Insight No. 71: Cute Little-Free Libraries – Great Idea!

Oddities, Insights, humor, Tipps

BOOK SHARING….Simply take or leave a book! Happiness grows if you share it. Please, have a look at these cute, self-made little, free libraries for inspiration.

A libraray in a giant dead tree (Idaho / USA)
Growing your assets.
Beautiful library in a tree – Everett / USA
A growing trend in Germany – little-free libaries in discarded call boxes
A grounded UFO with gifts on board.
inside of the UFO
Cute – this library even possess flower boxes…
R2D2 offers some quality time …May the Force be with you!
Mobilize your books and share them!
Free Books and Free WiFi as add-on
A wonderful gesture of kindness….sharing.
“Slow Reading” is joining “Slow Food”- Take your time, take a book!
AI helps to grow “OI – Organic Intelligence” (=humanoids)!
Open House
Giving books a 5-star home.

Tipp No. 33: Contemporary Arts – Buddhism & Transformation by Gonkar Gyatso / Tibet

arts, humor, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Tipps, Travel, Zen


London-based Gonkar Gyatso (b. 1961, Lhasa) creates humorous works informed by both politics and his personal life. “Just as the identity of my homeland cannot be separated from religion and politics, so my own sensibility has been shaped by the undeniable bond between the two.” Gyatso’s practice revolves around the reproduction of Buddhist iconography, calling the Buddha his ‘muse.’ Skillfully incorporating Western and Tibetan cultural themes into his work, Gyatso transforms traditional images of the Buddha into Pop Art-inspired multimedia works that satirize world politics and the mundanity of life. His iconic work titled Pokemon Buddha (2003) marks the first example of what has now become the central theme of his practice; much of his work references the shifts in identity that characterize the life of a migrant.

Insight No. 65: “FUTURISTIC PAST merged into the environment” – Architecture by Kengo Kuma (Japan)

arts, Insights, Kunst, Nature, Reisen, Tipps, Travel, Zen
Coeda House 
V&A Dundee Design Museum / Scotland
Pigment Shop

I am deeply in love with Kengo Kuma`s breath-taking work. My heart is heavy because I will never ever afford to hire his studio to build my house. Studying traditional Japanese martial arts (also abroad), I know a little bit about the Japanese history, culture and philosophy, which I highly appreciate.

I am Northern by nature. Thus, I feel comfortable with merging Scandinavian and Japanese design languages that are very close to each other in my view. Think of the preference of high-quality, sustainability, natural materials, clean minimalism and purity….trying to reinterpret traditions and to upgrade them with innovations & inventions.  

May I introduce KENGO KUMA and his amazing art work to you?

Kengo Kuma (隈 研吾 Kuma Kengo, born 1954 in Yokohama) is a Japanese architect, product designer, artist and professor in the Department of Architecture (Graduate School of Engineering) at the University of Tokyo (Hongo). Kuma is also noted for his prolific writings. 

After spending a couple of years abroad, he founded the “Spatial Design Studio” in 1987, and in 1990, he established his own office “Kengo Kuma & Associates”. 
As a professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, he runs diverse research projects concerning architecture, urbanity and design within his own Laboratory, Kuma Lab. His office Kengo Kuma & Associates employs over 150 architects in Tokyo and Paris, designing projects of diverse type and scale throughout the world.

Kuma’s most ambitious project at the moment is undeniably the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium, a 68,000-seat wooden lattice structure that is still under construction. Kuma and Associates’ scheme was selected after the original winning design — by British-Iraqi Zaha Hadid (who unexpectedly died in 2016)– was abandoned due to budgetary concerns – and due to criticsm for not selecting a local architect.

Kuma’s stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century.

Without being an architecture expert or Japanese studies graduate, I have tried to summarize the major aspects of Kengo Kuma`s philosophy, as I perceive and understand his wonderful work. Voilà…. 

