“A walk in Japan : Botteghe di Tokyo”

Aesthetes
3 min readMar 1, 2022

Botteghe di Tokyo is the innovative and immersive exhibition at Tenoha, in Navigli of Milan. The show is inspired by the fantastic and visionary book: “Botteghe di Tokyo’’ by the Polish artist Mateusz Urbanowicz.

It is an unmissable exhibition, a real journey through the Japanese workshops, thanks to the watercolors of Urbanowicz. From the artist’s point of view the workshops raise nostalgia, but also surprise and discovery. Places never seen yet always known. By drawing them, he tries to give them new life, new light. He wants to arouse guests ‘curiosity, even those who walking, do not linger to appreciate the shops’ history and beauty, hoping that the less shrewd looks can direct their glance on places hidden from the frenzy of the Japanese city.

The exhibition wants to bring out Tokyo’s atmosphere and it was created to represent a journey through a selection of Japanese shops across peculiar district and streets of the city. A path enriched by some typical objects such as a vending machine for drinks, “photobooth” for group photos and even a taxi. Care and attention to detail are proved by the street reproduced on the floor that shows the same characters as the Japanese streets. Walking across the shops, you run across the Seishin-do Bookshop, of which the interior is also represented, to Kikumi, the shop that sells traditional senbei (square rice pretzels), to the Sakae-ya restaurant, an old milk hall (where coffee was drunk with milk) and Tenyasu, tsukudani shop, a preparation based on soy sauce and mirin used for storing foods such as algae and small fish. Most of the shop painted by Mateusz Urbanowicz have aged with time, their construction dates to the Showa era, between 1926 and 1989. While some stores still exist today, other are about to close.

The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the artist, where the brushes, Chinas and nibs are exhibited, as well as the watercolors, which he used for the illustrations.

The exhibition represents a way to turn the spotlight on an architectural heritage that, if it is an expression of everyday life and the ecosystem of the city, tell and embody an important historical heritage for Japan.

The exhibition is open from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm and free-entry beforehand booking. The show will end 27 March 2022.

To literally immerse yourself in the Japanese atmosphere, you can have lunch or dinner in the Tenoha restaurant: traditional dishes and street food will be prepared by the Japanese chef Sawayama.

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