Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Japanese Prince & The Canadian Museum

So... this past week, I took my 5-year-old son Hudson to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) here in Toronto. We're members of the ROM, and go a few times a year. It was our second visit in three weeks. It's always an enjoyable way to spend a morning.

Since he is 5, we usually spend in ordinate amount of time checking out the dinosaurs... we actually spend it running between exhibits with very little time spent analyzing the fossils (much to my chagrin)... but that's okay. I love dinosaurs... and have been going to the ROM since my family and I first arrived here in Canada back in 1968. I believe at the time you could pay via a donation - whatever you wanted.

They used to have a gift shop near the front entrance where you could buy a chunk of amber... the trick was to find one with a full insect in it. Unfortunately, since the movie Jurassic Park, I've not seen one for sale anywhere. In fact... it was just always to rich for my parents blood to purchase a chunk of amber for me (we weren't rich) with a mosquito in it.... if you'll recall, in the book (and the movie - the book came first by the way!), dinosaurs were able to be cloned and brought back to life after scientists successfully tried to pull dinosaur DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) from within the mosquito in the amber... maybe scientists are actually trying to do that - because you sure can't find a bug in amber anywhere!

So... why talk about dinosaurs here in this blog? I'm not - at least not today. You can read about Japanese dinosaurs HERE, and see a photo of some of the fossils I picked up in Japan. I never did show you a photo of a fossilized leaf, so take a look to the side:  

Regardless, today, I want to show you what Hudson and I looked at this week at the ROM - it's Japanese collection.

It's a small collection, but very well put together nonetheless. It's smaller than my own private collection, but probably worth a million times more - I mean... they didn't have any telephone cards, or good-luck charms!

The ROM has the typical samurai swords and armour, bowls, period artwork - many things I had sort of seen in Japan - but it was all in one place and put together cleanly. The ROM is one of the best museums in the world, and first opened its doors in 1914, though it recently underwent an expansion, doubling its size by adding in a funky looking building that I personally don't like. It is a great design... but it's too angular for the what I picture as a studious museum.  Regardless, I would urge you to give it a look-see should you ever find yourself in Toronto.

The Japan exhibit is housed in Level 1 of the ROM's Philosopher's Walk wing in the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan.

Prince Takamado was apparently known as Canada's Prince back in Japan for his apparent fondness to Canada. The gallery is a permanent link between Canada and Japan. Unfortunately, due to one having a lifespan, I'm only joining to be a semi-permanent link between Japan and Canada... unless that DNA cloning works. (Ha! I was wondering how I was going to link dinosaurs and Japan with this blog! I love it when I don't have a plan and it just comes together!)


Prince Takamado Norihoto was born on December 29, 1954, and died on November 21, 2002. He was seventh in line for the Chrysanthemum Throne (Emperor of Japan). After graduating from Japan's Gakusuin University in Law, he travelled to Canada to study at Queen's University's faculty of law from 1978-1981. He met his wife Hisako Tottori at a reception held by the Canadian embassy in Tokyo - they have three daughters.

On November 21, 2002, he was playing squash with Canadian ambassador Robert G. Wright at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo when the Prince collapsed from ventricular fibrillation dying of heart failure at the hospital.

In Japan, the Prince Takamado Cup, a youth soccer tournament, is named for him, while the ROM honours his memory with the Japan exhibit.

Please click HERE to view my photos.


Andrew Joseph

PS: The photos look blurry until you click on one... and then via SLIDESHOW, it will be as clear as what I shot. Damn astigmatism. 

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