Destinartion #5~8: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tokyo

Look at me dumping things lol. I just realized I haven’t actually written reviews from my trip to the US earlier this year. Debated whether to write it or not, but the galleries I visited there were one of the best ones I’ve visited in my entire lifeeeee.

Before we begin, in this post we have:

  • The Broad, Los Angeles – Basically about the whole museum
  • SFMOMA, San Francisco + independent bookstores I went to
  • Mori Art Museum, Tokyo – N.S. Harsha exhibition, a bit of Marvel, Sky Deck
  • Panasonic Shiodome Museum, Tokyo – Japan, Archipelago of Houses

Plus there are a gazillion photos

THE BROAD aka the Story of How I Died

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First one is The Broad, which is a contemporary art museum founded by Eli Broad. One of the great things about the Broad is that it’s FREE. And it has a massive collection of artworks made by almost all of my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Basquiat, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, and much more, just all things great and good about the contemporary art world.

A visit to the Broad isn’t exactly an easy feat. It’s free, it has a massive contemporary art collection, and so the queue is HARDcorE. I booked my tickets a month before, so it was quite easy for me.

One of the prime spots in The Broad is actually Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror room. Lotssss of Instagram photos taken in The Broad is from that room. You queue, and you’re able to spend about 42 seconds inside to take photos. I didn’t manage to go inside cause I missed the queue!!!!

ANYWAY though, missing that wasn’t going to ruin my day. Up until now my visit to the Broad is still one of my favorite days lol. I was very eager and excited to see some of the best works by my top favorite artists, so I was PUMPED.

The Broad has 2 floors, first floor has mostly sculptures. Here are some pictures. My brother likes to pop up in most of my pictures so here ya go:

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One of the first pieces of Basquiat we saw!

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More Basquiat

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The first Takashi Murakami sculpture I saw, told ya my brother (and my dad) keep popping up

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Giant Figure (Cyclops) by Thomas Houseago

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Jeff Koons’ Metallic Venus! One of my favorites

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Fambam with Leon Golub paintings in the background

The second floor had me DYING. First thing I saw was this huge all white room filled with artworks made by Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons. It was very blinding, but it was VERY GREAT. You know that feeling when there are SOOOOO much to see you can’t even focus? Do note that it was my first time seeing works made by them in real life (Takashi Murakami in Nakano last year was basically a print) so it was such an UNFORGETTABLEEEE experience. Writing about it right now makes me excited again, not to mention a glass of cold brew I just drank, imagine the energy I have right now lol.

Ok, so there were several artworks made by Takashi Murakami in that first room, the biggest boasting a size of 300 x 2500 cm, what the helllll that’s freaking huge. The other ones are not small either, probably as long as 600 cm. There were like 2~3 huge canvases I think.

Below are the Takashi Murakami works on display:

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This is the 300 x 2500 cm one o_o

That’s the story of how I died!!!!!

No okay so there was one other thing, it was Jeff Koons’ tulips!!!! That was beautiful. More Jeff Koons photos below

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That’s Jeff Koons’ “Tulips” behind us, My brother is like this all the time so don’t mind him

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In all its glory

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Michael Jackson and Bubbles, by Jeff Koons too! Got this photo from my Mom’s Facebook lol cause I just realized I forgot to take a photo of it

There were other rooms of course. Mostly more works by Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtensen, Barbara Kruger, Robert Therrien, and moreeee, here are some pictures so y’all can see!!!!!!

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El Anatsui’s “Red Block”, this is made from copper wire and aluminum o_o

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Fountain (Buddha) by Sherrie Levine, I guess this is a modern take on Marcel Duchamp’s (R.Mutt) Fountain?? Saw the real thing in SFMOMA!

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Roy Lichtenstein!

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More Roy Lichtenstein

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Barbara Kruger, the Supreme typeface? This is where it came from (many issues regarding this lol but I still think Supreme got it from Barbara Kruger…)

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“Double America” by Glenn Ligon

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“Self Portrait” by Alex Israel, this is a painting!!! Crazy

Do put The Broad in your itinerary if you have the chance to go to LA!!! It was such a ~creative~ awakening for me, I had the best time!!!!!!!!!

The Broad

SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

San Francisco is still one of my favorite cities (nothing tops Tokyo for me though I think lol). I love the independent bookstores, street art, great food, vegan groceries (not a vegan but I love vegan food) and the independent bookstores. Did I just mention the independent bookstores twice? Yes I just did.

Anyway though, I finally went to SFMOMA! It was under renovation for around 3 years. So a huge overhaul was expected. It was probably one of the biggest museums I’ve ever been too. The building has a massive structure, boasting seven (!!!) floors just full of art.

One of the exhibitions currently happening when I was there was Bruce Conner’s It’s All True and New Work by Sohei Nishino. Bruce Conner has a huge job description, film, drawing, collage, painting, and a million more. But I was more into Sohei Nishino’s exhibition.

So about this Sohei Nishino dude, he was a student at Osaka University of Arts. What he likes to do is that he chooses a city he likes, and he will walk around the city, taking pictures of every corners, alleys, and streets from every angle. THEN he prints them, cut them, and create a large full-scale collage style map of the city!!!! That’s INSANE. Then it will get digitally printed, to a massive size of 6 x 7 feet. So that’s around 2 meters? Plus he’s only 28 years old dear God. Here are some of his prints:

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Tokyo!!!

Other ongoing exhibitions were Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art (The Fisher Collection). Which featured works by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Dan Flavin, and Duane Hanson.

Then we have Tomás Saraceno’s Stillness in Motion – Cloud Cities.

