Das erste eigene Auto

Man glaubt es kaum – aber nachdem ich nun doch schon einige Jahrzehnte diesen Planeten mit meiner Anwesenheit belästige – habe ich nun mein erstes eigenes Auto. (Also zusammen mit meinem Mann, aber des basst scho’).

Was es geworden ist? Ein kleines Hustegutschele 😉 Eigentlich ja ein Zweitwagen (klein, Benziner und so) aber da der Große noch auf sich warten lässt, ist eben das neue Zweitauto zuerst da. Es musste ja auch wirklich schnell gehen, weil sonst ab Anfang Januar entweder nur mein Mann oder ich zur Arbeit kommen – und das missfällt uns mindestens genauso wie es unserem Arbeitgeber! (Und bei uns beiden sind Öffis nicht wirklich eine gute Idee)

Der Große kommt dann hoffentlich auch bald. Denn das Alte (16 Jahre, Kupplung pfeift auf dem letzten Loch) steht leider kurz vor einem wirtschaftlichen Totalschaden. Aber da Totgesagte ja bekanntlich länger leben, fährt das Alte meinen Mann immer noch unverdrossen zur Arbeit und wieder zurück – und zwar deutlich länger, als nach der Vorhersage unseres Autoschraubers.


Alles neu macht der Januar

Eigentlich müsste es ja “alles neu mach der Mai” heißen – aber es geht doch deutlich schneller.

Wer mich kennt – oder diesen Blog ab und an liest, der weiß dass ich derzeit in Hannover lebe und arbeite. Ab Januar ist das alles anders. Dann verschlägt es mich nach Stuttgart. Neue Stelle, neues Umfeld, neues alles quasi.

Das Ganze geht natürlich mit einigem organisatorischen Geraffel einher. Eine neue Wohnung muss her. Und die möchte doch bitte – danke – verkehrsstrategisch klug liegen. Nun ist es ja in und um und um Stuttgart herum so, dass zu den Stoßzeiten viele Strecken nicht befahrbar sind. Und dabei ist Stoßzeiten ein dehnbarer Begriff! Schätzungsweise von 7:00 – 11:00 und von 15:00 – 19:00 ist Stoßzeit, aber gefühlt ist 24/7 Stau.

Während meiner ersten Besichtigungstour hat mich die “Heimdfahrt”, die eigentlich eine Stunde dauern sollte, viereinhalb Stunden gekostet. Und das möchte ich wirklich, wirklich, wirklich nicht noch einmal machen. Ich möchte das auch nicht als Pendelstrecke zweimal am Tag haben.

Dann finde ich die Wohnungssuche auch deshalb sehr schwer, weil ich den Eindruck habe, sofort etwas finden zu müssen. Das ist auch nicht wirklich falsch, möchte ich ja meinen ersten Arbeitstag nicht verpassen. Andererseits möchte ich auch eine Wohnung die mir gefällt und bei der ich schon während der Besichtigung sage, ja, dort möchte ich wohnen. Bisher ging das immer recht schnell, aber diesmal leider nicht. Also kommt was halt kommt: weitersuchen und eine weitere Besichtigungstour planen.

Osaka-jo and Osaka Museum of History

Today we started slowly. We skipped our crappy breakfast at our crappy hotel and went to a Matchikadoya shop for breakfast. Afterwards we strolled through the city to Osaka-jo – Osaka castle. Osaka-jo was built in the late 15 hundreds by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his son Hideyori. The former was the first feudal lord to unite the warring Japan.

Osaka-jo is the setting of the Osaka winter and summer campaign, two wars between Hideyori Toyotomi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, who ultimately won the summer campaign in 1615 and founded the Tokugawa shogun dynasty. When Osaka fell in 1615, the castle was completely destroyed, but only 5 years later the Tokugawa regime started to rebuild Osaka castle.

