum on Arch Daily.

My answers to these complaints:

  1. It WAS modern (yay!). I love modern art!
  2. Agreed but it only takes like 10 minutes to figure it out
  3. That’s annoying but my quiet iPhone I snuck a few.

 

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There’s a lot of angles and mix outside because like others I had a hard time finding the actual entrance.

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Once going inside and paying my fee I was greeted by giant painted backdrops done by Marc Chagall. He’s a personal favorite so I was really happy. It’s his original paintings for the ballet Aleko he painted in exile in America. The seated person gives an example of how insanely giant these are.

Once you enter the full museum which requires an elevator you’re in the Yoshitomo Nara area. Yoshitomo Nara (奈良 美智 wiki) is one of the most famous living artists of Japan. He’s currently 58 and has his art displayed in most major modern art museums. Uncomfortable children’s book would be my best description of his style and motives.

 

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The rare item you can take photos of. Aomori-ken (あおもり犬)it’s a play on words of Aomori Prefecture or 青森県 (Aomori-ken).

Seeing this baby online for years I thought you could walk around it or at least step outside near it. Nope it’s behind glass and really impersonalizes how cool and giant it really is. I would say it’s at least 3 storeys tall.

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While I wasn’t allowed to photograph much of the Yoshitomo Nara exhibition I couldn’t resist taking photos of this piece. It’s actually a giant white box inside of the space and when you look in via one of the portholes.

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There is also a whole area dedicated to Shiko Munataka (wiki). Who is another Aomori native and did this modern Ukiyo-e technique of woodblocking. He uses a lot of Buddhist themes that are popular in Aomori Nebuta (floating giant lanterns).

While the Shiko Munataka collection in the Aomori Museum of Art is a bit over-expansive taking up 4 rooms, it did grow on me seeing his art used for so many practical purposes. He was tasked with designing bags for fancy malls like Takashimaya or doing special gift wrapping at fancy Kyoto stores. Actually showcasing an artists graphic art was really cool to me.

There were a few other rooms showcasing some really interesting pop art that combined some overseas and Japanese artists. I really like them all, but the no photos thing became an issue.

Special Exhibition: Tohl Narita

This really won my heart. I didn’t really know much about this artist but everyone has seen his work. To me that’s just such a cool concept.

Tohl Narita was the character creator of Godzilla in the original Godzilla movies and also the concept artist behind Ultraman. And when I mean artist it is truly some art. Paintings, drawings and sculptures of all of his character creations. This is from the Fukuoka Museum but you can read about the traveling Tohl Narita exhibition here in English.

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Character design is so neat. It must be amazing so have watched so many of your own ideas come to life for so long.

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His sculptures are all this style. So dark and demonic and really play up his character style even more.

I mean the man created Garamon. I’m forever a fan.

 

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To fit the minimalism of the Museum signs like this advertise the upcoming events. It’s all done by the Museum’s art director.

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Big quality gift shop. Soft spot for museum gift shops. Well soft spot for museums. Lots of fun Yoshitomo Nara items along with Shiko Munataka and the Tohl Narita traveling works.

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Aomori Museum of Art cafe is called the Four Dancing Cats. The coffee and apple tart (apples are an Aomori speciality) was quite cheap at 500 yen and the place was big and offered sandwiches as well.

Aomori Museum of Art information:

jp: 青森県立美術館 Aomori Kenritsu Bijutsukan
google maps: here
site: english
hours: 9am-6pm closed the Tuesday after Monday holidays. Also closed for a block for New Years.
getting there:  Kenritsu Bijutsukanmae bus stop (県立美術館前), a twenty minute, 280 yen bus ride from Aomori Station. However it’s Aomori so buses are usually every 30 minutes. Instead I took a cab ride there and it was around 1,500 yen or $13. There’s a taxi stop near the museum that also has a taxi parked outside for return back.

This is the first time I’ve talked about Aomori in a travel post. I came back from my two days there thinking wow Aomori was cool and I definitely filled up my days. Not during the Nebuta Matsuri (giant float festival) it doesn’t get much tourism which feels nice considering Japan has a tourism boom and everywhere feels crowded. I feel I missed out on some things to do there, but I had a good time. So consider a stopover in Aomori on your way to Hokkaido or take a dip higher from Sendai.

If you like Museums I have a ton more Japan museum posts coming because I went to a lot recently. Also check out the Matsumoto Museum of Art.

yea yea I know this isn’t a fashion post, it’s a travel post. And culture is cool, get some in youuuu! I actually have something combining that next post when I talk about Tokyo Disney. So stay tuned.

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Japan Fashion trends for Spring is such a fun and cheery thing, but wow that was the most unimaginative title ever for this post. But it states the point and if you’re here for words that’s cute (bless you) let me distract you by lots of photos of FASHION done by crappy photoshop instead.