  • Buildings as sculptures of light and shadow
  • Merging buildings into the enviroment instead of dominating them
  • Incorporation of the (weather, seasonal or development-related) changing nature into buildings (embracing change and interchange)
  • Open and flexible spaces summarized by the roof only
  • Organic shapes in the context, culture and tradition of its surroundings
  • Use of natural, sustainable organic materials that are locally produced
  • Innovative techniques to better use traditional materials like wood, stone and rice paper
  • Zen inspired reduction & minimalism to enable focus on the essentials of the Here & Now
  • Offering physical comfort but also mental comfort
  • Striving for harmony with the inner and outer world
  • Architecture as an attempt to connect the past with the future
  • Buildings that are offering different perspectives to levitate your mind & spirit
  • Integration of technology (e.g. solar panels) not only as mere technical feature but also as integrated design elements
  • Requirement of eco-friendliness and longevity of architecture that shall outlast generations.

I guess, Kuma`s architecture addresses my hidden desires perfectly. This might be the reason why I am so much fascinated and touched by his philosophy and poetry-like design.

Insight No. 21: German Bread & Beer – A True Love Affair (Deutsches Brot & Bier)

Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

BREAD – The homesickness factor No.1 of Germans abroad.

Did you know that you are able to chose among more than 3.200 (registered) bread types in Germany?

German bread-related proverbs:

  • “Something to share = Bread”
  • “A table without any bread on top of it, is just a plank.”
  • “Old bread isn´t hard; life without any bread is hard.”

Not to forget the famous German Beer, of course.

The number of registered German types of beer is About  >5.000 – 7.500, while there are about 10.000 – 15.000 beer brands known worldwide.

PROST! (= Cheers!)

Oktoberfest 2015 - General Features Day 1

Strong Women No. 13: Stella Deetjen – German Founder & Head of “Back to Life” in India & Nepal

Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel

STELLA DEETJEN – An astonishing strong woman who ended up spontaneously building up a non-profit aid organization with a seed capital of USD 100,- to support local lepers in INDIA as a young student & backpacker tourist in 1997. Gradually, she grow her organization & network that supported street children and founded medical care centres and 13 slum-schools.

Since 2009 Stella and her team expanded to NEPAL, where her organization “BACK TO LIFE” founded 10 schools and medical care & birth centes and provided emergency help by reconstructing 7 schools after the big earthquake.



Stella Deetjen works as a German development worker in Nepal and India, is the foundress and managing director of the non-profit organization “Back to Life – Helping others help themselves in Nepal and India” and is the representative of the aid organization. She can also speak six languages fluently, including Hindi and Nepali.

Born in 1970 in Frankfurt/Main, she successfully completed her high school at the Kaiserin-Friedrich-Gymnasium in Bad Homburg and finished her acting education. At the beginning of the 1990s, Stella Deetjen had planned to study photography in Rome. Her place of study was already confirmed and safe. Before the studies started, she traveled for several months as a backpacker through India, where she eventually met the local lepers in Benares (now Varanasi). The encounter with these in India so called “Untouchables” ultimately led to the decision to stay in India and to help the lepers. In 1996, the non-profit organization was finally founded.  

Caring for leprosy patients and their relatives in Benares let to caring for street children. Until December 2017, Back to Life had run children’s homes in cooperation with an Indian partner organization and a total of 13 slum-schools, so called non-formal schools, which considered the daily routines of the slum schools. After 21 years all India projects phased out.

In 2009 already, Stella Deetjen expanded her help in Nepal. In the medieval mountain region of Mugu, the organization has already built 10 schools and 7 birth centres, in Chitwan the focus is on supporting disadvantaged girls, their schools and the population as a whole of the project area. Through targeted trainings and support – including medical care – the population is taught to help themselves for not creating dependencies in the future.

After the earthquake in Nepal, the organization also provided emergency help and reconstructed 7 schools.

In 2016, Stella published her book “Untouchable – My Life Among the Beggars of Benares”, in which she tells about the early years of her work and of the organization. 


