May 2, 2015

Bringing my blog back to life

I think it's time to reactivate my blog.

I didn't write any blogposts for ages. A lot of things happened the last months and hopefully I'm gonna go on an adventure in a few month I was wishing for since I was a child.
In case of that I want to start blogging again and share some topics and moments in my life. I will also work on a new layout of my blog as well.

Hope to see you soon,

December 15, 2012

Rakugo - the japanese art of story telling

Yesterday I visited a Rakugo (落語) performance. It was really interesting & so funny that I couldn't stop laughing. I really advise everyone who loves funny stories & fairy tales to visit a Rakugo performance.

Rakugoka Kenko
Rakugo is an ancient japanese art of story telling. A lone story teller called Rakugoka (落語家) sits in front of the audience on a pillow & uses only a paper fan & a small cloth as props for his performance. But the Rakugoka doesn't just narrate the story. He also plays different characters like women, men, elderly & children. To tell those characters apart the story teller depicts them by change in tone, manner & a slight turn of the head. As there can be many characters, not only two of them, the audience has to use their imaginativeness to follow the storiy line. 

The Rakugoka always depicts his story alive, very funny & full of emotion. I really enjoyed the Rakugoka's performance.

Yesterday he told a tradtitional Rakugo story about a man & his dream. (夢の話 [yumenohanashi] - the tale of a dream).

While the man was asleep his wife watched him. She noticed that he was dreaming. Because she was so curious about his dream she woke him up & demanded him to tell his dream to her. But he said that he hadn't dreamed anything. A quarrel arose & the landlord came to settle the dispute. After the landlord had sent the man's wife to his wife, he demanded the man to tell him his dream. But the man also told the landlord that he hadn't dreamed anything. The landlord was furious & wanted the man to move out. The man went to court & won the court case. After the judge had sent the landlord away he asked the man about the wonderful dream he must have had, but noone wanted to tell. But the man still averred that he didn't had any dream at all. The judge was very angry & put the man to the torture.
Tengu (right)
During the torture the man wailed about his misfortune for he didn't do anything wrong except of having had no dream at all. Suddenly a gust freed him from the torture & carried him on the top of a mountain. There he encountered a mythical creature called Tengu (天狗). The Tengu assured to the man that he had no interest in his dream, but would listen if the man wanted to tell what his dream was about. But the man still averred that he hadn't dreamed anything at all. The Tengu fumed & killed the man who kept saying not to have had any dream at all. Suddenly the man awoke. He was wakened by his wife. She demanded him to tell his dream to her.

It was a wonderful & very funny story for the Rakugoka depicted every character in an overacted & very own way. Nowadays in Japan there are about 800 Rakugo masters, whose performances can be seen in Osaka & Tokyo. Because Rakugo master Kenko is at this time on a tour trough Germany, I didn't had to travel to Japan to see one of those performances. But if I'll ever travel to Japan I really want to see a Rakugo performance again.

November 27, 2012

Christmas is knocking on your door!

Finally the most wonderful, most joyful & most magic time of the year has come - it's christmas season.
All the people now start to decorade their homes & doing christmas activities.

And during this special time of the year pepperAddict & Impatient Perfectionista join for a christmas & new year's special to make christmas season even merrier for you.

Impatient Perfectionista is a lifestyle blog, but not an ordinary one. The blog is oriented on the ideal of herself (a Perfectionista) that the girl behind this blog wants to achieve. She gives a lot of informative tips about diet, lifestyle & how to achieve your own Perfectionista. The next weeks until new year's eve she is going to tell you about aspects related to advent, christmas, new year's & customs in Germany.

I'm going to tell you more about christmas & new year's customs in different places around the world.

I wish you a joyful christmas season :-)

November 25, 2012

Becoming a German in 20 easy steps (by Adam Fletcher)

A few days ago I discovered this blog post by Adam Fletcher about the special manners of German people. Me as a German, it made me laugh really hard, because everything is sooo true, thoug it's a bit overdone.

20 easy steps on how to become an appropriate German, leading you to successfully interact with them & how not to misbehave in public.

