dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Been busy, mood also went up and down.

But if you hit Berlin and speak German, I encourage you to see "Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder" in the Berliner Ensemble.

I never thought a play carried, mostly, by a little old lady and an actress playing her mute daughter could become something so powerful. It started out a bit slow, but after 2-3 scenes, Mother Courage's presence filled the stage and I was truly gripped by the play. Really liked the costuming etc choices they'd made for this play!
dancing_moon: Zoro brushing his teeth while sleeping (Lazy)
Trying to write something. It's not working, so I thought I'd blog.

/procrastination ahoy/

Yesterday I went with a friend to see Die Mausefalle, the Berliner Kriminal Theater version of Agatha Christies über-classic The Mouse Trap. Because I am a Christie n00b and also never remember the plot of crime stories unless I read them like twenty times, I was totally surprised by the ending.

It was fun to go and the theatre was very nice; small intimate room, we sat at the very last row and I still had no problem making out the character's facial expressions. I think it might be some kind of old factory building or something, because there was a lot of naked steel and high roofs in there, which worked very well with the classical red theatre curtain.

The acting wasn't overwhelmingly great but solid enough. Otoh Christie doesn't really write characters as much as types. And it was nice, a cosy evening with a good play and some really funny moments.

Also easy to understand even if your German isn't overwhelmingly good, so it's definitely a theatre I'd recommend to visitors who want to take part of a bit of Berliner culture but aren't certain if they can follow a play. And really, the 19 € places are absolutely spiffy (just don't sit too much in the middle, the pillar will be in the way).

Wouldn't mind going back and seeing perhaps a German crime play, or Arsenic and Old Lace.
dancing_moon: Luffy with stars in his eyes (so-damn-cool)
So, after a week of utter bumming around and hardly lifting a finger except when in the pool (yes, I have started to swim a bit again) I decided that my break from the world was over and that I'd better start doing stuff again. Among those stuffs, alas, I count my two 12-page essays.

Still, as Sunday evening rolled around, I realized that I was not going to get any studying done in the remaining hours before next week. No disaster, I did allow myself seven days of leisure... but I also realized that I hadn't left my block during the entire week (and my room only about half the days) and that was a bit embarrassing. So I hauled ass off to Potsdamer Platz and plonked myself into a cinema seat. When in doubt, watch a movie - it's almost Doing Something With Your Life.

Saw 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' )

They also showed the trailer for MiB^3. It looks awesome!!!

Monday I finally got around to visit the Berlin Guggenheim. I've been thinking of going there ever since I learned that it was free on Mondays - because I am both a cheapass and utterly ignorant about modern art, so it's not like I expected to get that much out of a visit.

My fail at comprehending very modern art )

Tuesday was spent writing stuff for work (still no essay, but at least I'm writing something beyond blog posts!) and going on a language tandem with a girl who wants to freshen up her Swedish before she does a project for her Masters. By the by, if someone has a room/bed/sofa to let to a nice student who is going to Stockholm for about 3 weeks in April, do gimme a shout.

Still, I don't want to slack off now that I'm not busy as hell in school. It's my goal to experience as much as possible of Berlin outside of both the university halls and my room. So, step one! Buy a Tip magazine and see what's on offer for the coming two weeks.

It's already paid iteself off, too ^_^ Because tonight they held a open discussion about the human/machine interaction in advanced experimental implants entitled "Werden wir Cyborgs?" (Are we becoming cyborgs?) at the Max Planck Science Gallery.

Since the two debate guests were an engineer working in brain-research and a philosopher/biologist working in ethics and medicine history, I figured I would probably not grasp every detail but also not be utterly lost.

Really glad I went there, it was very interesting both in what was said and how they had built the discussion. The audience were allowed to pick themes, by choosing among three short movie clips that where shown on a screen (Choose with laser pointers!!1! Empirical evidence I just gathered shows that if you give a bunch of adults, several of whom appear to hold at least doctorates, a laser pointer each they will turn into gleeful kids for the first five minutes). We also decided who was to "get the word" though I think both guests got to talk every time they signaled that they wanted. further questions could be asked either normally or sent in by SMS, which I appreciated very much. Mostly due to the "omfg a bunch of professors so not opening my mouth to speak German in here!!!" factor.

I learned interesting tidbits about the frontline of medical research, that we shall (alas) probably never be able to download an entire foreign language into the brain and heard many other interesting things. Some of it tied back quite nicely into the Body/Machine seminar I've had.