And also, Morimura Yasumasa who puts himself on paintings of famous icons and Duchamp!!! The father of the Dada art movement.

Morimura Yasumasa

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The actual Marcel Duchamp’s (R.Mutt) Fountain

Plus another favorite of mine is actually made by my design God, ADOBE. It’s called self-composed, more about it here.

 

SFMOMA

Some of the independent bookstores I went to:

The Booksmith at Haight Street

Alley Cat Bookstore

Dog Eared Books

Bayshore Taqueria – Not a bookstore, just good tacos LOL

Some cool street arts I found:

N.S. Harsha: Charming Journey at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

N.S. Harsha is the first ever Indian artist that I know. I’ve always seen India as a travel destination, the holi festival, the FOOD and whatnot. Ever since I went to N.S. Harsha’s exhibition I questioned myself why the hell have I never researched about art in India, my knowledge in art isn’t the best, that’s why I’m slowly trying to discover new things!

The Charming Journey tells the story about life in Mysore, the city he is based in, the city he grew up in. His paintings mostly focus on the issues surrounding Mysore, either culture, political, or economic globalization. I also like the fact that there was one entire room dedicated to Mysore, called the Resource room. Things that were displayed were newspapers (called “Star of Mysore”, it’s also sent to Tokyo throughout the exhibition, which is pretty cool!), comic books, games, and much more! It shows where he came from, what things surrounded him as he grew up. I want to do something like that for Jakarta one day!!!!

Here are some photos:

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The exhibition starts with some of his early works, from around 1995 I think

Pictures below are probably my favorite ones, full scale and very cool, I can’t imagine how he drew all those people, each very different, and has their own characteristics.

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I think there were 5~6 panels, I forgot, but each person here is different, you can even find tiny hidden things, like elephants, etc.

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These paintings are basically the highlight, they’re on the merchandises, the promotional posters, etc.

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Found Murakami!

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I like this but I forgot the title, but I think the story was that, he was asked to make a brand new painting for the exhibition, and in the end he bought/found two dolls, took photos of them and painted on them

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I liked how there were many random things here and there, this was on a wall!

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The resource room I mentioned, filled with information regarding Mysore

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I think this was called “Nations”

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Showing how people in Mysore eat

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This was a creative project I think, done by kids in Japan

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I like them monkeys

This was the climax:

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This is pretty incredible! It’s called “Punarapi Jananam Punarapi Maranam (Again Birth – Again Death)” if you look closely there are stars, planets, etc. It’s so prettyyyy

Plus, the ones that often pop up on Instagram is this selfie floor, didn’t manage to take a good one but I got this one pixelated boomerang lol

Mori Art Museum is probably one of my favorite museums, my first time there was in 2013, I loved it back then, turns out I still love it now. What’s great about it is that it’s on the 52nd floor, and that day the sky deck, which is on the 55th floor, was open!! It was my first time on the sky deck, it’s so pretty and I got this incredible view

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This is probably my favorite view, I love Tokyo Tower cause it’s REDDDD and it lights up the city. The header of this post was taken at Mori Art Museum too!

While I was there, there was also an ongoing Marvel exhibition (more reasons to love Mori lol). There was also the new Spidey costume on display, I think… from my memory 🙄 there were a lot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 displays though, since it’s about to be out soon, Chris Pratt was even there a few weeks ago. Pictures were not allowed, but I found some cute things at the gift shop

These Steve Rogers and Tony Stark tiny Japanized figurines are the cutesttt, plus customized Captain America shields were on display, my favorite is of course the most colorful one designed by Takenaka Naoto… who is actually an actor??? I am confused but… yeah lol

Mori Art Museum

Japan, Archipelago of Houses: The Designs That Took a French Architect By Surprise, Panasonic Shiodome Museum

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I’ve always been fascinated with architecture, even though I am not an architect student, and I really have 0 idea on how houses work and how to build them, but I know a cool house when I see one!!!

Shiodome is an office area, so it’s empty during weekends. I dislike places that are wayyy too quiet, especially if they have a lot of tall buildings, kinda feel like an apocalypse. I was kinda freaked out, but I was with a friend so that’s good. I think Shiodome is known for a clock that is displayed there. It’s not just your typical clock either, it’s a clock designed by THE Hayao Miyazaki, it’s pretty huge. I didn’t take a photo of it which is dumb, but I swear a quick google search will do!!!

Now onto the exhibition, the bad news are, no photography was allowed, and all the descriptions were in Japaneseeeeeeeeeee. Imma cry. The people there were nice enough to give me an English intro of the exhibition though.

Anyway, just a heads up. This exhibition was founded by a French photographer named Jérémie Souteryat and French architects, one of them is named Manuel Tardits. Tardits has lived in Japan for thirty years, and he co-founded Mikan, a Yokohama-based architectural firm, so he knows the deal!!

This exhibition wants to highlight how residential architecture in Japan has changed over the years, design styles, geographical styles, etc. The exhibition has the house models, pictures, videos and also profiles of the residents. Do visit! It basically has the cool houses you see on tumblr, pinterest or dezeen!!

Panasonic Shiodome Museum

Doneeee! This was really long. Next week I’ll probably head to two exhibitions, because there are two I already have in mind!!! Thank you so much for reading, I hope this was enjoyable, I’m still learning, see ya.