Like many other buildings most of the castle buildings were wodden constructions and the new main tower lasted only for 30 years before it was burned down after being hit by lightning. It was then rebuilt under emperor Meiji. The current main tower survived the air raids of the second world war. Today it holds a museum which details the lives of the Toyotomi protagonists of Japans unification and the events of the Osaka war, which ultimately ended the Toyotomi lineage. The exhibition is centered around two large folding screens which depict the war and fall of Osaka in great detail.

A summary? War and nobles are the same, whether in medieval Japan or Europe.

Then we went to the Osaka Museum of History. This museum tells Osakas history from the first settlements in the area of the Osaka delta to the Meiji restoration. It is really interesting, as it shows what happend before all the samurai stuff. Unfortunately almost all exhibits are only explained in Japanese. So the audio guide is really important, if you can’t read Japanese well.

The museum itself is very nice. Beside the traditional showing of broken, bent or reconstructed vases, swords, coins and whatevers, there are many displays with puppets or miniatures which paint a vivid picture of ancient Osaka. I found the main hall of the Naniwa palace very interesting. Half of a museum floor is dedicated to this pre-Nara palace building and the hall is rebuilt inside with life-sized figures of ladies in waiting and court nobles around a painting of the emperor’s thone. The windows allow the visitors to see the site, where the rests of the buildings foundations were excavated and where the stone base for the building was rebuilt.

Overall the museum offers a wonderful view of Osaka. As the exhibition starts on 9th floor (German couning, 10th in Japanese counting) one can see Osaka castle whenever going from one floor to the next.

Toji Flea Market Kyoto and Osaka Aquarium

We started our first day in Osaka by travelling to Kyoto to see the Toji flea market. This market takes place once a month and is famous for second hand kimono. When I first went there in 2008, I had the impression, that most people sold second hand kimono. This time it was a little different.

The market is huge – no matter how you look at it. There were many stalls offering food – takoyaki, yakisoba, fried sweet potatoes … basically everything that can be eaten while walking around. And lots of things one could use at home for cooking like fish and tsukemono Then there were many vendors selling plants – like for example small kaki trees. We found one vendor selling kakis and bought about one kilo and they were absolutely delicious!

I browsed through about every stall I found selling second hand obi, as I am looking for an obi to go with my rose colored kimono –  but I didn’t find any. I also tried on a lovely blue kimono, but it was too small 😦 So if you want to buy a kimono there, you should be small or you need some luck.

After three hours we walked back to the station and browsed through the omiyage section in the basement, a section with shops offering only sweets and other foods you could bring for your family or colleagues. Unfortunately the sweets had a very short storage life and we didn’t buy any. Although some dango (ricecake) with kaki jam filling looked just right 😉

After we returned to Osaka we went to the Osaka aquarium Kaiyukan. It features the self-proclaimed largest indoor tank in the world, which houses large fishes from the pacific ocean, mainly sharks and rays with the largest being two whale sharks. The aquarium shows a wide variety of lifeforms associated with the marine life, but is not limited to fishes. It also features mammals as dolphins, seals and sea otters and birds.

At Kaiyukan I saw real life sea otters for the first time in my life (outside of a TV). And while I found them cute from the first time seeing them on TV I was surprised by their size. They are about 1.5m long. I had always thought they were closer in size to normal otters.

The route through the exhibition circles around the main tank of the aquarium. This gives the visitor a lot of possibilities to have a look at the sharks and rays in the tank. And if you are just a little bit patient, you can get a close up view of the majestic whale sharks as they swim by the window. Taking photos is a tiny little bit difficult, as the rays are really good at photo bombing ;D They got me more than once.

I also liked a tank which represented coastal waters with lots of pots and natural caves and rifts. Because I counted eight octopuses. I am really fond of octopuses as I like their intelligence and skills like being able to change their color and pattern to match the ground. And I liked the dolphins and the squids and the sea turtles 😀

We spend the complete afternoon at the aquarium and if the tanks had flat glasses – not curved – we might have considered staying until the aquarium closed. But after three or four hours it gets more and more difficult to look at the animals in the tanks because your eyes and brain protest the constant need to somhow cope with the contortions.

