Tag Archives: travel

Back to Tokyo!

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Last autumn, we went on a very special holiday. I’d been looking forward to this trip for a long time. After 4 years I finally set foot on Japanese soil again and you know what!? It felt like I’d never been gone! I even managed to brush up my rusted Japanese while we were there. Since we did so many things and took tons of photos I’d like to share with you, I’ll split this up in several posts. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as we did. So let’s get started with Tokyo, the place I’d called my home for a year back in 2009/2010.

Our trip didn’t start off as nicely as we’d hoped for. When we got to the airport in Frankfurt we learned that our first flight to London was delayed by an hour because it was too foggy for the incoming plane to land. Of course, there’d been nothing but clear skies the previous days. Oh well! Since we had 2 hours between flights we were still positive we’d make it in time. Until we finally sat on the plane and nothing happened. We had to wait for connecting passengers and by the time we got to Heathrow, we had only 10 minutes until boarding was closing. I was still hoping they’d wait for us like we’d waited for the other passengers, but of course they didn’t. The next possible flight wasn’t until 6 hours later. Bummer! But well, somehow we managed to kill the time and after a pleasant flight we finally made it to Haneda airport. We took the bus to Shinjuku station and while we were making our way into central Tokyo, so many memories popped up in my head and I was overflowing with excitement. I couldn’t wait to show M around, to take him to all the places that had been part of my life for such a long time.

From Shinjuku station it was a short subway ride to our hotel. This station can be a pain in the ass as its one of the busiest in the world with millions of passengers every day. It’s basically a maze and I got lost more than once on the search for the right train line during the first months. I’m pretty sure M had his first little culture shock there since we got there during the evening rush hour and I think he didn’t expect me to know what I was doing. But we made our way to the subway without getting lost, yay! The second cultur shock for M was when we saw the shoe box that was our hotel room.

IMG_2590I have no idea how many times we bumped into furniture or our suitcases while moving about, but that’s the way things are in Japan and we didn’t spend much time at the hotel anyway. Plus, since we were pretty high up, we had a nice view over the city.Desktop_01

After a very long sleep, it was finally time for sightseeing. First, we went to Meiji-jingu, a big shinto shrine which I’d visited many times before. Before we went inside, I made the mistake of sitting down at the bottom of a tree in front of the big entrance gate and immediately got whistled at by a guard. Ooops! Well, I was already pregnant at the time and needed a rest, so, sorry! At first, we took a stroll through the adjacent garden, a first time for me as well, then went on to the shrine itself. IMG_2723As a contrast to the tranquility of the shrine, we afterwards walked through Harajku’s Takeshita dori, a narrow street with lots of fashion boutiquesm some of them selling pretty extraodinary clothes (even for Japanese standards). IMG_2741From there, we walked down to Shibuya, a part of the city I’d spent a lot of time at since I’d worked there and had frequently gone out for after work drinks in the area. I’d always loved standing at the famous Shibuya crossing, waiting for the lights to turn green and then letting myself drift along with the crowd. Standing there again after such a long time was a very special moment for me, kind of magical. Desktop_05We walked around on Center Gai for a bit, a shopping street with colourful stores and neon lights, pretty popular among the youth. IMG_2810When we got hungry, I rembered a sushi restaurant I’d been to several times before and after searching around for a bit, I finally found it. It wasn’t the same chain as before, but a way cooler one. You could order your sushi via a screen and after a few minutes the food arrived on a little train. What an awesome idea! Since I was pregnant and in Germany doctors recommend not to eat raw food, I decided to stick to the non-raw and veggie options. When I saw M indulging in all the sushi goodness, I felt tempted to try just one piece, but I didn’t dare. Japanese women would probably laugh at me, but well, there were plenty of other great things to eat waiting for me on the trip, so it was ok. IMG_2779Since the cafe I used to work at was only a short walk from the restaurant, we decided to pay it a visit after dinner. But unfortunately I had to find out that the place had been closed down. I have to admit that this made me pretty sad since I had hoped to see some of my former colleagues. On the other hand, it wasn’t such a big surprise to see a place had vanished since Tokyo is constantly changing and doing so pretty fast. So we took the train back to Shinjuku and went for an evening stroll in the Kabuki-cho area, an entertainment district, and through the bar-lined alleys of Golden Gai. All in all, it was an awesome first day back in Japan.IMG_2816

An evening at Dippemess

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Yay, the Easter weekend is finally here! I have been looking forward to having 4 days off so much after the busy weeks before. Last weekend I basically had only half a day off on Sunday because I came back from London around noon. I was absolutely knackered when I finally arrived back in Frankfurt. On Monday, I felt like having a jetlag, just from having to get up around 6 in the morning and working until late at night while I was in London. It was crazy! And this week wasn’t any less busy. I don’t really know how I made it through, I literally had to drag myself to work yesterday. But I made it and while we’re busy in a different way this weekend (with the apartment and family things), there’ll also be time to relax. I definitely deserve it!

