Tag Archives: Japan

The kind of Mixed 2018 Review

For the past years I have been not doing really many of such reviews. One I clearly remember was the Amazing Year 2014 Review as it was really a wonderful year full of great memories. The past years on the other hand have been more like “meh” compared to 2014. Now 2018 is something totally different as it will be definitely a year I will remember for a very long time due to its ups and downs.

Nathan the Taekwondo champ

The year started kind of slow and I thought back about the past years living in Germany and how it changed since we moved here. Besides that I also had another part of the “New Apartment” series which is still not entirely solved thus far. One big thing I had going on was my family research combined with a DNA test to find somehow some relatives somewhere on this globe. I am still in this whole research but have once again hit too many brick walls and for now I just wait for some lucky discoveries when someone adds to their family tree at some point.

In March things changed a bit as we arranged our trip to China and also had finally the confirmation that we could travel to Japan in May! Though we were excited to go once again to China and enjoy the good food there and kind of experience the strange Chinese family with their weird requests the main thing for us was Japan. For so many years we wanted to travel to Japan but it never worked out. Either it was the Japanese Embassy in Finland telling us the wrong information regarding the visa for my wife or we simply had suddenly no time for it. My wife planned the entire week in Japan for nearly two months to make it as perfect as possible for us and especially for Nathan. I don’t know why but I have barely any memories about April even though we wouldn’t fly to China till near the end of the month. Guess we were just busy with work, keeping Nathan busy with sports and being way too excited about our holidays.

Mount Fuji

May was the most amazing month for us in years as we were in China and of course in Japan. Blogging wise I didn’t do anything and wrote all about the wonder of Japan in June. Tokyo and Osaka were just so wonderful and Nathan really enjoyed the few hours we had at Thomas Land.  Each day in Japan we had a blast and thinking back I still can’t believe that we actually experienced all of that. I must say that all the planning my wife did for this holiday surely paid off. Usually all her preparing and planning are totally messed up as I wrote later in summer after our two-week holidays in Finland.  The time in Finland was way too short but we did go to Moominland which had been on my bucket list ever since I was a child!

With Autumn approaching we got a new family member, Haruki the Shiba. That tiny dog gave us so much joy thus far and by now he tripled his weight and can fart like a champ. In fact whenever he does release some gasses he cannot take the smell either and runs to another room. He is a strange little fellow with his constant smiley face. Ever since we got him I only started to see how many dogs we have in the neighbourhood. Even now I still encounter “new dogs” with their owners living somewhere nearby and I’ve been doing the rounds with Haruki for four months now. Besides Haruki we had another last highlight and that was visiting Lego Land in Denmark. We didn’t plan to go there this year but after finding some ridiculous good deal we just had to go. Two days of rain but also two days filled with Lego and that is all what Nathan cares for. I also got myself some goodies and went on updating my computer and rambling about my gaming history.

Haruki when he used to be cute

And now I come to the absolute depressing November after having such a great year till then. This month was just cursed as one bad thing after the other happened. Workwise we were totally overloaded, my wife got her wallet stolen,  a mirror crashed down and my father was diagnosed with Leukemia. I think that was by far the worst month I can think off. I mean after so many good memories this year everything was just destroyed in one month. By now we are over most of those terrible happenings but just remembering back makes we feel really empty and also angry. But life goes on and December has been rather positive without anything bad thus far.

How was your year 2018 so far?

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Experiencing China

It has been now over six months since our last holiday in China. It was a great trip and we are already planning for next years holiday session in the Middle Empire. I have mentioned it countless of times that for so many years we never really managed it to go anywhere besides Xi’an. This year was different as we had that wonderful week in Japan (Tokyo, Thomas Land and Osaka) and we are kind of planning on having next year a week-long trip in Thailand. This is not set in stone especially when taking into consideration that we should have been already to Korea, Taiwan, Bali, the Maldives and so forth. Main problem was always that my wife turns into a complete couch potato once we arrive at her home in China.