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Always on the ball japanese fashion site Fashionwalker.jp put out their “7 2018 Spring Fashion Keywords” and they’re correct but man they’re boring…. and I don’t think they truly reflect the NEW trends popping up for 2018. But just in case you didn’t already pop over to their site…

The Seven Japanese Fashion 2018 Spring trends according to Fashionwalker are:

  • Bright color
  • Gingham Check
  • Sporty
  • Flower
  • Sheer
  • Ruffle and Frill
  • Shoes & Bag

Cool cool yea Fashionwalker that’s an okay list I’m feeling sheer and frill, but let’s dive deeper because some of those have been happening for a while.

And Sporty? Like Sporty has been happening for a while and I still don’t think you put on contrasting stripe on a shirt and it’s POOF S-P-A-W-T-Y!

It also lets me bring out my favorite gif:

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Yas Devil Wears Prada you tell them. Florals? Every damn Spring. Until Rienda and Duras and every other florals for Spring brand invents a new flower, I’m not impressed.

 

And Gingham check (ギンガムチェック) has been going on for a long damn while in Japan. Thankfully because I really like it and it helps me wear on trend things for several seasons.

Although I will shout out there has been a gingham shift and I’m happy to report about it. And that shift is gingham color and gingham mix.

You thought you could just have black & white gingham? Noooo reds and blues and yellows are all coming down the line.

Also I think a big trend this season is patchwork style gingham mix. Because one gingham has been done for several seasons.

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L-R: Fur Fur | Snidel | Sly | Tutuanna

And that’s all I really want to say about Fashionwalker’s list until mine combine a little. So let’s go!!

Mitsu’s Japanese Spring 2018 Fashion Trends

(…not listed by Fashionwalker)

Dots!

I really think dots and swiss dot will be a big trend this year. You heard it here first. Or second. But well I said what I said.

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Oh hey it’s me your blog person Mitsu, who uses gifs and memes in place of personality…

 

They’ve been slowly popping up each summer, but now I think it’s time. Especially with their the sheer trend, swiss dot is a way to spice it up. You’ll see swiss dots in a lot of girly brands. They’ll be in a several colors, but black and white dots ruling.

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L-R: Moussy | Rienda | Nice Claup | Honey Mi Honey

Shout out to these pieces also showing up four other trends: bags as a focal point, volume sleeves, bustier + sheer combination, sheer fabrics

But that’s not all

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Oh y’all wanted a twist?! Well you didn’t get one, just more examples of DOTS DOTS DOTS. Let them ruleeeee!

Semi-Sheer Elastic Tops but ESPECIALLY Vertical Stripe Sheer

Bless this whole trend. Bless it. First of all, it’s thin aka sheer so you can wear long sleeve versions when it’s boiling outside, but offers a little sun protection (sun = age put on that sunscreen). Also vertical stripes are flattering and when it’s sheer it doesn’t look like “HEY I AM TRYING TO BE SLIMMING WITH THESE STRIPES!! NOPE NO I DO NOT LOVE ALL THE FOODS!”. Instead it’s like “pssst did you notice I look slimmer and didn’t eat that cake I really did eat?”

You know how I know this trend is everywhere? Well I saw it everywhere. And it’s in GU already. If Uniqlo discount brand GU has already been like “hey you’re wearing this for spring” it’s major. I actually bought mine in GU because it was cheap and they offered sizes. I know, groundbreaking.

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L-R: Nice Claup |  WEGO | sPray | MIA

I know that was a specific trend, but damn look at all of them.

 

 

 

Volume Sleeves

This fits the bustier trend so well. You’ll see them combined often. In all of the looks it helps emphasize the waist and better. I don’t know about you, but interesting volume just screams FASHION for me. And chubby armed ladies rejoice, we got something.

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L-R: Moussy, One*Spo, Mercury Duo | Murua

I bought the Moussy one, it’s silky!

 

Waist Pouches

Fanny packs, bum bags you name it. Gucci put the popular velvet one out and since then it’s been on a lot of Japanese lady celebs and I think that’s really pushed the waist pouch trend.

The more common blogger style is to wear them crossbody but really they’re picking up. And worn “properly” they emphasize the bigger waist trend.

Of course this is part of the bigger Shoes & Bags trend by Fashionwalker but more like an interesting bag or shoe as focal point. Is the point of their trend.

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L-R: Lily Brown | Envy M | Snidel

I would wear the whole Lily Brown outfit right now. Also shout out her dot shoes.

Trends continuing on from Fall: long flappy belts, leather a-line skirts, checkerboard, casquette style hats, red

Other trends to mention (that can like get it… I just got lazy about gathering images or I think they’ll be small): small text on chest of tops, asymmetrical earrings, lace-up details, feminine ballcap, sock emphasis, masculine styles of shoes (boots, heavy soles, clunky) with feminine accents (ribbons, frills).

 

 

Yea yea your girl Mitsu didn’t blog for a while. It happens. I was in Japan at language school trying to ですマイベスト and traveling Japan some. As usual I’m much more active on Twitter and Instagram stories. Is it quality? No, but it’s quantity.

