The one about sport

…or architecture. Our Energy Savings in Buildings course had a field trip to the World Games Stadium in Kahsiung today. The architect, Toyo Ito, is from Japan and integrated the design of the building and the surrounding nature. Did he succeed? Take a look and decide for yourself. 

In the upcoming week there will be a soccer tournament here. That’s why we weren’t allowed to step on the turf with shoes. Anyone following the European Championship? I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks, so far the games haven’t been very exciting. 

Taiwanese artists added sculptures to the surroundings of the stadium

Beautiful field…apparently the closest to international standard you can get within Taiwan.

Say hello to the Energy Savings in Buildings class of 2016.

In the shadow the temperatures were bearable. At least it didn’t rain!

The one where it rains every day

Oh my…, I shouldn’t have said anything! Just a few days ago I mentioned that this year we didn’t have a rainy season yet. Last year my friends from Germany visited me in May and it had been raining every day. 

Now we’re mid-June and the seasons catch up. Since exactly one week it’s been raining, at night and most of the time during the day. At night the wind is so strong and rattles on our windows only to be followed by a crescendo of rain drops pounding. 

So how do you spend your time now, when, as soon as you go out, your clothes are soaked? First of all: stop complaining. The temperatures dropped as well so it’s actually bearable to sleep without AC and being wet from the rain is still better than being sweaty by the slightest movement. I went out with Peggy to a Japanese restaurant. The food, the different beers and ciders were good but it took forever. We waited almost 90 minutes for our snacks to arrive, but because of the rain there was no other reason place that we could’ve walked to. We stayed and talked about movies, about the lack of good cinematography in recent works or the lack of a good plot to go with it (The Revenant). 

Outside decoration of the Japanese restaurant


Won the world beer award…can’t taste anything special


Empty bottles as decoration…or you could just recycle them.


The next day I spent mostly inside, but not watching Netflix or working projects this time. Instead we had a photo shoot in the studio. That was simply amazing and I learned a lot! The lighting was a bit tricky. The week before we had ambient light but the rain clouds let only little sunshine pass through. Sometimes we used flashes to fight the darkness, other times we embraced it and worked it into the pictures. I’ll post more of the results as soon as I finish editing. For now I published only two pictures. The rest will follow in a few days, once I had the time to process them. So be patient and check back soon to see more. 

The one with the dragon

Right now the annualy dragon boat festival (端午節) is taking place in Taiwan. Some teams of the NCKU are also participating. Sadly I couldn’t join because of my busy schedule during the semester which left no time slot for the demanding training. My dear friend Kristina joined but after a tough race the didn’t proceed to the next round. 

Here are some impressions of the festival in Tainan, which is held in AnPing. 

I took a bunch of pictures with my new camera-case attached to my phone. Thanks to Peggy for this awesome birthday gift! 

加油!They’re almost at the finish line!

No, we didnt sacrifice anything to the river gods.

Most of the streetfood was kinda fatty…

Some stores offered small merchandise, almost always unrelated to both boats, and dragons.

The one about Gelato

Many people would say that Gelato is the Italian word for ice-cream, but it’s so much more. Gelato differs from what we believe is ice-cream in many ways. It’s made of natural ingredients, like nuts, herbs, and seasonal fruits, as well as fresh milk. It also comes as sorbet, meaning it’s also fit for vegans or people with allergies. Why am I talking about this so much?

Fort Gelato Cafe, so close to my home


There is a new amazing place in Tainan: Fort – Gelato Cafe. The owner Kiran learned how to make Gelato in the traditional way at its birthplace: in Italy. Now in Taiwan he offers amazing flavors that will make it hard for you to choose. Don’t worry, you can try each flavor first if you like. But be aware: since its homemade and all natural it means that Kiran is always making small batches and the ingredients will change. The next time you stop by he might not have the one you’ve been yearning for. Last time I went I tried Tiramisu and Blackberry Cheesecake. The Tiramisu is made with real ladyfingers and strong espresso, capturing the essence of this traditional dessert. Cheesecake is something I adore but seldom I found ice-cream that is made with cream cheese and cookie crumbles, just like I like to make it myself. Oh I almost forgot, it’s not ice-cream, it’s Gelato as Kiran keeps reminding his customers. Be sure to stop by if you’re in Tainan. Now the summer is here in sure you’ll appreciate the refreshing, creamy dessert. If you like coffee as much as I do then you should also try his Affogato, strong espresso with a scoop of Vanilla served in a martini glass. You can find his shop at No. 206 Section 2 Yongfu Road Tainan

Brownie Affogato and coffee

Classic Affogato


Be sure to check out his Facebook page and I’ll keep you posted about his party catering. I didn’t mention it yet? The studio opened and we’re going to have a party, Kiran also offers catering so we might try that. 