There is just two things that I didn’t like: first, I think the tanks for dolphins and seals should be larger and second, many larger fishes had injuries on their fins or noses and one turtle had a missing portion in its shell right above its tail. I would be really happy to find out, that the tanks were updated, so that fish wouldn’t injure themselves. Or maybe they came injured to the aquarium….


Before leaving for Beppu, we visited Tochoji and Shofukuji.

The Tochoji temple features a large wooden buddha (said to be the largest wooden buddha in Japan) which was erected in 1996. Personally I think the statue gives off a “I am so much better than you” feeling, which I really do not like. The statue’s robe is accentuated with gold along the creases and golden patterns are painted over it. Unfortunately the patterns take away a lot from the 3D impression of the robe.

Under the buddha is a tunnel, in which paintings of buddhist hell are displayed. After seeing eight paintings of demons torturing humans, one walks through a pitch black corridor to see an image of buddha.

As we didn’t like this temple too much, we went on to visit Japan’s first ever Zen temple. On the compound are several temples which are in most cases not open to the public. So for the most time, this visit was more like strolling through a park.

After arriving in Beppu we enjoyed out Onsen hotel for three days. We didn’t do much, except for regular bathing in our private outdoor bath and enjoying lavish delicious meals. On our last day in Beppu we visited two of Beppu’s hells (very hot springs, not for bathing).


We started our day with an early trip to Minoshima Market Street. A small street which is lined by shops selling all ingredients one could need for some good old homecooking. Unfortunately, we were too early by Japanese standards and most of the shops were still closed. Although some shops which sell fish were already closing again.

To kill some time we visited the nearby Sumiyoshi shrine. As it is still November, some families were celebrating 7-5-3 (a celebration for young children) and we were also lucky and saw some Japanese wedding couples at the shrine. We did only witness one couple entering the shrine for a ceremony. All others seemed to just take photos.

After that we returned to the market street and browsed through the stores. We bought some really delicious kaki. As Minoshima Market street is very small, we went on to walk through Tenjin. We enjoyed some delicious tempura there.

Hiroshima – Fukuoka

Traveling by Shinkansen is really nice, because you spend almost no time in the train (compared to the distance you cover). It took us only one hour to get to Fukuoka. So we used the free morning to visit Hiroshima-jo, the castle of Hiroshima.

Hiroshimas history began as a castle town after the so-called warring states period was over. The castle served mainly administrative purposes but was also equipped to withstand a siege. Of course, the atomic bomb destroyed its buildings and walls, but on the ruins a new main keep was built from modern materials. It houses an exhibition on the history of Hiroshima, when and how the decision was made and the like. It also features insights into the lives of samurai and merchants and on the top floor armor and different swords are on display. Unfortunately, the signs on the top floor are all in Japanese only and on the lower floors the English is sometimes good and sometimes a little off. For example, I truly hope that Mori Termumoto was a feudal lord, not a fedual load. 😉

After finishing the museum we strolled through the food market of Fuyuka department store. This is something I really like to do as the food markets of the large department stores usually feature not only a supermarket but may smaller stores selling sweets, sushi, tonkatsu, bento, … bakeries … basically: you name it. We bought some bento wo eat on the train and a daifuku with a whole mandarin in it. It proved difficult to eat.

After arriving in Fukuoka, we were a bit shocked at the outward appearance of the ryokan we booked. It is very simple but so far we had nothing to complain about and it our room is larger than the last hotel room, which is actually quite nice.

We then visited the Kushida Shrine. The shrones compound is rather smallish, but the shrine itself is quite impressive with huge straw ropes over the entrance to its main sanctiary. On the grounds a festival float is displayed which is several meters high. After that we wanted to visit Tocho-ji, but we were too late. Generally, in winter most temples close at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, so we did what we always did after 5: we explored some shopping arcade, this time the Hakata Canal City. There we say a nice Christmas themed lightshow.