Category Archives: germany

Oktoberfest 2012 in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Oktoberfest Shinjuku  Tokyo  13
Honestly, I’ve stopped counting how many Oktoberfests were held around Tokyo alone, let alone Japan. An Oktoberfest held in a month other than October is nothing special though. Even the original in Munich starts in September. The Oktoberfest Shinjuku was held near Seibu Shinjuku Station. Personally I’d just skip the Oktoberfest and walk a bit further to Shin-Okubo to eat some Korean food instead, but I’m biased 😉

Oktoberfest Shinjuku  Tokyo  05

On the plus side, Oktoberfest seemed quite authentic to me. Plenty of German food and more than one beer variety to choose from. For Bavarians complaining about the rising beer prices every year, Shinjuku Oktoberfest must be a shock: 1 mass (liter) of Franziskaner Weissbier for 3000 Yen (about 30 Euro). For comparison: In June it was announced that the beer price at the Munich Oktoberfest would be between 9,10 and 9,50 Euro.

How authentic is the rest? Read the rest of this entry


Cherry Blossom Festival in Hamburg

Hamburg Hanami 13
If you can’t make it to the cherry blossoms in Japan, why not go to a Japan festival in your country? Almost every city with a sizable Japanese population has a cherry blossom or Japan festival and Hamburg is no exception. Although there’s no Japan Town in Hamburg like in San Francisco, there are a number of Japanese shops and restaurants and – very important – cherry trees in Germany’s second-largest city. The cherry blossom festival dates back to the 60’s when the Japanese Consulate gave the city a few hundred cherry trees. Best places to enjoy the trees are around the Alster lake and in the Planten un Blomen park.

Oddly enough, the festival doesn’t really correspond to the peak of the cherry blossoms. Even though the trees had long turned green (peak was sometime in early April), some media still claimed that the festival would be held in time with the cherry blossoms on May 17. The photo above is from April 2009.

So no cherry blossoms on May 17, but a peek into Japanese culture and a fireworks festival!

Japanese Culture Day Hamburg04 Read the rest of this entry

Beatlemania & The John Lennon Museum

John Lennon Museum
There are not many reasons to visit Saitama for sightseeing and one of my class mates – who is from Saitama City – couldn’t even name one. Actually there were two sights in Saitama. One is the railway museum which used to be in Akihabara and the other was the John Lennon Museum.

Located next to the Saitama Super Arena, it displayed various memorabilia owned by his wife Yoko Ono. Therefore it didn’t focus much on the other members of the Fab 4 or Lennon’s first wife. It opened on October 9 2000, Lennon’s 60th birthday. It closed in 2010 – not because of lack of interest, but because it was never meant to stay there. Ono explained that just like Lennon’s spirit, the museum had to move on.

I visited the museum twenty days before it closed to see Lennon’s favorite personal items and notes. I also hoped that maybe the telephone would ring. There was a telephone at the museum and sometimes Yoko Ono would call that telephone. I don’t know how often she did that but if I were her I would probably be bored calling there after the second year or so.

It’s unsurprising that the museum centered more on Lennon’s time with Ono given that the material was donated by her. I did know her works (sans Lennon) from an exhibition in Bremen before.

Beatlemania Museum  Hamburg  05

Just one year before the John Lennon Museum was closed, a museum dedicated to the Beatles was opened in Hamburg: Beatlemania. Read the rest of this entry

Kiel – Snow & Christmas Market

All of Germany is covered in snow which includes Kiel, the capital of the furthest north German state Schleswig-Holstein. Kiel is not the most exciting city in the north and Lübeck is undoubtedly more popular with tourists. But I had more than one reason to go there 🙂

The central station is connected with a shopping mall, a larger shopping centre is on the other side of the street. It’s nice if you have to wait for the train. Kiel Central Station is a so-called “Kopfbahnhof” (terminal, terminus). Trains have to stop there or reverse their direction. Frankfurt and Stuttgart are other popular examples of terminal stations in Germany, although there is construction underway to turn Stuttgart into a through station.

Kiel Shopping Mall Read the rest of this entry

Christmas 2009

These past days I’ve been doing quite a lot of video editing. Just like “Hamburg in Snow”, this one was edited quickly using iMovie. I reserve Final Cut for the more fancy projects, like the Resurrection Freeze. This time I found a nice track on ccmixter, a great site where artists contribute pieces (vocals, guitar etc.) which are used by other artists to create songs.

Hamburg in Snow

It doesn’t snow often in Hamburg in December, but this month has been exceptional and I’m happy to be in Germany at this time. Honestly, many cities which I would call “summer cities” because they are not an exciting sight during the winter time, are now worth a day trip.

Anyway, I had some time to spare so I edited a short video about Hamburg in snow, filmed at the city park.

Day trip to Hamelin (Hameln)


Hamelin was for a long time on my list for potential day trips from Hamburg, so today I could scratch that town off my list. The town is of course famous for the tale of the Pied Piper who can be found at various places in the city.

This year the weather is exceptionally cold, so we weren’t keen on spending too much time outside. The old houses of the town covered in snow looked fantastic and of course there was a christmas market. The city centre is about 15 minutes by foot from the train station, although there is probably a bus too.



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Toy camera impressions: Train to to Hameln


Impressions of Germany, covered in snow during a train trip to Hameln (Hamelin)


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Somewhere in between: Neumünster


If you travel from Hamburg to Kiel by regional express, the train will surely stop in Neumunster. This is definitely not a tourist destination, but since I passed the city so many times I wondered how it looked like – plus I wanted another pin on my “Cities you’ve visited” map. I had bought a Schleswig-Holstein ticket, so I made a stop-over on my way back from Kiel.

I did stay for approximately forty minutes which is enough I guess when leaving out museums and just walking down the main street. Neumunster has it’s share of shops although I guess the city is suffering from its proximity to both Hamburg and Kiel.


Anyway, the weather was fine so I enjoyed a short walk in the park. “Short”, because, well, it was a small park.

If you are looking for good shots, you can find them anywhere, like this crow munching some fast food. Fast food may be not correct in this case however, because the crow had some difficulties eating the burger.


Kiel – Not quite a leisure trip


Time for another trip to Kiel! Okay, this is not exactly one of my favorite cities nor is it one of the cities I dislike most. Although this wasn’t a leisure trip everything went well. The weather was also great so I took a few pictures. They are still working on the “other side”, i.e. the one where the concert hall Halle 400 is situated.

Although I pretty much dislike “modern” glass architecture, this building was amazing:


Stealth office! Other than that, the redesigned area is quite boring and could have used more green.

After a stop-over in Neumunster, I briefly left Elmshorn station to find this forbidden affair between an old and new style display: