It seems that this is a summer 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?


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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Spying on turtles at Kiyosumi Gardens

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 for getting the opportunity 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 the duck and I 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 up in the morning?


Memories of that one time we went to the Imperial Palace East Gardens in Tokyo

The duck and I still avoid going out as much as possible. This is why we love looking through our photos from past adventures. Pretty much exactly two years ago, for example, we went to the Imperial Palace East Gardens that are located on the former grounds of Edo Castle with our Disney Sea adventure pal Sb. We did not take a lot of usable photographs, unfortunately, which is probably why we never put them on here. But now we’re desperate for material (and for being able to safely go to parks again), so here ya go:

Some of these photos aren’t as good as we’d like them to be, but the duck and I still have a vivid memory of arriving too late in the day to be able to fully explore the gardens before they closed, of eating snacks on a bench near the entrance, of excitedly watching an ant fight at the base of a bamboo stalk, of being surprised by how loudly toads could croak, of trying to make our way around the lake while garden employees told everyone that it was time to leave and of strolling around Shinjuku and having conveyor belt sushi after. I guess this is more of a memory-refresher for us. For you, maybe, this can act as an invitation to explore this wonderful garden yourselves (for free!) when this whole crisis is over?
Stay safe and sane, everyone!
The duck and I.


Twilight Walk

During these chaotic times the lazy people among us who like to spend lots of time inside, especially now that the dreaded allergy season has arrived once again, can finally feel like they have been preparing for this all along. The duck and I sure do. However, now that we know that we actually should not go outside too much we suddenly crave feeling actual sunlight that is not filtered through our bedroom window on our faces. First, let me outline the current legal situation in Berlin: social distancing is encouraged, restaurants and non-essential stores are closed, as are places that encourage close contact, like playgrounds and gyms. Going for walks is permitted, though, if you keep an adequate distance to others. In the past few weeks the duck and I left the house exclusively to (try to) get some groceries. Last week, however, there was a moment when we knew that we needed some fresh air if we wanted to keep our sanity. There is a little park-like area near our home that we supposed wouldn’t be too crowded in the evening. And we were right – we only crossed paths with a handful of people and most everyone was seriously trying to keep their distance.
Because we love the hours in which the warm afternoon sunlight explodes into numerous pretty colors, the duck and I just had to take our camera. And, because the park was so empty, we decided that it would be safe to stop from time to time to take a few snaps when no-one was around.
Here is a selection of some of those photos that made us remember that, even in a crisis, the world keeps on moving, the sun rises and sets… and the evil pollen will soon try to rule over us once again!Berlin end of winter walk 6This, I think, is our favorite photo from this long overdue walk. We took it at around the midpoint of our route when we thought the light was the prettiest. The duck and I loved how, throughout our little walk, we could actually see how time progressed. We hope that this also shows in our photographs: Continue reading


Day 21: Christmas market daydreams

The duck tends to daydream a lot. And I get it. Even though you’re at home or at school or at work at your desk you can explore exciting places without having to deal with the cold outside. The duck’s favorite spot to daydream these days is the little Christmas arrangement by the kitchen table (it’s festive, it’s close to the oven, it’s warm, it’s a bit prickly, but it smells amazing).


Usually, the duck dreams of cookies, cyclists, Osakan food, or of living life as a bird. Recently, however, the duck’s daydreams seem to be dominated by the sensations of strolling around the Christmas market:

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Day 7: Berlin Christmas market impressions

The duck and I currently live in Berlin. So, of course, we had to visit a Christmas market. Because there are dozens of Christmas markets to explore in Berlin and its surrounding areas, the duck and I had to choose where we wanted to go (first). We did not want to pay an entrance fee, and, ideally, wanted to see more than one Christmas market during our first Christmas market excursion this year. This is why we chose to take a train to Alexanderplatz and have a look around the Alexanderplatz Christmas market with its main attraction: the biggest Christmas pyramid in Europe – and a pretty carousel. It also sports all the basic Christmas market stalls (for food, drinks, decoration, etc.) and some other attractions, like a skating rink. This was all the duck and I needed to get us in a festive mood (the cold definitely added to that).

We walked around the stalls, checked out some Christmas decorations and gift ideas and took in all the Christmas market sensations.
Then we walked some more until, just a few minutes later, we reached the Weihnachtsmarkt am Roten Rathaus, the Christmas market at the Red City Hall. At first we did not know where exactly to go but then the big Ferris wheel led us straight to one of the entrances. If you trust the internet, this Ferris wheel spends early autumns in Munich, as part of the Oktoberfest. We prefer it surrounded by lots of beautiful  Christmas market stalls, though, some of which are part of a medieval section, and all those warm and pretty lights and festive music.

The duck and I had a great time exploring Christmas markets with my camera! There were so many kind people around (like the gentleman who let us photograph his Glühwein without hesitation), and we would have stayed much longer, if it weren’t for the cold that was slowly taking the feeling out of my hands so that I had to stop taking photos.
Even though we have only visited two Christmas markets so far, this will not be our last Christmas market related post.
Do you have any favorite Christmas markets to go to?