To start off the long weekend, we had one of our surprise dates yesterday. Being the bad girlfriend I am I guessed what the boyfriend had planned before he had a chance to surprise me. To be fair, I only did because I’d planned the exact same thing for the next week. But it wasn’t any less fun! We went to Dippemess, a fair which is held every spring in Frankfurt. We’d already been there last year and liked it so much we wanted to come back. To be honest, I don’t really know why I like it that much. There isn’t any difference to other fairs in Germany, really. There’s a ferris wheel, a rollercoaster, a ghost train, a water ride and many more rides. Of course, there’s a wide choice of food and drinks as well.

After walking through the whole place, we decided we didn’t really feel like going on any rides. I was too tired for a thrill. Instead, we got some fries, Currywurst and a beer and sat down watching the people passing by. And then we discovered something: UFO catchers (you know those claw machines you can win stuffed animals and other toys with). Playing UFO catcher was a real hobby for me when I lived in Japan. It could’ve  easily turned into an addiction. Maybe it already was. I have no idea how much money I spent and how many stupid toys I won. It wasn’t about the prizes, it was about winning, about perfecting that skill to get the thing you want into that damn hole. Unfortunately, German UFO catchers are a real pain in the ass. Their claws work a lot different from Japanese ones, so I never really bothered to play. But yesterday we did. I’d spotted a little minion which looked like it was possible to capture. And I was right. It took us 3 tries to get it. Yay! To celebrate our win, we bought some cocktails and sat down in a deck chair. Aaaaah, almost like holidays! It started to get pretty cold, so we went for one last look around and then headed home. I think I haven’t slept this well in a long time.

Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

March Photo Challenge: Week 4

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I did it! I finished my first photo challenge! I’m aware that I’m awfully late with this since we’re already way into April. I’ve just returned from a business trip to London which was exciting, but also very exhausting since it required loads of work beforehand and I worked from early in the morning until late in the evening and only had half a day of the weekend. I have lots of ideas for posts I want to share and I really hope I’ll get the time to write them down soon when things have hopefully calmed down a bit. But before that, I finally wanted to share my pics of the final March week with you.

I have to admit that I had some trouble with the theme of that week which was “night”. I don’t stay up very late during the week, so I probably went to bed when it was still “evening” for most of people. And of course, I didn’t do very exciting things before I went to bed. Nevertheless, I tried to cover the topic as best as I could.

Day 22

DSC_0720As I mentioned before, Saturday is usually the only day of the week we cook proper dinner. And what would dinner be without a nice glass of red wine? I’m not the greatest fan of wine to be honest. As a German, I prefer beer of course. But from time to time it’s quite nice. And since I’m not used to drinking that much wine it goes straight to my head. We had a very fun night with that bottle of red! 😉

Day 23

IMG_0061 Here’s a pic I took of a little fellow that lives with us. His name is Emil, he’s a broccoli and he accompanies us on all of our travels. (Yes, we are a little crazy, but who cares really.) At least he did until last weekend. When I forgot him in the hotel in London. That’s what happens when you have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. I’m currently trying to get the hotel to send him to me. I know it’s only a toy, but I’d still be very sad if he didn’t return. Poor littly guy!

Day 24

IMG-20140216-WA0003I didn’t do much on Monday night except lying on the couch. I realize the photo is not taken during the night, but still I thought I’d share a picture of our beautiful living room because that’s where I spent that night. Nice, isn’t it?

Day 25

IMG_0064Here’s a pic the boyfriend took from our balcony. He recently bought a DSLR and likes to take photos all around the house. This is the skyline of Frankfurt. I’m not sure until how long we’re gonna be able to enjoy this view since there are currently buildings being built around us. I really hope they won’t block our view because I really love it!

