Although I left Germany over a year ago - and I've never lived here - I really want to talk about this city because it's one of my favourite places on earth. Well, at least in Germany. Since Firu moved to Nordrhein-Westfalen in 2012, we've been going back and forth to this city, be it just to pass by on our way elsewhere or to actually spend our time there together. Every year we came here at least twice, and it's always been such a pleasure to witness the changing of the seasons in this city. Although, of course, since I left the country, I had to say goodbye to this lovely place as well. I'd be lying if I say I don't miss it.
What attracted me to Düsseldorf was this fact: it is the Japanese community central in Germany! As you should notice, I am a Japanese culture enthusiast. And, having to live far away from the Country of the Sun, a place like this became a sort of haven for me. The place itself is divided into around 3 areas: the metropolitan district, the old town and the Japanese/East Asian quarters. When you walk through the Oststraße, you can see dozens of Japanese stores/restaurants/café lining the street, packed with Japanese workers, housewives and students - even cosplayers on a daily basis! The history dates back to the 1950s, due to some business collaboration between Japan and Germany in the field of ores and machinery. Over the years, the number of the Japanese population grew, turning Düsseldorf into the biggest Japanese haven in Germany, replacing Hamburg after World War II. Every year in May, the city holds a Japanese festival called Japantag, located by the Rhine riverbank, which celebrates the Japanese community throughout the city.
Karlsruhe, Halle or Kassel, Düsseldorf - or Düssi for short - is a big city. However, it 's a city which lives side by side with culture. It has tons of museums, art gallery and theatres with immaculate architectures. Saku-chan once introduced me to K21 Ständehaus - which is huge and incredibly awe-inspiring - and Kunstpalast Museum - which has an amazing collection of Japanese artefacts. There was a time when I was going to apply to the Kunstakademie here but, since they focus more on fine art than design, I hesitated. The old town is also quite remarkable - and packed with people -with local restaurants and stores. The best view in town is overlooking the River Rhine, especially during sunset. Like I said, I've never actually lived here but I have a fondness for the city. Here are the few places I've become accustomed to in Düssi:
When I was living in Germany, one of the biggest heartbreaks I had to go through was not being able to cook takoyaki. Luckily, Shochiku sells frozen octopus balls. Firu and I loved buying their takoyaki whenever we were in town. We could just pop them in the oven and eat them while they're hot - for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The place is packed with tons of Japanese products, including Ramune. We tried it out for the first time here and it was super delish! We kept coming back for more Japanese goodness. It felt almost as if we were actually doing groceries in Japan whenever we were inside. It felt almost like home.