'down to earth' is maybe the best description of Leipzig. I mainly go there to see my friends and not even the x-mas market with all its kitsch can take away the pleasure of this city. The change is a constant resident of Leipzig and whole blocks of houses remind of snakes who change their skin. Driving there is a challenge and maybe the cars will grow some ellbows after a while as the people seem to regard the street as a battleground. Today I took the tram back to the station. The ticket machine only accepted cards with a certain cash function, which I did not have of course. The woman driver was annoyed with my question for a ticket and told me grumpily that she had run out of tickets and her tone told me to get lost. My need of a ticket was definately my problem, not hers. A woman behind me said that she had a handicapped card and could say I was accompanying her in case of a ticket check(in Germany a handicapped person can be accompanied by a person for free on trains and trams). She got off at the station before mine and told me not to worry. I didn't and look forward to come back to this homely place.
Posted by steffi at 4:01 PM
Categories: places

every ninth woman...

A good friend of mine got diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer was a theme far away from me and my friends and when it touched me all of a sudden it opened a new world, with own laws and an own, cruel language. Chemotherapy, tumor, perspectives... It is mean and makes you helpless, speechless. Alone the talking, reading and hearing about (breast)cancer can make you feel sick. Every ninth woman is confronted with breast cancer once in her life. If you feel a knot or any change in your breast, please consult a doctor as soon as possible. And: just remember: life is everyday! Here a link(to a German site) for information: mamazone
Posted by steffi at 3:45 PM
Categories: misc



There is something particular about Kassel. In a book about dull places in Germany, Kassel was described as the only east German city in the west. A friend of mine once said that in Europe every group of people was forced to leave their home at least once during the evolution, but he had the impression that the inhabitants of Kassel always stayed where they were. Yes, there is a sleepiness about the city and most of the people who came to study or work and stayed find it difficult to show any affection for Kassel or to give reasons why they are still there(though they try). I came back to Kassel(for a visit) on a rainy day, which underlined the grey athmosphere. But still I enjoyed the nostalgia of coming back to a place where you lived for quite a while and where some friends live like anchors for me. When I stepped out of the train station it was raining. But as soon as you enter the homes of friends there is a deep and warm welcome, which contrasts to the dull faces in the tram. My favourite antiquarian bookstore has moved and I had to search for the new location, where I was greeted cheerfully and I even was given some advise for my job hunt. Many people I met were still talking about their wish to leave Kassel, but many of them were talking about thast already for years. Maybe they should just change their position and finally decide to stay and really lift the mood. If I get an offer in Kassel I will go, happily.
Posted by steffi at 7:54 PM
Categories: places


2005 starts to-day

Yes, 2005 started today for me, because today I bought my agenda for 2005. Hurray. It is the same agenda I have been using for 6 years now, the only exception was this year.It is a special agenda, from a firm called rido septimus. If you open it you have a whole week in front of you. Closed it has the size of a post card. And at the back there is an address book. Tomorrow I will transfer my addresses and birthdays to the new calendar. I should do it in a coffee place and I should have a cake with it. Last year I actually was prepared; before going to Japan I bought the calendar and put it in a special box, so my parents could send it to me, but even though I asked them several times they forgot. I was forced to buy another calendar, but found a nice green one from a firm called MIDORI. It also had the size of a postcard and when opened you have a whole week in front of you. But my usual agenda is used horizonatl and the Japanese one vertical. I like it that my week is long, a line, my own time-line. After 6 months I lost my green Japanese agenda somewhere in Tokyo. Luckily I could get the same agenda again, same lay out, just with a blue cover(which was very refreshing in the hot and humid Tokyo summer). Today, finally I went to the same store where I bought all my other rido septimus calendars for years, the paper store Fischer in Wilhelmstrasse in Kassel. I found it in the usual corner of the shop, I chose the same cover than my last one. 2005 lies in front of me. I am ready.
Posted by steffi at 2:03 AM
Categories: misc


I like to stray, to be out in the city late at night, wandering home or just around. The weather doesn't matter and sometimes it is very athmospheric to walk around late at night in the rain. A never ending streem of thoughts and impressions crosses your mind, you notice gaps in curtons and other beings on the road. Straying in Kassel late at nigth always reminds me of these western...when the sheriff meets the bad guy at 12h for the final fight and no one else is to be seen. When the last tram has finished its service the streets are empty and sometimes you can feel like the last man on earth. In London there are these great night buses that take ages to bring you close to your home, but as compensation you could watch the lovers and get off at Brick Lane to get a frsh and warm Bagel in the bakery. Oh and then you could get the bulky saturdays' paper on the way back home and flip through the magazine in bed before sleeping. In Tokyo you are tempted to go and get some food on your way back home, maybe in a curry house or a noodle bar. There is always a 24h conbinie at the next street corner where you can get milk for your morning coffee or ice cream; and I always checked the soft drinks for some promotion, like a cow-figure for your mobile coming with your coffee, or a silly pin. But the best place to stray is Venice, no doubt. All thgese labyrinthic lanes, you can hear your foot steps and yopu can hear the others foot steps of a stranger approaching, you pass by and then go in different directions.Some lanes are so narrow that you can topuch the walls on your left AND right while walking, feeling the rough stones.Just a meternext to you, behind those walls someone is sleeping... You need a city to stray. You can't really stray with a car or on a bike, because you are too fast. You need to be on foot. Being able to notice niches and corners, a mouse hushing by, lovers in a doorway. Nobody should wait for you at home; maybe you want to stay out for a little longer. Though, of course straying as a couple or with a friend is a great thing to do...
Posted by steffi at 1:46 AM
Categories: places


