Bonsais in the national botanical garden of Tokyo

When traveling to foreign countries I always attempt to find a few attractions off the beaten track. Botanical gardens are such a spot; as a biologist by I have visited gardens in places such as Paris, London, New Mexico, Hawaii … and now in Kyoto.

In a corner of the Kyoto Garden is an absolutely impressive collection of bonsais. In fact, it has inspired me to start growing a bonsai myself. I’m still in the information stage, so very little progress to report except that growing a bonsai  doesn’t seem to be trivial. I will keep you posted!

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Amazing nightly car trip in Qatar #MiddleEast

 

During my stay in the Middle East, I also visited Doha, capital of Qatar. This movie was made on my way from the airport to the hotel.

Doha is an amazing city, completely new and full of business; at the same time local people told me that it is very car-centric and that the recreational offers are negligible. As I was visiting on business with a calendar full of appointments I couldn’t really check whether this was true – perhaps some of you readers have a different experience to share.

The boycott by Saudi Arabia was in full swing, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the Qatari much. They even imported 4000 Friesian cows from Australia and put them in an air-conditioned hall, to make sure enough milk can be produced, which was imported from Arabia up to now.

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Great movie: “Deutschstunde” – just out.

I didn’t read the original novel by Siegfried Lenz (1968), so the story was completely new to me. A wartime movie, with a village policeman (initially) forced to prohibit his friend from painting; common practice in Nazi Germany. But the story has many levels: it addresses the conflict of a father/son relationship (with the painter competing for that role); the battle between good and evil (how can any painting be bad for society?); the decline into fanaticism and sticking to the party rules; how do we deal with populism in our own age; how can it be that hardened war criminals simply return and continue as before…?
The backdrop of the German coast, with constant rain torturing the characters, complements a very intriguing story that forces the viewer to continue to watch.

You can find the movie here in IMDb.

You can find all my favorite movies here on IMDb.

 

 

A short visit to the land of the pharaohs

I stopped over in Egypt – two days packed with impressions. I have published a couple of articles in my blog www.clemenssuter.com.

Above: The sun sets early in Cairo, always a special sight. The light is yellow and exotic – although I guess the air pollution produced by the massive amounts of cars certainly also plays a role. I was on business, so had basically no time for sightseeing. Most of these pictures were taken in transit from A to B.

Above: Many Egyptian citizens move from the country-side to Cairo, and high rises are constructed quickly, in many cases illegally and without utilities, to house these new city dwellers. Economically, Egypt is under a lot of strain, but the people who I met are very engaged and want to improve their country.

Above: the river Nile, beautiful by night. Many people about, as the best Egyptian soccer team was in town. A gentleman approached me, who escorted me to a perfume store; Cairo is always open for business ;-)