Day 26

DSC_0725Wednesday marked the day we finally went back to the rehearsal room. After a break of almost 3 months. Horrible, I know! But the move and our jobs didn’t leave much time for anything else. The result was pretty horrible as well. I’d originally planned to take a pic while we were still “at work” and didn’t remember until I found that guitar pick in my pocket. Oh well.

Day 27

DSC_0727On Thursday, we started something new together. As part of our resolution to go out more often again, we’ve decided to take each other on surprise dates. Every week one of us gets to choose what we do that evening. On our first date, the boyfriend took me to this awesome bar which is located in an old slaughterhouse. It was a pretty interesting location and I really loved to spend time with the boyfriend outside of our home.

Day 28

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We stayed in on Friday because we were pretty tired from the busy week. So here’s yet another picture of our new neighbourhood. Are you bored yet?

Day 29

DSC_0730That day’s challenge was to take a picture of our favourite time of day. On the weekends I basically like all times of the day. But since the boyfriend had to work that day, my favourite time was when he came home in the evening. It had been a warm, sunny day, so we grabbed a beer and sat down by the basin looking on the river. Simply perfect!

Day 30

DSC_0731That day’s topic: Favourite moment of the day. Since the weather was absolutely amazing again, we decided to go on a little trip with my sister and her boyfriend. We drove to this nice beergarden in the countryside and decided to go on a little hike. It was supposed to take about an hour, but because we suck at reading maps and followed the wrong sign, we ended up walking around for 2+ hours (and I was already hungry before we left). I was never looking forward to a cold beer and some nice food as much as when we finally got back to the beergarden.

For the last day of March I have a special post coming up. So stay tuned!

March Photo Challenge: Week 3

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Last week has been a fun, but busy one. I went to not one, but two concerts (which makes 3 shows in just 6 days if I count in the one I went to the week before). While I was absolutely knackered by the middle of the week, I enjoyed going out during the week a lot. So much so that we’ve decided to finally break our couch and TV routine of the last weeks and do more fun stuff again. I really like spending time in our beautiful new apartment, but lately we’ve been acting more like retirees than people in their late 20s/early 30s. I hope I’ll be able to present you some of the fun things we’re going to do this week in my next edition of the March Photo Challenge. In the meanwhile, here are my pictures I took during last week’s evenings.

Day 15

DSC_0705Saturday is usually the only day of the week that we cook something. We both have lunch at work and stick to the good old “Abendbrot” (which basically consists of sandwiches, literally it means “evening bread”) during the week. I’d wanted to try a recipe called Mapo Tofu ever since I read about it on Chronicles of Yoyo (thanks, Yolande, for introducing me to this delicious dish). I’m not the best cook and I had to improvise a little because I couldn’t find all the ingredients, but this was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. My stomach really hurt because I couldn’t stop eating. Yum!

Day 16

DSC_0724One thing I really, really want to do this year is go back to Japan for a holiday in autumn. I have no idea if we’ll actually go (mainly because of financial reasons), but since I love nothing more than travel planning, I bought a Lonely Planet and have started to read through it. I’m trying to not get too excited about all the things I’d love to see and do, but there’s nothing wrong about dreaming a little, right?

Day 17

DSC_0707On Monday evening I was taking the train back home as usual. I always have my iPod plugged in because I like to shut myself off from my fellow passengers and sometimes, like that day, I’m also reading at the same time. As I was sitting there absorbed in my book I noticed that the train had reached the only point on the journey where it travels overground. It’s only for a few seconds, but it’s always the sign for me that I’m only 1 stop from where I have to get off. I was still reading in my book when suddenly I noticed that the train had stopped. At a train station. Overground. I turned around and noticed that I was the only person still on the train. Hastily, I picked up my stuff and jumped out of the train. So I had taken the wrong one even though this line never stops at the track my trains depart from. I can take any train from that track, so I usually don’t pay attention to where exactly it’s going (I definitely will from now on). So there I was, stuck in the wrong station and the next train back wouldn’t leave until 25 minutes later. It was already after 7, so I wouldn’t be home until 8. Bummer! I called the boyfriend and kindly asked him if he could pick me up knowing that it would only take him 15 minutes max to get there. He wasn’t amused, but he jumped right into the car. While I was waiting outside, I took a picture. There’s not much to see, but after all that hassle I couldn’t really be bothered to come up with something more interesting.