Click picture to get to the page

These manners are so naturally for me that I really have no clue on how things are working in other countries.   What are they doing on sundays? Don't they catch a cold while not wearing slippers? How can they survive without planing anything? (- I made some experiences in Morocco & this over-spontaneity nearly made me mad).

So while I'm looking for answers to these elementary questions of life, I hope you enjoy reading about what makes a German so German.

November 8, 2012

A walk through Josefov - a Trip to Prague #2

Josefov is the old Jewish quarter and former ghetto in Prague. It is located near the Old Town & invites you to explore the ancient and the contemporary Jewish culture of Prague. The old Jewish quarter is one of the most interesting places in this city & worth visiting.

As there is much to tell I decided to split this this topic in several posts so you don't have to get bored by reading an incredibly long post. The first, this part, is about the experience of visting the Jewish Museum as an ordinary tourist. Soon I will also post about the Old New Synagogue & other interesting maybe related topics about this special quarter.

Ordinary non-Jewish tourist, like I am, usually follow the route of the Jewish Museum that guides you to all the sights of Josefov.

1.) Maisel Synagogue; 2.) Pinkas Synagogue; 3.) Jewish Ceremonial Hall &
Jewish Museum; 4.) Klausen Synagogue; 5.) Old New Synagogue;
6.) High Synagogue; 7.) Spanish Synagogue; 8.) exhibition
As an ordinary tourist you soon get the feeling that the Jewish quarter has just Synagogues to offer, as there are ...

The Pinkas Synagogue
Entrance card of the Jewish Museum
We started our visit of Josevof at this place. To visit the synagogues of the Jewish Museum you have to buy the entrance cards at the museum's counter right there. You have 2-3 options which tour you want to take. We took the ticket for the Old Jewish Cementary, the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Klausen Synagogue & the Spanish Synagogue. To get into the Old New Synagogue you have to buy an extra ticket, which costs as much as we paid for ours. And if you really want to visit all of these places you can also buy the ticket for everything, but this one is quite expensive.

Names & dates of the Holocaust victims
The Pinkas Synagogue was founded by Rabbi Pinkas in 1479, but after World War II it was turned into a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Althought there is little interior, this old Synagogue doesn't seem empty. It is a quiet place to take time & to read or at least to have a look at these many names of those Czechoslovak Jewish victims who didn't survive the concentration camp of Theresienstadt which are written all over the walls. On the upper floor a collection of paintings & drawings of children who witnessed the concentration camp is shown. Next to each picture you can read the name & the age of the painter. It is in some way unsetteling when you see what some children in the age of 5 drew. The painting was supposed to be some kind of therapy to the children to handle those horrible things they had to witness at their young age.

The Old Jewish Cementary
Crisscrossed tombstones 
Next to the Pinkas Synagogue you can walk around the Old Jewish Cementary with its ancient graves of former inhabitants of this quartes. Dating from 1478 this cementary is the oldest still existing Jewish burial site in Europe. It served as burial grounds for about 300 years. In1787 the last person was burried there. As Jewish people in Prague were not allowed to burry their dead relatives outside the ghetto they had to build one grave on top of the other. On the small area of this cementary more than 100,000 people in about 12,000 graves on 12 tomb layers are burried. That's why you can see crisscrossed tombstones on low hills all over the cementary.

While me and a friend of mine walked around the old graves I noticed that there are a lot of Jewish people visiting this cementary. Don't ask me why, but somehow I knew that some of them were from Israel. I remeber a young woman. She was not much shorter than me but svelte. I don't know how to express myself. She had her dark brown hair pinned up very neatly. Her skin was pale but on her lips she had put red lipstick. She wore a white blouse, a knee-length marine blue skirt & a hat in the same color. Her whole appearance looked very neatly. Her gaze was strict but not unfriendly. I don't know why but somehow I knew that she was a Jewish Israeli. She was so facinating that I could not stop watching her. I`ve never met a person with such an appearance before.

