Quarantine Notes 06-07.05

Today is the day of presentation. I was kind of nervous so I didn’t do much before the presentation, only cooked something better than days before because now I have much ingredients again. So vegetarian Cordon Bleu, dried instant noodle and German cabbage (Weißkohl). The cabbage is really hard to fully cooked and it has very spicy taste when it’s raw or partly raw. I was almost throwing away the half cooked cabbage but I just saw a recipe in social media by my kindergarten friend about how to cook cabbage. Luckily the recipe was efficient to my half cooked cabbage.

This friend was graduated with master of food science, an interdisciplinary subject mainly about chemistry and biology, but after going back to China she’s working as a food writer. Sometimes I feel a bit pity for her, but it’s still a very smart choice. Now food is almost the only subject people can write without thinking about the censorship, and even the restaurants were closed during corona lockdown, food writers can still write about self-made food, delivery and canned food.

When I was in university to have the “carrier plan” seminar, the teacher let us first think about the city we want to live in future, then the occupation. That time I didn’t understand the order because I think if you’re passionate to an occupation you’d be able to do it anywhere. But from my friend’s experience, it’s clear that the teacher was right.

Presentation was fine. I still have a lot work to do until a bigger presentation next month, but I can have short time off now. I tried the Turkish dish Shakura, but my landlord came after I began. With the TV as background sound, I felt I must hurry up, so the vegetables were not enough cooked.

After missing my most expected theater of Berlin Theatertreffen, I’m very alert to time now. But I don’t like today’s theater very much so I just watched half of it.

07.05.2020

I fixed the date with my student to have first private lesson from end of the month. And I got informed that I may start another teaching job next month too. Mentally I’m slowly preparing for going back to works with people and need to go out. Practically I started practicing classical pieces on instruments again.

And a simplified Bibimbap. With a rice cooker it doesn’t need to open the cooker, and can be finished in 5 minutes.

I’ve heard that some of my friends like to cook while watching TV series. I was surprised at first, because it’s not even an idea for me. I started really cooking from I’m in Germany, and since then I always share kitchen with some other people. I hope someday I will be able to have this kind of enjoyment too. Although I didn’t watch TV series for very long time, maybe I won’t watch any in future either, but I still want this possibility.

Quarantine Notes 04-05.05

I went out again!

Last time I found the ducks sound very interesting but I didn’t bring recorder, so before I went to supermarket, first I went to find some ducks. I googled “what time do ducks go out” and there were just many answers about “what time is the best for duck hunting” and even “how to kill more ducks”… Human is crazy. So I gave up to research what time do they make sound.

Luckily I still found some ducks, although they didn’t make sound (some mandarin ducks were in the lake and busy looking for food). I just recorded some nature sound, probably people can tell there’s also sound of the ducks looking for food with their beaks on the surface of the lake.

And the restriction to the children playground is cancelled. I’ve seen more people outside, it’s also almost busy as usual on the road (although there are not so many cars on road in where I live anyway).

Now people must wear mask to enter the supermarket and use trolleys. I was thinking at home, do I still have to insert a coin to use the trolley? If so would it be still risk because of the coins? Nevertheless, I looked some minutes for my coin purse. I didn’t use cash for almost two months, it’s so hard to remember where my cashes are. Finally I found them in the down jacket which I wore in the coldest winter.

And yes, I must insert a coin to use the trolley! But there is a worker keep disinfecting the trolleys, so I guess it would be fine.

Very surprisingly, I found Loquat in our remote supermarket! And they taste really good. As I wrote in former notes, I seldom go to China in hot summer, so I have very long time didn’t had this fruit.

After I was back, I tried to join a lesson online at 14:00, then I found it’s actually at 13:00. I waited very long to join the session and still managed to listen the last ca. 40 minutes. Then there was another online lesson… After the lesson I felt like I must choose between the online Berlin Theatertreffen and my dissertation, and I chose the dissertation.

The piece I reworked on 24.04 is now online. Thanks to Music&Friends Chamber Ensemble! When I saw the notification I was still in the online lesson so I listened the piece with microphone off. It’s so easy to get distract during online lesson, but perhaps I’d check my phone some times as well in a real classroom.

And the pre-deadline screen… Finally I moved all what I need for writing dissertation in my bed. But sometimes it’s just hard to move from one side of the bed to the other.

05.05.2020

Woke up with a rejecting letter, laid down again, then found it’s almost the time for online meeting.

Meeting at 12:00, 14:00 and 14:30, almost none stop. But I don’t have to say anything in the last meeting so I turned off the camera and had lunch.

