It's a terrible cliche to say that it's not the destination, but rather the journey that expands our horizons. However, I don't know a cliche that explains what happens when one's plan to enjoy a long journey gets shaken up enough to change one's destination.
Train tickets in hand, we set out obscenely early on a Friday morning with a scheme to slowly make our way up the western coast of Japan, through Yamaguchi prefecture to Izumo and Matsue cities in Shimane prefecture to take in the Izumo-taisha temple and a road filled with statues based on Shigeru Mizuki's Gegege no Kitarō in Sakaiminato.
The universe, or at least the weeping clouds, had other plans. Only about one hour north of Fukuoka, in the city of Karatsu, the horrid weather conspired to strand us. All the local trains that we had planned to ride for the next 10 hours while enjoying the scenery were flooded out, bogged down, or simply refused to go forward.
Lucky indeed were we, that we had heard of the Hokusai exhibition at the the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery.
Curated by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, many of these pieces have not been in Japan since their creation. It was a truly spectacular show, including all of Hokusai's Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (I think... I lost count), his waterfall series, flowers, a smattering of yokai, and other works spanning his lengthy career.
While the exhibition is no longer in Kitakyushu, it opens on 9/13 in Tokyo. I couldn't recommend this exhibition more strongly. Hokusai is a huge influence on my style and my appreciation of Japanese art, and seeing his work in person for the first time was exhilarating.