German Film: Actor Heiner Lauterbach

February 13, 2017
German Films, Learn German

heiner lauterbach

Heiner Lauterbach is a veteran. He has more than forty years in the film industry so it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s already crossed your path. The actor has an impressive array of television and films on his resume, not to mention theater. And his resume is growing regularly. Already this year, Lauterbach is in three films for the big and small screens. From comedy to drama, Heiner Lauterbach has done it all. This month’s featured German film recommendations for German learners is Heiner Lauterbach!

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Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens

February 9, 2017

orchids close up

It’s about this time of the year — halfway through winter and halfway to spring — when people start dreaming of warm locations and vacations on bright sandy beaches. But only just recently my fellow Pennsylvanian, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted a further six weeks of winter. However, I have found a loophole! A visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The horticultural garden in suburban Philadelphia is currently exhibiting more than 4,500 orchids as part of Orchid Extravaganza. It’s a first taste of spring that really shouldn’t be missed!

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Must See List: Sumo Tournament in Japan

February 6, 2017

grand sumo tournament

Last spring, my husband and I started watching the Grand Sumo Tournament Highlights that NHK World aired. It’s a roughly 25 minute recap of the best matches of the day. We were hooked. As with so many things in life where you make assumptions without knowing all the facts, sumo wasn’t quite as straightforward. I can only speak for myself, but what I felt had always been depicted as two very overweight men pushing each other actually had a lot more nuance. Since then we haven’t dared miss a day of highlights. That’s why attending a sumo tournament is on My Must See List.

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Lunch at Philadelphia’s City Tavern

February 2, 2017
Food, reviews, Travel

city tavern restaurant in Philadelphia

For a long time, I was reluctant to try Philadelphia’s City Tavern. I passed by it countless times as a teenager and during my college years. It was merely a landmark on my route to South Street or when I’d go to rock shows at the nearby Khyber Pass club (RIP). I thought of City Tavern as just another tourist trap. And while that is true to a certain extent, City Tavern has a lot more to offer than most give it credit for.

My husband and I somewhat spontaneously made reservations for lunch a few days before our visit to celebrate our anniversary. It seemed like a fun place to try.

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How to Make Vietnamese Coffee

January 30, 2017

Vietnamese coffee filter brewing

A couple of years ago, my husband came home raving about Vietnamese coffee. He’d had a cup while out to lunch with coworkers. He spoke so highly of it that I surprised him with a Vietnamese coffee filter and some coffee.

But I noticed that every time I mentioned Vietnamese coffee to someone, they had never heard of it. Which, in a world of coffee pods, instant coffees and barista brews, probably shouldn’t have surprised me. Vietnamese coffee takes a little effort, but it pays off.

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Japanese Candy: Matcha, Chocolate, Gum

January 23, 2017

Japanese candy

Every time that I visit the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, New Jersey, I have goals. I want to have a nice Japanese lunch (and it’s difficult to pick between the tendon bowl and the ramen). I want to do some grocery shopping (the shabu shabu beef makes darn good Philadelphia cheese steaks). Finally, I want to select a few different Japanese candies to try. Preferably matcha flavored sweets. It can be especially difficult to know what exactly you are getting with some of the sweets if you can’t read Japanese. So I wanted to share a few of the treats that I’ve picked up over the course of several trips to Mitsuwa.

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Philadelphia Walking Tour & Giveaway

January 19, 2017

philadelphia walking tour gpsmycity

Central Philadelphia is great for traveling on foot. And, no, it is not just because public transit coverage is spotty. (Not the whole reason, anyhow.) In addition to being relatively flat, you can literally walk through time. From the Art Museum to the Liberty Bell. Across cobblestones and concrete sidewalks. Through streets where the likes of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and countless other founding fathers walked during colonial times. I’ve put together a Philadelphia walking tour to explore the culture and the history — and get a bite to eat, too!
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German Music: Legendary Electopop Band Kraftwerk

January 16, 2017
German Music, Learn German


Using music to learn the German language can be a great tool but it is not always easy. Sometimes it can difficult enough to make out the lyrics of songs in your own language. Recognizing the lyrics of a German song? It can be a whole other challenge. But with legendary German electronic music band Kraftwerk the challenge is not so great. With clearly delivered lyrics, catchy rhythms and songs that aren’t too quick, Kraftwerk are actually a great way to learn and practice the German language.

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German Film: Director Christian Petzold

January 9, 2017
German Films, Learn German

christian petzold

There is a chance you have already seen a film by this month’s German film feature Christian Petzold. The director and screenwriter has worked four times with actress Nina Hoss, whose work has been previously highlighted. He has nearly as many television films to his name as full-length feature films. While Petzold has not been as prolific with his work as some, the films he makes are weighty, serious ones that leave you with something to think about.
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Book Review: Greg Mitchell “The Tunnels”

January 8, 2017

greg mitchell the tunnels berlin wall book

It is simply amazing the lengths that some people will go to to escape. To escape persecution, fascism, war — the list of reasons, sadly, seems to have no end. It is difficult to comprehend what one human will do to another. Author Greg Mitchell focuses on a very specific period of history that is well known for escape attempts: the Berlin Wall in his latest book, The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill.

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