Then I got to visit the showroom of the Max Planck Institute and OMFG! SO COOL! Touch screens that wouldn't look amiss in the latest Star Trek movie, some kind of curved screen thing where it looks as if a molecule is hovering, amazingly beatiful photographs of cells and molecules in a room that I could best describe as iArchitecture. I'm going back during daytime to have a closer look, felt a bit tired right now. But that was seriously a room from the future, looking even better since it was in a classical old building by the Gendarmenmarkt.

How I love this city!
dancing_moon: Zoro brushing his teeth while sleeping (Lazy)
In Germany, they're in the process of switching out the federal president, after the old one got caught in a severe scandal. There was a lot of media hounding but, from what I've heard from sensible people, also very reasonable complaints against him and illegal stuff and whatnot. Election for the next president is coming up, though from what I can understand, the presented candidate is a pretty sure win. Okay.

In Sweden, the crown princess just had a daughter. I don't care all that much, although of course it's nice for them (and, heh, part of me went 'yes a girl, good!'). But it also brings up the obvious discussing of whether we want to keep a monarchy or not.

Now, on one hand, I do feel that all humans should be born equal and that it's quite odd how the court doesn't have to tell anyone where all the money they get goes to; I don't insist on knowing anybodys pocket money, but if they really use most of the sum for upkeep of historical castles and parks, why not show that? Everybody else who is statefunded or pays taxes has to do that. Certainly people who get social security money need to show proof for just about every little expense, so, uh, why not the people who get the biggest "social security" payment of them all?

But, tangent. I still don't neccessarily feel that we need to get rid of the court, because we'll still have to pay someone to do the ceremonial greetings and stuff. And, looking at the German situation, even picking an older person with experience is apparantly totally not a guarantee against them doing stupid shit.

But it was very funny when the announcement came out. I was sitting in a café with some German people from my project seminar, when someone checked their smartphone. Twitter was talking about the (then) very receant reveal that the president would resign and they all broke out in spontaneous cheers :)

One of the best things at the Humboldt university, is how many people seem to actually care about politics, in multiple ways.

In completely unrelated news, I've got a couple of new icons. That pic of Zoro? Might as well have been me this week
/was sinfully lazy and enjoyed it so
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
There are so many amazing shows, plays, concerts and events in Berlin. If I had the money and the time, I could go out every night and enjoy something, and I think I could spend more than a year doing that without ever having to repeat myself.

Now, I have neither the time nor wallet to be able to do quite so much, but I told myself that I would try to catch at least some of what this city has to offer and I'm working on it. Even when I have exams....

Okay, I hadn't exactly planned to do so much during my exams, but when two friends (one of whom I hadn't seen for at least half a year) turn up during the weekend right between two exams, what are you to do? Well, I made sure to study extra much the week before and spent time with them, walking through an icy Berlin the first day, and then hiding in various museums the second day. I absolutely need to go back to the Neue Museum btw, we just had time to rush in, admire the Nefertiti Bust and peek at the Egyptian department - I think I could spend an entire day in there though, so much cool ancient things!

Anyway, while B-san and T-san had tickets to B2ST, I as it happened had booked (something like three days before they told me they were coming) tickets to Brecht's Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) and, well, ain't missing that for no exams!

It was A-MAZING. I managed to fuddle up things with the tickets just before we split up, so I had a load of stress getting there, but once I was inside, it took only a short time before I got into the flow of things.

This was a very cool, distanced rendering of the play, with mime-like make-up on the actors and extremely few props. Now, this is a style of theatre that is quite popular in Stockholm (in my, admittedly, limited experience) and for many plays and operas *cough*Wagner*cough*DonJuan*cough* it just doesn't work very well. It all tips over into uncomfortable sillyness and, depending on what kind of plot it has, sometimes it also gets too confusing to follow.

Mackie Messer & JennyIt's a bit different with Brecht, of course. This is what Dramaten seems to aim at and don't always hit.

Fluorescent tubes in front of a sometimes completely black stage, white faces in velvet jackets and and a androgynous Mack the Knife, with hints of both Marlene Dietrich and the Joker, against the wonderfully grotesque-clownish Peachums don't hinder the Threepenny Opera, but make the absurdity into a rather elegant joke. I've read several reviews of the play in German magazines, and some feel that this too cool, too stylish version has lost the political edge, but I dunno... It was all so peeled off, so bare, that the actors had to carry it almost entirely on their own, and they did so with a captivating and sometimes biting disdain for the issues of poverty, justice and fairness.

So that's what I did when I should've been studying. Don't regret a second :P

Tonight (which is actually after the exams, so go my planning skillz) I went with my landlady to see Philippe Jaroussky, a countertenor who was singing French pieces in the Chamber Music Hall by Potsdamer Platz.