After these meetings I found it’s already not so much time until people be off work, so I just sent my 6-page finished text (I planned to send 10 pages). Then I tried to watch a theatre of Berlin Thetertreffen which I missed when I was working on the dissertation. And I found it’s already expired. I realised for the first time that I didn’t watch anything for 2 days but not 1 day. It’s the theatre I wanted to watch the most in this festival, now I can only hope someday I can see it in a theatre.

While writing communicating with people became even harder, especially oral communication. These days I only took one phone call about reworking on one of my old pieces and still feel kind of hard to talk in an online meeting or writing emails.

Tomorrow is the small presentation of my dissertation, after that I will start replying non-emergency emails.

And I finally opened the hair chalk I bough in Japan in 2014. Since no one will see the failed result, I can experiment on my hair endlessly. It’s so strange that I still have many things I bought during that trip and still didn’t use. Sometimes people think, I may not be in this place for very long so I should buy more things for future using. But since people don’t have the time in the place (to try more things), neither the time to travel, how do they believe that they would have the time to try these things in another place?

After many travels between Asian and Europe, I learned that don’t bring too many things from either place. But probably I was right in 2014 to buy a lot of things because indeed I won’t go to Japan for very long time.

I still remember a former partner said around 2013, let’s go to Tokyo Olympic in 2020. And there’s not even Olympic in 2020 now.

Quarantine Notes 29-30.04

For some reasons I’m in a Zoom improvisation workshop with a lot of students majoring visual art. Today is the first day and it’s more theoretic, I just let the video run and look at it time by time.

Then did some reading and some late-night writing (still not for my dissertation yet).

Cooked noodles for two days. I first time cooked the white onion correctly, it really needs a lot of time to be not that spicy. I used all the cheese, and still have two eggs. If I want enough protein for the rest of the week I should maybe go to supermarket on Friday or Saturday. But people still have the habit to do grocery on weekend, so I may postpone it until Monday to avoid meeting many people.

30.04.2020

Day two of the workshop. It came to practice, but it means as well that I must always show up in front of the camera.

The schedule is warmup from 9:00 and start jam from 10:00 to 17:00, with about 70 minutes rest in all. So it’s quite crazy. I set up my first virtual background in Zoom with the Shin Ramyun theme. It’s fun but I’m still a bit skeptical about allowing Zoom to recognize my face.

After that I went to sleep directly. Then got up to edit the video of my mother playing music with her friend in USA. Tomorrow is the Labor’s Day, it’s very important festival in China and my mother wants to post the video on that day.

And did a new Bandcamp release: https://dongzhou.bandcamp.com/album/piano-motif

I’ve seen schoolmate already going out for bubble tea. Actually my wishes and desires came back these days, maybe because of the rhythm of the started semester. But I still don’t know when I will go to buy bubble tea. I stopped my bus ticket until end of June, it means I may pay extra for traffic if I go to a bubble tea shop.

And I still feel it’s not the time to go out ONLY for a bubble tea and spend like 10 euros just for that.

1/3 of 2020 passed. I still didn’t archive much. It’s like every year, I can’t blame the virus for it. I can just try to create more, reach more out, and hopefully in the end of the year it won’t feel so void.

Quarantine Notes 27-28.04

Pre-live-stream day: test Zoom to Facebook broadcasting with all my devices for #pajamaopera

A friend asked whether I’m in China after seeing this photo, the reason he guessed so is that I was wearing a down jacket. Well probably you don’t know it’s already warmer than 25 degree in most areas of China, and Beijing will have 31 degree on the Labor’s Day; and you don’t know how is it to work in cellar. Sometimes I even feel my knee is having slight pain, I’m having calcium supplement now but I don’t know when will I go to a doctor, I hope it will be fine before I must go to one.

There would be a planned online meeting but it’s moved to tomorrow. And from tomorrow there will be event everyday, but I still have 2 deadlines in the first week of May. So worked on some writing before I can’t.

28.04.2020

Online meeting at 12:00, 12:30, 14:00; tech-check for live stream at 15:40. live-stream at 16:00. And I have to finish two video editing before 12:00.

With this schedule, it’s extremely frustrating when I knew that I calculated time zone (again) wrong for the musician in Brazil. When a performer told me about it around 13:00, I tried very hard stopped the video editing and sent a message to the musician. Unfortunately he was still sleeping. And earlier in morning another musician also canceled his present.

