I went to the Mitsuo Aida Museum because it was one of the museums I could visit with my Grutt Pass. I had never heard of Mitsuo Aida before, but since the museum is prominently in the Tokyo International Forum, one of the centers of the performing arts in Tokyo, I figured he was an artist of some renown. I wasn’t disappointed.
The museum itself is small and simple, consisting of a main gallery and an annex next to it. The walls and the floors are made of earthen material, which contributed to a feeling of being in an adobe structure. There’s a nice cafe with sunken seating. The atmosphere was serene and all the writings had English translations beside them. I tried to read the Japanese first and found that I could understand most of it because the words are simple and the writing so clearly written.
The title of this post is one of his poems. Here are some of my other favorites:
I felt that someone was looking at me.
I turned my wheelchair
And found a little flower blooming there.
I couldn’t do it, or
I didn’t do it.
I wonder which one?
If you spend all your time only thinking,
The sun will set.
A poem for my children.
It matters not the path you choose
Nor the way you walk it.
What matters is living that life to its fullest.
Waiting for the Spring
There was also a special exhibit of Tomihiro Hoshino. Hoshino suffered an accident while demonstrating for his high school gymnastics students, and he became paralyzed from the neck down as a result. Hospitalized for many years, he eventually learned to write and paint with a brush in his mouth. His delicate watercolors of flowers capture the ephemeral spring. And his calligraphy seems to float around his paintings like pollen.
After reading all the poems, the themes that emerged were about waiting, patience, acceptance, gratitude towards his mother who took care of him, and flowers. Lots of flowers. I think he identified with flowers because they too were rooted to one place for long periods of time, and they represent the fragility of life as well as the ability to endure the winter and produce beauty. Here is a website of some of his works with English translations.