Lovely. The songs were often very delicate and elegant, though some of them - especially at the end, he really relaxed during the extra numbers - were also very lively.
In the first half we unfortunately realized that our places weren't very good, since we were high up and just behind him, so the acoustics got a bit murky. The small size of the room and the amphitheatre shape, did however make it feel quite intimate.
After the break, we moved down (snagging the places left when two ladies moved even further down, heh) and then things really took off! I've got next to no knowledge about classical music, but there was something quite otherworldly about how his thrilled above the accompanying piano.

When we walked out, it felt as if I left several kilos of pure stress behind ^_^ Absolutely a treat that I received just at the right time

Afterwards, we walked round Potsdamer Platz and Eva showed me how the Berlinale works. Might go there tomorrow after school and see if I can catch something...
dancing_moon: Gilbert goes "Wat??" (wat)
Asxfjglhfzzt.

Had my first and, if I may hope so quite muchly, last written exam in German. 90 minutes of stress - Grammar? Spelling? Hah, who has time for THAT when I'm trying to get down my thoughts for the four essay questions one of which asks about a topic from a lecture I completely missed so I'm pulling out all my random knowledge and making shit up and hoping that I'm not completely off

So, uh, yeah, this ain't gonna be a nice shiny 1. But I think I did well enough on the first two questions that I should at least pass. Or so I hope, have no clue how Madam Professor actually grades but those two I did answer in a correct (and hopefully coherent) way.

Anyway. Now I have like six weeks free (!!!) except for the two 12-sided essays I need to write. Which I shall start writing, promptly the week after the coming one because omg do I need a bit of vacation.
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
So I just had my first ever verbal examination.* I also had the lovely experience of something like my second ever pre-exam nausea. Didn't sick up or anything, but a bit of dizzyness, general omfg-this-is-bad-feelings from the tummy and so on. Yeaaah, I could've skipped that part. Luckily enough (?) it appeared about an hour before the actual exam, so I had time to drink a bottle of water, wash off, dose myself with coffee and sugar and do some therapuethic fandom meta reading. Coping skills, I haz them!

But it all payed off in the end, because I can now carry home a sweet little 1.0 in my "German literature for Erasmus-students" module ^____^ It's almost so I stop hating the one teacher (not the poetry lady, she was the sweetest thing ever and one of the best teachers I've ever had), but considering I didn't actually learn anything in his class - eh, no, will keep hating.

But still. That's my first 1 since English class in Gymnasium here and that was ages ago. I can do this even when I can't pronounce psychology due to nerves, mwahahahahaaa!

(also, looking at this post, I realize that my brain can no longer spell. Wellp, screw that, I don't need to be able to write in English today anyway)


* not counting speech proficiency tests in German/Spanish class, that's something entirely different
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
And after faaaaar to many years, I am going back to Animagic the (afaik) largest anime con in Germany. It'll be the very last thing I do here, since the con runs 27th-29th of July, and I have to be back at work the first of August. Not too shabby a way to say ~auf wiedersehen, Deutschland ^___^

And I'll be joined by [livejournal.com profile] setsuna_jiba, whoooo \o/
My last Animagic (which was, what, in 2004? They were still in Koblenz at the time) I was mostly alone, since my German friends were working as staffers. Still had a lot of fun with the shows and the cosplay contest etc, but having another crazy fangirl as company is always better. And Set-chan is crazy in the very best way ♥ ♥

We're also planning to cosplay, aw yeah!
    ...soooo does anyone know where you can use a sewing-machine in Berlin? Preferably for little money? Yeah, no, didn't think so.

If anyon else lives in the area and wants to say hi, gimme a shout! We'll probably also have Thursday to look at Bonn, so if you know some nice spots, please rec them. I've got no idea about about... anything, regarding the city, really.
dancing_moon: Mana looks angsty (Mana)
It's been a while, but I'd like to try and document my theatre visits, so here goes nothing...

In the cyborg seminar, we had a text by René Pollesch, the very opaque www-slums, and in connection with this we went to see a play by him: Schmeiß Dein Ego weg! (Throw your ego away!), which was also quite difficult to grasp but at least there were some very good acting and a couple of very interesting monologues.

The "plot" isn't quite simple to explain, but basically Martin (played by Martin Wuttke, he was really good!) wakes up after 200 year of being frozen, and tries to discuss the problem of the Fourth Wall - which has become a real, solid thing in the time he was frozen - and the issue of body, soul, self and the connection of these things with the woman he loves who has been split in two (or more? there's a "choir" too who might some time be part of this woman. Or not). The thing is, all the characters talk past each other, and the play is rather built around a series of monologues each defining a point of view than actual dialogues.