Also, recently the lovely Lizzie Bee shouted me out as a blogger to follow. Maybe it’s to follow me to see when I’ll eventually update? That’s a pretty good idea. :heart:

follow the Doll on bloglovin | Universal-Doll facebook | Mitsu on twitter “miss_mitsu” | metoomitsu on instagram  | – join/add/follow? :bow:

Some places are made to be photographed and Honey mi Honey’s Pink is Heart Motel cafe in Harajuku is all you need for the gram. Sometimes you need to do it for the ‘gram.

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Warning: excessive amounts of pink to follow.

I ended up heading to the Honey Mi Honey shop because they were hosting a Kumatan pop-up shop. WC founder and designer Chinatsu Wakatsuki took her work and made her own brand Kumatan and now it appears as pop-ups. I have such a soft spot for old WC so I had to at least check out Kumatan.

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The outside is set-up like a small bustop.

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Inside the Honey mi Honey store. The cute instagram worthy Disney tea-cup is always there for photos.

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Some classic WC feelings.

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I ended up trying on these two and buying the I LOVE Work fuzzy sweater. The quality was really good. Clean fur that didn’t fuzz, the blocking for the text was glitter and there was a solid heavy metal zipper in back so you didn’t stretch out the neck. Also pockets! Kumatan quality was really good.

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After being in such a pink world I got sucked in the more I stayed.

Fun fact: Honey mi Honey receipts are even pink!

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But this post is about the Pink is Heart Motel Cafe inside the shop.

A fake motel key is what you get after you place your order.

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1,000 reblogs on tumblr the Pink is Heart Motel Cafe at Honey mi Honey Harajuku.

The saturation of colors reminds me of Kubrick’s the Shining movie…. in a good way. #aesthetic

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Well my heart is also pink so here we are. I love love love indoor neon as design.

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The light gold accents with the pink velvet interior was so perfect.

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And look at this gram life. Transforming my apple cinammon vegan muffin and latte into art.

When I went they had green smooothies and vegan muffins so eat healthy and pink power up!

If you need a tiny break in Harajuku and your eyes need a pink cleanse, head on over.

Honey Mi Honey is located across from the near the Meiji Jingumae subway stop entrance. Address: 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 6 Chome−2, 神宮前6丁目2-6 原宿あかねビル 2F Google maps.

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I have walked away from doing Japan walking tour type photo posts but I miss simply showing photos. I’m also very happy to show photos around the Nagano area. It’s my favorite place in Japan and I do hope to live there one day. This special walk was from the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Matsumoto Museum of Art to Matsumoto Castle.

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Sometimes you go walking and discover a weirdass wooden scultpure of a what is known in JP wikipedia as a “Samurai stature”

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One part derp one part hideous it’s a frog statue of a Frog Samurai riding in on a…frog? Matsumoto’s old shopping street’s mascot is the frog. A pun on kaeru (to return) and frog (kaeru). They even have a Frog Matsuri in June. It looks like a childrens fun event.

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The beginning of Nawate Dori (なわて通り) it’s only a walking street no bikes or cars. Check out that side derp. There’s another concrete frog on the right.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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There’s such a cool balance of architecture in Matsumoto. And of course always beautiful mountains in the distance. Despite being a small town (population 227,392) it’s really a thriving town lately.

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On such a pretty day lots of Matsumoto citizens were out enjoying the scenery. Except for the castle and coming down from the mountains in Nagano it doesn’t get a lot of tourist hype which is one of the reasons I try to recommend it.

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I’m forever a sucker for an old building and a weepy sakura
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Matsumoto is mostly a car city and there’s lots of lanes. It makes the city feel a bit more open.

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The Matsumoto manhole covers remind me of Yayoi Kusama’s dots. It is her hometown.

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The street looks mostly filled with small snack shops and little classic stalls. Not really the typical souvenir items either. Some used stores with just about everything inside as well.

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A vending machine advertising the Japan Basketball League or B-League. Nagano prefecture was originally called Shinshu (信州) so many Nagano things (food, culture, sports) are called Shinshu. The Brave Warriors are on the B2 or bottom level of the two tier B-League system.  Side note: It’s nearly impossible to get B-League swag. As a Basketball stan I would fully rock the apple yeti mascot merchandise.

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All throughout Matsumoto lots of pretty rivers run in the main part of town. There’s a lot of walkable space on each side.

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I’m always in love with how many tiny plants and ecosystems Japanese places can fit on such a small place. Where else to find a pond but in the corner of an Okonomiyaki place?

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Matsumoto castle in one of its best seasons. I previously blogged about Matsumoto Castle and the sakura when I visited in 2015. But I feel I got even better shots of the castle at golden hour.

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Since castle grounds are free lots of people walking their dogs in the area. Shiba alert!

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Casual hanami and coverage was great!

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Matsumoto’s sakura as always lovely.

I’ll have more Matsumoto and “Shinshu” posts because I really love the area.

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