The Aomori Dog, Aomori Prefectural Art Museum

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During my trip to Aomori over Golden Week, we visited the Aomori Prefectural Museum of Art. Pictures weren’t allowed inside the museum itself, which featured some interesting work by artists such as Marc Chagall, Shiko Munakata, and Yoshitomo Nara. But that was kind of ok, because one of the museum’s biggest attractions (both literally and figuratively) is kept out back—the Aomori Dog by Yoshitomo Nara.

Spectators have to wander around back, up and down various sets of stairs to see the dog up close. I liked the feeling of going outside to see the dog (kind of like going to play with a friend’s dog in the backyard, you know?)—I also loved his gigantic dog bowl. The picture above may not give you a sense of how gigantic this piece of art is, but below you can see how I measure up against this colossal canine:

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I’m not sure what the story is, but it seems probable that the Aomori Dog is somehow related to Nara’s children’s book The Lonesome Puppy. I had a chance to flip through the book in the museum gift shop—it’s about a puppy who was very lonely because he was so big that no one noticed him. But one day, a plucky little girl decides to climb up his leg, and after some adorable exchanges of looks, the two become friends. And thus, the puppy was lonesome no more.

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Very cute.

If you find yourself in Aomori City, the one-two punch of this museum and the Sannai Maruyama Jomon Archaeological Site right next door (more on that soon!) makes for a pretty good half-day of relaxed sightseeing. Here’s a shot of the outside of the museum:

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Other than the Aomori Dog, I particularly liked the huge Chagall ballet backdrops they had on display. Chagall designed the décor for the ballet Aleko in 1942 during his exile in America:

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Picture taken from the Aomori Museum of Art website

I’m wrapping up my 10-month intensive language program at the moment, so things have been busy, but I’m hoping to post more soon!

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