Jews at Rabbi Loew's grave
Tombstone of Rabbi Loew
As we were walking on I suddenly saw a crowd of crying & praying Jews. I was so astonsihed, because I didn't know why they were crying. When we came closer to the small crowd I realized that they were all standing in front of a grave, some of them humbly bowing their heads, some of them were crying & nearly everyone was reading some verses out of a small book. That was really a strange situation to me, because I really didn't know why they were doing this. While I was writing the post about the legend of the Golem of Prague I found out that on the Old Jewish Cementary Judah Loew ben Bezalel - also known as Rabbi Loew- is burried. But still I don't really know the importance of him to the Jewish community.

Klausen Synagogue & Ceremonial Hall
Klausen Synagogue
Ceremony Hall
On the other side of the Old Jewish Cementary is the Klausen Synagogue. This synagogue & the Ceremonial  Hall next to it are housing a permanent exhibition about Jewish traditions & customs concernig birth, circumcision, bar mitzvah, wedding & many more. Unfortunately due to something the Ceremonial Hall was closed, so we couldn't go into it.

Spanish Synagogue
The Spanish Synagogue is one of the most beautiful houses of prayer I've ever been into. This synagogues beauty is really breath taking. It combines different architectural styles & traditions. But the synagogues architectural style is mostly influenced by moorish design. While the Spanish Synagogue was used as a house of prayer the huge prayer hall had seats for 500 men on the lower floor & 300 women on the upper floor.

Amazing moorish architecture

Spanish Synagogue

Kafka Memorial
Entrance of the Spanish Synagogue
Near to the entrance of the Spanish Synagogue you can see the odd memorial to the famous writer Franz Kafka which is based on his novel "Beschreibung eines Kampfes" (Description of a Struggle). Kafka spend most of his life in this quarter. Because Prague was his place of activity, Kafka has a special importance to the city. As there was only a portrait of Kafka at his house of birth the Franz Kaftka Society of Prague decided to install a memorial to the city's famous son. The bronze statue was designed by the Czech sculptor Jaroslav Rona. Since 2001 a miniature of this statue is awarded as Franz Kafka Prize - an international literary award.

Maisel Synagogue
Entrance Maisel Synagogue
Maisel Synagogue
The Maisel Synagogue holds an amazing collection of artifacts & objects from the first settlements of Jews in Bohemia & Moravia. There is one very interessting fact about those objects. Althought during World War II Prague & other Czech districts were occupied by the Nazis they did not want to destroy the culural assets of Prague's Jewish community. In fact after killing all the Jews the Germans intended to establish a museum of Jewish culture & therefore brought many objects they had taken from their Jewish victims to Prague. Somehow it's ironic that because of such a horrible reason the Jewish Museum nowadays owns such a large collection of artifacts about Jewish religious & everyday life.

After we had vistited all of these Synagogues we were very tired, but it was fun & I extended my knowledge about Jewish culture as I am very interested in it.

October 19, 2012

Bohemian food love story - a Trip to Prague #1

This summer I went on a trip to the Czech capital Prague with a friend of mine. This post will be the start of a series about Prague.

When we went to Prague we of course wanted to taste authentic Czech food. When I was a child I grew up in a region near to the Czech Republic but I didn't realize that I ate a lot of czech & czech-influenced food when I was young. So the trip to Prague was like a food dreamland of my childhood. I remembered all my favourite dishes I used to eat as a child.

One of the most famous dish of Czech is goulash with dumpling. There are so many variations of this dish. The most famous one abroad is beef goulash with sliced bohemian bread dumpling. But you can also find goulash with pork or sometimes turkey breast with a light gravy.

Germans love to eat potatoes & Czech love to eat dumplings.
As you may know there are many, many sorts of dumplings. Some of them are bread dumplings, bacon dumplings, semolina dumplings, potatoe dumplings, ... And there are also sweet ones, like yeast dumplings filled with plums, apricots or blueberries - my favourite ones.

But Czech cuisine has much more to offer than goulash & dumplings. There are also many delicious deserts & healthy & light summer dishes. I think I'll introduce some oft them soon.