They also did interesting things with the Fourth Wall, which began as a panelled wall on the stage, so that it looked as if the walls of the theatre room extended to cover the stage too. Then they broke open two panels, and through a live feed, showed things from behind the wall (which was made to look like an old-fashiond living room) and then there was another video projecting on the wall inside this room which we only caught glimpses of, until the last scene.

Quite difficult to explain, even more difficult to understand (acoustically too, unfortunately, sometimes I had a hard time hearing the actors) but intense, engaging and leaving many thoughts behind. I'm also glad that I got to visit the Volksbühne, it seems to be a very interesting stage! And the building looks quite epic!
dancing_moon: Kitty: *hugs* (*hugs*)
We had snow! It's not much left now, but the cold is definitely here. This means I really should get out and buy more warm sweaters (lost one during my Christmas vacation, one is frankly fugly from age and the other two get used a bit much) but since I hate shopping, I've so far only managed to grab yet another Die Ärzte sweater from the fan-merch store round the corner. Oh well, at least it looks warm and cosy.

Exam period is coming up, which means I need to do ALL THE STUDIES and I also have two presentations to do. Bohoo, stressy... That's one verbal exam, one written and two essays which I think (and hope, good lord) that I can hand in after the actual term is over.

To that, there is also the very last bit of the paperwork to extend my stay at Humboldt, but at least I'm guaranteed a place here now ^_^ But I had to print a paper, sign it, then I gotta scan it and send to the insurance person, then get a reply and lastly show that to the administration here. Uuuh...

Because I have so much to do and so little time I got a haircut. Not a complete waste of time, because it was getting messily long, and I was too tired to study more than the two hours I did today anyway. Now, no more haircuts until February has passed! If I can affordid then, however, I'll take the time to dye it in March.

And lastly, an anime blog I want to read in the future when I have time (hah): Karaconner. I need to catch up on the ANN editorials that I follow too and probably buy the latest volume of FMA. So much to read, so little time...
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
This post is the product of cold weather and my reluctance to leave the warm confines of the library just yet, as well as the slight sense of shame I always feel when I take up communal work-places to laze around on the internet. So, instead, I shall take up the communal work-space and write a Serious Post of Seriousness. Well, not really, but at least I won't spend another half hour looking at the funny macros George Takei keeps posting...

As a background, please see my previous post: Stundenplan @ HU [1] a.k.a. "Wot I actually do in school here in Berlin"

Wednesday : Language & History / Body/Machine Interaction (a.k.a. CYBORGS) )

And now the library is closing, so my favorite class, which is on Thursday, will have to wait until later.
dancing_moon: Text: Resistance is ohm (resistance is ohm)
Yesterday I went to see Das kunstseidene Mädchen (The Girl made of Artificial-Silk) in the Aufbau Theatre. This is one of Berlin's many small private theatre companies, and it just so happens that it lies about one block from my apartment.
Which, I'm sad to say, totally proves that they need a better PR-responsible, because I pass the building where the theatre is every morning on my way to school, and we're currently studying the book (written 1932 by Irmgard Keun, quite worth a read) and I knew neither of the theatre nor this play. Luckily enough, one of my fellow students has stronger Google-fu and informed the class about the play last week.

The play: Girls shouldn't be made of fake silk, because it wrinkles so easily )

The day before Das Kunstseidene Mädchen I also did things, I barely know how to keep my head straight with all this sudden social life ^_^;;;

Anyway, two other exchange students had, inspired by the fact that it was Australia Day called together an event called Australia, which turned out to be a very nice gathering of Australians, Germans and exchange students from other countries to learn about post/colonilism from an Australian perspective.
We gathered in the cellar of a pub and there followed an evening with poetry readings (Oodgeroo Noonuccal, some others and new poems by one of the organisers), historical information (the dictation test and the ethnic cleansing of the Tasmanian peninsula, both completely new things to me) and looked at the works of a photographer whom is involved in the struggle for indigineous rights and whose name I have utterly forgotten. There was supposed to be a film showing too, but considering we discussed until a bit after midnight, that didn't really work out. Still, a lively discussion is both something less solid and more engaging than even a really good movie, so I think it all worked out quite well.

Otherwise, I've spent most of the week thinking of a poem by the East German poet Karl Mickel, which I'm supposed to present on Monday. With a few clear and well-formulated interpretation theses. orz

...and apparantly while I'm sitting in a library writing this post, there's a load of police cars and whatnot outside of work in Stockholm, in the aftermath of a robbery on a nearby goldsmith o.0
dancing_moon: Wao Youka as Dracula (Creepy)
Last week I was busy with university stuff, but today I went out to Karlshorst to visit the German-Russian museum which hosts exhibitons about the Eastern Front and relationships between the two countries during the Cold War era.


