Our visit to Japan wasn’t all fun and pretty pictures though, as Paige, Karen, and I each participated in interviews with the Japanese press. These interviews are often very time-consuming as everything must be translated back and forth, but we did get some very good press for Snoopy Museum Tokyo.
We look as though we are playing with dolls, but in reality we are doing an interview in English with a recorder that will translate it to Japanese for the Peanuts Fan Club magazine in Japan. We’re always happy to talk with the Peanuts Fan Club, and we are happy to see them when they come to visit us in Santa Rosa from time to time.
Also, Paige Braddock, Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, taught two different “How to Draw Peanuts” classes to both adults and children.
Snoopy Museum Tokyo is the result of cooperation between the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, CA, Sony Creative Products, the City of Machida, and Blue Sheep Co., Ltd.
After the excitement of the Snoopy Museum Tokyo opening and related festivities, we felt we deserved a few days of rest and relaxation, so we headed off to the mountainous town of Hakone with our colleagues, Hiroko and Daisuke, as our guides. Hakone is known for its view of Mount Fuji and natural hot springs resorts. Driving to our hotel, I realized that we were in an entirely different landscape from other parts of Japan I had previously visited. If I were younger, I would return to trek through the area and walk the stone pavement and cedar forests dating from the Edo period.
We had many views of Mount Fuji for the next three days.
While in the Hakone region of Japan, we partook in the traditional bathing at an onsen ryokan.
On our three-day excursion we also visited a shrine, with all its traditional attributes including komainu, dog-like lions. The komainu pictured below rests one paw on an embroidered sphere though to symbolize dominion over the world.
There are many shrines throughout the towns of Japan. The photo above shows ema at a shrine. Ema are wooden plaques on which visitors write their prayers and blessings so that they may go out into the world and be received.
The Hakone area of Japan is known for its designer woodwork. In the lobby of our hotel we saw beautiful boxes and mats made from different types of wood from the area. We later visited a workshop to see how they made these intricate designs. We learned about marquetry and the yosegi-zaiku technique (which dates back to the 1820s) whereby artisans use local woods to create detailed geometrical patterns with attention to the natural color of the woods.
To my surprise and delight, I discovered that our hotel in Hakone was next door to The Little Prince Museum, the world’s only museum devoted to The Little Prince, one of my favorite books.
The museum was beautifully executed, but Hiroko and I walked through rather rapidly as our time was short. I was amazed by the similarity to Sparky’s work in that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author, had kept a diary in which he sketched all the images that would later form the book.
There’s an entire street that looks like a French village at The Little Prince Museum! I would love to be able to return to this museum, and I have recommended it to friends headed to Japan.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.
We are all sorry, now in early March, to hear that Snoopy Museum Tokyo will be closed for a month due to the COVID-19 virus. I hope for all our fans that they can be back in business soon.