25 March, 2007

Art workshop in the National Art Center / Roppongi

Last Saturday morning, my daughter joined the art workshop for kids at "the National Art Center, Tokyo" in Roppongi. This museum just opened its doors in this past January. Several years ago, there had been the Institutes of Industrial Science of the University of Tokyo. When I was a highschool student(a quarter of a century ago), I often walked around there, because my grandmother had lived near Roppongi. That was my first visit in a while, and I was supprised the landscape was completely changed.

The theme of the workshop was "Let's design your own simbol". The lecturer was the artist, Mr. Kashiwa Sato, the art director of this museum. This is the symbol of this museum, which was designed by Kashiwa-san.

Around 20 kids gathered to have the workshop.

During the working, all parents were withdrawn. We could not enter the working space until the presentation time. It was just around 1.5hrs, a little bit short to see the gallery (ticket fee was 1500yen), So I walked around the museum building.

There were some cafes(1F and 2F and basement),,,

and cozy restaurant(3F),,,

,,,Paul Bocuse?!!

According to the museum website, this is Mr.Bocuse's first brasserie outside France. It was over 30minites early to opening, but many peaople made a line to get their tables.

There was a musum shop in basement. I'd never seen such large space for a museum shop. I could enjoy there, although I didn't intend to buy anything. There were not only really artistic items but also many kitsch souvenirs. Sorry I forgot taking photos.

I spent most of my time at Art Library(3F).You can read various art books in open stacks freely.

Now the time for presentation!

Kids presented their thought, changes of ideas and final design. She made her symbol mark by fusing a Kanji from her name and her favorit animal, dog.

Wrap-up by Kashiwa-san. (To tell the truth, first time I saw him, I couldn't recognize him as Kashiwa-san, because he was not look like "the art director". I'm sorry, Kashiwa-san!)

Well done, everybody!

The National Art Center, Tokyo: The closest station is Nogizaka of Tokyo Metro. Exit #6 is connected to the museum directly. You can go there from Roppongi station. It takes about 5min on foot.

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21 March, 2007

EXPERIMENTIA @ Institute for Nature Study / Shirokanedai, Meguro ward

One Saturday morning in late February, My daughter and I joined the science open class for kids that was held by the National Science Museum. The theme of the class was "Let's watch the DNA!"... Off course you couldn't see the DNA at all even if you used the highest performance optical microscope, but you would see the fruction that includes DNA via some simple scientific procedure.


Broccorri, saline, ethanol, detergent.

1. Collect the broccorri buds using a dissecting scissor. (the cell density of bud is extremely high. It's a very good material for this experiment.)

2. Grind down well the buds in a mortar.

3. Add saline and a dush of detergent (to extract the DNA into the water layer).

4. Percorate the water layer using gauze.

5. Add ethanol gently, then the DNA fruction is separated out into the alcohol layer (DNA are soluble in water, but insoluble in alcohol).

6. Get the bundle of DNA out.

Result and Discussion

Can you see the white sediments in the tube?

Ladies and gentlemen, (drum roll) this is (a bunch of) DNA!! Give them a big hand!(approse)
Thank you , Hamao-sensei. We enjoyed your class very much.

This class was held at "Institute for Nature Study", one of the branch institute of the National Science Museum, located in Meguro-ward. Believe or not, it's a real forest surrounded by Tokyo concrete jungle.

Actually, I've intrroduced some gardens(Rikugien, Furukawa-teien, etc) as the nature spot in Tokyo on this weblog, but they were sort of "artificial nature". I didn't know there was a such kind of real nature reserve in the center of Tokyo. I heard that this place has been designated as a national natural monument since 1949.

Look! Daisagi(great egret) is there!

"If you're lucky, you can come across Kawasemi." A bird watcher who talked with us said so. Coming across Kawasemi in Meguro-ward? Really?

Institute for Nature Study: The closest station is Shirokanedai (Metro, Namboku-line), 4min walk from exit #1. You can also get there from Meguro station east exit (JR Yamanote-line), it takes about 7 min on foot. Open hours are 900-1630, except for every Monday.

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