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Inspired by “Fogus’ yearly list of great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc.” - this is my own version of what were the best things I discovered in 2018.

Fiction Books

  • The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota Book 3) still great, even if I have to confess that having to wait months between the last and next book made me struggle a bit to re-immerse myself in the (extremely) rich world. Maybe it would be better to wait for the full series to be published before taking the plunge.
  • Revenant Gun — another third volume in a different series. The world is again rich, but the actual story is less complex (also, there are way less characters to keep track of) and in any case this completes the trilogy. Enjoyable, but for me the first book remains the best.

Technical and Non-Fiction Books

  • 101 things I learned in Architecture school a little gem of a book, at least for me: I am not particularly knowledgeable about architecture (even if one or two of the "nuggets" could help also in my job) but I stil found this very interesting. First of a series, will probably get more.
  • Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone. Another unexpected treasure trove from outside of my general area of expertise/interest. At the very least will help you with creativity, and also help you to better understand human psychology.

Favorite non-book media and entertainment

I basically deserted cinemas this year, and haven't even watched any DVD or anything similar.

Gaming

After a promising start last year I am unfortunately back to my old habits: buying > reading > playing.

Content (produced by me)

  • I wrote a "personal review" of a Philosophy book and managed to get some attention on Hacker's News.

Tools

  • iOttie Easy One Touch (Air Vent) after years of struggling with cheaper alternatives I can finally attest I found a good mobile mount, especially if - like me - you don't own a car but always rent different models.
  • Helly Hansen Duffel Bag I bought this to replace a similar, unknown brand duffel bag that had served me for years. This is even better: robust, practical, and the handles are designed to work as (comfortable) straps to carry it as a backpack.
  • Hickies very practical for casual shoes. You can set these in different configurations depending if you need a looser or tighter hold.
  • Belkin 2-in-1 Lightning and Micro USB Charge/Sync Cable after a long series of soon-broken alternatives, this one seems to be the "best in breed", allowing you to provide charge to iPhones or Androids (and take in account that basically every power bank requires a USB cable to be recharged, so even if you only own an iPhone this will be enough for both).
  • Olight i1r Rechargeable Mini Torch after more than one decade with microlights I finally decided to move to something more powerful to keep on my keychain.
  • Porter "Capsule" Wallet I am not a vegan, so I own some leather belts and shoes (even if I try to find alternatives if available). But for some reason I never really liked leather wallets. I accidentally found this one during my latest trip to Japan, and I immediately fell in love with it. Plenty of space, very robust, well organised (and large enough to hold both European banknotes and my National ID card which is still available as a paper booklet only)
  • Canon Pixma cheap, but with acceptable quality output and simple and effective wifi connectivity. I believe it has been subsetted by Canon, but I would confidently buy any new model in the same segment in the future.
  • Apple Watch - this actually deserves a full entry.

Services

  • Flixbus - these guys are really giving a DBahn a run for their money. They are cheap and offer lots of options but be careful because running on normal roads they are - on average - unable to be perfectly on time, unless the scheduled arrival is very early in the morning (when the normal car traffic is extremely low).
  • Deepl - while Google Translate obviously dominate the automatic translation scene (if nothing else due to the enormous number of languages provided) Deepl offers a more limited number of languages, but it is definitely better at dealing with subtle nuances. I have used it to translate legal and financial documents with very good results.
  • JottaCloud - after years of making-do with Dropbox and Time Machine I finally decided to keep a full scale backup on a remote service. JottaCloud provides good service at a very reasonable price. They are based in Norway and seem to take extra effort to guarantee your data privacy.

Calligraphy/Art

Martial Arts

While I kept practicing regularly there is nothing really "major" to report this year, I am afraid…

Dining

  • Satt & Glücklich (Berlin, Vegan)
  • Nagel (Hamburg) - not really Vegetarian friendly (there are exactly two dishes that are vegetarian) but I like the atmosphere and the fact that it looks like a place where you can find locals more often than tourists.
  • Moriki (Frankfurt) posh Japanese/fusion place. Not exactly cheap, but really great (and in any case dinner there was the prize for a bet that I won…)
  • Café Au Lait (Berlin) - pretty nice place for pantagruelic breakfasts/brunches.
  • Schönes Leben (Hamburg) - the original location has closed down, unfortunately, but this place is still pretty nice.
  • Veggiez (Vienna) - "vegan dining room" with many (five at my last visit) different places all over Vienna.
  • Hum Vegan (Berlin) - Just thinking of eating there on my next visit to Berlin is making me salivate…
  • Yasaiya Mei, Remy Gotanda (Tokyo) - a pleasant surprise even in Tokyo, where amazing food is not really difficult to come by.

Shopping

  • Julius Meinl am Graben - a delicatessen shop in Vienna.
  • Kyukyodo (Tokyo) - a special place if you are looking for stationery, Shodo or incense.
  • Maito (Tokyo) - a small apparel laboratory that only uses natural fibres and traditional, vegetable tinctures.
  • Kakimori - if you are a stationery/pens fetishist like me, just visiting this shop could be a good reason to travel to Tokyo.
  • Pigment - Another "boutique" shop, devoted mostly to inks and eastern calligraphy (brushes, paper etc.)

Places

  • Vienna (including MAK and Albertina Museum) due to a series of bizzarre events I visited Vienna three times this year (my previous visit was like 40 years ago…).
  • Botanical Gardens Berlin - I often visit the Botanical Gardens of any large city I happen to reach… for some reason I never thought of doing the same in Berlin, but luckily this mistake was finally corrected.
  • Tokyo (including Ghibli Museum).