Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Final Fantasy videogames series. Although I didn’t had any money at all at this time I saved money to buy several original soundtracks (OST) of the games, and I’m still in love with the music. Even of the games I did not enjoy much (looking at you FF13).
So, of course, when I heard early in December 2015 that the composer of the first ten games Nobou Uematsu himself would have a Meet and Greet with the fans who purchase a special ticket, I rang up my friend Alex if he’s interested in joining me on the trip. Being a huge fan of the series and music himself, he couldn’t refuse.
Meet Up and tour to Berlin
Alex and I met up after work on Friday, and we headed to the local MoschMosch restaurant to get some food before taking the train to Berlin main station. He was still very much in work-mode and was kind of stressed out, and I was tired and desperate for some change of scenery, so this trip was definitely a good idea for the both of us.
Then we headed to the main train station and hopped onto the (slightly older) train. I packed (as so often) my trusty NintendoDS and played some Etrian Odysee II (I WILL finish my games backlog someday, I WILL!), and he had fun with some silly rhythm games on his Mac. It took us some hours to finally arrive in Berlin, I think it was around 11 p.m. or so. Very tired and stiff, we hopped off the train to get the bus and finally to the Hotel, which is right beside the concert venue of Tempodrom Berlin.
The hotel was super fancy and we were quite lucky with the room. Somehow we weren’t assigned a room yet and all the standard rooms were taken already, so we got a delicious UPGRADE to a Junior Suite *hehehe*.
The suite was quite spacious and beautifully decorated. The bathroom itself was a dream. It sure was a good idea to book here ^^V. We went to bed as soon as everything was unpacked to be ready for the next day!
We got up at 7 and headed for breakfast around 8. The buffet was varied and even I found some vegan stuff there. The only thing I can mimimi about is, that some salad/veggie options would have been nice. But all in all it was good.
Now with something in our tummies we went out for the first destination of the day, the “Ritter Sport Colorful Choco World Berlin”. Ritter Sport is a chocolate brand, very well-known in Germany for it’s taste, quality and practicability.
Alex was inspired to be the guide and he did his job well. We could take the U-Bahn to the shop but we weren’t that far away and the weather was just perfect, so we walked the distance, to see something of the city as well. He made sure we would take a route which isn’t neccessarily the fastest, but has as many sightseeing stuff in between as possible.
Our route included:
- The Wilhelmstrasse
- Checkpoint Charlie
- German Dome
- Gendarmenmarkt with Concert House Berlin and the French Dome
Then we arrived at the shop. We were asked five times if we would like to hop onto a Tourist Bus in between. We also saw some horses with a carriage.
Ritter Sport Colorful ChocoWorld (Berlin)
This place oozes color and sugar! I loved the design of the shop ❤ We went in and made our own little creations.
They had not as much possible ingridients as I would have hoped for, but it was worth a try for sure. Alex might be there again so I maybe have the opportunity to try another combination.
Both of my chocolates had half-bitter chocolate as a basis. (Let’s invent some names for them!)
- (“C³”) Caramelized coconut flakes and cornflakes
- (“Gasp-berry Pop”) Raspberrie bits and pop rocks
C³ was yummy and Gaspberry Pop is insane XD…
After mixing the chocolate, it has to cool, so we went upstairs to have a look at the information provided about how Ritter Sport actually makes chocolate.
Afterwards we headed downstairs to get a look at the offerings at their shop. Being vegan and going strong on the mindful consuming-mode I had this day, I didn’t buy anything, although those cool chocolate-notes have a cool design! 😀
We got our chocolates and walked further.
Into the City
On a shop I saw the sign “Papeterie”, which means paper stuff, more or less in a much more graceful way than I have described it now. I love paper and everything that is connected to it like IT-girls love fashion, so of course I dragged Alex – who likes paper very much as he assured me – into the shop. I bought cute veggie and fruits stickers and a postcard I want to send to Poesielos once I find the time and the fitting topic.
Alex gifted me a huge “Go Vegan” postcard, thanks again! 😀
We took the subway and talked too much, so we went past our actual station and got out at station “Frankfurter Tor” (The designs of the subway signs in Berlin are very different from ours here in Frankfurt. Have a more distinguished feel to them.) We walked down avenue and there it was, the
ComputerspieleMuseum (Videogame Museum)
Once a year I traveled to Berlin for work, but I never found the time or energy to visit this museum until then. It’s a bit smaller than expected, but packed with cool stuff and lots of info material. My personal highlights were:
- Artwork made of keypad keys
- The display of console generations
- Rooms decorated like the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s
The last one felt unreal. Normally, when you visit museums and have a history section, you find it interesting, but usually you are not a part of said history. This room, the blue walls, the halogen lamp, the alava lamp, the TV, the CD stand, EVERYTHING was like I was growing up in the 90s. You certainly can’t see how much XX’s something is until you’re 20 years apart from that. It felt like time traveling, really. Even the 80s section brought up memories. It is also a great way to show how long gaming is actually a part of our everyday lives and how much it has grown. Me, visiting the museum as an adult, is a great experience. It reflects so much how we have grown since then. I hope the museum will be there for future generations and that the young generation of 00’s and 10’s will get their respective gaming rooms as well.
