A touristy day in Heidelberg

Last month, I mentioned that the duck and I took our new camera on a cinematic adventure after testing its photographic abilities at our raw cake munching session. Our chosen location: the romantic city of Heidelberg. Even though it’s a popular tourist destination and had been recommended to us as a fun place to explore by several people, the duck and I had never been. When our friend T suggested we accompany her on a day trip, we instantly accepted. She had planned to meet an old friend who’s also a semi-local and thus would double as our tour guide. While we all reminisced about the good old days and updated each other on what our shared friends and acquaintances were up to, the duck and I also made it a personal challenge to be perfect tourists and see as many famous Heidelberg sights as we could in our limited time in this picturesque city. Here’s how that (and our first outing with our new camera) went:

Working with slightly more stable video from our new camera was much more relaxing than trying to turn the shaky footage from our UK visit, taken by our non-stabilized mini camera, into something somewhat presentable. Now we only have to learn how to capture better video and audio. And familiarize ourselves some more with our editing software and learn how to use more of its tools. Maybe we should edit more videos… Later! At this moment, the duck and I need some well-deserved lazy time after spending way too many hours/days on a video that doesn’t look like we did… once again (and rushing to finish it as long as it was still winter for us because we don’t want to lie). And be glad we finally visited Heidelberg with our friend and have something to show for it.*

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Extra shaky UK travel memories

The last time the duck and I posted a video about one of our adventures on here, I mentioned that we were having trouble with our usual editing process. We were in a state of “meaning to look into other software and workflows” for two years. Finally, last month, when we reminisced about our delicious bento lunch, the duck and I did it; we reviewed some of our earliest video footage from a time when the duck was still whispering nocturnal messages about moving to Japan and starting a blog in my ear, and our tiny camera of choice was especially susceptible to my shaky camera work. And we finally (somewhat) familiarized ourselves with this editing software that’s been sitting on our computer, untouched, for a good year. Since we are lazy and masterful procrastinators, it took us most of this past week to finish about 80% of this video so that it would be ready today. We spread around 5% of the work over the summer and decided to save the remaining 15% for another project. You should always leave room for improvement, you know. So, today the duck and I present an edit of some footage from that fateful trip that solidified our plans to live in Japan for a while, planted the seed in our minds that we might want to try taking up jogging one last time… a few years later, started the duck’s fascination with trains, and gave us our (possibly our) first bento memory- all in less than a half week! We had a few bonus adventures after that. But for now, the duck and I are happy that we have some sort of video to share today:

After working on this for quite a bit longer than the end result suggests, the duck and I are surprised the footage wasn’t as terrible as we had remembered (or that our powerful editing software was able to salvage a lot of it). And we’re excited about next night’s absolutely restful sleep. Oh, the joys of being master procrastinators!

Have a wonderful day, everyone! We know we will!


Oberstdorf revisited

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 be able to 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!


Our happy place

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 of said place with you: photos from a mountain admiration trip to Oberstdorf that we went on before it was cool to wear masks in Germany.

Duck in Oberstdorf 1


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100 memories

Soooo, this seems to be the duck and my 100th post (say what?!). First of all, we’d like to thank our approximately 5 unique readers (mom, thanks for the jam – it’s delicious)!
Looking back at the past few months of insane laziness, it’s kind of hard to believe that we actually wrote so much nonsense and even finished a video we never thought would see the light of day.
To properly celebrate this milestone, the duck and I thought that we should probably further decorate our bedroom so that it is truly worthy of the new royalty that resides in it – with a little photo wall that looks back on those past 2+ years (or, more precisely, the time we spent in Japan when we still managed to post on a fairly regular basis and took quite a few photos more than we do these days)! And, if you like, with our perfect step-by-step guide you can create your very own photo wall that celebrates the duck and my exploits!

Walldrobe Duck

To craft this thing that has truly never been done before, the duck and I didn’t need much:

  • four small hooks that we ordered online for exactly this purpose
  • wool that we found at the bottom of one of our drawers – of course that pretty dark grey would have been our first choice, anyway!
  • a few clothespins that have shrunk in the wash (paper clips are an acceptable alternative)
  • our beautiful photographs that you can get, too, by taking screenshots and removing the watermarks (just kidding, please don’t ever steal someone else’s art!)

Wow! It’s so easy! Let’s craft: Continue reading


Very late spring

After having missed the peak of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, the duck and I just had to attempt catching them a bit further up north. So, just before Golden Week (an accumulation of public holidays making this week in late April/early May a popular travel season), we went on a little trip to Akita’s lake Tazawa and Kakunodate, planned by our lovely Kyoto travel pal!
So, here is a selection of the photos that I took while walking around the lake that turned out to be much larger than we had expected:

Lake Tazawa 1

Lake Tazawa has such a beautiful color!

Lake Tazawa 2

No matter what side of the lake you’re on – there’s so much to see (and, trust me, the duck and I have seen the lake from almost all angles there are)!