Organizing online performance is not at all easier than organizing an offline one. For a 25-minute session it needs more than 4 hours for me to prepare, for other performers it would also be more than 1 hour.

Still, I made some pancakes with eggs for protein.

And in today’s 3 online meeting before the live-streaming I all have to talk or present something. So after the live-stream I had some rest food of yesterday and directly went to sleep. I booked a session of Genesis (game by Alexander Schubert) at 0:30.

The semester seems really started.

Quarantine Notes 22.04

My landlord was going to city again, so I made the Chives Pancake (葱油饼). It should be much more flatter but I really tried my best. It took about 2 hours to make 5 pieces (the mini one doesn’t count). I heard that there is some frozen ones in Asian Market, after we could freely move I will definitely buy them instead of making them myself. Although I’m not quite sure whether I will still think of this food. Recently I really don’t miss any food, but after eating something I can still be impressed by them.

And I went out! Because I wanted to see someone and there’s no extra contact happened (we both didn’t take public transport).

It’s very amazing to see flowers, ducks, insects and… people. When I walked by an ice-cream shop, there were already full of people in front of it.

Is eating ice-cream prohibited? No. In theory, people can now also take public transport and even meet individually at home. But I still feel these things are very strange. I can’t be so happy when there are a lot of people dying, and everything in future is unsure.

In east Asia the culture it doesn’t encourage people to have fun, and my mother is influenced by it very much. So if there is no special reason, it’s not allowed to have fun. Maybe I’m a bit like that too, but for me there’s also a lot of practical reasons to not have fun for the moment, for example, protecting my landlord (he’s in the high-risk group).

I took one photo on my way. And I thought I could take more photos on the way back, but then it’s too cold and dark and some flowers already rested.

I went to Penny for the first time since 13.03 on my way back. There’s no basket to use but only shopping cart (for keeping the distance), but they are outside of the supermarket so I didn’t take one, just bought a few things and left.

When I was home, my landlord was watching a very important TV program for him and he wants me to not cook during this program. It has been so long that I came back at this time. I found a quinoa snack from my Rossmann order. Luckily it’s not bad.

When my friend talked about plan after the crisis, he mentioned to move a place. And I suddenly recognized, one of the reason I feel like I can’t plan anything after the crisis, is that I’m in this remote house which only suit for ascetic life. If I want to cook longer, invite people, let people stay with me, hold event at home, keep pet, decorate my room differently… I must always first inform my landlord. It’s like, they all need a reason.

Walking on the street, there was a police car passing by. I was thinking, will someone check my document and ask what I’m doing outside? It reminds me when I was in elementary school, I liked it very much to explore different corners with a friend. But there can be a teacher any time appear and ask us, what are you doing there. So we got a solution called “sticker chasing”: my friend had always some stickers with him. If someone asked, he would say that I want to rob his stickers, so he was fleeting without direction; and I could say that the stickers should be mine so I was trying to chase them back.

I don’t like the feeling to always think of a reason. Under this kind of circumstance I feel threatened. For my situation, staying at home means either initially to choose an ascetic life, or always looking for reasons for my non-ascetic activities. I’m still quite ok with the initially chosen ascetic life, and somehow I’m trying to make it even more ascetic. But in long term I will change it.

Quarantine Notes 19-21.04

Recent biological clock: waking up aroun 7:30-8:30, feeling hungry, brushing teeth and eating, feeling tired again around 9:30…

I’m still trying to finish a piece so I confronted with myself from 15:00. Before-deadline lunch/ dinner:

20.04.2020

I had an online meeting where we decided to play a 5-minutes spontaneously. Because the violin needs longer time to start, I played Otamatone there. Through the Zoom connection a saxophonist thought I was playing saxophone, so sounds like pretty successful. I may use it more for improvisational music in future.

And from next month the school in Shanghai will all open. My mother is planning to wear mask for all the lessons (they will soon be off-line too!), so she ask a friend of mine whether he can buy some masks for her. My friend bought it on the way after work and asked me about my mother’s address. He said he’d use the fastest express delivery service to deliver them. Although I told him it’s not necessary because my mother will use them next month, he still chose that express. And after about 90 minutes, my mother received the masks.

Well another story of “China speed”. I’ve heard that this friend also used the same delivery to deliver handmade breakfast to his girlfriend when she was ill. It must be very absurd for people out of China: people there must earn their not-so-big money so my friend can’t be off work for half a day, but he still want to show his concern and care so he paid people who earn less money to spend the time instead of him. Maybe that’s why people living in China believe so much in money, because except “buying someone else’s time”, they don’t have other choice (maybe being very much isolated is a choice).

