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Naoshima Island in the Seto Inland Sea

We were on a high from Hiroshima, where the reflections of trees and orange sticks had been especially vivid. Hiroshima has a Lower East Side grid without the attached Downtown. We happened to eat at a nose-to-tail style restaurant and ate top pork ribs and chicken wings instead of noses and tails. Felt like there were a thousand other places we might have ended up depending on the zig-zag route through the comfort of the grid. The streets were calm, full of lazy bicycles and cats, but lined with a thousand doors leading to a thousand bright noisy rooms. So that’s what I’d do if I won that cash; move to Hiroshima, wear cute outfits, ride a bike and eat the yakitori.

But Naoshima Island is a different level of lushness. The island is in the Seto Inland Sea and you would know it from Tadao Ando’s portfolio, or from that yellow pumpkin, hugged by a million girls, on the edge of a jetty. The whole island is a paradise of Japanese reality, a small fishing village on either side, a tin mine on the northern portion and to the south is a complex of the most sublime gallery spaces and ‘art experiences’ of the world. Not since New York’s Dia Beacon has my mouth fallen open pon entering a space, and I don’t even like architecture. Chichu Art Museum is carved into the side of a hilly coast, covered by a garden and at the same time completely made of light and shade and the coolness of concrete, in other words it is at once inside its landscape and outside of it too.
There are sugar-cubes of stone on the floor and pillows of concrete form walls.
There are other galleries on the island and there is a hotel, also by Ando, and there is a bath-house with a wall of cacti and a fibre-glass elephant in the ceiling. There are wild-flowers which the gardeners have kindly planted in a random arrangement, there are street-cats without tails, there is a 7/11, there are long hilly winding roads which at night are unlit but lead away from the hotel’s french restaurant (ffs the Japanese and the French Impressionists) to the little village’s fried shrimps and octopus sashimi. During the day the sun cast shadows on silky concrete, in the evening the air got moist, in the morning a blue haze lifted and the time-lapse didn’t change, the air just got warmer.

One Comment

  1. Seems that you had a good time on Naoshima. Good.
    Did you get to visit the neighboring islands too?

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

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