Sunday, 20 June 2010

Genichiro Inokuma

Last week, my friend Shin ( maker of cakes, server of ginger tea, owner of La Taupe, the most wonderful cafe in Marugame) gave me a ticket to see the current exhibition at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art. All of my friends are having lazy Sundays, so after an equally lazy Sunday morning in bed, I decided to have a look.

The MIMOCA is such a little treasure in this town. It's the first thing you see upon leaving the train station and was purposefully designed as a 'station-front' museum, both for convenience and to promote and encourage art and culture. I like its design a lot - it looks very striking in the context of the older buildings surrounding it. The interior is really beautiful too; airy and spacious, with lots of natural light.
I've been to the MIMOCA once before, on my very first day in Marugame. I had no bicycle and stumbled upon the MIMOCA after a bewildered walk around, trying to find the city center. I remember looking at about two pieces of work before bursting into tears and thinking how ridiculous I was for deciding to come and live in a tiny little place in the middle of the countryside where I knew nobody and where the 'city centre' consisted of a quaint little train station and some rocks that glow in the dark at night time. How far I have come this year; I quite like my city centre with its orange haired youths hanging about and being obnoxious to the cute little Marugame police men (I think they are the countryside equivalent of delinquents - I love watching them so much), its little train station with friendly ticket inspector Percy, and I have even warmed to the glow in the dark rocks. :-) I also like the city centre because I associate it with my cherished weekend escapes from Marugame when countryside living gets a little too intolerable...

The MIMOCA is named after Genichiro Inokuma (1902-1993), an artist born here in Marugame.
He was also a former student at Maruko, one of the schools I teach at.

Inokuma-san's work is mostly abstract; he liked birds, cats and horses very much. Funny little bird, cat and horse like figures are prominent features in his work. He also enjoyed painting faces, and imagined 2D aerial views of cities in bright, vivid colours.

His work was really fun and engaging to look at and it made me wonder; What was the Marugame that Inokuma grew up in like? What did he take inspiration from? Where were his favourite haunts and places? And an after thought, did he enjoy his English lessons at Maruko?

This week I am poor, but it's ok because I am going to Seoul on Thursday, hurrah!
I finally feel content with my decision to leave Japan in August. I'm trying hard not to worry about my return to London and to enjoy my final weeks here with my best friends and my blue bicycle. I'm also really excited to revisit my favourite places in Kansai again to say a final goodbye (for now at least...)


P.S Happy Father's Day, Dad! I posted a card and gift to you on Wednesday, so both should arrive soon!

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