Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bookcase Tour Tuesday - Beautiful Japan

At the risk of sounding sappy, it was after an all-day visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum (or 'Edo-haku') that I remember first saying to myself "I would LOVE to work in a museum someday... And, wow, to work in a Japanese museum!" At the time I wasn't in museum studies, nor did I actually think I would end up working in a museum - let alone a Japanese one (which by the way looks like it will continue a while - Japanese immigration willing - as the museum has offered me increased hours and a half-step up from my current position post-graduation... wheeeeee!)

Edo-haku has two large floors of exhibits on the history of Edo - from its beginnings as a castle town in the 16th century, to the modern Tokyo. It has some great hands on sections, and I really like the mix of historical objects with dioramas and other modern secondary objects to round out the picture. Unfortunately over the past few years Edo-haku has begun to show signs of carelessness - objects being changed around while the interpretive panels remain the same (and thus no longer quite fit with the objects on display), a lack of background information, and most glaringly seriously flawed English.

The "Beautiful Japan"(Utsukushii nihon - taisho showa no tabi) exhibition in the late summer/early fall of 2005 was no exception - some truly beautiful objects, a fascinating range of objects, and some appallingly bad English.

The good...

the bad...

and the just plain ugly English... (and no, I'm not referring to the name, although it would more commonly be spelt "Chichibu")

and some more good...

(sorry for the poor quality of the images this time around, its a big catalogue with a very hard spine, and didn't want to play nicely with my scanner!)


  1. Love 'Plince & Pincess' and the 'trank'. I think that you should argue that English speakers are appauled by bad spelling in public places and that you need a few more hours each week to fix ALL the mistakes in the museum!!! Should get you a few more hours!!

    I know who to call then when I go to Tokyo!! I have been here 11 years and only been to Tokyo for 3 days!!! shocking isn't it! Been to Kyoto 7 times though :)

  2. Achan - I don't work for Edo-haku, although that hasn't stopped me from complaining about the quality of their English. As far as extra work hours go, I've worked overtime and put in a number of extra days recently at "my" museum editing some English that was contracted out to a (very poor and non-native) translator while I was away!

    Definitely let me know if/when you're in my neck of the woods - I LOVE showing people about. I should warn you, however, I can natter on for length about some of my favourite spots...!

  3. Sounds like the Edo-Tokyo museum should hire you! Great to hear that the museum has promoted you! Congrats! love and hugs, C

  4. C - I think that Edo-haku should hire me too! ;)

    As for my job, it isn't really a promotion, more a matter of just increased hours doing what I already do.