Day 18

DSC_0710 On Tuesday, I went to see Casper, a German rapper, with my sister. The ticket was a birthday gift from her. It was really nice to do something with my sister. Even though we live close the each other, we only meet up every couple of weeks because we’re both busy people. The concert was awesome! I usually don’t listen to hip hop anymore. I used to back in the 90s when good German hip hop was actually a thing. Casper really is an exception these days and he put on a great show. I was really exhausted from all the jumping around.

Day 19

On Wednesday evening I went to a concert again. This time it was You Me At Six. I’d already seen them play in support of 30 Seconds to Mars last autumn and was really looking forward to seeing them do a headline show. The venue was probably the tiniest I’ve ever been to. I didn’t even see the stage at first, that’s how tiny it was. The vibe there was great and both the band and the crowd were in a great mood. My favourite moment was probably when lead singer Josh decided to jump on the bar and suddenly stood right in front of me. He then jumped into the crowd and let us carry him back to the stage. It was a bit risky considering there were only a few hundred people there and it wasn’t exactly crowded. But luckily, he got out of there safely.

Day 20

DSC_0718After all the action I had the days before, I was absolutely exhausted on Thursday. I didn’t do much else than lying around on the couch that evening. But when I went home from work I took a picture of the sky which had a nice pattern from the airplanes that had crossed it moments before.

Day 21

DSC_0719Friday is grocery shopping day for us. We used to do it on Saturdays, but since it always takes up so much time and we want to do greater things on our weekends, we decided to change that routine. Here’s a look at our not so healthy purchase. We still had plenty of vegetables and fruit at home which is why we didn’t buy any. Usually, it’s really not that bad.

March Photo Challenge: Week 1

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So I have, once again, decided to take part in a photo challenge created by the lovely Liz from Be.Love.Live. Almost a year ago (in April 2013) I had my first attempt at taking a photo every day around a specific word, but I didn’t quite make it until the end. It’s actually a fun thing to do and I’ve really wanted to give it another try and actually reach the finish line, so when I stumbled over the challenge for this month I just decided it was time. Maybe because this time it seems to be fairly easy because it’s simply set around certain times of day (this week it’s “morning”) which is fairly easy for my old brain to remember. What spoke to me even more however is the fact that the thought behind all this is to focus on the ordinary moments in life and see something special in it. I feel that’s exactly what I need right now. My life is crazily busy and has been for most of this year. My job is very demanding at the moment which is fun and great in a way, but some days it also makes my head spinning. This week is actually the first one in I don’t know how long that I’m not travelling somewhere (but only due to unforeseen circumstances which you’ll learn more about on one of the pictures below) and this is going to continue at least until after Easter. And since we’re also still settling into our new apartment trying to get everything done, I haven’t had much time for all the things I really love. Especially music. I’ve tried and it dissatisfies me to no end, but I also need to pace myself so I have enough energy for everything that needs to be done. So let’s start with the first few little moments I enjoyed during the past mornings.

Day 1

DSC_0664Last week we went to Ikea to get some stuff for the apartment and as always when you go to Ikea you come back with loads of stuff you didn’t plan on getting. Among other things we came back with some herb seeds and a box to plant them in. When I checked the box on Saturday morning I saw these little fellas looking through the soil. That was pretty fast!

Day 2

IMG-20140306-WA0001The weekend is the only time of the week we’re getting to enjoy breakfast together. Since I’m not an early bird and I now have a longer commute to work I usually only have time to gulp down some coffee before I have to leave the house during the week. So I’m always looking forward to a proper breakfast on the weekends. Yumyum!

Day 3

DSC_0669On Monday, I found out that Jared Leto actually won an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club! How amazing is that! I never really doubted he’d get it, but actually seeing him being rewarded for his talent, his commitment and his passion put a huge smile on my face. And when I watched his acceptance speech, I couldn’t help but get a bit teary-eyed. No matter how critical I have become of the path his band has been walking down lately, I have utter respect and admiration for this guy!

Day 4

DSC_0672There’s no doubt that spring is right around the corner now! And Tuesday proved this with the most beautiful sunny springtime weather. I have no idea why I was still wearing my winter coat (well, it was still pretty cold in the morning). It was so nice to hear the birds chirp and just feel the sunrays on my skin. I can’t wait for spring to finally fully arrive and I hope it’s soon.

Day 5

DSC_0674On my way to work there is a building which is currently being pulled down. When I walked past there on Wednesday, I saw a bunch of people (like this guy on the left) watching the deconstruction like little children. This really made me smile!