The one with the new faces

The new semester is about to start. Finally I’m back to student life: getting up early, sitting in classes taking notes, working on group projects, and studying for exams. So many fun things that I can look forward too. Only problem so far: the class registration. Every semester the server collapses under the stream of students who want to add as many courses as possible within the first few minutes. This year the university changed that, kind of. They gave each department and each year a time slot when to register for classes. The problem here is that I was registered as a first year even though I’m not takin any first year course. Every class I was interested in was already full. Good thing we’re in Taiwan, there’s an easy fix for that: the department office can still register us for any class we want, as long as it’s within our department. Starting from next week my life will be ten times busier than it has been so far. No more sleeping in, basically every day I have a 9am class, sometimes I have classes from the morning till 6pm and after that I have to rush to my teaching job. That’s fine by me though, work hard now and live of the crop later. 加油!

The new semester also means that I’ll meet new people from all over the world…or at least South America and south east Asia, as people from those areas make up the majority of my peers in the Energy department. I’m happily looking forward to new adventures and experiences in the upcoming few month. Also I’m very excited to go back to Germany in the summer! The date isn’t fixed yet but it’s 70% safe that I’ll go. 

The one about the earthquake 

It was really confusing to be woken up by a shaking bed, you have no idea what’s going on and before you can have a clear thought it’s already over. The earthquake hit Tainan around 4 o’clock on Saturday. In our apartment was no damage, nothing fell of the walls or tables, so we went back to sleep. The next morning I had a couple of messages on my phone. Friends from all over the world asked me if I was alright. I had no idea how severe the earthquake was until I had a look at the newspapers. Taiwan normally doesn’t appear in international newspapers, the only incidents were of a sad nature: the stabbing in Taipei, the pipe explosion in Kaoshiung, and the fire in the amusement park close to Taipei. I’m glad that none of my friends or there family are directly affected by the earthquake. I hope that the Taiwanese army, police, firefighter, doctors, nurses, and other helpers manage this difficult time, right as Chinese New Year begins. 

 

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Only damage I saw close to the Tainan Station.

 
On a happier note: my dear friend Kelly is back from Switzerland to Taiwan during the holidays! We met twice already to catch up and it’s so amazing, we haven’t seen each other in such a long time, but it’s like someone just hit the pause button and we continue right were we left off. 

 

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Welcome back! Enjoy the time with your family!


Today we to a small artist village that’s close to our home. I never knew! During the next week they’ll have a creative night market with small handmade goods. I’m looking forward to it opening and also to take some more pictures there.  
    
   

The one with the souvenirs

Visiting friends and family always means you’ll have to bring a small gift from the country that you’re now living in. What is Taiwan famous for? If you live there then I’d say bubble tea, inexpensive snacks, night markets, and for me: convenience stores. Somehow a special sweet dreams to represent Taiwan better than anything else: pineapple cake. Most of the time it’s dry, filled with sweetened bits of pineapple. Rarely seen anywhere else than big department stores or airports they’re not really part of daily life and apart from being a popular souvenir they don’t seam to be relevant to Taiwanese in any way. Getting a bit off topic here. So we bought pineapple cake, baby clothes, Taiwanese sausage amongst other small snacks for our Japanese friends. In return we’re probably going to bring lots of Matcha sweets (at least for ourselves, simply in love with Matcha Kit Kat). 
What can you almost always find where a lot of foreigners work? An international supermarket with imported goods from all over the world. Of course we fell into the same trap, bought German honey and two coffees. Of we go onto the Tokyo metro once more.

 

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Next to tea,coffee, and cereal they had a decent wine selection

 After the visa trouble we’re going to meet one of Narumi’s business contacts in Roppongi. It’s a very cool area, I’ve just been there last month and posted some pictures here. I’m looking forward to a good meal; Roppongi houses some of the best restaurants, for example the one that has been made famous through Kill Bill. Apart from the food I’m also interested in a book store/gallery that I read about on japancamerahunter: IMA concept store. It exclusively sells photo books, sometimes even signed editions and displays local artists. I’m not sure if I’m going to buy anything, the visa just cost me another 120$, but it’s definitely worth a look and they offer coffee and comfortable seats too.  

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This can’t be right.

 
Turns out that japanesecamerahunter made it sound a lot better then it is. The gallery takes up most of the space; one big room with five to six different artists on display. Some of the concepts were really nice and stuck with me, maybe I’m going to imitate them myself and post the results in a couple of weeks. The books were mostly in Japanese, sometimes with an English translation. The quality of the prints varied with each book, some of them were part of a limited edition. Anyone interested in buying book 143 of 500 with a tiny signature by the author? Yeah, I thought so. Next time in Tokyo I’ll try to find the other bookstores mentioned in the post and hopefully I’ll be able to see the hidden treasures they wrote about for myself. Main disappointment: no coffee, no seats. If your invite people to a gallery and if you want them to get interested into your photographs, either as book or large print, offer some place to rest and take in the beauty of the art! At least the business meeting went very well and my passport is ready to be picked up at 4:30 pm.