The house where WWII ended - today museum


Karlshorst, for those that don't know, would be a serious contender to Most Boring-Looking Suburb Ever except I've lived for a year in Erkner and know that this ain't nothing when it comes to potential mind-bendingly boringness of east-Berlinish suburbs. I mean, they have an actual town center even if it's tiny and (at least on the side of the tracks where I was) mostly consist of drugstores.

Anyway - the reason the museum is out here, beyond Ostkreuz (and when you get east of Ostkreuz you're basically leaving all civilization behind... it's like passing Skogås in Stockholm; Suddenly COUNTRYSIDE!) is because it's housed in the historical building where Germany signed the capitulation regarding the Eastern Front in 1945. This is also, apparantly, the only co-managed German-Russian museum or cultural institution in the world.

It's an old school, with some really typical examples of Soviet-era victory and memorial monuments inside, like the huge Worker With Child and Sword In Hand stained glass window (which I think was either made of plastic, plexiglas or just really weird glass, yo) above the staircase and some red marble relief of... someone.

The exhibits were mostly photos, posters, letters or facsimiles thereof, with lots of text (in German and Russian, non-speakers of those countries must buy a guide) on glass signs on the walls. That last, by the by, seems to be the latest high fashion in how to build a museum in Berlin. Mostly, it looks nice, but not when you have black text in front of a dark grey wall -_-
Otherwise there were some uniforms, weapons, a few documentary films and bits and bobs of soldier stuff. The propaganda posters were interesting, as well as some of the the transcribed letters. Photos not so much.

They had a really creepy recording too, of a speech Himmler had held to some upper-level military people of some kind. It was just - holy crap, what he was saying, the complete dehumanization of the non-combattant enemy and the very frank realization that, yep, people listened to guys like these and then went out and murdered millions.

I'd say that I'm pretty much normally informed about WWII for a Swede of my generation, with more knowledge in some areas and less in others - a lot due to the first-hand account from my grandmother of course, and otherwise through a load of informative YA books which my library had at some time invested a lot of shelspace in. As such, I learned a lot of new numbers and some new facts regarding the Eastern Front from this museum.

Well worth the roughly three hours it took to read my way through it, especially since it's free of charge.

They also had the most hideous communist memorial trophy ever =D It was in several types of marble and gold and - guh, the worst of bombastic eastern design. Horribly wonderful.
dancing_moon: Text: Resistance is ohm (resistance is ohm)
So I'm a geek. Nobody is surprised about that, right? Thus, now that professor Nosferatu has returned to America (this is not a joke, but it is a bit of a long story) my Tuesdays are free from twelve o'clock. Since I know myself and know that I'll just bum around if I go home that early, I have decided to dedicate the day to Culturally Improve Myself. Or, in other words, geek out at some of Berlin's many museums.

Berlin Charité University Hospital
Charité


Because I was extremely exhausted today, I thought I'd visit one of the smaller ones, and thus headed for the - as it turned out - very well-hidden Medizinhistorisches Museum. The reason the museum is so well-hidden is that it's located on the Charité grounds; the old university hospital of Berlin. That Google maps tells you to go to an entrance to the Charité area itself, which has less than no signs about a museum, doesn't exactly ease the navigation.
Since I'd already tried to find it once before (and then ended up at the museum for Natural History, so no big loss), I looked very carefully at the map this time. And still got lost once, but I could round back with no huge loss of time...

Anyway! I did find it, finally, and also got to look at the quite nice old buildings that form the old Charité (where they ttly have the best-looking university eatery, it could almost belong to a hotel from the outside. And we have a tent, bah).
These aren't the first buildings, but they've still got a good two hundred years on them. As I learned today, the entire thing was built in preparation for a non-occuring plague epidemic right at the beginning of the eighteenth century, after which it became an army hospital and a place where the army surgeons could hone their skills on poor people - who, in turn, got the dubious honor of receiving the best free healthcare of the time. Which, as anyone who knows anything about medical history knows, was a mixed blessing at best... At least the surgeons were truly among the very best when it came to operating, setting bones to right and other such more concretely "try and repair the broken bit" medicin.

There are so many lovely old buildings in Berlin. Cool new ones too, one of the things I truly love about the architecture here is how mixed it is!

