30 Oktober 2007


Visitors from Kitakami

Mr. and Mrs. Ito, Jakob's japanese obachan and ojisan (grandma and grandpa, see older post), just arrived yesterday night for a one-week-speed-trip across Germany. We went to meet them at their hotel in Frankfurt, for just one short hour. They brought lots of nice japanese things, sake, sweets (kamome no tamago!), cracker (the famous o sembe from Iwate ), toys and a book for Jakob, a CD for us ... it was like Christmas. Jakob behaved in a very shy way, although he didn't stop talking about meeting Ito-san already hours before and still hours after we met them. But in their presence, he was quite distant, except when showing his cars.
It was so nice to see them; we plan to meet again on sunday at the airport, when they check in for their flight back to Japan. Infortunately, their trip doesn't include any time to be spent in Frankfurt.

And here 's how other Japanese get ready to travel in foreign countries, where they will have to communicate in english.

27 Oktober 2007



Devils in the house! We brought lots of these oni (a kind of demon) masks back from Japan.

25 Oktober 2007


Pre sleep ritual

Every night, when I put Jakob to bed, we sing. And not only a lullaby or so, but:
All those four japanese automatic children song books - you press the button, the book sings by itself, and we (that is, I) sing along. I thought they were quite silly when I bought them, but now I really enjoy them - and thanks to them, I know the 25 most important japanese children songs almost by heart.

23 Oktober 2007


Culinary trip to Japan

In Hausen, the "japanese district" of Frankfurt, we recently discovered close to the japanese school this small, truly japanese restaurant, which has japanese owners, japanese staff and serves of course exclusively japanese food - and japanese beer.

We felt very much at home - just like eating around the corner, somewhere "home" in Kitakami. We were the only non-japanese clients, all the other tables were occupied by relaxed japanese families (parents reading japanese newspapers, children playing with japanese gameboys...); the only hint that this place isn't situated somewhere in Japan is the german menu for the ocasional non-japanese customers.

Jakob enjoyed edamame and yaki onigiri, Thomas had the entire menu of the day, I took kitsune udon - it was simply great!

Instead of dessert, we had a traffic jam on the table; the son of the restaurant owners was very interested in cars, and Jakob felt quite flattered and accepted him generously as part of the round.

21 Oktober 2007


It's getting cold out there

This weekend, we started heating. Some parts of Germany had their first snow fall.

17 Oktober 2007


Autumn football

16 Oktober 2007


Just beautiful

Situated in the Frankfurt banking center, the Japan Center is not the highest, but surely one of the most elegant skyscrapers in town.

Jakob was not impressed.

15 Oktober 2007



Jakob is a very concentrated cook - and Thomas quite proud of him!

12 Oktober 2007


Skyscrapers in the sun


Cars everywhere

In Germany, unlike Japan, you don't need to have your own parking space to be allowed to buy a car, you just park it in the street. And since so many people own cars, they dominate, densely parked,the view in almost all parts of the town.

There are so nice alternatives to move around here, though.

Velo-taxi, minicar, running ..
Even sailing on the Main.

11 Oktober 2007


Preschooler Ikebana

Very cute blog post of an American living with his family in Kyoto: kawaii!


Futuristic tea house

Frankfurt has a famous new japanese teahouse, built by the architecte Kengo Kuma. It's located in the garden of the Museum of Applied Art, looks like a strangely shaped golf ball - and is inflatable! If there's no tea ceremony, they just deflate it and it's almost invisible.

When we arrived, tea ceremony was just being held:

Tsukuba, shoes outside, lots of people inside - I read that inside there is a real tatami room, but couldn't get close enough to see it by myself. The ceremony was held be a german tea master.

Leaving the ceremony (perhaps she couldn't bear to see it held by a gaijin):


Kyou no obento

07 Oktober 2007


Japanese weekend

Speaking of bikes ... wait a moment, wasn't that a Japanese one??

Indeed, somebody brought it along all the way from Japan, including the two child seats. It was parked in front of the japanese school in Hausen, the "japanese district" of Frankfurt. The school celebrated this weekend its yearly school party, and we where tjere, of course - together with all Japanese citizen living in Frankfurt.

It was very well organized, from the stand for the baby cars ...

... to the different queues (for the book flea market and the bento sales booth), both of them incredibly long (the bento queue perhaps slightly longer, reaching outside the building), but everybody was very civilised and patient, of course.

We too, and were rewarded with some very nice and very cheap japanese children books. I would have bought more, but after waiting in line such a long time, Jakob was eager to get outside and eat his bento, meanwhile bought by Thomas.

The weather was fine, people were picknicking everywhere, it was like a big hanami party - just without the blue plastic sheets .

Jakob met a girl, who loved his cars and trains ... and even had a twin sister. Kawaiii!!
These two enjoyed their fleamarket bargains ... others were just busy (I never saw as many rice cookers at oneplace):


Bike stories

Yesterday, Thomas bought a new bicycle. The second one in less than four weeks. Not that he is collecting them, no - but he got his first one stolen, almost under his eyes and although attached with a very solid lock, brand new, with the child seat and even Jakob's helmet attached, while spending less than an hour at the botanic garden's playground . He was really fond of it, had he met the thief, it wouldn't have been an enjoyable moment for the latter.

But the thief was quick enough to get away with the bike, and Thomas got the short end of the stick, looking at the empty bicycle stand, incredible. Well, that's Germany, too - as there are lots of fancy and expensive bikes, theft is widespread, and many people now fix their bikes with two big locks.
The new bike will be delivered only tomorrow; meanwhile, Thomas is using the racing bike he brought from Japan - not very suitable for the child seat.

I am lucky enough to own my bike (the black one below) now for more than three months; probably it's not fancy enough, just a mama bike. And, yes, I use a very big and heavy U-lock.
And no thief probably will touch that nice red bicycle - to common.

Many people don't buy their own bike anymore. They use the call a bike-service offered by the german railway in most big towns in Germany: You just have to register once, then you get access to a fleet of quite good high-tech bikes spread all around the city, bookable instantly, by mobile phone. For 6 or 8 cent a minute, and if you want to use it the whole day, 15 Euro.

But Thomas is still grief-stricken, repeating that he's going back to Japan, where things like bycicle theft will never happen!

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