Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Museum of Fine Arts - Hokusai Meetup

Hello everyone! Get ready for a very text and image-heavy post.

The travelling Hokusai exhibit recently made its way into Boston. My friend Kasia hosted a meet this past Sunday for a bunch of us to all go see it together! For those of you who aren't familiar with the name, you will most definitely recognize his piece "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa":

This is his most well-known work and I think just about everyone as seen it; there's even an emoji based off of it. It's really cool to see in person and was also interesting to see the print-making process. Some of his work isn't just regular ink-and-paper but both ink paintings and ukiyo-e woodblock prints. There was a video and a series of unfinished prints to show how someone would make a print of the Great Wave.

I was really excited for this meet because even though I live near Boston, I've never been to the MFA before. We didn't go through the whole museum, but I think some day I definitely need to come back here. It's a pretty big museum (though not as big as the met in NYC) so there's a lot to see. We looked at the whole Hokusai exhibit and had time to look at at a few other Japanese exhibits as well - one about the earthquake and ensuing disasters on 3/11 called "In the Wake", an exhibit on Japanese "toy prints" and another installation showcasing the museum's collection of older Japanese pieces (a samurai suit, kimonos, pottery, etc.). As we left to go eat, we also quickly visited the museum's "Tenshin-En" garden (which unfortunately I didn't get a picture of!)

I was the first one to arrive to the museum actually, so I spent a bit of time waiting alone on a bench in the lobby where there were a lot of people passing by. As more girls arrived more and more people became curious as to what was going on. We got some pretty funny questions - some people asked if we were going to dance or be in some sort of performance, and one lady asked if we were representing different countries (???). Not sure where the later came from, I guess I can understand the former because of the petticoats. Most people were pretty cool about it, didn't really get any super rude responses until I had to go past the ball park (oy vey, more on that later).

Here are some photos I got of people's coords. Unfortunately I didn't get everyone!

(another girl was wearing a stained glass print so I asked if we could take a pic together haha)

Anyways, moving on to the actual exhibit: it was quite amazing, really. I remember I was a bit bewildered at one point while going into another room; I was talked about how I felt like every time I turned a corner there was another room filled with Hokusai's works and "How many even are there?". A museum worker overheard me and laughed and said there were over 7000 pieces, and not even all of them were at the museum/out on the floor! Now if only I could be that productive!

I won't post every single photo of all the photos I took of pieces since I took quite a lot to comfortably fit into this blog post, so I will just share a few of the ones I liked in particular.

"well shit, there goes my thesis paper"

After Hokusai we went to go see some of the other Japanese exhibits. A few pictures from those:

mushrooms from the contaminated forrests near Fukushima

Here is a group photo from Chelsea, taken outside of the Tenshin-En garden!

After this, we walked to Swish Shabu, a Japanese hotpot and sushi restaurant in the area. It was pretty good! I was feeling a bit hot after the walk there (all black + long sleeves) so as much as I wanted to try the hotpot before, wasn't really feeling it (or the noodle soup bowls) at that moment, haha. I got a vegetarian sushi bento and some miso soup, as well as a lychee boba smoothie, which was REALLY good. Tasted like actual lychees as opposed to just artificial flavoring.

It was super nice because we were the only customers when we came in, so there was no problem seating our group of about 15 or so people. As we were walking in, the sushi chef (a guy around our ages, early to mid 20's) noticed us and got really excited! Turns out his girlfriend is into lolita as well. He was pretty funny and kind, haha. He said if he knew we were coming he would've brought tea and cakes, LOL. I forgot to say something/thought someone else would, but I was going to tell him our comm name and that she should look us up on facebook. Oh well. He took a picture of some of us, so I hope when he told her about us she tries to seek us out!

Now is where I get to the thing I mentioned earlier - about the ball park. You can skip to the end if you aren't interested. It's just wordy because I talk a lot, lol.