But let's talk about where to eat best in Prague.
When we were on our way to Prague Castle we discovered this small, very cute panncake-shop. (Can you say it like this in English?) It is called 'Creperie u Katjetána'. The pancakes we ate there were really good, althought in my opinion they were rather french crèpe than czech palačinka - czech pancakes. You also have to taste the home made limonade. This limonade ist not too sweet but really refreshing & the best decision on a hot summer afternoon.  In the back of this shop you can find a very lovely summer garden. Everything was furnished very lovingly & the waitress was very nice too. We didn't feel like we were in a typically tourists restaurant. It was really comfortable there & we stayed some time just to relax & to enjoy the wonderful summer day. I really advise you to go there when you're vistiting Prague. You can find the Creperie on the street called Nerudova - between the Curch St. Nicholas & the Prague Castle.

summer garden
pancake shop
pancake withe banana & nuts (left)
pancake with cinnamon & sugar (right)

The 'U Dvóu Sester' is a restaurant that offers delicious & authentic Czech dishes. You can also have the good tasting Czech beer there. Because I can't stand eating goulash the entire 3 days we spent in Prague I had a fried potatoe patty with sauerkraut seasoned with caraway & Czech sausage. You should know that Czech sausages usually contain pieces of fat. Either you're used to it or you won't really like it. My friend had the typically Czech goulash with sliced bohemian dumplings as mentioned above. It was really tasty. Somehow I was a bit jealous on this goulash. I should had taken that, too. This restaurant is situated very close to the Old Town Square. The street is called Melantrichova. You can find it easily on google. If you want to eat real authentic Czech dishes you should go there.

I'm sorry for the poor quality of these pictures.
Goulash with sliced bread dumpings
Fried potatoe patty - not very notable, but very delicious

And this is how you can find both restaurants:
Way to 'Creperie u Katjetána'
Way to 'U Dvóu Sester'

In the end you should know that it is not easy to find real authentic Czech restaurants in Prague. You should consider that most of the restaurants just offer some variations of goulash with dumplings, because most tourist want to eat this dish but don't have any sense what authentic Czech food is. I really wanted to eat yeast dumplings filled with blueberries, but no restaurant offered them. Nor did any of them offer authentic Czech desserts. To taste real authentic Czech dish you have to leave the main attractions & go to regions or cities with less tourists. I advice going to Czech hiking areas for the nature is breath taking & the hiking trails are very interesting.

Here are some pictures of the delicious Czech food we ate during our trip. Everything tasted so good.
palačinka  filled with mascarpone & vanilla ice cream

apple strudel & cinnamon ice cream
bacon dumplings & goulash


non-alcoholic cocktail with mint, lime & brown sugar

turkey breast filled with spinach

goulash soup in a loaf of bread

small pancakes in blueberry sauce

palačinka with fruits
I hope you'll like Czech food as I do ;-)

October 14, 2012

The Truth Alone Prevails - Video Link

A few days ago I wrote a post about the Indian TV-show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Prevails).

A few minutes ago I watched the first episode of this show & it was very touching. The topic of this episode was female foeticide. Female Foeticide is the term for the act of aborting a foetus because it is female. This is one of the main challenges in India. Now you may think that this is just a problem that is connected with illiterate or uneducated people. But surprisingly it is mostly a problem in middle class & high educated families for they strongly are wishing for a male son and heir of the family.

Aamir Khan is not only talking to people, but he also gives some information on his topics, like statistics, causation & aftermath. You must consider that in India there are many low educated people, who can learn important things from this show. For example Aamir Khan explains that mostly woman are accused for the  pregnancy with a female baby, but actually it is the male's sperm that affects the sex of the child. I didn't know that until then. 

You can watch the entire episodes on the website of the show. The show's primary language is Hindi, but you can select the English subtitle. In my opinion it was a bit tiring to read subtitle for an hour but maybe that's because English is not my mother tounge.

Now here is the link. I hope you enjoy watching the show. Please leave a comment with your opinion about this show.