Now we got hungry and Alex found a cool place where we could eat vegan cuisine. It took us some time but we finally made it to the FastRabbit Café. Boy, we were in for a treat. The prices were reasonable and the food just delicious. If this café would be in Frankfurt, I’d visit it at least twice a week! Alex and I discussed also the interior, which had this typical vegan urban vibe, but had his own style as well :3
We headed then into the city again, looking for another opportunity to lose money on crafted goodness, and found a shop which was suuuuper minimalistic. I found some cool stuff to use for the next installment of [S.], I hope Poesielos will like it.
Distant Worlds – Final Fantasy Concert + Meet Up with Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu
We got back to the hotel and got some time to refresh and regain health points. We were just 30 m away from the Tempodrom, so it was easy to get out around 19:30 and stand in liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. Many people wanted to attend the concert it seems. Some people went in Cosplay, some in evening garment and I went as a rainbow XD…
Once we got inside we got more and more excited! I was SO looking forward to this since months and finally the day arrived 🙂
As the lights got dark and the music started playing the whole crowd cheered. Such a great atmosphere. Uematsu showed himself briefly (I was told, I missed it XD).
The concert itself was great. I had to fight tears, for real. Lots of positive energy and enthusiasm among all people involved. It’s really special, attending videogame concerts. Memories… The crowd feeling, being connected through music but also through the stories. Such a concert is still special, they are more popular nowadays but still a niche.
The songs were performed beautifully, although one was super hard to do and you could see that they had some problems keeping up with the pace. But all in all just great. Many of my fav songs were played (Roses of May, Hymn of the Faith, Zanarkand, Balamb Garden, V’alla de Flamenco). The crowd has gone wild over everything FFVII, but that was a given from the start.
After the concert finished, Alex and I were eager for the next part: The Meet and Greet with Arnie Roth (Conductor) and Nobuo Uematsu (Composer). Around 150-200 people must have had these tickets, so we all waited in line. It wasn’t very civil unfortunately but we were lucky and in the first batch of 100 I’d say.
When I was finally able to talk to them I was super nervous. With Roth, I was kinda cool because I only know him from this concert series. I told him how great the performance was, that you can feel the enthusiams and that it was an awesome experience.
As I got to talk to Uematsu-san I was getting all hyped up @_@. You guys must know that his music played (ha! pun!) a huge part of my life as a teen, and even until this day, I listen to FF songs on a regular basis. I told him in Japanese that his music is always touching my heart. He told me my Japanese was very good, I said “no, no”, as it is custom and then ran away like I was part of a J-drama. I was able to tell him how much it meant to me at least. I couldn’t tell him how FF basically saved my life on more than one occation, how it kept me from turning bitter and dark altogether. I would cried so much, I didn’t want to do that. So I expressed as much as I could with this sentence.
Alex and I were actually a bit shaky afterwards and zombied outside of the venue to the hotel again. We talked about what an awesome day we had and packed our stuff since we had to get up at 6 in the morning.
Little did we know what the early morning had in store for us:
I kid you not, at 5:45 – I looked because I thought Alex has the worst wake up tune ever – the whole hotel was woken up by Fire Alarm. Drunken by sleep I slipped into my sneakers and got my jacket and rucksack, in case we couldn’t go back in for hours. Alex made the good point that this was a fire alarm and we need to get out asap – so we went.
(We were still the first to get out so I see this as an achievement.) Me in my clothes and him without any socks, were standing outside to see if anything was actually going on. It wasn’t. People arrived outside as well and we all began quite quickly to go back inside and ask what was the problem.
The poor guy of a receptionist was confused and overwhelmed by the situation, but he said it was a false alarm. We would have liked to go back to bed, but it was now 6 o ‘clock anyway, and after 5 hours of sleep we packed the last items, refreshed ourselves and went down to eat breakfast.
We were heading quite early to the bus station as we figured out that all buses were out of order for some reason and we took the next subway. Lots of people were standing in line for a ticket on a machine that died in the middle of one person trying to buy a ticket, so we ran to the other side of the station to get a ticket, just to ran again in the direction before to actually get on the train that just arrived. Too much stress for me on that morning I have to admit. In the end we were able to catch the ICE to Frankfurt.
Tour back and afternoon stuff
I felt positively dead on the train. I was a bit dehydrated from not drinking enough during the last days and sooooo sleepy. I couldn’t decide on what to do, I couldn’t sleep, I was a mess. But well. That’s how it is sometimes. Alex and I said by on the subway ride back home, and I cooked some rice and a side salat.
Later, I had a Skype session with Poesielos because we are playing an adventure book together and that was a lot of fun although I was just dead at the end of the chapter XD…
So, that was my weekend 😀 How was yours?