Category Archives: hamburg

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

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.

Long long time ago…

Source of the latest gossip: the blackboard

…I went to high school here in Hamburg. It’s the Heinrich Hertz School (HHS), named after the famous physician. I graduated there and since doing my civil service at that school, I haven’t been there. It was really coincidence that the annual alumni meeting happened to be during the time where I’m in Germany.


There hasn’t been a meeting of my old class since we graduated and I didn’t see many class members today. They also had separate rooms for the graduation years. Let’s just say the room for “my” year didn’t suffer from overcrowding. Less Yamanote, more German subway.

Of course I took the opportunity to take some pictures of my old school. Yes, the paintings on the walls are legal – they were done as part of the art course.



Whenever I built a paper plane, it generally knew only one direction: downwards. But there are some people who are really good at folding papers and they could exhibit their work at one of Hamburg’s finest museum, the Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe. Jenny, Bettina and I went there and the museum staff didn’t seem to mind the camera (or they didn’t notice which I doubt somehow). Over 140 exhibits from 44 artists were shown and there were some really complex works on display. We also strolled through the permanent exhibition like the piano collection but skipped the porcelain one. The exhibit is running until 7th October 2007.

Aargh, the wallpaper is still breathing!

Today saw the death of the wallpaper – or so I thought before I tried to remove the last pieces. We went to my old apartment for another reason: A company called Willhelm Tell was authorised to install a new cable tv and internet connection. Of course, it will be of no use for me but still I had to open the door and wait for the cable guy (actually guys) to finish his job. While he was working, I shreddered the last pieces of the carpet while my mom cleaned the kitchen (merely for appearances, since they are going to wreck the kitchen and the bathroom anyway). When it became obvious that we didn’t have enough “white bags” (special plastic bags in which you can put up to 25 kilo of garbage – they are collected by the garbage men), my mom went to get some more. While she was away, I twisted off the cupboard in the bathroom and carried some of the white bags down. When she came back she told me that she went to the drugstore at the subway station Ritterstraße where they didn’t have the bags, then she went to the DIY store where they didn’t even know that such bags existed (as if there isn’t any garbage when you remove the wallpaper or work on your home!). Or maybe they have that magic formula to let garbage disappear – or at least teleport into the neighbours’ living room – not every waste can be put below the carpet.

Goodbye to the VHS


Has it really been two years since I started learning Japanese at the VHS? Looking back, I guess it would have been better to join one of the intensive courses at the university, since the pace at the VHS is quite slow. The problem of the VHS is, that it has the same holidays as regular schools. So there were weeks where there are no lessons at all and even if there are lessons, there are only about two per week maximum.


On the other hand, the teachers were very nice. Unfortunately, the options for learning Japanese in Hamburg are quite limited, there are probably more options available in Dusseldorf.

The wallpaper wars

I hate wallpapers,
the wallpapers hate me,
I’d rather sit under a big cherry tree.

Hamburger Kunsthalle

Originally we thought about driving to Berlin but I had to finish a few articles so we decided on the Hamburger Kunsthalle instead, an art museum situated near Hamburg’s central station. The other alternative (Celle, a small town in the south of Hamburg) was ruled out because the weather was not very good.
The art museum shows works by classic and modern artists and is quite big. The classic works are dominated by religious themes of course. There is also a nice restaurant inside. Currently they show a black cube outside which resembles the Kaaba, some art halls (like the one in Berlin) thought it might cause protests in the near east world but so far everything is quiet in Hamburg.