My Neighbor Godzilla
(Arukou, Arukou, Watashi wa Genki)

It has been almost 4 years since we went to Japan. And what my family and I  miss,  the most is our local Soshigaya Park. Although it is placed in Kamisoshigaya (North Soshigaya), this park is the central park for Soshigaya and Seijo. Whenever we felt bored at home (in Sophia Soshigaya International House) we would just get out and take a stroll to the park and have a walkabout down the Sengawa (river Sen). It is either that or a stroll through Soshigaya neighborhood to Summit market, than down the Ultraman North Street to Ultraman Statue, than to Kinuta Library, back to Sengawa and then by the Sangawa walk back to Soshigaya Park.  And when we wanted to see Godzilla we would take a stroll from Soshigaya Park down Sengawa all the way to Toho Studios in Seijo, around 5 km stroll in both directions. We would just go “Let´s go see Godzilla” and we were on our way down the river to Seijo Gakuen Mae Station (Odakyu Line station near Seijo University) that our daughter renamed to Seijo Anpaman Mae. She was 3 years old at the time and she just discovered Anpaman.  We would continue down the river, and by coming near Toho Studios we would enjoy the shades of the trees around the river and the decorations on the fence surrounding the river. A small, doors- like decoration on the fence, featured different aspects of Toho Studios but dominantly Godzilla. After that we would come to the Toho Studios Gate where we would be greeted by “small” Heisei Godzilla statue, in size of the costume that was used by actors in the movies and TV shows after 1984. Across the statue a huge mural of Seven Samurai with Toshiro Mifune in the front plane by painter Masao Hanawa, a pure place of prayer for any Kurosawa worshiper.  After that, you slide down the street to meet a real Godzilla. Mind-blowing over the wall 17m- tall Godzilla, again hand painted by Masao Hanawa, a classically trained (mural) painter who studied in Italy.  You just don´t want to leave that corner. But it is too hot or too wet and you jump for kohi break at nearby Ushnodaka café in Serendipity house (now photo studio) or you go to buy something in a nearby Kojima x BIC Camera shopping mall + ice cream.

So this painting is just about that. It is a view from Sekirei-bashi (Wagtail Bridge) looking down the river towards Soshigaya/Seijo, a pedestrian bridge with a viewing platform.  Nearby this bridge my daughter and I were fishing crayfish from spring pond. Below it a waterfront terrace where you can sit or come close to Sengawa and look at carps.

In the painting process I was really relaxed. I used a roller, different brushes and markers. With colors I did same. Palette is quite wide compared to my previous paintings, and I tried to connect different parts of the paintings with usage of dot like strokes and colors. I feel as it was a proposal for ukiyo-e print.

The name comes, obviously, from Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) movie and I emphasize this with opening lyrics of the opening song Sanpo (Walk) from the movie:  Arukou, arukou, watashi wa genki… Let´s walk, let´s walk, I feel great… And this exact feeling will be always tied for me to Soshigaya Park, Sengawa and welcoming ceremony for the first graders at the nearby Chitoze Elementary School (that is another story).

It is my Thank you for having us painting.

m(_ _)m

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 99 x 72 cm

Year: March 2020

Availability: In Private Collection



Paintings done in Japanese style. Mostly variations and fusions of famous Ukiyo-e prints, global pop culture & sakura.