Ueno, Tokyo Japan.
Aug. 11, 2011
We had just finished going around the different galleries on the first floor of the Tokyo National Museum.
“Lets proceed to the second floor Bubba.” says Cholo.
“Can we pass by one of the galleries? There’s something interesting I want to try.” I pleaded.
Earlier on my way to the bathroom, I passed by a small section teeming with people. As I start to get closer, all I could hear was…
Thump! Thump! Thump!
This caught my interest and I took a closer look.
It turns out that many of the Japanese tourists were stamping patterns unto pieces of paper.
“I’ll come back later!” making a mental note to myself.
I then dashed to the toilet.
Just before we headed to the second floor, I went to the gallery where the stamping was happening. As I got closer, an old Japanese man handed me a paper in the shape of a Kimono. He must have seen the unknowing look on my face.
He then said, “Get Stamp. Design Kimono.”
Then it dawned on me. This was going to be fun.
I told Cholo what we were to do and we stamped away.
While stamping away, I turned to the old Japanese man and showed him my Kimono.
“Oto-san, Kimono daijobu?” I asked.
“Hai!” he replied and went on to speak Japanese for 300 kph.
Never understood what he said.
Once I was done, the old Japanese man who gave me the Kimono paper, gave me a leaflet. As I perused over it, I realized that every pattern on every stamp had a meaning. Some symbols have a specific season it belongs to and some are celebratory patterns.
It tuns out that my Kimono has design patterns for Spring, Summer, and Autumn. If this was an actual Kimono, I’m sure I’d be laughed at because it is a discombobulation of the seasons.
Anyway, according to the leaflet this is what my Kimono “says”:
Cherry Blossom – The flower of flowers (Spring)
Maple Tree – For Freshness (Summer)
Autumn Graases – Elegance (Autumn)
Bamboo – A pure spirit (Celebratory Pattern)
Plum Blossom – The Vitality Of Life (Celebratory Pattern)
Chrysanthemum – A Symbol of Longevity (Celebratory Pattern)
A Chinese Phoenix – Good Luck (Design Motif)
There are some patterns in my Kimono that is not listed in the pamphlet. So I will never know what they mean.
I truly enjoyed this experience at the Tokyo National Museum. It is not everyday where in you get to have a hands on activity that reflects Japanese tradition and culture.
Other museums should follow suit.
To get to the Tokyo National Museum, you have to make your way to Ueno Station and make your way to Ueno Koen (Ueno Park) by taking the Ueno Koen exit. Let me just say that there are lots of exits in a train station in Tokyo, and if you go out the wrong one you might end up getting lost. Just ask the station master to point you in the right exit.
There are signs inside the park that will point your way to the museum.