On Sunday, my classmate/friend, assaultdoor
, and I went to the Asian Art Museum to see Yoshitoshi's Strange Tales
for free, courtesy of Bank of America. The museum provided a wheelchair for jenniferward
, which worked well. The pieces are amazing, and they did a fine job with the signage--I am a "more is more" person when it comes to exhibition interpretation. They're going to swap out the ones currently on display in July and run a different set for the second half of the exhibition, which is a good idea conservation-wise, I suppose. Anyway, it just means that when we come back for The Marvel of Manga
in August, we'll run through Yoshitoshi again. If you're interested in ukiyo-e, the fusion of Japanese and Western art styles, the collision of kimono and swords with top hats and rifles (and steam ships and umbrellas and ...), the supernatural (spider magic! we still want to know what that is), Japanese interpretations of Water Margin and Journey to the West, etc., you should go see it. There are some really extraordinary pieces, such as a "sorcerers' battle," various dramatic renditions of ghost stories, and some really sensitive and individualized portraits (in a departure from the stylized, traditional depictions you see in the first sets of images--the show is arranged chronologically to trace Yoshitoshi's development of a fusion style).
After Yoshitoshi, we had lunch at the cafe, and then we ran through the second floor, which kind of goes on forever. There were a lot of things I hadn't seen before in the Japan section, including a folding screen with some really funky, "earthworm squiggles" calligraphy. The sign noted that the calligrapher's writing was never particularly easy to read (my Japanese friend couldn't read it), but that he had been particularly inebriated when he did this piece--to the point of signing it "Yamada Ichiro*, of Edo*, totally drunk." Their netsuke and inro collections are very nice, though the numbering to the explanatory key is often off by one or two. (Their snuff bottle collection is not nearly as striking or diverse as the Oakland Museum's, though.)
*Not his real name or home. I should have taken notes. But the "totally drunk" part is verbatim.
The museum was not too crowded, and there was free meter parking, and free audio tours, and then free parking because we bought enough groceries in Japantown to get validation. So we only paid for groceries, lunch, and the bridge toll. Not bad!
Note to museum-goers: Once you have had your conversation about the piece you're looking at, please back away from it to continue your inane nattering. The light is low; everyone needs to get right up to the pieces to see them; you need to back off. Come to think of it, you're one of those people who gets into a buffet line and then stands there mid-line chatting to people outside of the line without moving on, aren't you? I hate you. Get your damn food and go.
Anyway ... I am so bored yet stressed. Both preparing for the class I'm teaching and working on my thesis are thoroughly uninteresting right now. It's really hard for me to work quickly on something I don't have much interest in. (I'm done with most of the interesting parts of the thesis, and there's hardly anything I can do to make the GRE class interesting for me or for them.)
I'm also continuing to have sleep problems, and I can't concentrate worth anything. And it is verging on warm outside, and this (faux?) leather couch in the living room, which is my only place to work, makes me about 10 degrees hotter than sitting elsewhere.
EDIT: Did I mention that my car's AC died on Saturday? I guess it sensed June approaching. Luckily, I avoided an accident on Hwy 4 despite the awful noise it made. Unluckily, this means any time I would have had tomorrow morning to a) finish lesson-planning, b) work on my thesis, or c) go see the doctor about the sleep issues, is now dedicated to getting the car repaired. Yay?
WLP, your birthday present is going to be late. :|