Some temple somwhere in Sichuan

Anyhow even in case we won’t manage it to Thailand I am still looking forward to visiting China again. For one it is of course the food and I think I don’t need to touch that subject again as writing about it and sharing pictures makes too many people hungry. It is for me more like the whole experience in China. Even though I have seen so little so far it has been always such an interesting experience especially as each region or even parts of the city are so different. I have been mostly only to Xi’an but already there each section of the city has its own vibe. It goes as far as each “block” can be so different compared to the next one. For example the area where my in-laws are living looks to many people (like my parents) like a city shortly after an air raid while as the next block is a complete different matter as everything is relative clean and nice looking. However between those blocks the feeling is already different as in the older parts everywhere you have those wonderful street kitchens which are more rare or even non-existent in richer areas.

Music in the streets

It feels sometimes to surreal to drive on some roads passing by mountains which look like just from paintings. To have old temples and other historical buildings right next to some huge shopping centres. Just going a bit outside the cities you even encounter traditional clay brick buildings and even cave houses. Of course there are always downsides to the whole experience especially due to pollution or overcrowded tourist spots but it does not really bother me that much. For me each holiday in China is unique as even in Xi’an I find new interesting thing which each visit. For next year we have another novelty as we kind of have to decide where we want to stay: Either in MIL’s new apartment in the middle of nowhere or in the old one where FIL is staying right in the city center with all the best food around. Guess this decision is a no-brainer.

Do you have already plans for holidays in 2019?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.




Moomin, Moomin and even more Moomin

What is Moomin you may wonder now but I will come to that in a second. First of all I want to explain how I come to this topic. Few weeks ago my father had a great idea: Lets buy all Moomin Episodes for Nathan!


Moomin1For all who do not know about Moomin, it is originally a comic strip and a book series about several characters which resemble white hippos. The author was Tove Jansson, a Swedish-speaking Finn, who created these stories some when in the 1940’s.


By now Moomin is pretty famous in various countries, especially in Finland and Japan! I do not know in how many languages these books and TV series (and movies) have been translated but I believe that the number is not too low as I have seen it on TV in many countries.


At first we wanted to buy for Nathan the German translated version of Moomin however we quickly found out that they only translated 50 odd episodes out of the over 100. In the end we purchased from Finland the complete Moomin DVD collection with all episode plus the moomin3Movie. In case you are more familiar with Moomin you probably know that there are several different TV adaptation which have been created over the decades. In this case I am talking about the series from 1990-91, its continuation series and movie. This includes Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka 楽しいムーミン一家 (or just Moomin), Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka: Bōken Nikki 楽しいムーミン一家 冒険日記 (or Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary) and the movie Mūmindani no Suisei ムーミン谷の彗星 (Comet in Moominland). As you can see from the names the TV adaptation is from Japan and it is a Dutch, Finnish and Japanese collaboration. There have been previous animated TV series from Japan in int he 1969 version Mūmin ムーミン (Moomin) no other than Hayao Miyazaki was involved in it as well however he also opposed Tove Janssons viewpoint about the original Moomin which caused that she was not too pleased (actually angry) with this version (actually she was never happy with any adaptation).


2484 Minutes!!

Anyways, I am very happy that we bought this DVD collection as I grew up with Moomin. I still have many episodes recorded on VHS as well as few comic books. I also believe that this show will keep Nathan for a long time occupied as there are over 2440 minutes of material to watch (and if he is not watching I will gladly take over!). In my youth I always wanted to visit the Moomin World in Finland but I never had the chance, perhaps Nathan will be more lucky. Besides just the Moomin World, Comics, Books, Museums and TV adaptations there are tons of other things related to Moomin as well.


There are Moomin shops in Finland where you can buy everything you can imagine about those white hippos and the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport was for a time decorated with theirmoomin4 images and Finnair even painted Moomin figures on their Japan-line planes. At home we still got numerous Moomin mugs which you can buy in nearly every store in Finland and those are particularly popular with Japanese tourists. More often than not you see Japanese tourists in Helsinki with Moomin shopping bags filled with little fan articles to bring home for themselves or their family and friends. Yes, I will try to bring Moomin also into Nathan’s world and who knows how many mugs with white hippos he will own later on.