Bullet Train

I travelled on the bullet train from Tokyo yesterday which was really exciting as it travels at 300km/h. Seeing Mt Fuji from the bullet train I think is going to be a definite highlight of the residency. Also I never realised the size of Tokyo, and the whole of Japan till arriving here – The tube network is colossal and the trains are around 30 carriages long on some of them. It is so much bigger than London I think. All the seats on the bullet train also always face forward and are cleaned to such a truly high standard!



Tokyo SkyTree

Visiting the Skytree was a highlight of the residency as it is the worlds second tallest building. The central core is also separate to the outside frame so both can move independently if there is a strong earthquake.

After researching the way this building had been designed I discovered the 5 storied pagoda in Nikko which I intend to visit is also built in a similar way – with a central column through the middle.



The lift to the middle observation deck took 50 seconds – and is 350 metres high. I was shocked how quickly you travel. I then went to the very top deck of the Skytree, as the next lift is glass and you can see the structure from inside. The lift is super fast and took 40 seconds to reach the 451 metre high top deck – Tembo Galleria as it is called. I find it truly amazing a lift can travel so fast in such a short amount of time (The Great Glass Elevator?!)





Visited Odaiba Island

Visited Odaiba Island in Tokyo with the Rainbow Bridge and Fuji TV HQ. Such amazing architecture. Travelled what seems such vast, but extremely enjoyable distances on the metro to get to the base of the bridge. Travelling in the elevator up one of the upright supports to the middle of the bridge was also exciting. Myself, Cheryl Papasian and a resident at Tokyo Wonder Site, Yoi Kawakubo all travelled here together because of the monumental architecture to create a series of collaborative photographs. We used a digital SLR camera on different settings to record ourselves stood against the massive buildings and constructions sights.



Sushi dinner

Last night we had a traditional sushi dinner at Tokyo Wonder Site. Really good trying the different foods. It was tonight as well that I started to see images of the Interim Show back at Chelsea in London as my sculpture, ‘Slick’, is being exhibited their and then travelling to Four Corners Gallery in Bethnal Green in May. It looked like lots visited the interim shows and seemed odd being so far away.





Today we all introduced ourselves to Tokyo Wondersite and presented our work to the staff and other resident students here. In my presentation I spoke about the foundations of the buildings I’m researching, for example this slide which shows my work, Oil Towers, and a shake table close to Tokyo.


Some of us in the meeting too…



We have started to collaborate with some of the people staying here and are beginning to explore areas that I detailed in my application – for instance the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo Bay.

Also seeing all the shops here is very interesting too – particularly the sheer amount of advertising, and how music from the ads is blasted from speakers outside!



Our flight was delayed to Amsterdam where we were to catch our connection to Tokyo. So as soon as I landed, I ran full pelt for the plane and just by a few minutes caught the flight! This is the first time I’ve been to Asia but even on the plane it seemed different as I started to notice people wearing slippers and face masks. When we landed we realised our luggage hadn’t made the connection so hopefully that will arrive today, Wednesday 10 April. I exchanged my JR  pass at the airport (Japan Rail Pass – which gives unlimited travel across the whole of the Japan Rail network) as part of my research is travelling across the countryside – and I would like to visit Kyoto and Mt Fuji.



We met with the UAL coordinator Gen who seems really nice and helpful, he showed us where to catch the Narita Express into Tokyo. This was where I was first amazed as the train was immaculate, spotlessly clean and so was the platform. No graffiti or dust anywhere, we tried to board the train but were told we can’t as it is being cleaned! As we travelled into Tokyo we started to see the Cherry Blossom on the trees and it looked really different to anywhere I had been before with the language on all the buildings. Definitely the signs and language are aspects I will film and incorporate into photographs. I intend to exhibit these at Tokyo Wonder Site whilst I’m here.

Later we looked around Shibuya. It reminded me of Soho in London but more chaotic with its strange alleyways and tiny rooms where people were having meals out; they were smaller than a front room! Very different to Europe. The lanterns were criss crossing up that one particular alleyway too so it was very picturesque.


Tokyo Tower Awaits!

On hearing that I’m going to visit Tokyo (my first time in Asia) I was super excited and also a bit in shock!! The email mentions the Foreign Office advice on earthquakes and the surrounding areas and exclusion zones in place around Fukushima. Also knowing it is the biggest city in the world made me really think wow! (37 million people in Tokyo compared to the 8m in London) 

Suddenly though, the shock passes and to be based at Tokyo Wonder Site seems really amazing, especially as I will have the opportunity to learn about and experience such a different culture…

I’ve begun to research various different places and structures similar to those I proposed to focus my work on. I realise that there is a far taller building called the Skytree (the second tallest in the world I believe). To think it possible that this building is situated in a place where earthquakes are every few days seems totally amazing to me. “Tall buildings sway back and forth” (Asia Times, 2002)

Asia Times. 2002. Asia Times. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/DH17Dh01.html. [Accessed 15 February 2013].

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower