It’s late summer! Well, it definitely felt like it just a few days ago. I even saw the duck rummage through our tiny collection of sunglasses in search of something that goes with a light summer bow!
This past summer sure was weird. In many ways. But it also was a lot of fun to go on vacation in our imagination (so cheap and comfy). In order to get some more of that vacation feel, we decided to add a few more senses to the mix and finally tested this year’s summer edition of Ritter Sport chocolates, called ‘Fernweh’, which roughly translates to ‘wanderlust’. The duck sure was happy to finally get to pose with the miniature box of summer edition chocolates. See, the first time we saw them as a big bag of mini bars (ha!) at the local grocery store it was still cold out. We looked at the packaging and thought that we might skip these varieties because the pastel colors and the pictures of coconuts and mangoes made us think that all bars would be fruity and sport white chocolate. We are peculiar about chocolate and fruity chocolate is a thing we hardly ever like (though that’s mostly with darker varieties). Therefore we never had the urge to buy these vacation themed chocolates whenever we passed them at the store. Instead we fell in love with peanut butter Schogetten. But then summer came and we decided that once it was a bit colder (meaning: we wouldn’t have to worry about the chocolate melting away) we might actually give them a shot. So, we went out to buy a pack and it only took us four visits to different stores to get a hold of them (we even found a box of winter edition Ritter Sport during our search)! After our strange history with these chocolates, the duck and I couldn’t wait to try them and write another super subjective snack review: Continue reading →
It seems that this is the week of flashbacks. Well, let’s continue, then: About two years ago the duck and I got to explore Ravensburg, the town known for sticking its name on cat puzzles and family games about labyrinths and such. We love games, but, to be honest, we wouldn’t have visited Ravensburg if our friend Jl hadn’t suggested we come see her while she’s calling it her ‘tiny home’. Ravensburg isn’t that small, but after having just come from Tokyo it did seem very cute and cozy with its population of about 50,000. One of our favorite things about Ravensburg is that it has a medieval touch to it which made us regret a tiny bit that we didn’t bring one of our favorite fantasy novels along for the perfect setting (I’ve just realized that the duck and I might be obsessed with perfect reading circumstances). But we were there to see a friend we hadn’t seen in a while, so maybe it’s good that we didn’t. The duck and I took quite a few photos during our town exploration session. Here is a selection:
If you’re ever in Southern Germany, why not plan a day trip to Ravensburg? It’s pretty pretty if you ask the duck and me. If you’re not there to visit a friend, why not bring a novel to fit the setting?
Have I mentioned that the duck and I love looking at photos of food? The answer is ‘yes‘. Yes, I have. During our most recent food appreciation session, the duck and I discovered this photo from about two and a half years ago when we were still living in Tokyo and would sometimes spontaneously grab dinner or snacks with a friend or two. Sometimes we’d end up at an izakaya after working late (or a particularly exciting Tokyo exploration session) and even though the duck and I stuck to water – always have – we had fun sharing a variety of exciting dishes with our friends. One of our absolute favorites were fried lotus root chips. We just love the look of lotus root in any kind of food, but snacking on it, fried, is especially cool! The duck and I miss that special izakaya atmosphere. Well, at least we don’t have to worry about smelling like a walking deep fryer on our way home these days. 3/5 renkon chips for the atmosphere and taste and company – minus points for the feeling of having turned into fried renkon chips ourselves afterwards. ✧ ・ ✧ ・ ✧
It’s funny how the smell of our clothes after having been to oneis the thing that the duck and I remember most about our izakaya experiences. But I guess that’s what people say about good stories, right? They should involve all the senses. It seems that our memories work that way, too, though I only remember what I thought about the smell, not the smell itself… yet. Izakayas, just you wait until the duck and I visit you again! Ha!
Times are weird and sad and stressful and our puns are increasingly terrible; whenever the duck and I feel like too much is happening, we look at photos of food to calm us down. And, if we’re planning to meet up with someone, we take it a step further and bake cookies to share. Sometimes, if we really crave something sweet and crumbly, we bake a batch of cookies anyway, even if we have nothing planned, telling ourselves that we’ll freeze some, but eating them all before we can, ideally, while we watch a show or a movie that one of our awesome friends has recommended to us. We’re lucky to have friends with excellent taste!
