OUR ART IN
Jan. 08, 2020
Day1 Komazawa 「SKOOL」
SHUICHI NAKAMURA / SNOW SHOVELING
translator ELAINE CZECH
Snow Shoveling Owner
Born in 1976, raised in Kagoshima and lives in Tokyo.
As a young man he dreamed of being a “soccer player, but frustrated as a teen he dawned on a journey, and in his 20s achieved an incomprehensible goal as a “freelancer” in the graphic design industry. But he began to worry in his thirties and decided to open a bookstore in Komazawa in 2012 to find his “place”. Snow Shoveling is a bohemian-oriented bookstore at which the owner has established a port with an unknown destination.
The purpose of my 1-day trip was to look for everyday art and artistic people in the city. I believe that if you are sensitive to what you see and hear, as you walk around the city, you’ll easily be able to meet the art. Moving about like the wind is blowing. It may take some time, but eventually, it becomes easy to notice.
Dear reader, this article is a record of my passive experimentation to forcible intertwine “Arts and Crafts” in an attempt, as Dr. William Morris calls it, to “unify life and art” by walking around the city. To cooly say, the “art of walking.” I couldn’t resist saying it. The main objective of this approach is as follows: “I met the ART while walking around the city.” This seems more fun than just “walking around the city looking for ART.”
I like parks. So naturally, I like cities with parks in them. Since from way back I have always lived in a town with a park. This isn’t due to some family rule or anything but it has become a personal preference of sorts.
That’s why I live near Komazawa Park. I know it seems like a cop-out to choose my own neighborhood as the setting of my first article. But hey! this is comparable to a young person going out on their first date, you start out slow. And thus we shall begin my brushless Day TripArt “Komazawa.”
The Beatles sang a song called “Day Tripper”, but for me always going to the park was a “Good reason.” I almost always enter the park near the batting center from Komazawa-dori or through the “Park Management Office entrance” which is just past the house exhibition hall. Then I take the running course in the counterclockwise direction and exit from the west side of the park onto Koen-dori to get a coffee at the Freshness Burger. A daily treat. Komazawa Park is a relatively large park in Tokyo, with many runners, skaters and dog lovers. The monument to the symbolic existence is by Yoshinobu Ashihara (under Junzo Sakakura and Marcel Breuer). Nakamura arbitrarily named it “Delivering Soba.”
Riding my bike around at a normal pace, I start looking around at the faces I often see and the occasional stranger, looking at people relaxing in the park, my head starts to become somewhat flexible, and a little meditative. This state is interesting because it can lead to some weird ideas, or illuminates some of the problems I’ve been stuck on, or even cause me to recall a forgotten someone. If the condition is just right, then I may feel my heart move unintentionally toward the trees and flowers, and at that moment the entrance to art opens a little. Oh. Argh. I was trying to avoid that word. Art. Remorse.
Well, now I guess we are on the topic of art. From the park’s west entrance, I decided to go humming along south on Komazawa Koen-dori which lead me to several cafes and antique shops. I decided to enter a mysterious shop that had opened a few months ago. The name of the shop I later found out was SKOOL. But that was unknown information until I blatantly asked for it. In other words, this was a label-less shop. Behind the store’s facade glass household plants and pottery are lined up giving the store a “west coast lifestyle” vibe.
With a “let’s do this” attitude, I entered the shop. They have an eclectic array of items from new and used clothes, pottery ranging from vintage to junk, miscellaneous goods, and paintings and hanging pictures on the walls. As a collector of goods, there is sympathy felt for the miscellaneous atmosphere. After talking with the owner, Yamamoto, I learned that the store is supposed to be experimental in nature. Put more bluntly, it is like a pop-up store without a determined theme. Yamamoto plans to show photos of connected artists in the coming month, and then after that have a handicraft exhibition. In case you are curious, on the day I entered the shop painting and drawing by an artist named APOLLO are cluttered in various places. In a shop saturated with items (although it is isn’t really too much), there is this over-familiarity felt which is interesting. Although I would argue that paints by Setsuko Hara and Hideko Takamine have a comparable feel.
As I admire the various fixtures around the shop Yamamoto and I beginning playing a respectful game of cat and mouse. “Is this for sale?” to which I receive an apologetic reply. “But if you find something else, perhaps that I can sell,” he says. Wah, this must be the west coast ideology. After all, SKOOL is a shop where the exhibitions and plans are always changing, so every time you visit, there is something new, a shop that will make you say “I wish I could find a closer location!”
Slightly changing the topic, it might be upsetting for me to use the word “trendy” but how else can I describe this uncertain, genreless atmosphere that can be found in a variety of shops? It’s hard to find the words or descriptors, but when it comes down to it, there is this common atmosphere. Every store to some extent is “easygoing.” Trendy
In particular, Koen-dori, where this “SKOOL” is located, is a perfect place to meander about. In this city where dogs seem to have almost human rights, the punk owners of PRETTY THINGS are advocates for our feline brethren. PRETTY THINGS is a pleasant shop lined with analog records. Providing good music, coffee, and lighting. Then there is Bowery Kitchen, an affiliate store, you can only eat coleslaw there, but basically, everything is delicious and if you are inclined to chat with the friendly staff it will be like interacting with embodiments of the city’s character. Finally, there is the appointment-based gallery FFFFFF which recently opened, and a shop called “S-STORE” near Fukasawa Fudo, which has a good mix of household goods, utensils, and clothing.
In addition, the Komazawa area has a vegan restaurant and cafe, which is rather unusual given the city’s size, there are also a number of delicious curry shops so definitely a recommended spot for a day trip. But overall the best recommendation is Komazawa Park. Nature or natural things above all are a great source of art.
Although the entrance is hard to find, before the “Fukasawa Fudo” intersection, there is a bookstore called SNOW SHOVELING. Almost every day I sell books there and sometimes I will hold an exhibition. I like art. Art is great from admiring and pondering over, and sometimes you can even gain energy from a piece to the point of inspiration.
And so I end with a mysterious sort of self-introduction, but in the future, I plan to go to other towns and tell you, dear reader, what I saw and heard.
Day TripArt, Yeah
【Koen-dori ~ Fukusawa】
かっぱ (Shop that specializes in stews)
PRETTY THINGS (COFFEE)
S-STORE (Western-style Clothing and household goods)
SNOW SHOVELING (Bookstore)