Cut for discussion of medical exhibiton )

Only worth a visit for those with an interest in the theme and not too easily squicked by human remains, but I'd recommend a walk through the hospital area to anyone. It's not that big (unless you're trying to find the museum without a map), there are lots of nice brick buildings and once you've passed through it and reach the river, you get a very nice view of the main station. Following the river, I also got a good view of the parliament buildings, among those the Kansleramt. It was great weather for a walk, cool but sunny, with ~dramatic~ cloud formations and a fresh wind.

Hauptbahnhof, Berlin
Berlin Hauptbahnhof


This was a field of gravel, some half-finished tracks and a lot of cranes the first time I visited Berlin. Now it's a quite fancy central station, though they're still building all around it. One of the things I love about the city is how it changes every time I return.

After a spot of lunch in the train station, I decided to walk along the river. This walk turned out sliiighlty longer than planned; the first bridge I passed was right next to the station and I continued on, but the second bridge turned out not to be open to the public and the third one was all the way down by the Victory Column. Still, it was nice and I saw a lady playing with her dog, which was full of that special doggy enthusiasm that they get when you throw fake-bones (hot pink fake bones, even =) for them to fetch and it ran until the feet almost blurred. Aww

Walked back through a very gray Tiergarten and then pretty much stumbled home and into bed. Dinner was oranges, a yoghurt and a donut today.

Maybe next week I'll finally go to the Technical Museum, sooner or later I'll make it!
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
Gosh, so tired. Just gotta get this off my chest, then I need a nap!

Today began horribly but ended with a partial triumph!

Yesterday, I discovered two very AUGH-worthy things re my university classes.
My mistake and their rescheduling equals panic )

The third yay is not really related to my university stay here, but is about my bachelor and general geekery
While listening to a rather boring lecture (not from the topic, but we had a guest lecturer who spoke at a super-rapid, low monotone in a rather echoing classroom and my brain just couldn't handle the effort of trying to listen) I began thinking of my bachelor essay, which I will begin to work on here in Germany. My last essay was for Sailor Moon and the role of the female hero. While the topic I worked with there was one I wouldn't mind returning to, I didn't really feel like doing it for the bachelor essay. Two reasons Firstly, I'd rather wait until the new English edition is out, because it was tricky to switch editions like I had to do. Second, all the literature regarding female heroes is apparantly crap (or I just fail at searching for it) and if I'm going to do some kind of meta-critical analysis of my theory books too I should either split it into two essays or I'll nead a heck of lot more pages than a bachelor essay gives me. Also, variety is good for you, or something, and since I already knew I want to write about something with a gender focus I might as well switch canons.

Anyway. In class, half dozing and doodling names of mahou shoujo manga in some vague notion that I could always compare the female portraits in general (Sailor Moon kicks Tokyo MewMew's ass might not be an approved thesis, but it's one I fully stand behind) or go the safe old route of body-shape analysis, I am suddenly hit with a lightningbolt of inspiration. CLAMP. I like them. A lot. They have a large enough body of work, which can be grouped in various ways, that it makes sense to compare their different series with each other along a given cross-section. Question is just which aspect to poke at...

Their female portraits are varied but I have a hunch - and this really is just a hunch, not to mention I've slept like five hours tonight! - that there portrayal of women complicated. CLAMP's got a very unique moral view, not just compared to Western media, but also to many other manga and there's bound to be something worth poking at there. So I'm writing down interesting points of attack; narratological analysis of female agency, image analysis of male vs. female protagonists, eye-poking-and-sacrificial-death-!

That's when it hit me.

Suicide.

Unless there turns out to already exist a fantastic essay about the theme, I'll ask my teachers (once they're back from the holidays) if I might write an essay analyzing the motif of chosen suicide* in chosen manga from CLAMP. Probably along the lines of gendered differences (are there any and what) and narrative outcome of the suicide (what happens in the story because of this?); though the latter perhaps only for one or two examples.

There's literature on the theme, I know that much, and since the topic is more narrow than "function of the heroine in a superhero story. which btw has nine superheroines", I can also juggle more canons without getting completely swamped in plot retelling.

CLAMP manga with Meaningful Voluntary Suicide that I remember from the top of my head is, uhm, worryingly long. And, also from memory, I can already group them in four categories 0.o
Death-spoilers for RG Veda, Tokyo Babylon, X, Magic Knight Rayearth, Clover )

I think this could be really interesting to do ^_^ If someone has meta-thoughts on my rambling little rant, please share! I need to go through all my CLAMP canons carefully looking for more cases, as well as check up on the ones that I only remember vaguely. I also have no idea what outcome I'll get, so that is interesting too.