 

 

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Destinartion #4: TOKYO: I WANT TO BE A MANGA ARTIST (The National Art Center, Tokyo – Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul)

Hi, it’s been around 3 weeks since I arrived in Tokyo. I thought it was possible to visit at least one museum/exhibition during my first week in Tokyo, but it was impossible. My initial plan was to visit Tokyo Art Fair 2017 on the day of my arrival (it was its last day), however I was too drained (carrying 4 huge luggage did that to me). Too bad cause there was a Ron English sculpture, something I wanted to see. Even Indonesia’s very own Lawangwangi has its own space at Tokyo Art Fair 2017!

Now onto the point of this post. I finally visited a checklist of mine last week. It was Yayoi Kusama’s very own exhibition titled My Eternal Soul. It includes all of her work, including her childhood days in Nagano, entering her youth in New York, and her recent works made in Tokyo. As recent as artworks made in 2016!

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Yayoi Kusama’s productivity astounds me, at the age of almost 90, she still continues to work on her art. It’s so amazing to see. I’m still 21 and I’ve never been much productive!!! Most of the spots at the exhibition didn’t allow photography, so I took some notes on what she has to say about what is art to her. This was what she wrote:

“I intend to continue creating works of art as long as my heart keeps beating. My greatest desire is that my vision of a future of eternal harmony among people can be carried on. I want to pursue my struggle as an avant-garde artist until expire.”

Before entering the exhibition hall, we were ushered into a white box, with white furniture, white clothes and a few other white items inside. We were given colorful stickers to stick them on to random spots inside the box. I saw this on Instagram for her exhibition in Australia, I didn’t think there would be one here, but there was! Pretty happy.

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We entered the exhibition room, the first thing I saw was the main attraction of this exhibition, properly titled My Eternal Soul, just like what the exhibition’s called. It was amazing. The room consisted of 132 paintings and 3 large sculptures. My Eternal Soul series started in 2009, there are actually over 500 (!!!) works, but only 132 works were exhibited (132 is a lot too!). It was a series of paintings on 194cm x 194cm canvases, there were smaller ones too, but the smallest that were on display was on 162cm x 162cm too, still freaking huge anyway. One thing that caught me was the titles of each painting, such as “I Want to be A Manga Artist”, “Once the Abominable War Is Over, Happiness Fills Our Hearts”, “Facing Youth” and hundreds more.

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Pretty freaking crowded that day, wasn’t even a weekend!

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A slideshow of some of the paintings and sculptures I managed to take photos of!

Afterwards, we went to see early works by Yayoi Kusama, her works made in her hometown of Matsumoto, Nagano. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, so I just took notes and now I’m writing them here. She began learning Nihonga when she was young. Nihonga itself is a Japanese painting style. She didn’t find the lessons intriguing so she quit learning Nihonga and started to create artworks independently. Even in Matsumoto, we can already see dots, plants and animal forms on her artworks, which are basically the base of her artworks up until today. For example, she drew a person, but then she still covered the person with dots! Finally, an art critic named Shūzō Takiguchi saw her works and brought her Tokyo to exhibit her artworks.

Then, again no pictures were allowed, but this time we went to the exhibition room for works by Yayoi Kusama in New York. It was my first time seeing her works that were made in New York. There were no colors, no center, mostly monochrome. Something that I didn’t imagine Yayoi Kusama would make. She also started to become interested in sex and food. There were a great deal of phallic sculptures and installations, sort of awkward because my little brother kept asking what those shapes were. There were also collages from the most random things. US Mail stickers, her name in a repetitive form, and heaps more. She also had a performance art in New York.

Next room, I think it was the last. Her works made in Tokyo. Due to her illness she had to go back to Japan, so she started working again in a hospital, in Japan. Again, her productivity astounds me!!!! Here in Tokyo, she still continued her love of polka dots, nets and phallic forms. She also started getting into vivid colors like the Yayoi Kusama we know today, red and yellow. She explored subjects of death and the universe, she also started poetry. There were a considerable amount of new elements during this era. Again, no pictures were allowed!! I’m sorry.

At the end of the exhibition we exited through the gift shop (as Banksy would say), I wanted to buy a postcard (I always buy postcards from exhibitions because they are the cheapest souvenir lol), BUT the queue was hardcore. My brother was hungry, my mom was hungry, and I was hungry. So in the end I didn’t buy the postcards.

Anyway though, you should go to the exhibition if you’re in Tokyo! The exhibition runs until May. It was such an exciting experience, to see all of Yayoi Kusama’s remarkable artworks all in one place.

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Queueing for the tickets

Also, the National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT) building is a sight for your eyes too. Plus, if you’re planning to visit, it’s probably better to get your tickets online or through a konbini. I got there at 9:30AM, but the queue was already very long. I have never queued that long for an exhibition before! NACT also just opened an Alfons Mucha exhibition, it runs until June.

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Yo cutest Yayoi tree, this is after I finished viewing the exhibition, there was still a long queue outside!

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One of the dining areas inside NACT

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10th Anniversary Poster

LAST ONE, NACT is located near Roppongi, and it is included in “Art Triangle Roppongi”. There are a great amount of art museums and galleries in Roppongi, such as the Mori Art Museum, Suntory Art Museum and more.

+ I apologize that my posts aren’t that timely yet. There were some things I had to deal with when I first arrived. Residency, school, apartment, phone account, gas, health insurance, etc. They were actually pretty simple, but for a non-Japanese speaker like me it was all very complex, see you soon on my next post! Promise I’ll be timelier!!

DETAILS:

The National Art Center, Tokyo

#Destinartion #3: Japan… and more to come!

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Hi… This has been delayed for so so so long. I have my reasons, and I’ll explain later by the end of this post, I also have an announcement at the end of this post regarding my blog.