Gourds of Halloween Past

Two years ago the duck and I composed a totally original song about Tokyo Halloween and illustrated it with some shaky pictures we got off our phone. Last year around this time, after we had remembered to finally post the video diary of those two days in spring we had spent casually strolling around Akita, we were getting ready to build a cozy pillow fort to hibernate in. But, before that, we did participate in a nice season-appropriate activity and even have some not-phone-photos to prove it! Let’s go back 52-ish weeks:
The duck and I spent most of our time chilling (in the sense of idling, relaxing… though, I bet we were also cold, because we always are) on a comfy sofa in Louisville, Kentucky, watching lots of movies and TV shows, playing video games, and catching up with one of our favorite people. Feeling kind of guilty for not going out much, our friend suggested we check out the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular – and we did.
Even though our trusty camera’s battery died about half-way through the approximately 500m long track that was lined with carved pumpkins left and right and featured some of our favorite movie soundtracks, we did manage to snap a few nice pictures of our favorite designs. Because today is Halloween, here is a little gallery of the scarier themed ones we liked (and managed to take not-so-shaky photos of):

This year’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is still on until next Sunday, so, if you’re in the area (and for some weird reason were unaware of it), we recommend checking it out.
What are your favorite Halloween pastimes (regular or one-off)?

Have a spooky Halloween, wherever you are!

The d…raaaaaculaaaah



Last month the duck and I went to the movies (for the first time this year… whoopsies)! As the room went dark and the curtains opened, we were thrown into the world of Cleo – and for the next hour or so we accompanied her on a mysterious adventure on the trail of the brothers Sass and the exploits from their infamous 1929 bank robbery, that are believed to be buried in Berlin’s Grunewald forest.
*SPOILERS AHEAD* In the movie Cleo ends up looking for the treasure on Teufelsberg, ‘the Devil’s mountain’, that, as the film’s narrator explains, used to be an unfinished Nazi university building, that then, after World War II, was turned into a rubble hill. And during the Cold War it was chosen to become the site of an NSA listening station.
These days, if you leave some of your money at the entrance, you can explore the area that now features lots of urban art paired with a healthy portion of adrenaline, as you just might end up in an unmarked water basin, or flat on the ground, with a fallen brick on your head. Well, we were asked to sign a waiver at the entrance, just in case. We also had to promise that we would leave our camera friend in our bag (because there’s no way we’re paying an extra 10 Euros just to take higher quality photos… of our impending death) and, thus, resorted to using our terrible phone camera – that has an impractical tendency to overexpose pretty much anything.
After all that fearful exploring the duck and I now proudly present to you some of the usable photos we took during our Teufelsberg adventure:

You might ask yourselves why we didn’t just grab our real camera the moment we had vanished from the sight of the guy at the ticket counter. Well, the duck and I pride ourselves on being honorable citizens of Berlin, and we’re just waaay too scared of being caught doing something that we shouldn’t. Maybe we should work on our audacity, though. I heard that can bring you places! Let’s spend the rest of the month pondering on this, shall we, duck?

Did you know about the history of Teufelsberg? And are you less of a chicken when it comes to breaking the rules? What places are on your Berlin itinerary?

The duck and I will go back to pecking oats now… bok bok b’gawk!



A while ago, when it was still sunny on a fairly regular basis, the duck and I had the glorious idea to combine one of our beloved afternoon-grocery shops with a quick photo session of the neighborhood. So, we took our jute shopping bags, grabbed our trusty camera friend and got excited to go on yet another adventure- until we stepped outside. Right then and there were we reminded of our love/hate relationship with spring – the season with the prettiest flowers and the ugliest allergies! We had a vivid flashback of the day we climbed Mt. Takao in spring where we were forced to decide between putting on a flu mask to protect ourselves from the evil pollen and taking it off to actually be able to breathe on this exhausting climb. The duck and I are lucky enough to have confirmed allergies to three different kinds of trees that blossom more or less consecutively. That means three full months of allergy madness (let’s not get into the surprise allergies here)!

allergy duck

This year, after having confirmed that, in fact, the pollen were even more aggressive than the ones we had met in Japan, the duck and I decided to invest in an allergy survival kit, consisting of a 100-pack of allergy tablets to prepare our bodies for the impending pollen attacks, enough coffee to combat the extra-sleepiness resulting from the pills, a pretty little bottle of allergy eye drops for a more precise treatment of some of the symptoms (we do miss the ones we had gotten in Japan, though – they had actual cooling powers!), tissues, obviously, and, more as a fond memory than an actual aid, some flu masks that, of course, we would never go outside with – not outside Japan! However, despite our survival kit, we are suffering (very dramatically) every. single. day. It’s a good thing we have those photos to remind us of how pretty spring is in our neighborhood (because there’s no way we’re going outside to see it live if we don’t have to): Continue reading