Urban Barcelona. A couple of days inside the Barrio. Stickers on lamp post tell you more than that lonely planet. Gentrification of the local neighboorhood, danish eco wellness store in between arab markets. Grannies doing 99%, Landies going green, I like this chaos. An attempt to capture the spirit. Enjoy!
Berlin is still full of hidden treasures. Take a walk behind main street to meet the locals and you will be rewarded. Glueckskind. We had the honour to be invited to a special location in Berlin Mitte. Time has come to a hold in Claerchens Ballhaus. Rough, used, vintage with a warm patina. A spot for insiders.
Statistics show that the biggest slice of the population pie lives in cities. Has the urban landscape become mainstream? Once again we are back in Berlin. Its Mitte district was once the place for creatives, today it is the domain of the young and urban professionals. They are not always warmly welcomed in the capitol.
Graffiti an underground phenomenon? It has surfaces, but still has some ragged edges. Rock and Roll. Fresh fruits for hungry tourists. When Rap goes stretches limo, we might have to reclaim it.
A sunny sunday at the Mauer Park, strolling through the local flea market. A unique place to dig some gold, buy used vinyl. Fresh fruit for tourists. A crowded place that has been institutionalized unfortunately. Kauf dich gluecklich. Coffee shops and eateries at every corner. Any food for the mind?
A couple of years ago Berlin by bike was the standard. Today I see more and more SUVs taking over the streets. Berlin, still "Wahnsinn" and colorful, exotic and full of hidden corners. Hamburg is said to be the new Berlin. It might be our next stop. Maybe by bike.
Another late night in a city I have not been before. Tokyo at night. Do we take a taxi to travel from high light to high light or shall we walk the cold and windy streets? We decide the latter. So much input, new views at every corner, we can sleep when we are back home.
Buzzing, overwhelming and at the same time so tranquil. I don't speak the language so every sign turns into a logo, a graphic, a minimalist and colorful positive impression. The japanese view on aesthetics, the eye for detail everywhere you look, this place is a warm bath for a designers mind.
So far from home, so exotic and at the same time somehow familiar. Akira anyone? The architecture, the elevated high ways, the traffic, every minute I take more pictures as I try to get a grip on the scene. Honda Monkey here, Eifel Tower there and the many Toyota Crown taxis in different colors. Why do they carry their mirrors on the fender? Questions and no answers. A lost Volkswagen bus seems so out of place like a typewriter in Kubrick"s Space Odyssey.
Our way back home takes longer as expected. Our feet hurt, but we stick to our concept of walking the walk. We take little breaks as we visit the compact local 24h stores to buy some "road beers". Another late and very inspiring night. Enjoy, at least we did!
Tokyo, a long day in the city. Where to go next? So far we have seen the city at night, today we step into a bright and colorful landscape. Some of our group have decided to visit the old part of town. I get out of the underground a couple of stations earlier. "I need to start with a big Tokyo punch in the face for a start!"
Akihabara is also known as Electric City and we are about to find out why. A long and broad street, on each side colorful narrow buildings full of imagery and signs. I am impressed and dazzled. I walk into a small store to dip a first toe into the water of this hyper specialist, almost freaky district.
Manga, figurines, collectors items, the palce is packed. The deeper I get inside the stranger it gets. Shelves full of pictures for sale. Akihabara is a world of extremes. From friendly toys and military robots to kinky stuff. Nothing is hidden once you have passed the doorstep. Outside on the street again the overflow of colors, street life and urban impressions.
This district is also about high tech. I cannot imagine a place on earth where one can find shops so specialized. Akihabara, a buzzing conglomerate of niches piled on top of each other. Step into any building, take the elevator to whatever floor, step into a small room and your jaw will drop. Modell trains, baseball cards, LEDs, transistors. We have seen many specialists. Looking for a headphone? You will find a friendly shop owner who has everything on offer. Crazy Japan.
One of my high lights? I point out a 8-bit graphic behind a window somewhere on the fourth floor of a building. "Let's take a peak inside Steve, this might be interesting". One minute later we are back in the eighties, surrounded by piles and piles of hand held video games. Eldorado! There are three more floors to go and we take our time. Mint condition retro games, often wrapped in the original packaging. Gold mine. Hand held, consoles, cartridges. At the top floor we step into an arcade of big machines. Ready to play? Akihabara, a must if you want to take a deep dive into japanese crazy culture.
One will find the real Berlin in hidden court yards, the local Beijing in the deepest corners of the hutongs, in Tokyo you have to look up.
The whole day we have been walking the streets of Tokyo. Akihabara, Roppongi, Shibuya. My eyes hurt, too much impressions. Before yet another deep dive into the night we decide to take a time out. Intermezzo. A look at the many high rise buildings and a couple of minutes later we find ourselves on the seventh floor of a nondescript building. A bowling center, here? One story higher part of our group is challenging the locals for a round of table tennis.. Playtime