I took this photo of the duck after one of our not-so-recent baking sessions that I want to tell you about about today, combined with our thoughts on a not-recent-at-all TV series recommendation that we finally got to cross off our list a few weeks ago (which is much too late), after having discovered a DVD copy of it at the local library; Firefly, the infamous series of which we only knew that it apparently ended too early and what some of the posters look like, has been recommended to us by many, but not watched by our stingy selves until we could watch it for (technically) free. Here’s a step by step retelling of what we thought and baked:
Some time ago I wrote about how entertaining the duck and I think train conversations are. There is one occurrence, however, that we find even more entertaining: train musicians and other passengers’ reactions to them. Before moving to Berlin, the duck and I had hardly ever experienced any train musicians. In fact, our understanding of music on trains was when teenagers would listen to it over their phones’ speakers to show everyone how gangster they were. This does happen in Berlin, as well, but real musicians are a much cooler phenomenon. We’ve listened to singers with their acoustic guitars, giving a little train performance on a Saturday afternoon; we’ve experienced a full-on brass concert with a shrill polka backing track on a Thursday evening; we’ve been overwhelmed by soccer fans who brought the stadium they missed so much onto the train by listening to a mix of techno and Schlager music out of their powerful speakers and drunkenly singing along, which was a complete contrast to that time we got to listen to a pleasant acoustic guitar solo after what had felt like a long pandemic-caused train music break. Just as diverse as the music are the passengers’ reactions: Some sigh, some turn up the volume of the music they’re listening to over their headphones, some toss a few coins into a hat sitting in front of the performer, some seem to get off early to avoid the noise, and others confront particularly noisy music providers and try to out-yell them when they demand that they spare their fellow passengers and take their stadium and drunkenness elsewhere. The duck and I are quiet observers. Sometimes, if the music is too loud and obtrusive, we silently agree with the annoyed passengers, and sometimes we turn off our podcasts or put our phone or book down in order to listen completely to all that talent and bravery around us. Most of the times we find ourselves remembering trains in Tokyo, where even when you use headphones you have to make sure that you are the only one who can hear the beat of the music you’re listening to.
Last week I mentioned that the duck and I have been working on a thing, and that we were having technical difficulties. In fact, they were so technically difficult that every single minute that I was working on this, I was wondering whether I was ever going to successfully finish it. I’m talking about the video that goes with last weeks photos. It all started when I couldn’t use our usual mode of color correction, and then I couldn’t import our material, the editing program crashed consistently (I guess our sweet computer is getting too old for Avid) and when I had finally finished editing (or rather stopped at a place where what we had was ‘acceptable’ and even more crashes weren’t), we realized that the project was too complicated for our old computer to export. So, we looked at some more crashes. This morning, finally, I found yet another workaround, so that I can now present to you, the product of months of tears and sweat and clenched teeth and beaks:
Oh well, at least we learned how to do basic color correction in Avid (and that we would probably constantly burn our hands in the fire that we spit out of maximum frustration if we ever were to become professional video editors), and the many ways you can export a video of which, luckily, one worked out for us. I’m not going to write any more about this. I’ve had enough. But not of cows and ducks. Never of cows and ducks!
Anyway, that’s enough rambling for now. The duck and I hope that you’ll be having a wonderful week and that you, as well, can go on exciting adventures in your imagination!
In the past few months the duck and I have been trying to work on a thing, but we’ve been encountering some a lot of frustrating technical difficulties. That’s why we’ve been spending a lot of time going to our happy place recently. Today we thought we’d share a glimpse at said place with you: photos from a mountain admiration trip to Oberstdorf that we went on before it was cool to wear masksin Germany.