And at night I finished the first edition of the score.

21.04.2020

After eating a lot of days of bread, toast and salad, I started feeling bad in stomach, so a day with congee. My mother was warning me about taking enough protein, so I had some vegetarian sausages too.

The congee with rice and dried grained corn is so good. Whether you eat it sweet or salty, it’s great. It’s typical in north China so before I went to Germany I had only once when I was very small. After that I was keep trying to figure out, what kind of corn (or the way to prepare the corn) is it and always got no answer. This time I found the dried grained corn by accident when I scrolling the website of the Asian Market. It may be the second best purchase (after the toy bunny) since quarantine.

And probably you can find in picture I started to plant carrot now. Let’s see how will it be.

Officially since this week the restriction is relaxed. But my life is not changing too much. This semester for universities will be all online, and there won’t be concerts before September. I don’t know why would I go out, but maybe I won’t do grocery online from now.

I finished rewriting a piece for my friend’s online project. I’m looking forward to the premier of the new version next month.

Quarantine Notes 13-16.04

Several deadlines on 15.04, so some last-minute work.

And I’m trying to back to soundscape study so I’m doing some readings.

A Chinese art-therapist is doing a project and asked me for some music, I’m still kind of confused with the whole scene of art-therapy but I still offered to remix an old piece of mine for free.

I had the rest of the dish from last day and had some noodles.

14.04.2020

The music for the art-therapy project is already online and got more than 200 views. That’s the “Chinese speed”, sometimes I get overwhelmed by it. And this speed is still not a fast one (2 days for creating the content and get 200 views in one day), but the art-therapist was satisfied with it, so do I.

And a new dish, using the rest of the fresh vegetables, tofu and some pickle. It’s very spicy in a very weird way, combined the spicy flavors of the pickle, the spring onion and the onion. I feel the first time I cooked something really bad. But I still have to eat it for about 3 days.

Did an online meeting. And I cleaned the bathroom because the cleaner can’t come. She’s working for my landlord for very long, I’m actually feeling bad to let cleaner come during this time, but she didn’t come just because some personal reasons. As I googled about the solution with cleaner/ babysitter in this time, a website said if they’re legal workers (except as Mini Job) they should get allowance from the government; and if they don’t, they should be illegal anyway. The website has even a note after the word “illegal work”: which in 90% case they are. So should 90% household workers be left in the crisis? If an industry has 90% illegal workers, there must be some problems in the system.

In evening I recorded a demo for my piece for Mindfuck Coronopera, it’s a very rhythmic piece which includes voice and body percussion. I found it really need some time to practice. But the director still didn’t decide how to present it so I will think later about how to help the performers to record the piece.

15.04.2020

What did I eat except the very bad dish (just slightly better, but I don’t have much ingredient now, and I’m lazy):

Had an online meeting, good to see teachers of HfMT again.

And another Amazon Fresh delivery. People are boycotting Amazon for the way the treat their employers. I’m still learning about the situation. Although in China, their working condition is much better than many other delivery companies. And kindle did help me buying Chinese books oversea. The only skeptical thing I experienced from Amazon is that they cooperated with the censorship very well, they may even delete books from your kindle after you bought it (and the book was banned after the purchase).

I received a final result of a track exchange with two other composers. It’s really interesting and we will keep doing it. I still don’t know when they’re going to be public though.

16.04.2020

Second computer-free day in a roll.

Did some reading and laundry. Folding clothes in sunset without hurry is great.

Quarantine Notes 17-18.04

Online meeting at 11:00 and 20:00, two deadlines. The first meeting was with teachers and students of the school I did my master. It’s my first time to join an online meeting (the online workshop doesn’t count) with almost 40 people. I must say it’s much less stress comparing with meeting 40 people in real. But it’s good to see them and to know a lot of lectures will be given. I will attend at least one of them (online).

Because of the delivery, I finally had toast and chives. From the picture you may tell that I’m missing Prezel with chives, it’s true but after this breakfast I feel already satisfied. I’m planning to use the rest of the chives to make Chives Pancake (Chinese snack) but I still don’t know when.

My spring onions before I ate it. After eating it I knew, it can even blossom. But these spring onion’s root already started getting rotten, so I can only try when I have new spring onions. I will try to plant carrot and onion this time, but not for eating. Planting them with water can let them perhaps blossom but they won’t grow the eatable parts so big that I can eat them again.

