On Monday I went out to Odaiba to see the “DMM Planets” Exhibit. Odaiba is a man-made island in the Tokyo Bay, just east of the city. We wanted to get there early, which meant taking the train through central Tokyo during the morning rush hour. Holly hell, it was insane! “Sardine trains” to the max – we were literally pressed body to body, like at a crowded concert. The Japanese people, usually so polite, just start pushing and shoving to get on the train. It was quite honestly awful, and made me very thankful that I’m not living in a super-central area like Shinjuku. That would just be too much to deal on a daily basis.
We got the exhibit right when it opened at 10 am, and beat the worst of the crowd. We waited in line about an hour and a half, and it was completely worth every second of the wait. The exhibit was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t even know what to call it or how to describe it. The website describes it as, “a huge installation [that] will invite participants of all ages to immerse themselves in the multi-room environments spanning around 3,000sqm and showcasing multiple digital works. Participants will be invited to explore inside interactive artworks —including the largest Crystal Universe ever shown.” You can check out this video to get a better idea.
I can do my best to try to describe it, but pictures don’t really don’t do it justice, and neither do my words. It was just a complete sensory experience that you really have to be there in person to understand.
The first room was dark, and completely made of a bean-bag-like material. All of the walls and floors were covered in it. You could jump around and lie down in it. It was so comfortable, I could have stayed in there for hours. The second room was a giant crystal light forest. It was just endless rows of crystal lights, from floor to ceiling, that create a forest that you wander through. The ceiling and floor were made of mirrors. The lights change colors and flash with the music. It was absolutely enchanting. The best part was everyone’s reaction when there was a big change – a big synchronized “Oooooh-Ahhh!”
In the next room, you wade into knee-deep water, dyed opaque. There are projections coming from the ceiling into the water, of moving psychedelic patterns, and fish swimming through the water. You are literally wading through a giant pool of crazy rainbow patterns and fish made of light. Who even thought of this? It was amazing, and felt completely surreal. The final room was a huge dome, like a planetarium, but except for instead of stars, you see a projection of flowers and petals dancing above you. We lay on the ground to watch, and it seriously felt like the room was spinning around us.
After the exhibit, I explored Odaiba. I went to “Diver City” – a huge mall, and saw the life-sized Gundam statue. Apparently Gundam is a character from a really popular anime series. I don’t know anything about anime, but it was still cool to see a giant robot. I got some green tea ice cream in the food court, and sat next to two teenage girls, dressed in traditional yukata outfits, eating McDonalds and taking selfies. Talk about the clash of traditional and modern.
After the mall, I went to the water’s edge. From Odaiba, you can see a beautiful view of the Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo skyline. I also stumbled upon a replica of the Statue of Liberty, which I had no idea was there. I’ve yet to see the real Statue of Liberty, but now I’ve seen the one in Tokyo!
I stayed for a while and enjoyed the view, until the rain from the incoming typhoon chased me home.