Day 6

DSC_0675Yesterday morning I was supposed to go to Munich to attend a workshop together with one of my clients. Thanks to Deutsche Bahn we never made it. There were huge delays of at least 100 minutes, so we definitely wouldn’t have made it on time. And since the train staff at the station said the delay would probably increase, we decided not to go. I had been waiting in a freezing cold station with shoes that aren’t exactly winterproof for over an hour, so I felt like an icicle. I actually forgot to take a pic during all the chaos and confusion, so I’ll just leave you with my poor little frozen feet.

Day 7

TattooExactly 2 months from today I’m gonna do something special. I’ll get a tattoo! For the first time in my life. I only made the appointment 2 weeks ago, so the thought of getting something permanently inked on my skin is still a little breathtaking. On the other hand I can’t wait for the day to finally arrive. And that was all I could think about this morning. Here’s a little peek on what I’m planning to get. What do you say?

I have never… been to Lille

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So, I’m back from my little concert trip to France. I’ve actually been back for a couple of days, but I needed time to process what happened before I felt like I was ready to write about it. I know I’m making this sound overly dramatic. Probably because it was for me at the time it happened. But I guess that’s what happens when you travel. You experience an adventure, the unexpected and it’s not always pleasant. Before you’re starting to speculate what exactly happened to me last weekend, here’s the story (and a little more on the city of Lille, of course):

I started off in Frankfurt last Friday with 2 friends. We got on the TGV, the French high-speed train, and made ourselves comfortable. The 4-hour-ride to Paris went smoothly even though I’d already spent more than 7 hours on a train the previous day for a business trip to Munich and I wasn’t really in the mood for another long ride. So anyway, everything went fine. Until we got off the train in Paris – and I couldn’t find my suitcase in the rack I’d put it in. At first I thought I was just confused and had put it somewhere else. Or that someone had moved it to get out his own suitcase. But one passenger after the other left the train and in the end there was just one other suitcase left. A black one. A Samsonite. Just like mine. There was no doubt that someone had taken my luggage and left me theirs. I had no idea if it had just happened, here, in Paris. Or somewhere on the way. At first I was hoping that person would realize their mistake and return my stuff while we were still there. But noone showed up when we were looking for the train staff (which took ages to even find someone, let alone someone who spoke English). Or when we were trying to explain our problem in our broken French (“You have a suitcase, where’s your problem?”). Or when we went to the information desk to ask for help. Or to the Lost & Found where they were not happy at all we were showing up so close to closing hours (not speaking French, how dare we! And trying to leave a German phone number which of course is impossible to dial in France!).

It was pretty clear my suitcase probably wasn’t going to show up soon. And we had a train to Lille to catch in a few minutes and still had to make our way to Paris North from the Paris East station. For a minute, I was considering to wait and just catch a different train. But I didn’t want to stay behind on my own. As long as I wasn’t alone I was able to fight the tears that were piling up behind my eyes. And I could still buy the bare necessities the next day, so it wasn’t the end of the world. Even if my suitcase would never show up again. And then it hit me. In the streets of Paris. My concert ticket was in the suitcase. And the concert was sold out. This was the only reason I went on that bloody trip and now I probably wouldn’t even be able to experience that freaking concert. I guess you can imagine my devastation. Now tears were literally knocking on my eyelids. But I didn’t cry. We made that train, I sat down and just wished for that whole nightmare to be over already. I just wanted to get to the hotel and sleep and hope for a brighter day. Then, on the way to the hotel, I noticed a missed phone call. And a message. Both from an unknown number. It was the people that had taken my suitcase! I called the number and we agreed to meet in Paris again the next day, so I could get my stuff back. I would’ve preferred to spend the day sight-seeing or just hanging around at the hotel, but I’d be able to go to the concert and that was all I wanted.