I went to Tokyo & Osaka in May last year, I actually finished writing the Japan post a day after I arrived back in Jakarta. But, something just felt off, I didn’t want to post the writing, I didn’t even know why! I had doubts since Tokyo is my favorite city, I wanted to treat the Japan post a little special, either with drawings, etc. But it never came to a point that I was satisfied, and then work came along, my thesis came along, and it was forgotten. However though, I know that I have to post it somehow, so here you go.

Note: This is a long post…

Tokyo has always been my favorite city. I’ve been there a few times before, but I never really explored the city on my own. So it has been a dream for me to go alone or with a friend, with my own money too.

So the dream came true! I went on a 10-day trip to Tokyo & Osaka with a friend of mine.

Aaaaand since it’s my favorite, I’m going to write about all the details of the trip. Not just my top spots and highlights of the trip. Here are the details of the trip (flights, things I did, things I ate, internet, accommodations).

FLIGHTS:

ANA Airlines (Bought the tickets in February 2016 at a Japan travel fair.)

Jakarta ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport)

Osaka (Itami Airport) ~ Tokyo (Haneda Airport) ~ Jakarta

USD360/person

They were the last 2 tickets too! Always be on the lookout for travel fairs.

PEACH Airlines

Tokyo (Narita Airport) ~ Osaka (Kansai Airport)

USD 71/person (With a system like usual budget airlines, free 10kg baggage, but it’ll cost more if you have more than 10kg of baggage.)

Through my (probably very unreliable) research, to travel between cities in Japan, it’s mostly cheaper to go by planes instead of a Shinkansen. Which was why we decided to go by on a plane instead of a Shinkansen. AND, Peach Airlines has the cutest name (okay this was somewhat a priority).

ACCOMMODATIONS (Airbnb – I always search for apartments below USD 45/night)

Tokyo (6 Nights = USD 337)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/8996929

A small apartment but big enough for two in the Nogata Area. Nogata is a residential area, so it’s not in the middle of everything. But the apartment is located near to a train station, which was great. Aaaand staying in an apartment not in the middle of the city means we came across a lot of random train station stops, which was fun! We got to eat and walk around in different parts of Tokyo. I actually would like to stay here again since the place was clean, I loved the area, and the host was very nice. The photos on airbnb don’t do them justice.

Osaka (3 Nights = USD 165)

Link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9889168

A small apartment with bunk beds! It was surprisingly homey though. We stayed in an area called Ebisucho. Just right across of Shinsekai, and only 2 stops away from Dotonburi. The apartment was near a train station and it was right above a 24 Hour supermarket YAY I love food.

P.S.: Do note that prices may change at any time

ESSENTIALS (Visa, Internet, Train Tickets)

For Visa, I applied to the Jakarta Japan Embassy on my own. I got it for free too since I’m a university student.

For Internet, airbnb hosts in Japan usually provide portable hotspots. But there are also apps available such as Japan Wi-Fi and NAVITIME Japan Travel, which help you search for free wi-fi spots. However, the Indonesian provider, XL, provides quite an affordable Internet package for Japan, I paid around IDR 300,000 for a 7-day 6GB package. There are packages for 30 days, etc.

For train tickets, get a PASMO or a Suica Card, a card that works everywhere. They also work for buses, getting things from konbinis (convenience stores), or vending machines, pretty much an e-money type of thing. I got the PASMO card (no particular reason whatsoever, bought it back in 2012), the card is 1500yen, and I charged it with 12000yen, it was enough for the amount of traveling I did (which was a lot), and it was also enough for my 10 days of use.

THINGS I DID

TOKYO

 May 4:

  • Ghibli Museum at Mitaka City, Tokyo:

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Once you get off from the station, you’ll start seeing these signs along the way!

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Movie tickets as souvenirs

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Wouldn’t complain if this was my house

I have always failed getting tickets for the Ghibli Museum for the last 4 years, that is until I discovered Voyagin, which is a ticketing agent that will buy the tickets for you. I picked up my tickets at their Shibuya office.

Anyway though, Ghibli Museum is as whimsical and wonderful as any of their movies! It’s located in Mitaka City, a 40-50 minute train ride from Nogata.

The Museum is located in the middle of a park, with lots of trees and greeneries. There were small doors, which led to big doors, stairs that didn’t seem to end, a gigantic Neko Bus, and much more. It was extremely enchanting. A room stood out to me though, a room, which exhibits how the Studio Ghibli animators work, with their sketches, used pencils, etc. up on display.

Plus, the Mitaka area is really cute, I met a very cute dog….. yes.

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro & Art Space at Nakano Broadway:

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Look at this place though

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Always up for anything cute

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Would like to have this in my house

I went there because I’m a huge fan of Takashi Murakami’s works. I also didn’t make it to his Mori Art Museum Exhibition, since it only lasted until March. ANYWAY though, it was incredibleeeee, the art space was holding a special, a room full of his floral prints. The coffee are said to be good, but I’m not a coffeephile, so I just ordered a latte and I think it was good… My drink was around 900yen since it was a special drink with Murakami’s flower print. They have a good-looking barista too!!!! (#important)

  • Nakano Broadway:

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Some of the secondhand be@rbrick figurines

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Was very into the Neko Atsume game at the time, so I was (still am) very proud of this

It’s a mall that sells lots of new and used toys. I bought 3 used (and in good condition) Kamen Rider figures for 1500 yen, which was such a great deal!!

May 5:

  • Purikuras!:

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We took a few but this was the best one!!! We looked way too ~alien-y~ on the other ones

Took purikuras in Shinjuku & Harajuku, each is 400 yen.

