M.I. (Student Staff Leader)
Living in Tokyo has plenty of perks, especially if you are interested in art. Tokyo is dotted with more than enough world-class museums and art galleries that you can visit and get lost in. If you like art that much, then you can practically spend every day visiting them and still will not get bored with them. While visiting these museums by ourselves seem like a good idea, everyone likes a good guided tour. Through such tour, one can meet new people, learn background stories, etc. The problem in Japan is that while the museums are of high-quality, language is a barrier for many. Also, while meeting new people is fun, meeting complete strangers with completely different background can be very uncomfortable. The Art Museum Visit Event series seeks to overcome these problems, while at the same time promote understanding between students of different backgrounds. In each Art Museum Visit, we approached museums to offer us a tailored guided tour exclusively for Waseda students. While the tour is mainly in Japanese, our staff help with translations, and since students of different backgrounds are put in groups, the participants help each other.
Last June we held the third Art Museum Visit, where we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (the “Museum”). The Museum just re-opened around 3 months ago after a big refurbishment. It has around 5,400 items in its collection and has a gallery introducing the national and international history of art from 1945 onwards.
It also holds exhibitions of modern art on paintings, sculptures, fashion, architecture, design, and distinctive project exhibitions including a large-scale international gallery.
On the day of the event, the Museum surprised us with free tickets to the “MOT Collection” that we were going to visit, as well as the special exhibition that the Museum had. The participants got divided into three groups. We went straight into an ice-breaker game so that the participants could get to know each other a little bit better. The game was developed by the Museum and cannot be found anywhere else. Judging from the participants` expressions, it was a lot of fun. Then we looked at some selected works from the “MOT Collection”. The groups each got one guide from the Museum, and each was guided through three artworks. The participants exchanged their opinions, what they felt, etc. about the artworks. It was awkward at first, but it seems that they were able to open up more and more, and ended up learning and laughing together. I couldn’t be happier to see that the idea behind the event was realized at the end.