The first time that I met lepers was in Benares – during a backpacking trip. They begged on the roadside, outcasted by society. Their situation seemed hopeless, as if they were just waiting for their death. I was sitting on some stone steps suffering from bad stomach pain and could not walk anymore. Then an old, white-haired leper came and asked if he could help me. I was stunned: I was the tourist with money in my pocket – I should have offered him my help.

He gave me a loving look that hit me right to the heart and soul and touched my head giving me a blessing. I was not afraid of his touch, though at that time I did not know if I could catch leprosy. He gave me so much human warmth that I could go on a little later.

The next day, I went to see this man to give him some useful things. When I asked for his name, he said: “My dear child, for 14 years no one has asked for my name, why do you want to know it now?” Musafirs answer did not let go of me.

I began to meet with him and his companions every day. The joy of being interested in them was written all over their faces. So, time passed… I learned my first words in Hindi with the help of Musafir and had already build a friendly relationship with the whole group: some called themselves my grandfather, my little brother or sister.

One day the police suddenly took all the male lepers and locked them on a truck. The police explained that begging was illegal, and the men were to be sent to jail. I was afraid that I would never see them again and something terrible could happen to them.

It was a decision of the moment: If I really thought them to be my brothers, then I should not leave them defencelessly to their fate. So, to the horror of the police, I jumped on the truck. They ordered me to get out again – but I refused. When we left, hundreds of people followed us on their bicycles. Some scolded me, other called out “God bless you”.

For hours we drove through the city and more beggars were collected. Then they were detained in a camp. Some asked me to send telegrams to their families to inform them that they were still alive but could not send any money. Because they send almost all their begging money, so that wife and children could live and survive in the village. For months, I tried everything to end their captivity, went to the mayor, magistrate and the highest judge of Benares and hired an Indian lawyer. But the matter proved to be extremely difficult.

One day I was interviewed, and the article was published in almost every Indian newspaper. As a result, the beggars were released in small groups. Finally free again, they pleaded with me not to return to my home country. During the same time, I met a Swiss doctor who told me that leprosy was treatable and gave me US$ 100. These US$ 100 became the cornerstone of my project, and I started the first street clinic for leprosy patients and their children with the support and help of a Western nurse.”

Stella Deetjen

Of course, donations, helping hands and sponsors are always 
For more details about BACK TO LIFE:

Tipp No. 95: “Taste Iceland – Caramelised Potatoes” (Recipe)

Food, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
Bildergebnis für Icelandic caramelized potatoes

Potatoes? Great to have something in common with the Icelandic people. An alternative method of preparation will certainly enrich our (German) cuisine.

Often simple dishes without any shindig are the best in my view. Therefore, let`s try Iceland-style potatoes that have been highly recommended by one of my colleagues who is visiting Iceland frequently.

He confirmed that they are an absolutely delicious side-dish, which compliment any roast meal. Traditionally, the potatoes are considered a particularly delightful addition to a shoulder of lamb and purple cabbage.


  • 3 medium-sized potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. Wash and scrub the potatoes removing any dirt, eyes, etc. Cut each in half, then cut each half into chunks.
  2. Bring a quart of water to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and place the potatoes in the pot. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender (able to poke a fork in it) but not mushy like you’re making mashed potatoes.
  3. Drain all the water off the potatoes, let them sit in the colander for about 5 minutes to dry out.
  4. Place the sugar on a frying pan and heat it up until it gets all melty. Stir in the butter or margarine when this happens.
  5. When this mixture reaches a rich golden colour, remove from the heat and carefully roll the potato pieces in it to fully coat them each in the caramel sauce.

“Góð matarlyst!” (Enjoy your meal!)

Bildergebnis für Icelandic caramelized potatoes

Tipp No. 94: “Bokeh” – Icelandic Si-Fi Drama Movie (2017)

Film, Tipps

BOKEH Trailer (2017) | Drama, Sci-Fi Movie

PLOT: After a flash of light shoots across the sky, a couple (Maika Monroe, Matt O’Leary) on vacation in Iceland wake up to discover that everyone in the world is missing. Now, they must fight for survival while trying to make sense out of what happened.