It’s summer, the season the duck and I use to reminisce about our childhoods (whenever we don’t think about turtle encounters); recalling days when life was much simpler and our butts less lazy always makes us smile. This is why, during a recent grocery shop, we decided to pick up a pack of Ahoj Brause, possibly one of the most prominent tastes of German childhood in summer. Ahoj Brause is a kind of sherbet powder that has been around for almost a century. And, looking at the fun logo and the bright packaging, I can see the appeal, especially to the (very) young. I can totally imagine lazing around in a pool float that looks like a giant sprinkled donut, wearing some very pink flamingo sunglasses and holding a cool glass of Ahoj Brause in one hand and some reading material in the other while the duck is swimming rounds in the adjoining pool, stopping from time to time to take a sip of Brause from the pitcher at the side…
A pack of Ahoj Brause contains five pairs of pouches with fizzy powder that, if poured into a 0.2 liter glass of fresh drinking water, promises to transform into a fun summer drink. There are four flavors: raspberry, orange, lemon and sweet woodruff. The duck and I had a hard time keeping ourselves from devouring the powder straight out of the pouch, like, I’m sure, a lot of German kids actually enjoy Ahoj Brause; but, in order to test today’s snack the way it is meant to be enjoyed, the duck and I wanted to stick to the rules: Continue reading →
Last week I mentioned how, back when we were still living in Tokyo, the duck and I went to a garden before we admired a lovely Kawawa Chizuru 猫魚姫 (cat fish princess) exhibition and had a delicious sorbet brioche. Said garden was Kiyosumi Garden. After meeting our lovely tour guide friend at Kiyosumi-shirakawa station, it only took a few minutes and a minuscule entrance fee until we could enjoy a nice and refreshing (as refreshing as a humid summer day in Tokyo can be) stroll around the lake, marveling at the peaceful scenery – and the turtles! At one point one of the turtles even got out of the water, started following us around (maybe plotting to bite us, as our friend theorized) and then posed for some photos surrounded by other park visitors. Our fond respect for turtles definitely increased even more that day! Of course we also enjoyed seeing all the cool birds and fish.
If you ever visit (Eastern) Tokyo, the duck and I highly recommend checking out Kiyosumi Gardens. At around ¥150 the entrance fee is super affordable and definitely worth being able to admire all that wonderful flora and fauna – and maybe even have your own memorable turtle encounter.
If you have some free time after, we suggest strolling around the area surrounding this beautiful garden, maybe having some tasty coffee or an ice cream filled brioche and visiting a Buddhist temple, as we did that day before we went to Shinjuku (a mere 20-25 minute subway ride away) to meet up with some old and new friends, including our Kyoto, Edo-Tokyo, Akita and Kamakura (among other little adventures) travel pal.
That was one of our last mini adventures in Tokyo, and the duck and I are so happy that it turned out so memorable and, well, perfect.
Have you ever experienced such days – days that turned out better than you could have imagined when you woke in the morning?
The duck and I don’t eat out much these days. Therefore, daydreaming about all the nice things we ate in the past has become one of our favorite pastimes. Recently, with the summer heat keeping us from sleeping through the night sometimes, we’ve started craving a big serving of sorbet – which is best enjoyed together with a friend, ideally after a day of exploring nice gardens, a pretty exhibition (we were lucky to see one featuring Kawawa Chizuru’s lovely Nyangyohime, cat fish princess, watercolors – and going by what we did last week, you can bet how thrilled we were!) and lovely old neighborhoods, as we did about two years ago when we took a rest at Brigela with our favorite Ginza guide! As the name suggests, this shop’s main attraction is ice cream hugged by a fluffy brioche. So, of course, that’s what we got! The duck and I went with two sorbet flavors: melon and pineapple (I think). We were a bit worried about whether the sorbet would work inside a milky, buttery brioche, but, I don’t know what we worried for! This was definitely the most refreshing and one of the most delicious snacks the duck and I have tasted in Japan! 5/5 cat fish princesses for the delicious sorbet brioche and the wonderful company ❤
Talking about cat fish princesses: Do an image search for 猫魚姫 on your favorite search engine, if you like, to see what all the hype is about! We got to chat with Kawawa Chizuru at her solo exhibition and she was truly lovely. The duck and I need to study some more Japanese so that, one day, we can casually check her website to see what’s new.