And this time I’m chopping vegetable for 3-4 days. It is said that cooked vegetable is better to be finished in 24 hours, so I just left them uncooked and will eat them as salad. I tried the salad style I learned in Portugal but found it’s not that easy. The original style is to use only lettuce, tomato, onion, olive oil and salt. But the proportion of the different kinds of vegetables, the way to cut them and the vegetables to use (the onion I bought from Rewe is super spicy…) are all important. So I ended up something like that, added some goat cheese. I was just nervously procrastinating. I really have to do things other than chopping vegetables.

Here is the package from Rossmann. I recommend the corn chips (Mais Waffeln) very much. I started to love it when I was in Spain and found a very cheap version produced by Dia, but it’s the first time I found something similar in Germany. Of course, Cheetos is still the best corn snack, probably the best snack.

And some nail painting after receiving nail stickers. Actually they’re not so easy to use with non-transparent nail polish. But I feel not so bad with my experiment.

I also cleaned bathroom today as the cleaner finally didn’t come. I was worried about how to keep the distance and keep safe if she came, but now it’s not a problem until the next appointment which is in a month. I don’t think in a month everything will run normally. A friend said after that people must be so hungry of raving so we should organize a festival for 3-day-raving. I guess I will support them, but I personally don’t have the desire to go back to “normal” life.

What will I do first if everything is running again? Perhaps go for another bubble tea.

18.04.2020

Had tiring dream, and indeed tired because of all kinds of work yesterday. By the end of yesterday I finished a video lecture for my schoolmate’s seminar in Shanghai. I was very nervous, I’m sure it’s not only because of the camera. I think I’m just still not qualified enough to give a lecture alone. But I must try it hard. I have things to share, the problem is just how.

A lot of resting.

And watched 2.5 hours of One World. Just wanted to know how the top class streaming event is going and know some more singers. It’s a great show but I just can’t receive more positive energy after 2 hours. Perhaps I will check it again later.

Meanwhile (yes I turn off the volume sometimes) I edited a video of my mother and her friend in USA playing a duo from their home. I was a bit surprised that in China AppStore there is no app like “acapella maker”, and seems Chinese artists didn’t try online collaboration at all during the outbreak (some started after the so-called “post-corona time”). I’m interested in asking some friends about the situation, but I can totally understand if they didn’t have the energy to do art when they were facing an unknown disease as the first group in the whole world.

I personally can’t agree with Matthias Horx’s article about the time after Covid-19. It’s in general like a placebo or even narcotic if he’s not too naive; and it doesn’t mention China at all, of course neither Iran, Korea, and all developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin-America. I’m not saying China is always a great influencer, but in the case of Covid-19, as the first country who undergoes it, China’s role can’t be ignored in any discussions.

I will have another deadline in 6 days, part of me doesn’t want to rest anymore, maybe it’s still better to try sleep earlier and get up earlier tomorrow.

Quarantine Notes 12.04

Soon it’s a month since I stayed home.

Finally some new food! But mixed with a bit rest of canned vegetables… And because the bread will go bad soon, I didn’t cook rice.

My mother told me that it’s crazily windy in Shanghai. It made me miss the all kinds of crazy weathers there. One of my former partners said, the weather in Germany is like me, always mild, not too hot, not too cold, no heavy rain last longer than 1 hour. Comparing with Shanghai, the weather change in Hamburg is almost like nothing changed. Especially when I’m inside, I can only feel it’s brighter and warmer outside, which doesn’t influence me so much.

I miss the moment that it’s over 40 degree outside, and suddenly it rained so heavy and there were quickly a small flood in the street. I must go to a shopping mall to stay inside, and the the moment I entered the shopping mall, my poles shrunk because of the air-conditioner.

Of course that could be beautiful in memory, and perhaps still beautiful if I experience it once. But months long like that is really horrible. I’m still kind of afraid of going to Shanghai between June and September.

And I’m again in studio today. I started cooperating with a Chinese art therapist who live in Germany. And also did some work for two more other cooperation. I still have to write and compose something for myself. It’s hard to keep disciplined especially in the cold room. My landlord start wearing short-sleeve T-shirt. I’m wearing long-sleeve one now, but in studio I really need to wear down jacket.

I’ve seen a net friend lost a family member because of Covid-19. She said it’s really really necessary to stay at home now. So I still don’t know when I will go to get fresh vegetable. I ordered something more from Rossmann, a pharmacy and healthy food retailer, so if I’m not sick fresh vegetable will be the only thing I need to buy. But I guess it will be after one week. I may experience the Germany style of mild summer that time.