So that day there was a 1 PM Red Sox (baseball) game in town. I do like to watch the Red Sox on TV now and then with my dad, but I don't enjoy most typical sports fans and anyone from Boston will tell you, sox fan or not, public transport (the goddamn Green line, especially the D branch) and parts of the city (mostly just Kenmore Square, the area where Fenway Park is near) are a shitshow.
I really wanted to avoid sports fans today, which for the most part, was working out just fine. However, on the way home, I realized that not only was I cutting it close to get to South Station (where the commuter rail trains are), but that the (subway) train I was waiting on probably was not going to get to the station on time either. There was just one time in my life where I waited for a Red line train to get to South Station, and I watched my train home pull away from the station just as I got there. Never. Again. Since the station I currently was at had two station and there are multiple points in the city where I could catch my train, I decided to get back on the green line and get off at Kenmore Square since there is a commuter rail stop by the ball park. I'd done it before with no problem, and at that point time was my only enemy.

I think I should've known everything was going to go wrong when I saw I wasn't going to get to South Station in time.
First, when I got off at Kenmore Square, because I was nervous and also just inherently pissed off at the sight of a massive amount of sports fans in the Kenmore sq station, I accidentally took the wrong exit and got out at the wrong side of the street. So +3 minutes of wait time trying to cross the street. Feeling nervous because I don't want to miss my train home (or else I'd have to wait 2 hours for another one, the commuter rail trains run at longer intervals on the weekends), feeling annoyed because people, and feeling a bit awkward because the game had just let out and we won, so there were a lot of drunk, young, stereotypical dickish sports fans hanging around and I just didn't really feel like being harassed by any of them.
After finally making it across the street (and on the right side for the train station) I start jogging towards the platform. SO glad I brought my red keds with me, even if they hideously mis-matched with my outfit. Jogging turns into running because I'm still far away from the platform and it's about time for the train to be rolling up, though I slow down a bit when I see there's a shitload of people on the platform (and so that gives me about an extra minute or so since it will take some time for everyone to get on the train). But suddenly I felt like there was something wrong, as the bell that normally goes off when the train is approaching, did not go off yet. I finally make it to the platform all out of breath and sweaty and I notice people are actually starting to walk away. Huh? I ran up the stairs and asked an older couple that I decided looked friendly enough.
"Wut Hapend???" I ask as I try to hide my labored breathing.
"Oh, the train got cancelled because of a fire or something," they reply apologetically.

Haha perfect! Right? Did all that awkward jogging through crowds of drunk sports fans for nothing. Surprisingly I didn't get very many rude comments besides from one when I was hurriedly shuffling past a bar to try and get to the platform, heard some drunk wannabe frat bro shout "what the FUCK???" Which wasn't really that bad at all, I'm just satisfied that he didn't decide to pursue me to harass me or shout something idiotic at me. Later when I was buying another charlie ticket to get back on the T my petticoat must've poofed up or something when I crouched down to grab my purse because the drunk bros behind me shouted "WHOA, DON'T DROP THAT THUNTHUNTHUN!"

I called my dad and he ended up picking me up in Newton, which is as far West the T goes out into the suburbs. I live farther away than that, but it's the closest T transport that is not the commuter rail stop in my house which at that point (5 PM) I was going to have to wait until almost 7 PM to take, which I wasn't really into at all. D line is also a popular line on game days so that was kind of half a shit show, though I managed to snag a seat so it wasn't so bad. My train car was also mostly filled with older and elderly people and families - all the drunks my age (the people I wanted to avoid) decided to stick around in Boston at the bars.

As we drove home we saw the firetrucks parked on the side of the road tending to the brush fire (not visible from where we were on the highway though) that cancelled my train home. It looked pretty serious since they actually had a full water truck there. Earlier that day I was talking to Kate, a comm member, about how the 80F heat (which is getting kinda hot for Boston though is a pretty normal temp to expect in Mass in summer) was pretty bearable in all this lolita because there was some really low humidity that day. She jokingly metnioned how she didn't mind the fire warning (due to the low humidity) since it meant being a bit more comfortable in lolita and I agreed.
I shouldn't have because mother nature heard me and decided to punish me apparently.

When I got home I was really happy to turn the A/C on in my room and take a shower.

In spite of that small debacle, I had a really fun time at the meet! This was my third meet (though only my 2nd real one since the other one was at a festival and we only got together for pictures and some light chatting) and it was really great meeting more people. I met a girl who lives near me actually, and another who used to live in another town near me as well! Seeing the Hokusai exhibit also really inspired me as ink is my favorite medium to work with. I only just discovered it my last year of high school, but I think it really inspired me to dust off the ink pen and brushes and try some new techniques and get practicing again.

Thanks Kasia for hosting such a fun meet! <3>


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