Advent Calendar

Endspurt – it’s December again! I’m greatly looking forward to Christmas and New Year, when, hopefully, things will slow down a little, if even just for a few days.

Of course, the best invention to count the days until then is an advent calendar, and my friend has produced yet another nerdy edition. It can be found here:


Checking in

Just a very short post to tell you that I’m still alive…

I’m having a cold and a quite bad cough for about a week now and although it is not let’s-stay-in-bed-for-days-and-suffer serious, I’ve still had to slow down considerably. My health is improving now, but of course, now I have to catch up with all the things I couldn’t do last week… I’ll be posting here again shortly. I hope.

Thanks for staying with me!


So, I’m home again in Japan, and I have (almost) overcome my jet lag. Having to deal with all the things that accumulated over the last weeks did help with that one. I’m ready to go again!

Back in Austria, a friend of mine asked what I missed about Japan, and I didn’t really have an answer. Mostly because it was just a holiday and my return was already fixed, the question was difficult to answer. Maybe it’s green tea cookies? Japanese put matcha powder into so many things that are not available in Europe at all. Sushi is okay by now, in the bigger cities at least, even though really good sushi places are still rare (try the tuna fish first: If this is good, the rest will be just fine!).

Latella Yuzu-LemonOne thing I could find in Austria which I did not expect was yuzu. Yuzu is a kind of citrus fruit with a very strong smell and distinctive flavour, and all the foreigners I have met love the taste. Yuzu grow only in Japan, Korea, and parts of China, so imagine my surprise when I saw a “Latella” (a whey based drink) with lemon and yuzu! I was slightly disappointed by the taste because the lemon was a bit overpowering, so the yuzu flavour didn’t get out fully. However, it’s a start. And who knows, when I’m back next time, they may even sell the drink in the proper winter season instead as “summer edition”…


I’m back, both figuratively and literally speaking.

The thing that happened at the end of May was the death of my grandmother. I spent the last three weeks in Austria taking care of her funeral and related things.

VerabschiedungMy grandmother was 99 years old, so her death did not come as a big surprise. Although she had had some episodes before where she was weaker than usual (in particular around Christmas two years ago), we all more or less expected her to live and celebrate her 100th birthday next January. But, not so. She fell asleep for good on May 24th. And with her, my family is gone. All I have left now are relatives… The realisation of what that really means has not yet hit me. In fact, I feel strangely detached still. I guess the pain and grief will catch up with me whenever I am ready. Not sure when that will be, but for now, I’ll keep up my life as I have laid it out for myself here in Kyoto.


Whew, I’m almost done with my business meetings, only one more next Tuesday, and from then it’s up close and personal… Still stuff to do, as I wrote in my last post, but that i will do from the privacy of my desk. That means, that I will keep to myself for a while, and will take a break until at least the end of the year, maybe even one week longer. Until I’m back, I wish you all, as usual:

Happy Holidays to everyone!
I hope you’ll have a nice time, regardless of your plans.

Christmas Card 2017

Advent Calendar

It’s December again, time for an advent calendar counting the days until Christmas. I completely forgot making my own this year, but thank goodness my friend who visited me last year has a new version of his nerdy “curiosity calendar” up and running. This year, for the first time, it’s in English, so it is accessible for everyone – enjoy!


Spring is almost here; the sakura are not yet in full bloom, but it can only take one or two days more. I will post pictures as soon as it happens, I want to visit the Botanical Gardens for hanami this year.

Last weekend, I have done my spring cleaning; and I have moved my laptop back to my office and my futon back to my bedroom. It was nice to consolidate the apartment at the beginning of winter, but it is equally nice to spread out again. So far, it is still too cool to keep the windows open for a longer period of time, but in two or three weeks, the temperature will rise again.

Today, after my final meeting I had to go to Kyoto station because my external keyboard broke in the morning. There are not that many Ns in English language, but it is nice to have a full alphabet… Anyway, I did not know that there was a museum on the seventh floor in the big Isetan department store at the station. A friend of mine said I absolutely have to go and see the exhibition of Yoshitoshi, a very popular woodblock artist from the Edo and Meiji periods. Yes, it was worth it! The amount of detail in the prints is fascinating, and the colors are still stunning! If you are in Kyoto right now, the exhibition is until 23rd of April. Yoshitoshi woodblock print