During a six hour layover in Honolulu, my friend Brian and I went to the Honolulu Museum of Art. The museum is really cool and worth a visit for just about anyone passing through the city. They have the standard sort of stuff, but I was most impressed with their Asian collection. In particular, the Japanese woodblock prints stood out.
Usually I skim over the woodblocks, but their collection was stunning. I went around the room looking at all of them several times before leaving. I took pictures so that I could figure out later who the artist was.
Later, just out of curiousity, I started researching what it would take to buy a Japanese woodblock by a good artist. It was strictly aspirational, not something I intended on buying in the near future.
But I was surprised. Legitimate Japanese woodblocks from the 1800s, when the Shogun was in charge, go for one or two hundred. The ones that captivated me in the museum were by a guy named Ogata Gekko and were printed in the early 1900s, and were even cheaper.
I bought three woodblocks for my tea room. The first is by Utagawa Hiroshige, widely seen as the last great master of woodblock printing. I bought an original copy of this one for $600. My copy was actually owned by the Worcester Museum of Art at one point, which I think is pretty cool. I then bought an Ogata Gekko, also tea themed, for $70. Last I got an original Hokusai (the guy who made the Great Wave, the most famous woodblock) for $200. It's not tea themed, but it is travel themed.
If you just search eBay for "original woodblock", you'll see a huge list of them. I think the old ones are the coolest, as they are like little pieces of history, but newer ones are beautiful too.
Once you find one you like, upload the image of it to ukiyo-e. From there you can see which museums and databases have a copy. If there are none, I'd probably assume it's not legitimate.
If you're looking for art of high enough quality that it's shown at museums but don't want to spend a lot of money, take a look at Japanese woodblocks. I really like mine and intend to buy more if I find more tea related ones that I like.
Photo is my Hokusai. It's part of the "One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each As Explained by the Old Nurse" series he did. You can read the Met's info on it here.
When I'm booking a flight, I don't search by shortest duration, I sort by longest. My favorite flights are those that include one or more really long layovers during the day in an interesting location.
Earlier today I hiked up Diamondhead, ate a Hawaiian burger, waded into the ocean at Waikiki, and visited the Honolulu Art Museum. But I'm not on vacation in Hawaii, I'm on a six hour layover on my way to Tokyo.
My favorite way to do a long layover is to have a big list of things I want to do, and then hit them at whatever pace I feel like. I want to avoid wasted time at all cost, but not rush myself.
We rented a car in Hawaii, which is almost always worth it in these situations. For $40, we were able to avoid any sort of waiting around or having to conform to time tables. We did things like lunch and the hike, where we'd have only limited control over our schedules, early so that we wouldn't end up in a situation where we haven't got the check yet and we have to hustle back to the airport.
Like any other senior in college, I constantly think about what's going to happen after my golden years. Sometimes the anxiety takes over and I fall in a black hole for a couple of minutes; the panic is intense. I barely have any work experience, quit my internship and started getting serious about putting myself out there only a couple of months ago.
But guest speaker Steve Savoca, Spotify's global content and distribution manager, said something interesting, "The best way of networking is to go to conferences." It's something I never thought of and as soon as I got home, I researched journalism conferences. YES, THEY EXIST! In fact, there's a great variety to choose from.
The one that caught my eye immediately is the one in Hawaii. I mean, what doesn't sound great about it, right? Yup, this is it, the perfect opportunity to get to meet people in the business and getting a new stamp in my passport simultaneously.
My time there will be very limited, but I want to see as much as possible. Besides (DUH!) going to the beach, I want to explore the island.
Here's a list of things that I intend to do in Honolulu: