As you can see from my latest barrage of photos, I've been wandering in Japan again. At places I've never been to, Nagoya, Gifu and Okazaki.
I saw a lot of wonderful things, beautiful things, preserved from the past, relics of proud history.
Yesterday I went to Okazaki, an idyllic little city with its own proud history. It is the site of the great Okazaki Castle (birthplace of the famous Tokugawa Ieyasu) and the 1300 year old Takisanji Temple.
Before I went to these two famous places, I visited the very unique World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki.
The museum had gathered the works of many world-famous artists when they were children, or in their teens.
Aside from that, it was also displaying the (admittedly impressive) artwork of children from nearby schools.
Yesterday was also the very last day of their special exhibition of optical illusion-related artwork.
But what truly fascinated me was their so-called "Do Zone", a place with four different workshops for parents and children to work on drawing, clay modeling, handcrafting etc. It was Sunday, yesterday, so it was crowded.
It was heartening, and absolutely inspiring, to see the children of Japan being exposed to the beauty of art at such a young age, and also given the opportunity in participating, in creating their own art. That explains why Japanese people in general are more appreciative of the arts and culture. While in Malaysia, "art" is usually used as a dirty word. "Being an artist" is the scariest thing a parent could ever hear from their children. Creativity is often being stifled, having an imagination is often being scoffed at, this is the environment most Malaysian children had to deal with, for generations. No wonder we grow up so cynical and disdainful of things we don't understand.
I am envious of the Japanese children, and in awe of their parents, who would let, or even join their kids in these activities.
Outside the museum is a large park, there are statues, an observation deck, and soothing music blaring from the outdoor speakers. It's almost fantastical, wandering about in such a place.
My photos didn't really do the place justice. This series of short Youtube clips might give you a better idea what the museum and the area surrounding it are like.