Tag Archives | work

Going Home: So Long, and Thanks for All the Chickenfeet.

Jakob going homeStarting March 15th, I will be working as a video producer for a large advertising agency based out of Saarbrücken. It’s really a win / win situation, not only for me, but for us, my family, my friends… Not only will we be able to enjoy living in Germany and Europe, but we’ll also live near my parents and near my friends, they are in my hometown, and just an hour away. Also, I should be able to get back to Shanghai and Asia every once in a while for video jobs, as the agency wants me to keep doing those here.

So how do you sum up the experience of over five years of living in China in a blog entry? It’s nearly impossible, unless I make the longest entry ever written by me out of this. I would really like to go into detail and explain very clearly what is making me move out of China by remembering the past, but it’s just too much right now. There’s some unfinished business, we have to pack, deal with Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur and other things. I will only quickly mention the main reasons.

The first and biggest reason of them all is our sweet daughter Emily, she deserves a safe and peaceful childhood, and I can offer her that. Looking at her growing up here in Shanghai reminded me of my own childhood, and China simply stands no chance against Germany in many aspects: Sanitation, insurance, society, safety, honesty, weather, quality of living, education system, politics and much more. What disappointed me recently the most was the Expo 2010 and the fact that the slogan “Better City, Better Life” was nothing more than toxic hot air. Don’t get me wrong, Shanghai is a fantastic city in many other aspects, especially for young people and singles, but as soon as you hit the family road, you realize just how terrible it is to live here with children. There is barely any nature, at least nearby, most venues are not family friendly, people in the park spit all the time and ruin it one way or another, the roads are dirty and all that… So many reasons.

Another reason is the increase of cost in Shanghai. Our apartment price went up by almost 15% last year. This year, the landlord is raising it by another 20%! Food is getting more expensive. Services of any kind are. Everything is getting more expensive. But it’s hard to charge customers so much more to compensate, and there is more and more and cheaper competition. Less productions, more bargaining. I think we are at the point where China got on it’s feet, and now it wants to try walking by itself.

There will be many, almost countless things that I’m leaving behind happily, but there are also things I will miss a lot, friends, food, work… And so on. It will be quite a challenge for us to get back and used to the life in the western world, especially for my wife. But she wanted it, learned German B1 at the Göthe Institute in Xi’An and looks forward to moving to Germany. And on a professional level, I feel I have learned as much as possible here, and will develop more skills in Germany.

I look forward to our new home, and to keep revisiting the city that both formed and changed my life.

So long, Shanghai!


New HDR’s.

It’s been a long time since I last posted some of my images here. I’m trying to upload at least 5 new works every week to flickr, but recently I’ve fallen a bit behind – there’s much business stuff going on at the moment and I’ve to take care of a visiting family member, too.

But I managed to squeeze in some time here and there for some new pics in the last weeks and here they are! Enjoy.

Beijing: CCTV Monster.

This is the new CCTV building in Beijing. It was supposed to be finished before the Olympics but that didn’t work out too well. So now they try to finish it by 2009, as far as I know.

Here are some shots that I took in Parma, while visiting my sister. They are some months old, but I never got around until recently to edit the hell out of them. Parma is a nice little city, these were taken downtown. The food there, especially the bacon and cheese, are uber delicious.



Parma: Culture.

Parma: Strada del Cafe.

Parma: Orange.

My sister got a new dog just two weeks before we arrived… She’s such a cutie, so here are three images from Agatha.


Kind Eyes.


Last picture from Europe: Switzerland. We went by train from Heidelberg to Basel, then from there to the Como lake to visit my grandparents for a couple of days. Then we went from Como to Parma and stayed at my sisters for a night. Then we went by train from Parma to Bologna, then from there back north to Levico. Boy, that was a trip, and the horrible italian railway didn’t make it any better.

Fun fact: My wife got into Switzerland illegally. When changing trains at Basel, we got off at the wrong Basel station – Basel Bf, not Basel SBB – and had to enter the swiss Basel by kind of a subway. There was not passport control, of course… But when we entered Italy and they checked my wife’s passport, they were a bit pissed and told us, that they have the option to send us back now. Gladly they didn’t do it, but we decided to travel back to Germany with a train via Austria, which really is in the european union. Damn Switzerland!


And now some China images. Shanghai, of course. It’s been a really, really hot summer so far, and working without air conditioning is not possible at all. We even run the A/C at night to get a good sleep. I wonder how people without air condition survive this heat.

Shanghai: 30th floor view.

I shot above image out of a window from the 30th floor in our office building. I got the sweet Nikkor 80 – 200 millimeter lens from my grandmother, who now shoots with Canon. It’s a really good, sharp lens. Shanghaiist featured this image with the caption “The Concrete Jungle” when I released it on Yahoo’s flickr.

Shanghaian Summernight.

The full moon was really bright some days ago, I tried to capture that with a long exposure.

We Are The Night.

I titled this image “We Are The Night” because I like The Chemical Brothers’ music a lot and because XuHui really is a night-active place.


Believe it or not, this is what you see at night when you look out of my toilet window. It rocks to live in the 18th floor.

The last picture of today. I’ll just quote what I wrote on flickr for this image:

We were looking for a new apartment some months ago, and one apartment these dumbasses from a housing agency introduced to us was directly next to a future Expo site, where lots of people were bringing trash away. Needless to say, we did not want to live next to a construction site and looked for a new apartment agent directly afterwards.

Cleaning For The Shanghai Expo 2010.

And that’s it for today this week. Hope you enjoyed my newest pieces!

And let me tease you a bit: Big news coming soon. Really big. Wait for it…


Back in Shanghai, at last!

Traditional Chinese Marriage

That have been two damn long weeks since my last post. In the meantime I married (well, officially, with a party and stuff), traveled with 20 friends and family members to Xi’An to celebrate my wedding, after we had spend some days in Shanghai that is, then we flew from Xi’An to Beijing for some more sightseeing and partying. Sounds like fun? No, sir, sounds like stress. I’ll never ever play the tour guide again. Especially in Beijing, where the taxi drivers might very well drop you off at the same place, but within a mile of everyone else. It’s really no fun to take 5 taxi to the same place. Also, while Shanghainese taxi drivers make it very clear where to take you, Beijingnese drivers tend to say ‘sure’ but don’t really know where they have to go. Nightmare! Now I’m back at work, and after reading about 250 emails of which 200 were spam, about 1000 feed entries and three coffees I finally have a free minute to tell everyone that I am still alive. Since next week I am busy with the Shanghai International Film Festival, I won’t even start now to deal with the marriage pictures and video… Please, give me some time, people! It’s also good to be back in Shanghai because it’s like 300 degrees less warm here. Beijing is like a hotpot for people! Gotta run to dinner now, then to a business meeting, and tomorrow I gotta visit a exhibition. I need a vacation, damn it!