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Tochiro

Shoji Kawamori Exhibit: THE TRANSFORMATION

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yikes! that is one of the most unattractive Ranka cosplays I have ever seen!

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Update: I will definitely be in Japan this September. I plan to do a couple of days in Kyoto, so making a side trip to Osaka to see the exhibit shouldn't be a problem!

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Road Macross Trip July 2015

Arriving first, I was surprised to see quite a large crowd of people waiting for the museum to open! One of the reasons why we had planned to go so early in the morning was to beat the crowds of Kawamori fans, hungry for signed goods.

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Turns out that they weren't there for the "S.K. The Henkei" exhibit, and were most likely a university art class on a field trip! (Note the lack of people in the exhibit pictures later)

This was my second trip to the Tezuka Osamu Museum. The first thing that I noticed this time was the changes to the walk-up to the entrance - the 3-way traffic light in front of the museum is in the process of being changed into a 4-way light, and they've moved all of the statues and so on to make way for the new road.

The changes make the building more photogenic, but the loss of a wall of foliage to screen the sun is a high price to pay in the summer months!

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The exhibit was on the second floor, in the same space were "The Macross Museum" was held a couple of years back.

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The plethora of statues and so on from many of Kawamori's projects was quite impressive. Not the least of which is the impressively modelled VF-1S that greets visitors!

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It's extremely detailed!

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I love the reflections that are somehow perfectly framed in this shot.

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Alas, not a week after its unveiling, some of the decal-stickers were already starting to peel off of the gun pod!

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Yours truly providing a nice scaling object. Note the stuff on the red wall in the no photo section of the exhibit proper. More on that later.

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And the view of the VF-1S from the opposite side of the atrium.

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On the left side of the VF-1S, there was a TV running shorts from some of the more popular of Kawamori's projects. I'm sure you all recognize the one on screen ;)

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Behind the VF-1S was an Arcadia VF-1S display.

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And a signed Strike VF-1S blow-up.

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And more signings... "Yak Deculture ☆ The Transformation"

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And some comments and introductory blurbs by and about Kawamori san.

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To the right of the VF-1S was something from "Nobunaga The Fool"

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And behind the VF-1S...

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And that's the end of the sections that one is allowed to take pictures in.

I snuck the following pictures from the safe zone for my personal collection, but am including them here in blurred form to help give a sense of what the lions-share of the exhibit entails.

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The majority of the exhibit is composed of sketches (some fairly complete, some quite rough) and finished designs that Kawamori-san has created for a wide range of shows, movies, games, and commercials. There are also a fair amount of colourized designs and finished pieces of artwork for variety.

The exhibit is mixed up with sections devoted to particular shows (ie: Macross Plus), and not by overall series (ie: the Macross related artwork is spread throughout the exhibit, and not all together in one go).

There didn't appear to be an order to the distribution of the shows. I'd like to say that it was chronological, but some of his very first designs -one's that predate SDFM- appear in the last third of the exhibit.

As the exhibit is more or less on the design process (that meaning of "transformation"), there is a LOT of stuff that I've never seen before. And this is coming from someone who has a fairly extensive collection of Macross related books!

If you have the "Kawamori Shoji Design Works" book from quite a few years back, you'll have a general sense of the exhibit. But with an order of magnitude more content.

What I found most fascinating, and you can kind of get a sense of it from the image above with the red wall, is Kawamori-san's design process. In many cases (especially with designs that transform in some way), it starts with Lego. Lego that's been modified with (gasp) a knife. There were many examples on display that had not only some of the Lego-branded knobs on the top of the bricks shaved off, but they were also whittled into new shapes. On top of that was anything from folded up card-stock paper, to paper-mâché, to bits and bobs from a sports car plastic models (!), all adhered with Kawamori's second material of choice: clear tape.

The third item covered in a plastic dome (in the red wall pict) is the legendary Lego SV-51. On the wall behind that are pictures of the VF-11 Lego transformation. Wow.