Hopefully my teachers agree...a

*chosen suicide here is my own, made-up-just-now, term for a narratively active suicidal act. It basically has no counterpoint in the real world, because there a Hero/in sacrificing themselves won't save the world from blowing up.
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
Going home soon. I haven't missed home much at all, but as Christmas grows closer, I find that I am getting very excited about seeing my family and friends again. I'm also very much looking forward to some special food things.

For one, Swedish water. It's not that the water here in Berlin tastes exceptionally bad (though it's super-duper-mega hard, my goodness. We've had to de-calcify the electric water boiler twice since I got here; I've never de-calcified a water boiler in my life).
But tapwater at home tastes, well, tasty! It's not just acceptable, it's fresh and good straight from the tap. I much prefer it to most bottled waters on offer, although, for instance, the fresh spring-water from Nacka is markedly more tasty.

I'm gonna drink a bucket as soon as I get off the airplane, I'm telling you. I'm also going to order tap water in every restaurant I have a chance to visit, just to enjoy the privilege of actually getting free tapwater (they're dreadfully reluctant about giving you a glass of tap-water here).

I'm also missing some food my grandmother makes; not that I couldn't make Hungarian beef stew myself, but it's grandma food. It tastes better at her place. Otherwise, since I cook a lot for myself, and the food from the university cantina tastes almost scarily like the stuff served in my highschool (with certain Very German exceptions, like Spätzle and whatnot), I haven't really been hit by any amazing food cravings.

Except perhaps lussebullar, since our oven is Teh Suck, and I'm not going trough the hassle of trying to bake my saffron-buns only to have them turn into pale, dry things in our non-hot oven.

But water. Nnngh, I didn't know I could miss tasty water so much
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
Yesterday I spontaneously visited the cinema round the corner with my roommate/landlady. Since we were both a bit bored, we decided to see what ran in the nearby cinemas*. Lucky for us, a movie that E. had heard good things about ran in the Babylon-cinema which is two streets behind our flat. It has a nice big screen too, although it must've been severely full of dust or something, because I kept coughing throughout the movie (but not loudly enough to disturb, I think, since E. said she didn't notice).

We saw This Must Be The Place To Be, a quite brilliant movie which I have not heard a peep about from, uh, anyone before E. mentioned it. An understated, touching movie with excellent acting from pretty much all corners. Throw in an interesting plot, told in a captivating, not too on-the-nose-writey manner and some excellent cinematography and it had me from about three minutes into the film. I highly recommend it - though try not to read too many previews, I went into the film completely blind and somehow, I think it made it even better?
The very barest bones of the story: An aging rock-star is bored and disillusioned with life. Change happens, truths are revealed and people open up.

Then today the international club at the university offered us discounted tickets for a concert with the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra. It was their 65th Anniversary concert, being played in the Berliner Philharmonie - quite the impressive building by the way! - which I had somehow missed so I was a bit underdressed. Whoops.

I also almost missed the entire thing, because the bloody bus didn't run on time! There was supposed to go a bus seven minutes past the hour, then another one at sixteen minutes past. When it was twenty past and no bus in sight, I hailed a cab... Still got there last of everyone in my group, but not too late. On the way back, at least the subway co-operated nicely.

The pieces were:
Olivier Messiaen - Les offrandes oubliées
Frédéric Chopin - Klavierkonzert Nr. 2 f-Moll
César Franck - Symphonie d-Moll

Because I am a classical music dunce, I can't say more than that I enjoyed it, had a good time, and recognized bits of Chopin from movies and the radio.

Tomorrow, there's a literature day which I wish to visit. Which means I should really try to get some sleep if I want to be awake enough to enjoy it.... Double-hopefully, I'll actually be able to sleep with my ear feeling this tender. At least the friggin seven o'clock in the morning roof-repair men don't work weekends.


*Berlin utterly pwns Sweden when it comes to cinemas; At home, there's one chain + like 2 "arty" cinemas if you're lucky enough to live in a large city a.k.a. Sthlm. Here? There's like fifteen, at least, and they all show different movies. Colour me impressed
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
So, a few people asked if I wanted to write a bit about my studies in Germany. All comparsions will be to the Swedish university system, which I shall simply except you to know. If for some reason someone who isn't a Swedish student has questions, do ask and I shall do my best to answer

Since I currently possess the IQ of a mashed potatoe (Tuesday is the Long Lecture Day) you'll get it in chronological order, because everything else would be too complicated.

I should perhaps also point out, that this term, I have mostly taken classes in literature history; that is, thematic studies. They looked more interesting and since it's still not 100% certain that I can remain next term, I'd rather do these here and the pure literary analysis classes (which I'll need for my bachelor) in Sweden.

