I discovered the name Ritter, which means Knight in German, is a popular one in Berlin.
There is the Ritterstrasse, or Ritterstraße, a mostly residential street in the city’s Kreuzberg district. In the same district can be found the RITTERHOF, or what looks to be a very old apartment building.
Then of course there is the RITTER SPORT chocolate company, who manage a three-story flagship store called ChocoWorld on the Französische Strasse in Berlin’s fashionable Friedrichstadt district.
In addition to the same delicious Ritter Sport chocolate bars you can buy in Canada, you can find about 25 additional flavors and products, including some the size of an iPad, on the shelves of most convenience and grocery stores in Berlin.
Despite the fact that nobody really speaks English, the folks at China Southern Airlines did a remarkable job of getting me and my bag from Harbin in northern China all the way to Amsterdam in 14 hours, which was something of a surprise to me. At the airport in Harbin, my questions regarding the quick KLM connection in Beijing were answered in rapid fire Mandarin, and about all I understood from the exchange was the China Southern agent pointing to the baggage tag labelled PEK-AMS, indicating the bag would be automatically transferred to the connecting flight in Beijing. Then, at the very busy airport in Beijing, another China Southern agent was waiting at the arrival gate with my name written on a sign, and I was escorted through a special corridor to the international departure gates, and happily sent on my way. After a comfortable ten hour flight, my bag arrived at the same time I did at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and off I went, duly impressed with the customer service provided by both China Southern and their partner KLM.
You can buy a Rolex watch in Beijing for five dollars or you can buy one for $5000. I am pretty sure the ones they sell in this mall – dedicated solely to watch companies – will last you slightly longer than the five dollar models. After all, they did take the trouble of dragging this plane to the entrance of the mall.
You run into a lot of screens like this one when accessing the Internet in China, which is most annoying. For example, you cannot access Facebook, Twitter, some western news services and most, but not all, of Google’s services. This means no YouTube or any of Google’s photo sharing services, such as Picasa or Panoramio. You can, however, access Gmail. You also cannot get satellite images of Beijing using Google Maps. Curiously, all of Microsoft’s online services appear to be available.
The 700 series Shinkansen is characterized by its flat ‘duck-bill’ nose designed to reduce the piston effect as the trains enter tunnels. The 700 series are used for Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama services on the Tōkaidō and Sanyō Shinkansen lines, where it can reach speeds of 270 km/h.
Street level in the Shinjuku district. Very popular at night and very crowded. Home to hotels, department stores, specialist electronic and camera shops, cinemas, restaurants, and the Kabukichō red light district.
Opened in May 2012, the Tokyo Skytree Tower is a fairly impressive feat of architecture and construction. The line-ups for the observation deck are long, but the views are unbeatable. More photos available here.
Forget Lotto 649 or the US Powerball. In Japan, you can win not merely millions in the lottery, but BILLIONS. Like everywhere on the planet, the lottery is hugely popular in Tokyo, with long line-ups at lottery shops and kiosks.