Wednesday, 10 October 2007

New and Improved Museum!

The scaffolding has come down and the museum is preparing to open again in a few short weeks. Today was my first day in the newly redone basement. Its all going to take a little time to get used to as all the rooms are slightly different sizes and a partial new floor (with low ceilings) has been inserted too. The new floor makes floor numbering rather confusing. The internal phone list starts with the basement (B1) and lists the extra floor as the first floor, making the old first floor (the main floor) the second floor and what was the second floor (the exhibition space) the third floor. The basement could also be considered the main floor as you enter it straigt from ground level through the back entrance, but the main entrance through the front is also at ground level. Now if we just adopted British floor numbering it would all make sense as the new floor could become the ground floor (which it isn't) and the old ground floor/first floor being simply the first floor, and the exhibition space remaining the second floor. Phew...

What made today such a great day, however, was not the fresh new paint on the walls or the larger kitchenette, but the work I did. After having spent a number of months simply translating from English to Japanese or Japanese to English, I got to do something slightly different today. I'm assisting one of the curators with two projects, one is a new bilingual pamphlet with both writing and images that we are going to create based on the exhibits. I was told that this time instead of a straight translation they want something that is going to be easy to understand so I'm being given a fair amount of independance to decide what sort of language and how much of the information to use. This is exciting not only because the work itself is challenging and interesting, but also because the project relates directly to my proposed thesis topic - that of the services offered for foreigners by Japanese museums. Both the director and the curator I am working with realize this project's links to my thesis and are eager to have me be more involved! Yay!! The director also mentioned that for my research purposes we'd have to figure out some way of getting feedback on the pamphlet once it is created! (He also once again commented about how he'd like to be able to hire me as an assistant curator once I graduate!) I love the fact that the people at the museum, the director especially, are so supportive of me and what I am doing!

I've been needing a bit of that support recently as term started off with a bang (the entrance exams) and has not slowed down and in addition to getting sick (I'm feeling much better now, thanks!!) I've also been feeling frustrated with seemingly useless things I've been having to do and just how much extra work I have to put into things because of the language barrier. Its a roller coaster, with its ups (today) and its downs (yesterday - I joked about quitting everything to move to Vancouver and open my very own chocolate shop but was convinced to stay in Tokyo for the time being due to Vancouver's lack of high quality frozen green tea drinks). Despite the fact that I hate actual roller coasters (ever since I was tricked into riding in the very front of one at the tender age of 5) I love this particular ride - most of the time!

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