What is “Bokeh”?

In photography, bokeh  is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focusparts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. Examples…

Bildergebnis für bokah
Driving Bokeh
Bildergebnis für bokeh effekt
Bokeh as background effect / element

Postcard No. 24: “Viterbo” – 3-years Political Infights with Water & Bread only in the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo / Italy… Lol!

humor, Insights, Oddities, Reisen, Tipps, Travel
Bildergebnis für Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo
The Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo


The Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo is the crime scene of the longest conclave in the history of the Catholic church.


According to the rules of the church the committee of cardinals come together to elect the pope. They are locked into a building, get a key (con clave = with key) until they have agreed on the appointment of a new pope. Nobody can enter the building and nobody can leave the building until the new Pope is elected. The voting and negotiations are top secret. The cardinals are completely isolated and signal the successful election – which requires a qualified majority – by burning their notes and diaries – creating white smoke. The outer world is informed about a successless ballot by creating black smoke.

The papal election of 1268–71 (from November 1268 to 1 September 1271), following the death of Pope Clement IV, blew any world record. It was namely the longest papal election in the history of the Catholic Church. 


This was due primarily to political infighting between the cardinals. The election of Teobaldo Visconti as Pope Gregory X was the first example of a papal election by “compromise”, that is, by the appointment of a committee of six cardinals agreed to by the other remaining ten.


The election occurred more than a year after the magistrates of Viterbo locked the cardinals in, reduced their rations to bread and water, and removed the roof of the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo.
The palazzo is located in Northern Italy….which means it must have been quite unconfortable to face rainy weather and freezing cold temperatures during winter time.


Incredible, this selfishness and stubborness of the cardinals and the patience of the people outside. Considering the important role of the church in medieval times, you can compare the situation with a shutdown of the government that was legitimated by the pope/church and which organization was tightly interwoven with the power system of the Catholic church….


As a result of the length of the election, during which three of the twenty cardinal-electors died and one resigned, Gregory X promulgated the papal bull Ubi periculum on 7 July 1274, during the Second Council of Lyon, establishing the papal conclave, whose rules were based on the tactics employed against the cardinals in Viterbo. The first election held under those rules is sometimes viewed as the first conclave.


Bildergebnis für Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo
Backside of the Palazzo
Ähnliches Foto
Inside of the Palazzo
Ähnliches Foto

Postcard No. 22: “KYŌTO-SHI, JAPAN” – Ukiyo-e Small Museum…Living in the “Here & Now”

arts, humor, Insights, Kunst, Reisen, Tipps, Travel, Zen
The Ukiyoe Small Museum showcases a small collection of traditional woodblock prints…if the owner feels like it.

The sign outside this studio is enough to make anyone stop and smile. But the amusingly honest announcement of the studio’s hours isn’t the real attraction. The true treasure lies tucked behind the doors, waiting to be revealed whenever its owner decides to open shop.

Inside, you’ll find traditional woodblock prints. The prints are a style of Japanese art called ukiyo-e, which was popular between the 17th through 19th centuries.

Though the beautiful images of landscapes, people, animals, and folk tales were once popular, the craft began to wane by the 20th century. Now, there are only about 50 ukiyo-e artists remaining in Japan.

The studio’s owner and resident artist, Ichimura Mamoru, is happy to chat about his work, and will even show you how the prints are made. As a guardian of tradition, he’s been practicing the art of ukiyo-e for decades, after learning it from his grandfather as a teenager. As there are so few ukiyo-e artists left in the country, a personal tour of Mamoru’s artwork is a rare experience.

Ichimura Mamoru
The Kyoto workshop of Japanese ukiyo-e artist and woodblock printer Mamoru Ichimura.

