Friday, 6 July 2007

Gyoza, National Art Centre Roppongi + Tempura

We headed to Ginza for lunch at a dumpling shop recommended on the internet's gourmand dining site, Goyozaya Bunbuku, but which turned out to be restricted to lunch sets in the middle of the day instead of the promised variety of dumpling contents (ranging from cheese to seafood), after a brief shopping episode at Layayette, the Parisian department store holding its summer sale just like in Paris.

We next headed to the National Art Centre in Roppongi, the lilting wavy concrete building with contours formed by steel reinforced curtain windows ripping around the front of the building that we had observed from Tokyo City View in the Mori Tower. This was certainly new and beautiful in quite megalithic proportions. It was showing the 'Skin and Bones' exhibition relating parallels between fashion and architecture, a community pottery exhibit and calligraphy. The 'skin + bones' exhibition, organised by MCA, LA, looked at fundamental parallel issues of identity, shelter, creative process, creating form - geometry, constructing volume, techniques of construction - structural skin, construction/deconstruction/reconstruction, folding, suspension, cantilever, wrapping, pleating, printing, weaving, and synthesis (towards a digital age). The calligraphy had to be appreciated for their elegance, style and flow, because needless to say we could not read the calligraphy messages but the aesthetic works were multitudinous in the large newly opened (7 months ago) National Art Centre. The community ceramics society exhibition combined works by established artists and aspiring ones in every conceivable style, dimension and technique. There were various categories such as traditional (tea bowl, useful), sculptural (like this), dolls, contemporary utilitarian, etc. Perhaps Mum was in pottery heaven?

Wavy facades of glass and steel structures encase a torso of concrete. The building appears to flow with organicism despite the materials of its modern construction.

For dinner we went to the Tempura restaurant 'ten-ichi deux' at Nishi-Ginza, "a smaller branch of the famous Ten-Ichi, known for serving some of the best tempura in town where we could have indeed quality tempura in light batter and a la carte tempura pieces of tasty items like lotus root, green pepper, pumpkin, large or enormous shrimp and a variety of salt/spice/sauce condiments for dipping it into. This was worth the hike.