The exhibit contained quite a few other wow moments, and more than a few surprises.

As a fellow artist, one thing that I took away from the exhibit is: Kawamori-san is a prolific artist, who uses a mechanical pencil (HB or some other mid-range lead) on both sides of A4-sized paper sketchbooks (the thickness is close to that of standard copy paper - there were many sketches on display that had been scanned, and the sketches on the reverse of the original were slightly visible in the reproductions). Aside from using the aforementioned Lego based tools in the design process, he doesn't appear to use a ruler or other straightedge!

Sadly, some of Kawamori's notable designs from such things as Gundam 0083, the Patlabor movies I & II, and the (1st) Ghost In The Shell movie were missing. Nevertheless, the exhibit covered a greater amount of floor-space than the "Macross The Museum" exhibit, with a heck of a lot more artwork - stemming from most pieces being A4 sized.

Alas, the gift shop didn't have very much merchandise related to the exhibit (Macross or otherwise), but the book about the exhibit is priced most excellently (¥1,000, tax included).

After the gift-shop, there was a small display in the lounge area, that included the flyers for restaurants in the neighbourhood with "The Henkei" related theme menu items - the items in the display case indicate which theme...

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And tucked away, next to the elevator is the last piece in the exhibit:

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The exhibit book does a fairly good job of capturing the essence of the exhibit.

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With quite a few colour reproductions in the book.

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The Doulis campaign artwork is a nice thing to add to the collection, but I'm finding the alternative designs for the Aibo quite interesting (and glad to have so much of the artwork that appeared in the exhibit to poor over slowly at my convenience!). And that's not to mention such things as the coloured original VF-25 Super and Armour Pack illustrations (not pictured).

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There are lots of Kawamori's rough designs that heretofore haven't been published (note the Battroid form of the VB-6 rough). The most surprising was something that he was working in 1980: a girl-doll that transforms into a teddy bear!

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The book includes Kawamori's comments on each series, and closes out with an expanded interview.

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All in all, if you like such books as "Kawamori Shoji Design Works" or "Shoji Kawamori Deisng Works", then this exhibit is a great one to visit, and going that extra mile to pick up this book is a great thing to add to your collection.

Perhaps the only negatives about the exhibit are the entrance cost (¥700, though no where near outrageous as far as Japanese museums and galleries go, it is still a bit on the pricey side for me), and transportation costs to the museum itself (if you're already in Osaka city, they're not bad. But if you're coming from somewhere beyond (the other side of the Prefecture, elsewhere in Japan, the rest of the world!), they quickly overwhelm the entrance cost - if you know what I mean.

So, I'll end on that note: come to the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe area. There are lots of great things to see and do. And eat. "The Henkei" exhibit would be a great addition to any trip here, but it's not quite worthy of a trip here in its own right. Until then, I hope you can live vicariously through my collection of pictures and description here.

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Thanks for the write up and images!

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This is for all of you living in Japan, what do you do there that got you living in such a cool place? I'm incredibly jealous...

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This is for all of you living in Japan, what do you do there that got you living in such a cool place? I'm incredibly jealous...

We're all motivated in some way or another to do what it takes, and in other ways too stubborn to toss in the towel and return to our native country when things get up to the Nth degree.

If you are contemplating on taking the plunge, here are 2 quotes that have stuck with me: "Japan is a place where you can blow through a life's savings in less than a week.", and "If you come to Japan with any expectations, you're bound to be disappointed." Your mileage on those may vary. ;)

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As someone who is stuck in Texas, I appreciate you posting this.

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What took you there? I mean you have to be working, right? What sort of jobs are there for foreigners in Japan? Automotive? Aerospace? Computer Programming? Software design? Anything that you don't need a technical degree from a university to do?

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What took you there? I mean you have to be working, right? What sort of jobs are there for foreigners in Japan? Automotive? Aerospace? Computer Programming? Software design? Anything that you don't need a technical degree from a university to do?

In short, if you are not fluent in Japanese, your options are extremely limited. Teaching English being the most common employment.