  • Don Quijote at Shinjuku, but they have lots of other locations:

Bought lotsssss of random goods. This store sells clothes, socks, phone cases, undies, cosmetics, food, and sex toys, pretty much everything. Everything’s pretty much affordable, which means it will get expensive very fast. So be wise on what to buy if you’re on a budget like me.

  • Tadanori Yokoo Pop-Up @ Isetan Shinjuku

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A bunch of Tadanori Yokoo’s merchandises and prints. Most of them were expensive though, so I only bought postcards! They were only around 120 yen each.

  • EPIK HIGH at Studio Coast, Shin-Kiba:

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No photos inside the venue!!!! But the sky was really beautiful that day

Epik High is one of my fave music acts. It’s a Korean Hip Hop group. I got their tickets easily (which was such a BLESSING since my experience with Japanese concert tickets was actually very difficult, read the post on my old blog here) I got help by my airbnb hosts for buying the tickets though.

May 6:

  • DISNEYLAND all day. That was it. Ticket is USD 66 each park.

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May 7:

  • Tsukiji Fish Market

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Lots and lots and lots of people but of course we had great sushi

We didn’t go to the tuna auction since we were not that dedicated to wake up at 2AM. We arrived there at 9AM, just to eat. 9AM was too late for Tsukiji time though, there were lines everywhere, and it was pretty packed. All we did was eat a sushi set which costs around 1000yen at Sushi Sen.

  • Gudetama Airline & Neko Atsume at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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Not real food

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Not real food too

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You guessed it, not real food

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Real food!!! Not

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Died and went to Gudetama heaven

Our initial plan was to eat at the Neko Atsume pop-up café/theme park at Namco Namjatown (also located at Sunshine City). But the pop-up thing was made into a game… in which we had to solve clues just to eat some Neko Atsume food. It was best for people who are fluent in Japanese. To us it was just way too much work for food. It costs 500 yen to enter Namco Namjatown.

But Gudetama came to the rescue!! There was a special exhibition called Gudetama airline. In which we were treated to a Gudetama themed “airport”, with exhibits, photo booths, and food!! It was so fun, the entry was 1000 yen.

May 8:

  • Fuji Shibazakura Festival @ Kawaguchiko:

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Sorry I ruined the photo

We spent half of the day chasing trains. It was such a tiring day, but the view of Mount Fuji with the beautiful flowers at Shibazakura Festival made the day way better. It was my first time seeing a clear view of Mount Fuji!!! The Yakisoba I got there also helped enhancing the experience I had there… lol

Anyway though, there were a few ways to go to the festival. Buses/Trains. We chose the train though.

The route was:

Shinjuku Station ~ Otsuki Station ~ Transfer to Fujikyu Railway ~ Kawaguchiko Station ~ Bus to the Shibazakura Festival site.

All in all, the transportation costs around 7000 yen, which was wayyy above our budget. This wasn’t something we planned for, but it was great.

May 9:

  • Time to say bye to Tokyo, went to Narita Airport with the Airport Friendly bus from Shinjuku. Special discounts for people under the age of 25! My ticket was 2000 yen.

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 May 10:

  • Universal Studios Osaka! Tried out the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ride a VR indoor roller coaster ride with the cutest graphics, and of course the Harry Potter ride too. The ticket ended up being 12000 yen each person since we purchased the express tickets to enter some rides like Harry Potter.

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Kyaryyyy love u girl

May 11:

  • Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum at Ikeda City, Osaka:

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Ramen wall!!!

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Choosing toppings for my own cup noodle!!!

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Decorated my own cup noodles!! To this day this hasn’t been eaten yet

This museum offers a history on Cup Noodle and how its founder invented the Instant Ramen. It showcased the history of it in a fun and interactive way. The place is free, but you have to pay 300 yen if you want to customize your own cup noodle. Also, I think the location of the museum is kind of unique. It’s located in a quiet upscale neighborhood (based on my very unreliable observation…..), the museum is surrounded by houses that have quite large front yards, something you don’t see everyday in Japan.

  • We cancelled our Kyoto and Kobe trip since it was raining a lot and… we ran out of money!!!! $_$. All we ate were onigiris from Lawson.

WHAT I ATE (I’ll only write the notable ones I ate lol)

TOKYO

May 4:

  • Takashi Murakami’s Bar Zingaro at Nakano Broadway:

Takashi Murakami’s coffee, that’s the only reason. But they serve some cute cookies and stuff. They are said to have good quality coffee beans… it’s not something I understand though… whoops.

  • This Sushi Place at Nakano Broadway:

I forgot the name, but it was the usual sushi-go-round restaurants. But I think, anywhere in Japan is good sushi. At least now I know how to say “Tamago kudasai! (Tamago please!)”.

May 7:

  • Sushi Sen at Tsukiji Fish Market:

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They had some great tamago!! Our initial plan was to eat around the market, but since it was too packed, we ended up eating at one of the restaurants. It was around 1000 yen for a selection of 8 sushi.

  • Gudetama Food at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro:

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I’m only putting this here because it’s Gudetama. Taste wise it was just ok. The ones I had in Hong Kong were better! Probably because they were actual buns and egg tarts. The one I had in Tokyo was simply… egg, rice, and bonito flakes. No meat whatsoever.

  • GYUKATSU MOTOMURA (!!!!) at Shibuya (I think they have other locations too):

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Hands down… the best gyukatsu (okay, I haven’t had a LOT of gyukatsu, but please let me exaggerate) I’ve ever eaten. We queued outside for 2 hours, I have never queued that long for food. The seating capacity was only 6-10 people?? Anyway, these Gyukatsus though!!! They didn’t feel greasy, they melted in my mouth… I think it’s also quite affordable for such a famous name. It costs 1300 yen for the smallest size. You can order additional meat for 800 yen.