So the next day after breakfast, I bought a train ticket back to Paris and hopped on a train. I was a little shocked at the price of more than 80€ for a 2-hour return-ride. But I was hoping the person who took my luggage would have enough decency to offer to at least cover part of my costs since it absolutely wasn’t my fault. Boy, was I wrong! At first the guy seemed nice. An elderly French man. We chatted for a bit. He gave me my suitcase back (with the ticket in it, I checked). Then I told him about the hassle I’d had to come back to Paris just to pick up my suitcase someone else had mixed up. And how much money it had cost me. At first, he pretended he didn’t get what my problem was. Then he told me a stupid story how his 5-year-old nephew had taken my suitcase. And when I asked who was with the child, who’d actually taken my luggage since a young child certainly wouldn’t have been able to carry my suitcase and wasn’t travelling alone, he said he didn’t know. He also didn’t forget to tell me how he’d also had to make some effort to give me back my stuff. How he’d had to drive to Paris, to pay at the Lost & Found to get his suitcase back and how expensive it was to park his car at the station. That’s the point where I got really angry. I’m usually nice and polite to strangers, but when there’s one thing I absolutely hate it’s injustice. I was getting loud, trying to explain to the guy how absolutely he was in the wrong here. But if someone wants to be a dick, there’s no changing that. As a goodbye, he told me I should be happy about how lucky I’d been to get my suitcase back. And if I felt like he’d done me wrong I could go to the police. Merci beaucoup!

I just walked away while he was still talking to me. I sat down on a bench and suddenly, there was no holding back. I sat in the middle of a station in Paris with tears streaming down my face. And I didn’t care what the people around me were thinking. I just want to let it all out right there at that moment. I had to wait 2 hours until the next train would go back to Lille and all I did was sit there. That’s the moment I turned to my beloved “This is War” album from 30 Seconds to Mars (the band I was going to see that night) again. That album which had accompanied me for more than a year on an almost daily basis. Through some difficult moments (see my previous post for more on that). I actually can’t remember for how long I hadn’t listened to that album. Or to any Mars album. But in that moment, it was exactly what I needed. It instantly made me feel a little better. When I was back at the hotel, I wasn’t really feeling in the mood for a concert. But the people I was with quickly helped me to forget about all that shit that had happened. And when I stood in the back of the concert venue that night, I was hooked again. I jumped around like a maniac and sang my heart out. I let all my bad feelings go. The band was probably in the best mood I’d ever seen them. They had fun. They wanted to be there on that stage playing music. And while I still don’t dig the new songs, I had a great, great time that night and enjoyed every minute of it. So much so, that I’m actually looking into where I want to see them next. Some time in summer maybe.

The next day, there was finally time to have a look around the city. It was a beautiful day, sunny, blue sky. And while there isn’t that much sightseeing to do in Lille, I enjoyed walking around. My experiences with French people might not have been the best, but I love French cities. The old buildings, not one looking like the other. The whole atmosphere. The food. So, to end this post on a little more cheerful note, here are some impressions from Lille. This trip certainly wasn’t the usual. I could’ve done without some of the things that happened, but I’m still glad I came along for some fun time with my friends. I can’t wait for the next adventure, but this time I’ll make sure to keep an eye on my luggage.

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Musings on Music: When bands change

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Every once in a while I stumble over a band that I really love. Almost obsessively. When I do, I constantly need to listen to their music. I can go weeks with just one album on my iPod playlist without getting tired of it. This is basically my definition of good music. If I don’t get tired after a few days, it’s good in my book. Sometimes it’s bands I admire for their musical talent and genius. Muse and Biffy Clyro are such bands for me, for example. And then there are bands who impress me with their message, the deep meaning of their songs. Something that makes me feel really connected and understood. In that case music becomes much more than just that. It becomes a door to a whole new universe full of inspiration and things I can relate to.

I’ve actually only encountered one such band so far and this is 30 Seconds to Mars. Discovering them was almost like an epiphany to me. I was in a very crucial phase of my life back then and their music sparked something inside me. It was an inspiration to open my eyes to things which had already been there, but which I couldn’t quite grasp at the time. And after that initial experience (which actually brought me to making music myself in the end), of course, I wanted more. Back then the band had just finished touring for their 3rd album, so there was a lot to discover for a newbie like me. I listened to all their songs, I dug deep into the symbology that seemed to be present throughout their whole work. It was just amazing. I wanted to learn all about it, I wanted to become an expert. And I wanted to share my thoughts on the band and their work with like-minded people. Thanks to good old-fashioned message boards, I was able to find such people, online and later on even in real life. For the first time I felt like someone understood my fascination with this band and didn’t just think I was in it because the band members aren’t exactly ugly. And more importantly, they understood my view on life because they felt the same way.