Indonesia Tsunami Hilfe *Spendenaufruf * (Call For Donations)

Insights, Reisen, Tipps, Travel, Uncategorized
Ähnliches Foto

Ein Tsunami hat die indonesischen Inseln Java und Sumatra getroffen. Ausgelöst wurde die Katastrophe vermutlich von einem Vulkanausbruch. Es gab mehr als 220 Tote und viele Verletzte.

Nach dem Tsunami in Indonesien mit mehr als 220 Toten suchen Rettungskräfte in den Schuttbergen nach Überlebenden. Es sei zudem davon auszugehen, dass die Zahl der Opfer weiter steigen werde. Mehr als 840 Menschen seien verletzt. Nicht alle Opfer seien bisher geborgen worden, nicht alle Daten lägen bisher vor.

Die Tsunamiwelle war am Samstagabend (Ortszeit) über beliebte Touristenstrände auf beiden Seiten der Meerenge im Süden Sumatras und im Westen Javas hereingebrochen. Eine Vorwarnung gab es nicht. Angesichts der Urlaubssaison herrschte dort Hochbetrieb. Die Flut riss Häuser und Hotels mit, Hunderte Gebäude wurden Behördenangaben zufolge zerstört.

Vulkan Krakatau verursacht Unterwassererdrutsch, welcher eine Flutwelle auslöste

Nach Angaben der indonesischen Agentur für Meteorologie, Klima und Geophysik war die Ursache der bis zu 90 Zentimeter hohen Wellen vermutlich ein Ausbruch des in der Meerenge liegenden Vulkans Krakatau, der wiederum einen Unterwasser-Erdrutsch zur Folge hatte. Knapp eine halbe Stunde nach der Eruption sei der Tsunami auf Land getroffen.
Tsunami-Experte David Rothery von der Open University erklärte, dass die Nähe des Vulkans zur Küste den Behörden nur sehr wenig Zeit zum Reagieren gelassen habe. Sie hatten die Lage offenbar falsch eingeschätzt und erklärt, es handele sich nicht um einen Tsunami, die Menschen sollten nicht in Panik geraten. 

Wie wir alle wissen, ist Indonesien von Naturkatastrophen gebeutelt.

Hier also ein Link des ZDF mit dem Hinweis auf Hilfsorganisationen, die sich in Indonesien engagieren:

Spendenaufruf Tsunami Indonesien – Call For Donations

Aktionsbündnis Katastrophenhilfe
IBAN: DE65 100 400 600 100 400 600
Stichwort: ZDF Nothilfe Indonesien
Online-Spenden: Aktionsbündnis Katastrophenhilfe 
Im Aktionsbündnis Katastrophenhilfe haben sich Caritas international, Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe und UNICEF Deutschland zusammengeschlossen.

Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft
Spendenkonto: Bank für Sozialwirtschaft 
IBAN: DE29 100 20 5000 100 20 5000 
Stichwort: Tsunami Indonesien 
Das Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft bilden Brot für die Welt, Christoffel-Blindenmission, DAHW, Kindernothilfe, medico international, Misereor, terre des hommes, Welthungerhilfe sowie German Doctors, Oxfam und Plan International.

Aktion Kleiner Prinz, Internationale Hilfe für Kinder in Not e.V.
Spendenkonto: Sparkasse Münsterland Ost
IBAN: DE46 4005 0150 0062 0620 62
Stichwort: Indonesien

Ärzte der Welt e.V.
Spendenkonto: Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB)
Stichwort: Tsunami Hilfe
IBAN: DE06 1203 0000 1004 3336 60 

humedica e. V. 
Spendenkonto: Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
Stichwort: “Nothilfe Indonesien”
IBAN: DE 3573 4500 0000 0000 4747

medico international
Spendenkonto: Frankfurter Sparkasse
Stichwort: “Nothilfe Indonesien”
IBAN: DE21 5005 0201 0000 0018 00

Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V.
Stichwort: “Tsunami Indonesien”

Pax Bank