O-Hanami in Neukölln

Fukubana cherry gladly survived the move to Neukölln last year, despite attacks from evil rubble and tumbling wooden plates on the back then still a construction site “garden”. Nothing a little duct tape can’t fix! 😉 Now, among some old and many new friends, she thanked with a particularly splendid blossom (jap.: sakura). Björn and I sat a bit under it and looked at it (jap.: hanami, … or o-hanami if you wanna be polite – yes, we do! we’re in Japan!) for good fortune.
Now we’re experiencing a bit of a temperature drop again – no frost, but almost – and what might help better against the cold coming back in spring than Takeshi?! So lets watch a bit of “Show of HANDS” (categories, darlings, categories!)



Sakura. Best served with some hot plastic-bottled green tea from the vending machine 🙂 Or with sake.

Catcher in the … ryesourdough

Nicht alle Rezepte müssen von Schwedens bestem Koch (sorry honey, that’s not you – yet – although I really like your pecan thumbprint cookies!) stammen, aber sirapslimpa (Mitte) und vörtbröd (rechts unten – ein sehr gewürznelkiges Brot mit Gerstenmalz) können wenn man will, man muss dazu aber nicht unbedingt den traditionellen schwedischen Holzofen anfeuern, Anleitung siehe Seiten 151-154! 😉

It’s difficult to stay flat over Christmas …

Panettoncino per tutti

Normalerweise bin ich kein großer Fan der Panettone, was aber daran liegen mag, dass der Panettone-Markt mit industrieller Massenware überschwemmt ist. Kaufen, kaufen, kaufen! Zu Weihnachten ja kein unbekannter Schlachtruf, den ich nur immer wieder so kommentieren kann: lasst ab vom Konsumrausch, schenkt nichts Materielles – will heißen GAR nichts! 😉
Geht allenfalls miteinander essen und trinken, zum Beispiel ins vor nicht allzu langer Zeit von uns entdeckten Italo-Bistro Mini. Dort kredenzte man letzten Samstag ein Weihnachtsabendessen, bei dem die Köchin einfach ständig Köstlichkeiten aus der Küche brachte und direkt auf die Teller der Gäste verteilte, unter anderem Risotto mit Kürbis und Amaretti (!), gnocchi in Butter-Parmesan-Salbei Soße gefüllt mit ricotta, selbstgemachte Ravioli, Polenta, Würste, vitello tonnato, Kartoffelauflauf, etc. etc. etc. Zum Abschluss wurde dann besagte Pannetone geteilt, mit mascarpone creme! Große Überraschung, denn grande gioia sie war köstlich! Nicht der fade, trocken-fasrige Schwamm, der in den Supermärkten aufgetürmt ist, sondern artigianale Qualität und Geschmack von BreraMilano1930. Vielleicht müsste man doch mal wieder in die nebbia milanese hinunterreisen …
Damit wünsche ich allen eine gesegnete Verdauung und ein Weihnachten ohne Baum und Geschenke!

For instant happiness, just add mascarpone creme!

As Above So Below

After a summer that didn’t only mean moving to a new home, but also trying to cope with the utterly unsensual summer temperatures, it is now time to cool down and dedicate our time to the sensual seasons of fall and winter, … hurray!
A good strategy in this respect is to follow what’s new in our dear friend Juan‘s art- and mind-world, for example by listening to what he told us about the pieces of his latest exhibition As Above So Below at Hilbertraum, Berlin.
It is always lovely to listen to him speak about his work, life, the universe & everything, which he does in a serene yet joyful way that leaves the spectator or listener with the feeling that someone takes the well thought-through subject-matter of their art serious, without appearing in the slightest way arrogant or omniscient – life is a game! The ancient dilemma that we cannot understand ourselves without understanding the universe and cannot understand the universe without understanding ourselves was at the heart of his talk, in which he drew most interesting parallels between concepts like history, solipsism, incompleteness, language, the babylonian origins of art/science and many more which I probably missed.
The skull is a symbol of life, not of death, I like this very much. Thanks Juan for an enlightening hour on a nicely-cool November afternoon!

Lets delve into the hidden layers of his-story, the Ge-schichten, on our quest to search for the hidden meta-language!

Kicks and Hugs

… and that’s when Xandl, Lydia and myself thought: why not go and have a nightcup, a cocktail somewhere close by, nothing out of the ordinary. The closest bar that evening happened to be Bryk Bar, a place I had been to twice: decent, but as requested nothing out of the ordinary. Enter the three of us. Seated and supplied with a small glass of water each we’re being served the more than mediocre salty snack (popcorn, good heavens!) and handed over the menu. Cocktails are ordered and take a long time to be served, which we are indifferent about, since the conversation is uplifting and the mood is summery. Cocktails are finally being served and the evening flows on, until at some point Xandl and I start to feel the emptiness in our water glasses. Since the sideboard just next to us hosts a large quantity of glasses already filled with tap water, we think no evil thoughts and serve ourselves. Suffice it to say that in Sweden for example, ANY sub-standard coffee shop has a table with tap water for anyone to serve themselves. High-end cocktail bars see it as a matter of course that their customers’ water glasses are never empty. Our lofty summer mood was in no way deteriorated until that point, we overlook such negligence with an air of aristocratic nonchalence native to well-traveled, grown-up citizens of Earth. After a prolonged period of time: arrival of Mademoiselle la Serveuse with her water jug. “What do I see? Why are there more water glasses?” She sharply looks at us, then to the sideboard, then back to us. Xandl, Lydia and I exchange glances of amazement without having any suitable answer … it is a situation to burst into hours of laughter, which turns into the epitome of grotesqueness as she adds without awaiting a reply from our part: “We have no self-service here. I’ll bring you the bill!” Bitte lachen Sie: jetzt! And there she goes and fetches the bill. Which we pay with an air of … etcetera, etcetera. What shall I say other than: there is a first time for everything. Being kicked out of a cocktail bar. Not in my wildest dreams. Because, believe me: we ARE the customers you really want as a bar. Not only because we have spent more money in 25 years in cocktail bars than other people have paid taxes all their lives, no, also and mainly because we are the most civilized and well behaved of drinkers! Bars from Tokyo, Melbourne, all over Europe to NYC will be able to testify and confirm. How the poor people of Bryk Bar were able to fail to see that we’ll never know, because of the obviousness for their having been erased from our mental drinks-landscape.

The story continues.

As Xandl&Lydia were headed for their hotel, I had the pleasure to bike to Kreuzberg, to Mister-Mister Johansson. Since the evening was fairly young and we are fairly old, I proposed to wash away the bitterness of recent events with a glass at the most formidable of bars in Berlin: Thelonious Bar. As we arrive we are greeted by the barkeeper, hands are shaken, drinks are stirred, the water glasses are never empty. The proprietor appears at some point and offers a round of sophisticated shots on the house, the barkeeper makes us try his latest addition to the rhum selection – bref: une soirée comme elle se doit! As we are about to head home, the proprietor hugs us on our way out! Round of smiles for everyone.

When does one ever get to experience the worst and the best of anything within two hours? Seldom. But that evening, I did. You lovely people of Thelonious Bar, I drink to your health and long life – à la votre! Good night, and good luck.

Honi soit qui mal y pense!