Archive for the Fashion, Art & Design Category

Two Art Museum visits in a row – Atami and Sakura, Japan

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Fashion, Art & Design, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags on June 15, 2010 by Sustainability Guru
View of Atami City from the Museum of Art

For two consecutive weekends, we visited two Museums of Art (MOA) – the first one was the MOA in Atami. Atami is a coastal hot spring resort in Shizuoka prefecture, on the east coast of the Izu Peninsula southwest of Tokyo, Japan. We did our first road trip to Atami for a relaxing marine spa experience, which was simply soothing and downright de-stressing. The second time was on an official invitation to visit the Atami Museum of Art, graciously hosted by their volunteer, Mrs. Majima. As a MOA volunteer from Tokyo, 75 year old Mrs. Majima (who looks not a day older than 50), comes to the Embassy to bring flowers once a week. The Atami MOA’s philosophy is to spread cheer and happiness to all, by offering fresh flowers, be it a single stem or in a small pot. In return, they request you to likewise keep the goodwill going.

The visit to the impressive Museum begins with an exhilarating trip in extensive escalators up to four levels, as the Museum is built along a mountain side.  Among the museum’s 3,500 exhibits are three national treasures, significant cultural properties, including paintings, works of calligraphy, sculptures and other crafts. Don’t miss Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” and Hideyoshi’s “Golden Tea Room”.  

We were welcomed by MOA Executive Director, Mr. Norihiko Sakamoto who kindly offered the volunteering effort by Mrs. Majima to bring flowers, but this time, to our home. It was a touching and sincere gesture, as he explained in an elegant after-lunch tea, the philosophy of MOA and the purpose of its volunteers. After this heartwarming MOA visit, the sprightly Mrs. Majima, who also plays 18-hole golf regularly along MOA’s rolling grounds, not only acted as sponsor to the MOA visit but also generously hosted us to another relaxing Onsen (hot spring) experience. She brought us to the Resorpia Club’s Onsen baths. We couldn’t ask for a more appropriate day cap to the impressive MOA visit!

The Atami Museum of Art not only inspires with its world class art collection, but its philosophy of sharing the joy of Art and the spirit of volunteerism to the rest of world.

Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Sakura City, Chiba

Another recent invitation was from the Mayor of Sakura, to visit the Kawamura Memorial Museum, in Chiba prefecture. Sakura City is located in Chiba prefecture, Japan, 40 kilometers northeast of Tokyo and a mere 15 kilometers from Narita International Airport. This was our third visit to the city; the first was when we attended the Sakura Fireworks Festival last August and the second, the Sakura Jidai Matsuri (historical festival) in April. The affable Mayor Kazuo Warabi accompanied us to a privileged visit to the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, with a unique design theme “Artwork, Architecture and Nature”, and diverse collection focusing on 20th century art. The Museum building is designed for exhibitions in accordance with the natural environment, within the 30- hectare lush greenery with over 200 trees, 500 plants species and inhabited by many wild birds and insects.

The Museum appeals to visitors with its verdant Nature Trail, free to the public, allowing people from neighboring towns and cities to use it as a place for relaxation, where they can appreciate hundreds of varieties of flowers bloom for each season. While organizing the collection to include Picasso, Braque, Kandinsky, Malevich and Cornell and various special exhibitions, the Kawamura Memorial MOA is focused on providing activities for further understanding of artworks by guests. They offer a School Program for teachers who bring elementary or middle school students for an educational visit. The thrust is more on cultivating the youth about Art and Nature appreciation.

One cannot leave the Kawamura Memorial Museum without being awed by the experience of recognizing the value of Art and Nature at the same time!


Two remarkable Museums of Art – two excellent philosophies for humankind and future generations – the joy of volunteerism, art and nature.


Lima – the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Fashion, Art & Design, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Sustainability Guru


Lima is very much like Manila, literally and figuratively speaking, in all senses: the sights –the same look – from swanky residential districts to smoky, in their case,  foggy hillside squatter areas.


Similar smell – of the smog, that is -the polluted smoky atmosphere caused by diesel engines from micros (jeepneys in Manila) and buses.  Twin touches of road textures – moon-like surfaces of pothole-ridden streets. Sounds alike -horns blaring everywhere, bus barkers shouting in your ears. And taste – ahh, the best in culinary experience.


Lima affects you pretty much the same way as Manila – you love it and hate it at the same time. The next entries are a summary of the top five- the good, the bad and the ugly of what is Lima for me in the almost 4 years that I have been here.

Lima – enigmatic, frenetic city of contrasts

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Environment, Events, News, Lifestyle, Fashion, Art & Design, Sustainable Events, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Sustainability Guru






Called Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings) by the Spanish conquerors, the capital city of Lima is much more than the gateway to Peru. With the country’s best museums – more than 20 of them, plus striking baroque and renaissance churches, colonial mansions and palaces, world-class restaurants, and outstanding night life, Lima deserves more than a quick stopover. The old colonial center, now identified as a World Heritage site, was the crown jewel of Spain’s South American empire.



Modern Lima is an enigmatic, energetic city of contrasts, dotted with pre-historic sites and archeological ruins, and comprised of distinctive districts and neighborhoods. Sophisticated San Isidro, with elegant old homes and the lovely Olive Grove; as well as the galleries and bistros of artistic Barranco, and the charming flower filled parks and shops of Miraflores, offer intriguing, uniquely Peruvian, urban destinations.


With Peruvian cuisine having captured the fancy of international epicures, Lima has become Latin America’s gastronomical capital.





 Ceviche, Peru’s original national dish




Novo-andino cuisine, alpaca meat brocheta in Quinotto.




Lima is also a mecca for handicrafts and arts enthusiasts, and a top shopping destination where hundreds of stores offer outstanding traditional crafts of the highest quality, as well as remarkable silver and gold jewelry, antiques, objets d´ art, tapestries, exquisite wood carvings, paintings and pottery. Colorful outdoor markets are popular, filled with dazzling traditional Peruvian items not to be found in shopping malls.


From Frommers:

For most of the year, an unrelenting gray cloud called the garúa hangs heavily overhead, obscuring the coastline and dulling the city’s appearance. Although it virtually never rains in Lima, the sun comes out only from December to April; the rest of the time, Lima makes London look like Lisbon.


NO KIDDING! look at this photo above so gray and misty…. and me still trying to keep fit  in spite of the cold. 8 loooong months in this awful, horrible weather!