Of course, if you have both fluency and trade skills* that are in demand, your employment options expand considerably.

* Not just technical skills. E.g.: there is a high demand for skilled care workers for the elderly.

EDIT: to get a working visa, you're going to need some sort of university degree. The other option is the spousal visa, but of the two, that's probably the harder one to get.

Edited by sketchley
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So at the risk of derailing the thread: what keeps you there? You came for the anime/culture/something, presumably, and now that you've had your fill of it, why are you still there, putting up with everything?

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So at the risk of derailing the thread: what keeps you there? You came for the anime/culture/something, presumably, and now that you've had your fill of it, why are you still there, putting up with everything?

Well, I'm not there anymore, but if I had a real choice, I would be. Tokyo's a fun, vibrant, exciting city. What's not to like?

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Guys, for goodness sake, please just make a new thread for that discussion. This "how do I get to live and work in Japan" is not a topic that can be summed up in just a couple of posts. You can even use the podcast thread to discuss that if you want since we talk about life in Japan on it so often anyway.

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Road Macross Trip July 2015

Thanks for posting....so were they actually sold out of other related items during your visit...or is the book the only item available tied to this exhibit?

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Sweet! I'm probably going to go in October for some family/work stuff, so I'm going to try to catch this (and that book looks fantastic).

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Great write up Sketchly!

Do you mind if I front page this?

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amazing! thanks for the great report of your visit, Sketchley. Was it there anything from Escaflowne?

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Thanks for posting....so were they actually sold out of other related items during your visit...or is the book the only item available tied to this exhibit?

There were a few other exhibit related items - but aside from the book and a few DVDs (if memory serves), nothing Macross related.

Great write up Sketchly!

Do you mind if I front page this?

Righty-oh!

amazing! thanks for the great report of your visit, Sketchley. Was it there anything from Escaflowne?

If memory serves, that was another one that wasn't present. (Though, I can't remember if Kawamori-san penned any of the mechanical designs in that series, or not. If he didn't, that would explain why it wasn't present.)

So at the risk of derailing the thread: what keeps you there? You came for the anime/culture/something, presumably, and now that you've had your fill of it, why are you still there, putting up with everything?

I'm going to defer to Renato's post, and finish this tangent off with another vague answer: each person's reasons are as diverse as each person is.

Edited by sketchley
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Thanks for the in-depth review sketchley. :)

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What took you there? I mean you have to be working, right? What sort of jobs are there for foreigners in Japan? Automotive? Aerospace? Computer Programming? Software design? Anything that you don't need a technical degree from a university to do?

This question gets asked on Yahoo Answers about once a day, so I put together a "General Answer #1" about 6 years back. Everything should still be up-to-date. Sorry if it sounds a bit snippy in places, but it's mainly directed at the "I'm gonna live my anime dream!!1!" type of people.

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The review is awesome, Sketchley! What are the chances people outside of Japan can get a copy of the book? Would love to get the book but can't justify a plane ticket for it :lol:

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Falcon - I'd recommend Yahoo Auctions.

Jefuemon - But I AM living my anime dream! :-p

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That HUGE Gerwalk Valkyrie is so mighty impressive! The things I would do to have that thing positively concern me! I wonder what it would be worth to buy!?!?

Full of so much want right now!

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Jefuemon - But I AM living my anime dream! :-p

Yeah, but I'm sure you're actually qualified to! I'm talking the 14 year olds who have seen 1 season of Naruto (or whatever is popular in America now), and are suddenly experts on everything Japan/Japanese, and how they're going to move right after high school, and buy a house in Tokyo, and study Japanese for 1 year, and be like totally fluent dude! Oh, and their manga will be a best seller, as well!

Edited by Jefuemon
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Falcon - I'd recommend Yahoo Auctions.

Jefuemon - But I AM living my anime dream! :-p

Thanks, Tochiro! What words am I supposed to use in Japanese? Shoji Kawamori doesn't seem to do it :lol:

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