The Japan Society and “Bye Bye Kitty!”

Yesterday I went to the Japan Society on 47th Street here in Manhattan.  They were having a Concert for Japan, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Japan Relief Fund.  I knew I wasn’t going to get there early enough to secure tickets for any of the shows, but the admission fee for the building was only 5 bucks, and it included full access, including the Bye Bye Kitty! art exhibit, which was my main reason for going there anyway.

The Japan Society in Manhattan, New York City.

When I showed up, they had speakers set up outside so you could hear the concert from the street.  It sounded pretty good, so I sat down on one of the benches across the street for a while and just enjoyed the tunes.

Food stalls in front of the Japan Society in Manhattan, New York City.

Then I noticed there were food stalls, so I had myself some takoyaki.

Takoyaki from the Japan Society in New York City.

Once I got inside I went to the area called the “J-Lounge”, and got a bottle of Pocari Sweat.  It’s better than it sounds!  It’s a sports drink, which is why the word “sweat” is included in the name, but the girl gave me a weird look when I asked for it.  I had to explain what it is to her, then I shared the story of my reaction when I first saw it in Singapore.  She agreed with me that if they really want to market the drink in English speaking markets, they should change the name.  The J-Lounge also had a big screen TV in it that was showing the concert on the lower level.

Interior of the Japan Society in New York City.

Interior of the Japan Society in New York City.

Well-wishes for Japan at the Japan Society.

After I finished the drink I went up to the art gallery.  The works were, for the most part, pretty impressive.  The one that catches your attention first, and most, is called Ash Color Mountains, by Makoto Aida:

Ash Color Mountains, by Makoto Aida.

Ash Color Mountains, by Makoto Aida. (Close-up)

The idea behind this is that he’s expressing his disgust with the conformism and lack of individualism of the gray-suited “salaryman”.

DSCN0177DSCN0178

Beautiful Flag, by Makoto Aida.  Left Panel.

From Aida’s War Picture Returns series, the first two images: Beautiful Flag.

Bye Bye Kitty! art at the Japan Society.

Bye Bye Kitty! art at the Japan Society.

These are just a few other images I enjoyed.

Bye Bye Kitty! art at the Japan Society.

And I’m not sure what this is supposed to be exactly, but it was interesting!  The ‘blood’ in the tubes was being pumped, and you could hear the motor and the suction sounds.  I don’t know if I’d want to come across this in the night.

Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I’m looking forward to going back when they have future events.  It also has me interested in going back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art sometime soon, which is sure to happen, since I have another paper due for my Art History class!

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