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Ducktectives in Action: Solving Tokyo’s Underground Mysteries

That should be our new tag line! Because, even when we’re not actively trying to solve puzzles, we are constantly trying to debunk the mysteries of life in Tokyo (and acting like normal human and duck-y(?) beings). However, this is not what this story is about.
This story is about the former: solving puzzles – and I’m writing professional ones, almost like the ones solved by real literary detectives! To be honest, as a kid I wanted to become a detective and solve exciting cases like the infamous Sherlock Holmes and his not so well-known great-grandniece Shirley Holmes; in fact, in 5th grade I wrote my first play – a very badly structured murder (non-)mystery; and a year later I started my very own detective club with two friends – we had a cool logo but not a single case. As I grew older I found out that being a detective isn’t as adventurous as I had always imagined it to be because, strangely, most real-world detectives don’t seem to emit gangster pheromones that mysteriously attract criminals the way Detective Conan does, so I gave up my dream of becoming a detective and, instead, solved crimes and puzzles vicariously through Holmes, Dupin, Monk, Conan, Professor Layton, and their puzzle-solving pals.

Ducktective - ready to solve riddles!

When the duck and I, on one of our fun subway journeys, discovered an ad for the Tokyo Metro Underground Mysteries, an exciting game that sends you through central Tokyo solving puzzles, our Sherlock-sense began to tingle; we quickly assembled the Shinjuku City Pals (our Baker Street Boys) and set off on an all-day mystery adventure through some of Tokyo’s Metro stations: Continue reading


Seeing off Autumn in Kyoto

Now that we’re in the middle of winter and constantly complaining about the cold, the duck and I thought that it’s the perfect time to look back on our little trip to Kyoto back in December (where it was also freezing, but at least it was still fall). Of course we took my camera with us to document all the pretty sights we were sure we would come across. And I’m super glad we did because now we can share all those pretty things we got to see with everyone who has found their way onto this blog:

The camera work is still pretty shaky, but editing this filled me with so much joy (this is definitely my favorite video editing adventure on this blog so far – well, it was, until it took me two days to figure out how to export the video with kinda decent audio levels) because autumn is the duck and my favorite season and autumn in Kyoto with wonderful company adds at least three extra layers of awesome on top of our love for it (and all its food)!
But, man, Kyoto sure was cold! And, even though we did miss the peak of the autumn leaves (紅葉) which, we thought, would leave us with fewer tourists because the very keen would have come in November, we learned a valuable lesson during our trip:

In Kyoto it’s always peak season!

That’s unbeleafable!


Kyoto reflections

Earlier this week the duck and I went on a little trip to Kyoto. The initial plan was to go autumn leaves watching but, unfortunately, we were a bit too late for seeing the city drenched in a wonderful and completely harmless red. However, together with the foliage peak season, we also missed the tourist peak season which means that we could walk and admire without any major hindrance, except for the freezing temperatures – especially unforgiving at our first sightseeing stop, Arashiyama. Further adventures led us through beautiful shrines and temples (like Kiyomizu temple – perfect for sunset-watching), hundreds of gates up the hill at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine, scenic paths and streets (such as the beautiful backstreets of Gion), tasty tourist snack sampling shops (loved the matcha shops in Uji) and, of course, from restaurant to restaurant (my favorite fried dinner we had in Osaka, though) and through way too much money.
Of course, we also took lots of touristy pictures, our personal versions of everything you can find on the internet or in travel guides. We’ll spare you most of those. Instead, as the title of this post says, we present to you a few (some more, others less ambiguous) reflections of some of Kyoto’s most popular tourist spots. Can you guess where we captured them?

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As for written reflections: Going to Kyoto was probably the highlight of our stay in Japan so far (also, literally – those three days were so incredibly sunny that we probably collected our monthly dose of vitamin D just walking around Kyoto); we had the most amazing company and equally amazing and hilarious experiences together.
My number one hilarious experience related to the trip, however, I made when we had just returned to Tokyo: When I was running up the stairs to the train platform I tripped – my untrained legs still a bit angry about the sudden flashback of all those stairs at Fushimi Inari shrine. This, my children, is the perfect time to remind you that you do not want to be those foreigners whose faces make acquaintance with the ground after attempting to run and catch a train!

Also, we recorded some shaky footage on our trip, so prepare for another installment of “the duck explores new places captured by the camera of an inflatable air dancer” sometime when fall is long gone. Maybe. If we’re not lazy.

We’ll go back to reflecting on our life and stair choices now!

Keeping up the training

Trains. They are still the love of our Japanese life! Since the duck and I take trains pretty regularly now, we’ve had lots of opportunities to make mistakes to learn from and to assemble a rather random set of experiences (and photos of the duck posing at train stations. What a weirdo).


In fact, we have enough individual notes on train-related ideas, observations and experiences to fill a whole feature length screenplay – for the most boring movie ever made.
Anyway, this time, let’s focus on a few of the mistakes and educational experiences the duck and I have made and had in our earlier train days:

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