Overall impressions )

The names of my modules, btw, are "(German) Literature History III (1800-today)", "ERASMUS Module Literary History I, II, III" (though all my seminars are modern-ish, ehehehe) and "Text- and Media Analysis". I've also got an extra class that falls under Kulturwissenschaft (Cultural Studies?), but I'll get to that later.

Monday: German-language lyric / Crime and Literature / Franz Kafka )

Tuesday: Literature & Photography / Lost Illusions )

Aaaand because this post is already massive, I think I'll cut there. Wednesdas to Fridays aren't that heavy anyway, but I'll try to scribble them down later in the week :) Have got some interesting classes there too!
dancing_moon: Kitty: *hugs* (*hugs*)
Today I:

- Had a interesting two hour seminar about marginalized identities (bonus: discovered that I might just be able to get some kind of points for it too!)
- Bought a pair of sport pants, because I always do everything in the last minute
- Had my first fencing class. I'm woefully out of shape, but it was fun!
- Am about to go sing karaoke ^^

All in all, I feel no guilt that my dinner was a döner.
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
I've increased my social life with, like, 245% since I got to Berlin. The downside is that when I'm not doing anything, I'm utterly exhausted. I think the evening stuff go down a bit now that university is starting, although I'll certainly try to be active and do something at least once a week. However, I can also feel a marked improvement in my mood compared to how it usually is in October- Winter depression talk cut )

ERASMUS-party
On Friday, the evening started in Steffi's new apartment, where I made the happy discovery that if you mix the sparkling whine from Lidl with peach juice, it is not only tolerably but actuallly good. Considering that the sparkling wine costs ten cents less than the peach juice, I had some serious doubts about the drinkability of the stuff...

After that, we made our way to Kino International, where they had a party evening for ERASMUS students. Since I'd messed up my schedule on Friday and thought I had more classes than I did, I failed to buy tickets before and so had to pay a horrible 6 € at the door.

Entering this club, btw, was a very "German" experience. First we had to show ID. Then they checked the bags. Then a girl took our money/pre-booked tickets, checked that we were students, stamped us and gave us a little ticket. Three steps behind her a man took that little ticket back and finally, once you got up the stairs, you could stand in line for the wardrobe. Despite that, it was pretty efficient (except for the wardrobe, but that is an international problem afaik)

Unfortunately, the music turned out to be less than great. I'm no expert on club music, but I found the beat hard to dance to and the clubbing expert in our group agreed. Hopefully next party will be better, though I think we've agreed to skip the ERASMUS events as they often seem to suffer from dreadful DJ's.

E.G.A.L.
Tonight, I visited an amateur show wherein a friend took part: The theatre troop Stageink's "Eine Gala aus Liedern (und mit allem, was dazugehört)".

It was quite entertaining and the advanced level of tech was a positive surprise! They even had a full live band with drums, guitar, bass, cello & piano. The cello in particular lifted some pieces miles above a playback experience.

My favorite pieces were the (German) Scrubs song, that is, J.D & Turks "Guy Love Duet", or whatever it's called, it was unfortunately not introduced. Several of the Elizabeth pieces were also very good (the singer in top hat had a good voice and an impressive stage presence), of which the only ones title I remember was "Milch". Good song and Oscar, the girl in the uniform did a spiffing job. To my great surprise, I got to hear a very nice performance of the wolf song, from Ronia the Robber's Daughter!! I totally didn't connect the title with that song when they introduced it, but from the first tones all the memories came back (and most of the lyrics too). Impressive, considering I haven't seen the films since I was like twelve. Otoh, I watched it maaaaany times before that ^_^

They also performed the Time Warp, which was alas a bit ruined by the microphones not working for everyone, including the male lead singer. Luckily, they did it again as the extra song at the end, and that time everything technical co-operated much better. (is there an English word for "zugabe"? Or do they use encore, perhaps?)
Which reminds me of the only really negative thing about the evening (except the lack of a program I could buy; Matt, plz improve to the next show? Some of us have a scrapbook to fill ;) - a loudspeaker or something made a really annoying buzzing sound. Sounded like my old speakers, actually, before I manage to ground them. Luckily, while annoying the sound wasn't too loud and during most songs I could forget about it

All in all, the show was varied, entertaining and the singing provess of, well, everyone impressed me mightily. With a glass of champagne, it was quite a nice way to spend a Sunday evening and I look forward to the spring show.

Oh, and from a pure geek bias, I of course approve of opening any gala with two Harry Potter choirs ;)

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