May 8:

  • Ramen Ichiran at Harajuku (many branches though):

This is one of the places in which we had almost zero interactions with the servers there. We ordered the food via a ticket machine, and then we sat in individual booths, which were separated by a divider (though we can open the divider). Afterwards, we call a waitress with a button, to let them know if we want pork broth or not, etc. The waiters would show up in “windows” in front of us with their faces behind the window blinds.

Anyway though, despite the reviews of Ichiran being really tasty, etc. My friend and I just found it ok. It was good… but we don’t think it’s worth a long queue. That’s just our opinion though.

OSAKA

 May 9:

  • Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki at Dotonburi:

Tried out some good Okonomiyaki & Takoyaki, there were lots of restaurants serving them in Osaka, we chose at random, and we liked ours.

  • Pablo Cheese Tart at Dotonburi/Shinsaibashi:

There were already lots of people raving about how good Pablo is. The reviews are trueeeeee!! They’re THAT good. We bought the mini ones. My top favorite is the cheese tart, the green tea comes a close second.

May 11:

  • YAYOI at Ikeda City, I think there are lots of branches:

We stumbled upon this restaurant while we were walking around Ikeda. We decided to try this one cause they seem to have lots of food options. Aaaaand the result was, it was one of the best food I’ve ever eaten. I had this cheese + beef hamburg meal. Once you slice the meat open, melted cheese emerges. But I guess anything with cheese is always good for me. It was around 900 yen.

  • Gram Pancakes at Shinsaibashi:

It was an OK pancake, nothing wonderful. They actually offer these fluffy, premium pancakes, but I was too full so I didn’t order them. I’m just putting Gram here since I ate dinner here with my first ever best friend in Pre-school. She’s Japanese. She used to live in Indonesia, but moved back to Japan when we were 5. So, shout out to Kaori!

Soooo, above were all the things I did, I ate, and I spent on during my last Japan trip. I hope it’s fun and insightful! I had a great time during the trip. Japan has always been my favorite country, I wish next time I can visit more cities other than just Tokyo & Osaka (Especially Kobe & Kyoto since they’re only 40-50 minutes away from Osaka!).

***

The end!!! As I’ve said before, I had my reasons for delaying this post for so long. I also explained above that I had doubts about posting this, feeling unsatisfied with the writing, etc. I felt (still feel) like Japan is a very sacred thing for me, so I just have to make it special, I didn’t know what to do… so here comes the announcement (does anyone read this? But I’ll go ahead lol) I will be moving to Tokyo… in a few hours! As this post is posted I’ll probably be on my way to the airport.

Aside from studying Japanese, I will dedicate my time in Tokyo to visit one art museum/art exhibition/art gallery/museum/any place that excites me weekly, and also review them weekly! So there will always be a new #destinartion post every week. This feels like something that I can “give” to Tokyo, something that will assure me that I’m treating Tokyo right.

Do tune in and let’s keep in touch. I will sure notify when there’s a new post. I am very nervous to finally live in the city which is very dear to my ~heart (seriously though), yet I’m extremely excited. I can’t wait to share all the museums, exhibitions, and tons of things I see in Tokyo with the people who read my blog! Thank you so much.

Destinartion #2: HONG KONG (On A Budget) – Page One Bookstore, Streetwear Goods, K11 Art Mall, Ghibli Store + A Few Tips (Where to Stay, Eat, etc.)

Back in December, I went to Hong Kong with a friend. It all started way back when we decided that if we have the money, we’re going to go on a budget trip to Hong Kong.

After months of saving up, we finally booked flights and accommodation in June, and managed to snag a whole 6 day trip to Hong Kong for around USD360/person. I will explain the whole breakdown later in the post. As of now I’ll give some reviews on which places you should go if you’re into art and animation, like me. (I will put aside the obvious like Disneyland…)

+ Page One Bookstore

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Page One is a bookstore and publisher of select design and art books that was founded in Singapore. It now has bookstores in Hong Kong and China. If you are studying design, you probably had come across a book published by Page One.

There are two Page One stores in Hong Kong (Festival Walk & Harbour City), but I went to the one in Harbour City. The store has 2 floors, at first you’d probably think that the store is a normal sized bookstore, however, once you go up, you’d eventually realize that the store is huge.

Aside from a huge collection of children’s books, fun stationeries, and other books, the second floor houses the Page One design and art book collection. The design and art section was located in a dark room. Some copies were opened so you can browse through, however you can get a shop assistant to open one for you. The collection was of course expansive.

If you have time and if you are actually into art and design, do make time for this bookstore, it’s massive, its collection is incredible, and you’ll be in awe!

More Info: PAGE ONE BOOKSTORE WEBSITE

Access: 5 Minute walk from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station, A1 Exit

 + K11 Art Mall

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K11 Art Mall is an art concept mall located not far from Page One. K11 is a mall-slash-gallery. It has a design store, art exhibitions that run all year round, and unique lifestyle stores. There’s this one part of the mall that reminds me of Goods Dept in Jakarta, or the stores at Cathay Cineleisure, Singapore. However though, the focus of this mall is the art and design part. Works by local and international artists can be found throughout the mall. The art space there is called Chi 11K Art Space, I didn’t manage to get in because I went there way too early, and I didn’t have time afterwards. Except for Chi 11K Art Space, everything is free! So it’s perfect if you just want to kill time and look at some art.

