Thursday, April 12, 2012

Will Miss #437 - the Edo/Tokyo Museum

A life-size life-size reproduction of an Edo-era building (that's a real person in front).

The level of indoctrination into a culture that one experiences has a profound effect on interest levels. When I was a kid, I didn't care much about museums or history because I had already been overexposed to tales of George Washington and his wooden teeth or Abraham Lincoln and his log cabin (what's with all of the wood in American history?). My feelings about Japanese history are entirely different though because it was not something I had been exposed to again and again throughout my childhood. When I told my students that I really loved the Edo/Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku, their response was a big yawn. They just didn't care, but I loved the contrast between the life-size reproductions and the miniatures as well as the fact that you can essentially spend an entire day in quiet, comfortable surroundings for 600 yen. The truth is that, you're a lot better off hanging out all day in the museum with your friends than a coffee shop. There are more empty seats, it's a better atmosphere and there are a ton of interesting exhibits covering the history of Tokyo. I especially enjoy the focus on the lives of the common people and the items that they used in their daily lives that are on display and reveal something about how sophisticated life was despite the lack of technological advancement.

I will miss the Edo/Tokyo museum and all of the cool exhibits and artifacts contained therein.