Since I’d been pretty late to the party and I’d just gotten into the band before they went on tour hiatus to work on their fourth album, I felt like I’d missed out on a lot of things. But with that new album, I wanted to be in the forefront. I wanted to know all the news first and witness everything that happened with my own eyes and ears. I got extremely excited about every little tidbit the band was giving us, every little glimpse of the new music. And so did my friends. However, the more we got to hear, the more unsure I felt about the new stuff. It was quite different from the previous style which is kinda normal I guess. Repetition is usually never a good thing. I tried to like it real hard. I wanted to like it because it was Mars who’s music I loved. But there I was not really liking the new stuff. It was ok. I listened to it for a few weeks, but I quickly got bored. I basically listened to their previous album on an almost daily basis for  a year, so not feeling the same at all was a pretty big bummer. And what weighed even worse was that the deep meaning was missing this time. The reason I actually got so obsessed about this band in the first place was now almost completely missing in my opinion. Everything was now a tad more superficial and easier accessible. As stupid as it sounds, I did feel a little guilty about my opinion. But that’s the thing with music. It’s a question of taste and this particular album just didn’t float my boat.

Then another tour was announced and I thought, at least I’m going to get to hear some of the older songs and who knows maybe I’ll even like the live versions of some of the new stuff. So me and my friends planned out quite a few concert trips to such great places like Berlin and Nice. And I did have tons of fun. We’d all been waiting for this for a long time and now it was actually happening. And we who were mostly just conversing online got to experience it all together. How amazing was that! At the second show I went to I realized I knew exactly what was going to happen every single minute of the performance. I knew when the balloons were thrown into the crowd. I knew when we had to jump or to get down low. I knew when we had to say “Love, Lust, Faith & Dreams” in the respective language. I knew the setlist. There were a few changes here and there, but it was basically the same over and over again. At show No. 5 I had a hard time getting excited at all. I was still having fun, don’t get me wrong, but when a show is so predictable it does get boring after a while. At least for me. It was too much. It became a routine for me instead of something special.

And there were other obvious changes which bothered me, too. The band has always been very active on social media, always looking for ways to interact with fans. But over time, it all turned into a huge selling show. Buy this, buy that. And the occasional generic tweet in between. My timeline was flooded with stuff I wasn’t interested in. And it made me upset. Then I went to the Facebook fanpages I frequented and all people were discussing were the newest paparazzi pics, haircuts, hotness and alleged dates of the band members. It felt like being on a Justin Bieber or One Direction fanpage and truly I believe that the core fanbase nowadays can largely be found in that age group. I’m not sure what triggered what, but it is clear that the band is catering to that audience now. I’m not blaming them. Not anymore. It’s a business after all. And the music business surely is one of the toughest out there. But it took me quite a while to be ok with that. By the end of last year I got so upset about the whole way things were now that I was complaining all the time. I was only able to see the bad stuff. But that was exactly how I never wanted to be. I never wanted to be one of these fans who can’t let go and who glorify the olden days. I realized that I was too involved, too obsessed with everything that was happening. I needed to pull myself out for a while to put things into perspective. So I unfollowed all of the band’s accounts on social media. I avoided the fanpages. I even stayed away from my beloved forum for a while. And you  know what: It feels so much better! I don’t have to know everything that happens in the Mars universe anymore. But when something important  happens, I’ll still know because someone will tell me sooner or later. And that way I can choose to deal with the stuff I’m really interested in. The music, live shows and the artistic side of it all which can still be found somewhere under the superficial layers.

Tomorrow I’m off to France to see Mars again. I’m not as excited as I used to be. I’m excited to see my friends again and to have a fun time. But about the show itself I’m rather indifferent. I haven’t listened to the music in ages and I don’t think I will before the show. I think this is going to be my last show for a while. I’m kinda done for now. But I’m not ready to let go just yet. I’ll still follow what the band’s doing. I’ll still discuss these things with my friends. I’ll still support them when I feel like doing so.Things have definitely changed. And so have I and my attitude towards the band, my investment within this fanbase. I don’t have to buy everything and like everything they do. When I don’t like something I’ll just stay away from it. It’s really just as easy as that. And one thing certainly hasn’t changed: This band will always have a special place in my heart for inspiring me. No matter which path they’re going to take in the future. And what I’m most grateful for are the great people I got to know just because of the simple fact we like the same band. And the great thing is that our mutual interests don’t just end there. We have a lot more things in common to talk about. And this is something noone’s gonna take away from us. This is my 100th post on this blog and I wanna dedicate it to these amazing people. I can’t wait to rock with you this weekend! And many more times after that, hopefully!