++ This mall also has D-Mop, a store that sells things you usually find on Hybeast or other streetwear websites. Such as Yeezy (the shoes were launched here and when I was there the clothes were still available), Jeremy Scott, Puma, Y-3, Lazy Oaf, and much more.

More Info: K11 ART MALL WEBSITE – D-MOP WEBSITE

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, D2 or N4 Exit

+ Ghibli Store (Donguri Republic)

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It is safe to say that I died. I’m not exaggerating! This is Donguri Republic’s first location outside of Japan!! I am a huge Ghibli fan, I’ve been to Japan a few times before and never really managed to get the tickets to the museum. So seeing this store was such a blessing.

The store is quite big, but it’s not Disney Store big. There was a huge sized Neko-bus in which people could go in, and a humungous Totoro too. The store looks like a library, a collection of DVDs and concept art books on the left, and the toys in the middle and on the right are the toys, towels, chopsticks, and some random goods. It felt like it was Hayao Miyazaki’s house (in my fantasy of course).

Do pay a visit here if you are into Ghibli and haven’t managed to go to the Ghibli Museum like me! After buying a few stuffs, I sat in Starbucks for 4 hours since I only had money for a cup of coffee! I probably got hypnotized at Donguri Republic.

More Info: DONGURI REPUBLIC FACEBOOK

Access: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, A1 Exit

Those were the great art finds I found in Hong Kong, I really wanted to go the Hong Kong Museum of Art as well but it was in renovation. I loved Hong Kong and I really enjoyed my stay there.

I feel like Hong Kong is an Asian hub. Stores you can only find in Japan are available in Hong Kong (Ghibli, Neko Atsume Pop Up Stores, Gudetama Cafes (there were 2 when I was there!), Moomin Cafe, a large scale MUJI), stores you can only find in Korea (A-LAND, Stylenanda) are also available in Hong Kong. However, despite everything opening in Hong Kong, the true roots of Hong Kong is always there. The busy and congested streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, the never-ending street food, the shining bright lights. The “newer” area of Hong Kong which is Causeway Bay, also reminded me of Tokyo’s Takeshita-Dori on weekends! Hong Kong is greatttt!

++ TIPS

My guide is probably more suitable if you’re in Hong Kong with friends or if you’re on a budget.

+ Where to Stay – ($-$$)

There are lots of hostels you can choose from in Hong Kong (both in Tsim Sha Tsui area or the Causeway Bay area), however my choice was Urban Pack. What a great decision it was! The place was located just across the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and a mosque. Harbour City is just a walk away and Avenue of the Stars was just a 5-minute walk away too. The place is clean, and has this youthful vibe with its murals and chalkboards. It has clean bathrooms and a communal area as well.

Price: Vary, my friend stayed in a mixed room for USD30/night. I stayed in a female room (with 7 other people) for USD40/night. Pretty cheap for a city like Hong Kong, and with a super convenient location too!

Urban Pack TripAdvisor Page

+ Flights 

I used Jetstar, flight prices are probably varied depending the month you are going. I also booked 6 months prior, which explains the cheap flight. I recommend to check out Scoot airlines too. Its base is in Singapore and not Jakarta, however you can get such cheap prices!! My friend and I tried booking on Scoot, however the site was on the verge of breaking down when we wanted to book. It couldn’t handle the traffic.

+ Cheap Transportation Fares, Disneyland Meal Vouchers, Sim Cards etc.

Go to Klook to book some of the cheapest deals on MTR tickets, 4G Sim Cards, Disneyland Meal Vouchers (important since the meals at Disneyland are expensive). All of the bookings are done online, some of the vouchers can be printed at home, but some have to be picked up at the Hong Kong International Airport, like the sim card.

+ Where to Eat (not going to review Tim Ho Wan…) ($!)

Cha Chaan Tengs! Cha Chaan Tengs are basically wartegs in Indonesia or hole-in-the-wall restaurants. It typically serves Hong Kong food, such as wonton, scrambled eggs and ham (order just the eggs if you don’t eat pork!), macaroni soup, milk pudding, and much more. The services are quick (so chill if you spot a queue, you’ll probably be able to eat in 5 minutes), you also probably have to share a table with other people when the place is full. Here are the 3 cha chaan tengs I went to in Hong Kong, I visit them for breakfast and lunch almost everyday! Sorry for the crappy pictures too, we had to be quick!

+ Australia Dairy Company

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This place has the best eggs!!! I am now hungry just writing about it. The place is quite famous already. The eggs are soft and they melt in your mouth. Do order that plus a toast on the side and a hot milk tea too. It’s so filling, enough for you to walk through the day in Hong Kong.

Its Breakfast Set is around USD3.

+ Yee Shun Milk Company

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If ADC has the best eggs, this place has the best milk puddings! So good and the portion’s big too. I didn’t get the chance to try the flavored milk they had, but it’s a must visit if you want to eat a good milk pudding in Hong Kong. They have an option of having the pudding hot or cold.

Milk Pudding is around USD3.

+ Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop

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Wonton noodles!!! Which I love but only managed to eat this once since my friend and I got so obsessed with ADC! The portion was big, this was the first meal that we got in Hong Kong.

Price is around USD3.

All these cha chaan tengs are located in Jordan, one stop from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. ADC is located next to Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, and Yee Shun is just a block away. The picture below is the area. The lit signage with two bowls and the red typeface is the Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop.

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Plus, if you like Hong Kong Waffles, there is also North Point, a booth which sells Hong Kong Waffles. The reviews are great, I didn’t manage to get one 😦

++ TIP FOR EATING: Since almost everything are not in English, it’s easier if you browse online first. Save photos of the restaurants’ logos and the food you want to eat. Google Maps is a godsend too.