out of the world

I always hated sundays. Well hating might be a tpp strong word, but there is something about sundays...there is this lazy feeling amd the time flowing like a thick liquid. You don't want to move too much. And even my Mankell novel seems to require too much concentration. I start a thousand things and in the end I just wait for crime time on TV...how good, that it is monday tomorrow...Oh well these are the luxourious thoughts of someone for whom sunday and monday is just the same right now. Probably I will be longing for these lazy sundays soon, and fear the mondays of a silly job.
Posted by steffi at 5:09 PM
Edited on: 2004-11-14 11:02 PM
Categories: misc


seduction garantueed

Posted by steffi at 5:10 PM
Categories: books

nearly sorted

Still I am not quite sure if this is heaven or hell. When I went to London some 3 years ago, I packed my belongings in banana boxes and spread them over my ex' house, who wasn't my ex back then, my parents' and my grandma's...and since then I only lived in temporary homes and my boxes stayed in their basements, attics and corners, only visited if I desperately was looking for something(like this great poetry book, or that favourite mug). Now I have the time to open these boxes and see, if the content is of any use for me now. Sometimes it felt like x-mas, but actually only during the first day. Meanwhile I am a regular customer at the local tipp and am amazed by my former hamster-me. This is the most amazing thing if you open these parcels from your former you: you meet someone, who is familiar and distant at the same time. After opening the boxes and sorting out the useful and loved I close them again, a little lighter. I have no idea, what is going to come next and where. The boxes I close today are already greetings to my future me. So long.
Posted by steffi at 5:00 PM
Categories: misc


when I'm sixty four

When I came to my parents house tonight, I was greeted by my parents and our Italian neighbour Angelo, who were sitting together over some wine. They just had decided to start the search for a man for me and possibly also for some more for some of my friends. First they started to offer some neighbours' sons, civil servants with a horizon reaching no further than from breakfast to lunch and a humour like ice cubes. As I did not take the bait they decided to open the search within Germany and Italy. I said thank you and switched on the TV to see my favoutite detective series, Tatort (scene of the crime), this time playing in Munich (TATORT). Batic and Leitmeyr, the two detectives were contemplating about women and why they were could not find some women in Munich. My father told me to move there tomorrow. Thank you. I was more interested in the oldies flatshare described in the film, where an old cake-maker was supplying the household with special sweets, 'Hasherl', containing Hashish to brighten the days. Well, it doesn't look as if we would need those sweets to cheeer up our momentary family flatshare at the moment. Sunday evening and the living seems easy.
Posted by steffi at 12:12 AM
Edited on: 2004-11-08 11:31 PM
Categories: misc


Living room

From my new life in the living room of my parents I am often remembered of my living room in Tokyo, éf gallery. It was love at first sight... I had read about the cafe/bar/gallery in a guide book, but the fools had marked the place in a different street. I did not find it when I was looking for it and stumbled across it, when I was on my way to somewhere else. LUCKILY. Then I met the crew, we became friends (or should I better say, that I have been taken care of like all the stray cats, that Izumi pampers) and then we even worked together... A certain music (Coco Rosie) was always played there and when I left, I got a copy. So, Coco Rosie creates a little of the éf feeling wherever I go.
Posted by steffi at 11:13 AM
Categories: cafes

welcome to my new diary

Here we go. My status has changed- from being a traveller and scholarship holder I have to get used to being in search of a job and a place to live. For the time being my parents house has been taken over and turned into my base camp. I set up my desk in the living room (close to the stereo) and I also take care that the phone is well connected to the world. Unfortunately I also fall back into the laziness of a teenager once in a while, just hanging around and getting this chewing gum feeling (I had fogotten all about that). But my spirits are high and slowly I am getting used to having strong coffee again (in China there is mostly served a horrible Nescafe, which isn't even brewed fresh, but kept on a heater...yaki). So be prepared that I hijack you to the nearest coffee-houses whenever I am around. Oh and by the way: I am working on my category with favourite coffee places, so if you know a good place- lets go there! And this gives me the reason to travel again...
Posted by steffi at 10:37 AM
Edited on: 2004-11-06 11:23 AM
Categories: misc