Archives for category: thoughts

How do you enter a world whose language you barely speak?

Concrete Dreams Tokyo manga Shibuya Crossroad Encounters
Casting silent side glances, I guess… (tbc)

*Merry X/Christmas and happy holidays to you all!*

Sometime summer will return, bringing days of unbearable heat to Tokyo again…

Concrete Dreams Tokyo manga Outsiders
Time to slow down, then. Finding your own pace in a literally melting concrete ocean might be a mere survival technique. Beyond that, it provides a kind of freedom no exercice of “fitting in” ever could. (tbc)

*Warming up for my new yonkoma series ‘Tokyo Mosaik’, tribute to a magic city.*

To visit one of the busiest cities of the world with no other purpose than just walking around seems incredibly futile, right?

Concrete Dreams Tokyo manga Wandering Ueno FujimiZakaSlope
Yet I did it, every single one of my own steps on heated summer asphalt encouraging me to go further. (tbc)

*Warming up for my new yonkoma series ‘Tokyo Mosaik’, tribute to a magic city.*

‘Tastes strange’ was how I would label Japanese tea while I was in Tokyo. Drinking it anyway eventually changed me, though.

Concrete Dreams Comic Tokyo Home Morning Ritual
Since I left, I can’t get enough of sencha anymore. It reminds me of morning rituals, and of the fact that there is a country on the other side of the globe where people use to drink tea as passionately as I do. (tbc)

*Warming up for my new yonkoma series ‘Tokyo Mosaik’, tribute to a magic city.*

Has the thought of living in a giant concrete ocean ever frightened you?

Concrete Dreams - Tokyo Manga
It’s a reality, after all. Most of us are dwelling in cities, making our planet an inreasingly urban one. (tbc)

*Warming up for my new yonkoma series ‘Tokyo Mosaik’, tribute to a magic city.*

More than a look at the few remnants of today’s Berlin Wall, a certain documentary film evokes the spirit of change linked to that symbol of separation. Jürgen Böttcher’s documentary “Die Mauer” has captured the immediate aftermath of the peaceful German revolution in 1989 around the wall. His aesthetic brilliance adds to a discrete narration: while the filmmaker’s voice remains mostly silent, his attentive glance tells so much about moments between (almost comical) uncertainty and newly gained freedom. The pensive style of the filmic narration leaves space for thoughts. As the camera scanned the length of the wall stretching and disappearing into the nightly dark, my very own remembrances of an East Berlin childhood gradually welled up.

berlin wall thoughts documentary die mauer juergen boettcher

Glancing at this concrete wall provokes so different feelings in all of us who were separated by it. Arisen from villages, this city’s vastness makes it hard to gather and feel close to each other. A look around sometimes reminds you of how small we really are.

I saw the screening of “Die Mauer” at the Berlinale film festival in 2006, when Jürgen Böttcher was awarded with the Berlinale Filmkamera. It was this film that sparked my interest in documentaries in general. Ever since, the documentary section proved to be one of my favorites at the Berlinale.

If films crystallize our dreams, good documentaries have the power to remind us of what dreams truly are: sparkles of personal experience, mixed in with hints of our secret fears and wishful thinking.

Seeing “Die Mauer” has made me realize just how much of a dream came true for me when this hated piece of concrete came down.

Had you asked me this in my younger days, at age 20 maybe, I’d never have deemed this possible. Finding inner peace and sorting out the constant flow of images in my mind through buddhist meditation techniques?

meditation Chiba Japan
Back in the nineties, I used to despise those Hollywood stars turning towards far away rooted religious traditions, maybe just to hide a lack of local connectivity and personal spirituality…

So I thought, and so would I have brushed off the idea of finding access to a practice of self acknowledgement from the far east.

meditation Berlin Kreuzberg
And here I am, thinking back of my younger self not knowing for sure yet but feeling already how better things were coming my way.

Reading my old short prose poems about light embellishing the urban streets we daily cross.

meditation Quito Ecuador
Finding my first pictures taken far away, of moments in between and the  delight of dwelling it: calmly, joyfully.

Then, I’m skimming through photos from newer travels, some maybe still “unprocessed” in my mind.

meditation Tokyo Japan
I’m not so different, now. Just improved the art of being and staying myself.

So, the tighter you’re gripping the bars, the more they restrain you?

manga watercolor prisoner
Let go, then. Think of what’s beyond, and we’ll see how fast you’ll make it disappear: a prison of thoughts and habits holding you back from the next step towards more awesome things.

Big thanks to André for encouraging thoughts on the freedom to pursue a personal passion: Your words inspired this picture and its message. It was fun being filmed while drawing, and I’m looking forward to further documenting sessions.

You may not care much about football history, but to see an era of said history coming to an end sure is fascinating. How the Chilean team just sent home to Spain the former world champion… made me remember about Chileno, a friend from Santiago de Chile who used to play Capoeira with me while he lived in Berlin.

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This was long ago, and I’m not sure whether he still practices Capoeira, neither do I know how much he cares about football. But right now, I’m sure you must be happy, Chileno. Last night was no easy victory, but it came relentlessly, as if it was bound to happen. When a chapter closes, another one starts. I’m happy when outsider chances are turned into realities – this is the kind of football I want to watch.

Stormy weather is approaching the city, yet in the metro I see a barefoot beauty with blonde dreads taking a seat in front of me.

Berlin barefoot metro beauty

This reminds me of a “Death Note” dialogue, where the always good looking, psychopathic main character named “Light” asks his opponent, the always messy, strange looking and sharp minded “L”, about the reason for his sloppy look (– a style so many watching and cosplaying fans grew fond of). I don’t remember the exact percentage, but L basically informs Light how significantly his thinking capacity diminishes when he forces himself to dress and behave “correctly”.

On the backside of my metro ticket I take a quick sketch note of barefoot beauty, phone stuck to the ear, legs crossed and slightly swinging to the rhythm of her conversation. Looks like I found my daily inspiration.

And the storm still keeps us waiting.

Gee, how I love Berlin, at times.