+ More Cute Things! ($-$$$)

Visit the LOG-ON store. It is a store of all things cute, the store itself is spread out around Hong Kong. It is filled with random Japanese items, cosmetics, Sailor Moon goodies, Sanrio things, and much more. A crossover of Tokyu Hands, Daiso, and a Sanrio Store. One of the biggest ones I visited was in Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay.

There’s also I.T. A place you can visit if you have lotssss of money to splurge (which I didn’t…) It reminds me of Opening Ceremony. Like a high-end Goods Dept. It sells Kenzo, Moschino, 3CE, youthful high-end fashion brands. One of the first stores I went to with English speaking sales associates. There are some stores spread around Hong Kong, but I visited the one behind Times Square HK, Causeway Bay.

Anyway, visit Hong Kong if you want some good cheap eats, great shopping (window shopping if you’re a cheapo like me, except for Ghibli :(), great design to see, and a great public transportation system!

Destinartion #1: VIENNA – MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

Vienna was something new to me. I didn’t have a clue of what the city is all about. Except for the fact that it was the city where Madeline (the French cartoon character) was kidnapped to in her first movie. My family and I planned to go to another city, but at the last minute, my mother suggested “Let’s just go to Vienna, we’ve never been there.”

January 15th, we finally arrived in Vienna. The city is beautiful, and it houses many museums and galleries, perfect for me. Among some of the galleries and museums I visited, MAK would be the first museum I review.

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#1 MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Arts

First and foremost, this museum’s architecture is splendid. It was such a view for the eyes, I couldn’t help but just gawk at everything. This museum dates back to the 1800s, which explains the beautiful architecture.

When I was there MAK was holding 2 major exhibitions. World’s brightest, happiest graphic designer (according to me, who else.) Stefan Sagmeister’s “the Happy Show” and Star Wars Identities, the Star Wars exhibition had a separate ticket though. It had some more exhibitions going on too, such as the 100 Best Posters 14 – Germany Austria Switzerland which features some of the most colorful and fun poster designs compiled from a graphic design competition. Other than that, there were also the Helmut Lang Archive and the Josef Frank “Against Design” Exhibition.

Here’s a quick review of the two major exhibitions:

+ Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show

Runs from 28 October 2015 until 28 March 2016

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Stefan Sagmeister’s graphic design work had always been mostly fun, bright, and colorful. He speaks a lot on happiness too. Which explains the ultra bright exhibition, dominated by the color yellow.

The biggest piece was at the main hall of MAK, it was right there when you get inside. Two huge monkeys holding signs saying “Everybody Always Thinks They Are Right.”

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The Exhibition then started on the basement floor and continued to the second floor. The works displayed were mostly his past typography work, which was inspired by his notes.

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The exhibition was extremely enjoyable. There were some interactive features, such as riding a bike to get an artwork to light up, moving in front of an artwork so that it would move, and a lot more. It was pure joy and happiness. Even my 8-year-old brother enjoyed it!

+ Star Wars Identities

Runs from 18 December 2015 until 16 April 2016

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Star Wars Identities is an exhibition dedicated to everything Star Wars. Costumes, concept arts, vehicles, and anything you can think of about Star Wars. The exhibition itself started back in 2012 in Canada. The exhibition is touring the world, and its first stop in Europe happens to be Vienna.

This exhibition is more on the expensive side (my father even complained, though in the end he was happy.), but it’s worth every penny, especially if you are into this legendary franchise.

I’ve only been into Star Wars not too long ago (I apologize, I am so sorry). Some people I know sometimes just assumed that I’m into Star Wars. Since I watch a lot of Marvel movies, I read comic books and watch cartoons, I visit Comic Cons, and I happen to have a few Uniqlo Star Wars t-shirts too… so yeah. However, I haven’t even watched any Star Wars movies until last year! I don’t even know why I skipped Star Wars, probably because I was introduced to Spider-Man instead when I was little, not Star Wars. Fast forward to late 2015, I finished the previous 6 movies in 2 days, and watched them again in the next 2 days. In short I was hooked. Please forget my embarrassment and let’s just move on.

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Star Wars Identities boasts about having 200 original props, costumes, etc. They were not lying. I was completely stunned, apart from the complete collection of costumes from the previous 6 movies, there were also Anakin’s podracer, droids (BB-8 as their latest addition), and most importantly, the amazing Ralph McQuirrie concept arts, which I had been looking forward to.

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A highlight to me was the concept arts. The previous sketches for each character were displayed. Each had an explanation as well. For example, how they got Yoda’s eyes from Albert Einstein, and some other versions such as a female Luke Skywalker. These were not all by Ralph McQuirrie though.

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Another fun part was the interactive features. We were able to create our own Star Wars heroes. Throughout the exhibition there were checkpoints in which we could scan our wristbands, filled in data, gave a nickname to our Star Wars Hero, and we would be asked to choose which side were we on, the dark or the light. By the end, our characters would be displayed on a screen, and its characteristics and personal info would be e-mailed to us.

It was a delightful experience, everyone was happy! Including my parents, which was great.

More Info: MAK WEBSITE

Access: 10 minute walk from Stephansplatz, or ride the U-bahn (U3-Stubbentor), the stop is across MAK, near the famous Plachutta restaurant.

Vienna Tip: Download the Qando Wien App it’s an official app by Vienna’s public transport network, gives you tram routes, subway routes, etc. Just download this one, I downloaded a few other crappy ones and got lost…

+ Check out my TripAdvisor profile to see some of the things I’ve reviewed as well!