Monthly Archives: May 2010

My Yellow Pumpkin & Me

One of the best known Yayoi Kusama’s art works is this Giant Yellow Pumpkin located in Naoshima, near to Park Hotel of the Benesse House. This strong, iconic, cheery sculpture sits contemplating the sea and the freight ships that pass it by. We had a great time playing (no other word for this frivolous behaviour!) around the pumpkin, dancing around it, taking photos, kneeling, trying to jump on it and sliding back, touching the grooves, and finally just sitting contentedly and quietly next to it, watching the ships go between the islands. Inexplicably, I love this pumpkin.

The pumpkin in its lovely context.

The picture perfect view of the pumpkin.

Danny trying to set the camera up on the ground (without a tripod) to take a photo of us. Thought to show our friends a side of the man they wouldn’t usually observe. 🙂

I feel very close to this pumpkin.

HAD to buy this. Is my favourite momento from Japan. But not cheap either at 35oo yen for the little mite!


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Dinner at Naoshima

Our 5* dinner at the western restaurant in the Park Hotel at Naoshima. An amazingly well prepared meal, reminiscing over the photographs is enough to make one drool… 😛 One of our most memorable meals!

Chilled green pea soup palette cleanser

White asparagus starter

Lobster entree! (err, and some kind of froth that the fancy chefs like to use)

Fish with butter and herb sauce (and more froth)

Danny’s fancy piece of veal

Palette cleanser before desert – sorbet & seasonal mandarin (+ purple flower that Danny promptly ate)

My fab chocolate mousse and vanilla gelato


Apple brioche, berries with vanilla sorbet

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Naoshima – Benesse House Oval

Many of you will have seen pictures of the Oval by Tadao Ando. Rooms at the Benesse House Oval was unfortunately fully booked during our visit, but we were able to stay in the Museum (as featured previously). One reached the Oval through a monorail from the Museum, and only house guests can access the monorail via their room key. There are only 6 rooms around the Oval, each with a sea view spanning the width of their room. We have seen many pictures of the Oval in magazines, but like the Awaji Yumebutai Island project, we were quite unprepared for the sensory assault by the sound of a constructed waterfall, and the smell of dense vegetation against crisp fresh mountain air!

View from the roof garden down at the Oval

View from the roof garden at other little islands around Naoshima

View of the Oval – there are 6 hotel rooms around the Oval, each with an ocean view

Looking through the Common room exclusively for guests

Common room interior

Drainage gap between oval pond and corridor path

View within the Oval

View of Oval on a rainy night…

The walkway from Monorail leading to the Oval – large sheets of glass enclose the corridor

Looking back at the glass corridor – viewed externally

The hotel rooms around the Oval – with sea views – picture taken from creeping around the garden bushes!

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Breakfast at Benesse House

As promised, some piccies of our fabulous 5* breakfast at the restaurant within the Museum. It was really filling, and we also felt like refreshed from the healthy fix after eating as there was nothing oily or fried in the meal set. 🙂

Our breakfast at the Benesse Japanese restaurant

Some starchy potato mushy thing

Some beautiful munchies – pumpkin, young bamboo, etc…

Some bouncy tofu kind of substance!


Smoked salmon!

Dessert – orange jelly!

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Naoshima – Benesse House Museum

We called up the day before and were lucky enough to get a night booked in at the Museum! No hesitation, packed bags pronto from Hiroshima and headed north towards Naoshima for our brush with luxury. Hotel guests were able to have dinner at the restaurant in the Museum (food featured tomorrow!) and could wander around the Museum to view artworks at leisure till 10pm at night. It certainly made us feel privileged! Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the museum interior, but did manage to sneak one!!

The Benesse House

Entry to the Museum

Hotel room within the Museum – our lovely room for the night!! *glee*

Views between the room balconies – of course restraints like privacy are not to hamper Ando’s creativity…

Meditating on the view before breakfast

Musuem foyer with artwork – one walks around this space via a ramp. In this space there are four chairs for viewers to site and contemplate Nauman’s work.

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Sejima in Naoshima

We arrived in Naoshima via the ferry, arriving at the port terminal designed by SANAA. It was a lovely lightweight structure all in white, the appearance antithetical to its almost industrial-like function. Viewed from a distance, a corrugated roof structure seemingly floats. Upon approach, one realises a grid of steel poles as the support system, but these too, almost shimmer and disappear amongst mirrored walls which have been set up to reflect surroundings. A tourist information centre and souvenir shop is set up in the middle, encased by glass. Passengers could also wait in the cafe, though in the cool spring weather, we were much happier wandering outside!

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Benesse Art Site Naoshima

Today I have some awesome artwork around Naoshima to show!

Naoshima is quoted as An Island on Exhibit. It is 16.6km in circumference, a small island in the middle of the Inland Sea with a population of 3,800. Naoshima has been set up as a place with a series of public art sites. The island wide commissioned public artworks (featured below), the Naoshima Cultural Village with its Art Houses (soon to be featured), the Benesse House Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, the Chichi Art Museum, the hotels and its parklands, work together to rebuild “one nameless location to a unique location”. The central theme of the island is the co-existence of art, architecture and nature, set up by the Benesse Corporation and the local government to help reinvigorate the local aging population. They have a beautiful website with an excellent overview of the island project, click here to view.

Will just be featuring a few of the commissioned public art here, more of what’s around the island to come over the next few days.

Three Squares (George Rickey)

The squares are put into motion by the force of the wind, though it has its own resistance cleverly controlled by a system underground set up by the artist.

Shipyard works (Shinro Ohtake)

Time Exposed (Hiroshi Sugimoto)

Cylinder Bisected by Plane (Dan Graham)

T & D being “bisected by plane” as intended by artist! 🙂

Blind Blue Landscape (Terisita Fernandez)


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