It has long been on my bucket list to be captured in a glass by a giant vampire.
Well seriously -- whose bucket list ISN'T that on? No ones.
The Kobe Mysterious Consulate of Trick Art allegedly used to be the genuine consulate of Panama. According to the Kobe tourism site, it has now been turned into 'a fun place' which strikes me as rather a loaded comment.
In contrast to most museums, bringing your camera is a must and touching the art is encouraged. In fact, both of the above are rather necessary, since you're about to become part of the exhibits.
Through a clever use of drawn shadows, the art pieces in this gallery appear to pop right out of their frames. Visitors can fulfil their wildest dreams from being trapped under a wine glass to supporting huge slabs of Kobe's famous beef. There is also a room with a sloping floor whose tiles are drawn to look straight, providing a height perspective that makes a person standing on the left a giant, while one only feet away a pint-sized toddler. Alice in Wonderland never had it so crazy.
The museum is not huge, but nor is it terribly expensive, with an entry fee of ¥800 (about £4.00 or $6.50) for an adult. I would advice bringing a friend, since someone is needed to hold the camera, especially if --like me-- you're too wimpish to ask for assistance.
Trick Art is not the only peculiar item of note in this particular part of Kobe. Set in the Kitano Ijinkan distract of Kobe, the museum is surrounded by European houses. 'Ijinkan' (異人館) in fact means 'foreign settler residents' and the houses date from the early 1900s.
Many of these buildings are open as museums, providing the rather strange site of a typical Japanese drinks machine next to a London Tube station sign for 'Baker Street'. There is also a Starbucks in a sufficiently wood panelled and winding staircase location for it to fit in with the Starbucks pretending to be independent arty coffee houses in Seattle.
All in all, it is a location for pretending things are what they are not.