Something I love about Germany

Posted December 2, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Until recently, I had usually problems answering the question, what I like about Germany, especially if it should be about culture. Because there is actually a lot I dislike and I don’t consider myself, being ‘typical German’. But last weekend, I went to the christmas market in Osaka and although I was going there for the food, I liked it because of much more than just that.

First for all people, who don’t really now about German christmas markets, a brief description what it is about:

Popular attractions at the market include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), NussknackerNutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), ChriststollenStollen), a sort of egg bread with candied fruit, Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). (carved (

Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. Many other handmade items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and ornaments (and in recent years less useful gadgets) can be found at a Christkindlmarkt.

(Source: Wikipedia)

As you can clearly see a german christmas market is a lot about the drinks and the food. And it was a bit shocking, that the one in Osaka was terribly expensive, but it is only part of it. Much more important to me was to feel this atmosphere going on there, the decorated boothes, being surrounded by cold air and listening to christmas music. It wasn’t exactely a lot of german music being played on the market in Osaka, but I still liked it.

Impressions of the christmas market in Osaka and german markets:

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Ambulance incoming… who cares!?

Posted December 1, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Today on my way home, I was getting shocked again… an ambulance passed by. But that was actually not shocking about it, it was the simple fact, that no one in Japan cares. The ambulance took like 1 min to get across a crossing… yes there was a lot of traffic, but it had everything on, lights and signals at full volume. I think it is kind of sad, because I don’t want to lie in one of these ambulances and taking years to an hospital.

In Germany it is exactely the opposite. Sometimes the cars start dangerously quickly breaking their car and pulling it on the sideway. But I have never seen any situation where a ambulance had problems passing through. Usually the cars are always out of the way, before the ambulance can actually been seen.

スーパーサイズ ミ (supersize me)

Posted December 1, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Supersize me – a documentation about the fastfood culture in America even nominated for an Oscar. And “yes” this movie underlined every stereotype Germans had about Americans. But why am I talking about this? I am in Japan now, the country of Sushi, rice, udon and other healthy food. And furthermore the country with one of the healthiest population on the world.

I am talking about this, because Japan is surpringsly selling a lot of super-size products. But these are not only disconfirmed expectations for a German even the Americans keep seeing super-size products in american fast food restaurants like Mc Donald’s or Wendys, which are not being sold in the US! So far no Japanese person could tell me why and observing the people at the Mc Donald’s at the campus, it doesn’t seem that the Megamac has a high popularity for Japanese students. So I sadly can’t tell what’s happening here.

Some examples:

Powernapping

Posted December 1, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

In the recent time, I got pretty famous for one thing at Kansai Gaidai: Taking naps. In the CIE lounge, in the train or even in lessons. And most people think I am terribly rude (especially doing it in lessons) or I should just sleep more at night, but I am just following what my body wants me to. If you try to stay awake, without being able to concentrate 1 1/2 hours for a whole class and having these problems all day long, why not just take a short-nap and get rid of that problem?

In sleep research, these short naps are reffered to as power-naps and research states sufficient results for the positive effects of it. Research clearly shows, that naps of 30 mins or 1 hours help ragaining energy and especially help reversing information overload leading to the burn out syndrome.

“The bottom line: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that ‘power nap’ at work or catching those extra winks the night before our piano recital. “

And even putting the researched benefits by side, I think it is a remarkable positive skill, to be able to relax in pretty much any enviroment, even if it is neither dark, nor quiet. Learning this, doesn’t only help sleeping, but keeping calm in important situations in general and not being too stressed.

Source: Nationa Institut of Mental Health

Pictures of me taking power-naps:

Thanks at my friends for taking them!

Schadenfreude

Posted November 30, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Recently I had a lot of dicussions about german humor and what are the distinctions to other countries humor. And we came to the conclusion, that the main one is “Schadenfreude”. The uniqueness is pretty much shown by the pure fact, that there are no really translations for the word itself and several english dictionaries list the german word. It consists out of Schaden (damage) and Freude (joy) and describes the process of being amused by other peoples mischief.

Videos are much better than words, so I’d like to show you the distinction with a video. The subtitles are pretty bad, but it should be enough to understand most of it. I could have chosen a lot of other examples, but I’d like to present you “Gablerstaplerfahrer Klaus” (Klaus the Forkliftdriver). It is Klaus first day as a forklifter driver and he is not really following the safety instructions. What starts with some small jokes, ends up in fulimant finale of disaster.

Warning: Everything in this video is acted, but it is incredibly gory and should definately not be watched by children! If you can’t see blood, than do not watch this video!

(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A287255)

The power of a mask

Posted November 28, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Today I want to write something about some interesting experiences at Halloween. Basically a Antti, a Finish friend of mine, and me tried to buy some really cheap costumes and ended up finding some really strange masks in Shinsaibashi, which were actually really funny and cheap! So looking totally ridiculous anyway, we got the idea of even topping that and putting on suits at the same time.

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Crazy Halloween action

I won’t write to much about the day itself and our the impact we had on campus, wearing these costumes, because that is already perfectly covered in Antti’s Blog but I like to talk about the power a custome can give. Because basically we were allowed to do everything these two days. Nobody could tell if we were gaijin or ryugakuseis (because of our no talking and only acting policy) and nobody could take us serious.

So after some hours, we began to grasp that power and started doing stuff, we would have never been able to pull of as ourselves. We sat down at cute girls tables, just staring at them, to freak them of and see the reactions, took away the signs all the Japanese were carrying around to advertise their booth and so many more hilarious things.  And it was so much fun. Actually I think we could have got most girls on a date on these days, just because we were special, interesting (for some people creepy) and got especially had no restrictions. In this costume we could pull off, whatever we wanted to and wished for.

So of course it doesn’t affect my normal life to much and my insight out of this is not to wear a costume more often, but it shows what I am actually capable of, not restricting myself, because of fear people might think bad of me. So it wasn’t only a lot of fun, it also boosted my self-confidence and gives me the feeling, that it might be a good idea to get rid of or loosen my self-imposed chains.

Möbus: a famous german brand

Posted November 27, 2008 by Tim
Categories: Uncategorized

Today I want to tell sth. about Möbus, a famous German brand, which is surprisingly also very well-known in Japan and sold in a lot of shops. Most of the times, they even have their own presentation area in the shop and the slogan “international bewährt” (internationally well proven) can be seen everywhere.

Möbus shoes

Möbus shoes

Möbus bag

Möbus bag

 

Hm but 少々お待ちください! Möbus? I have never heard of this brand and I am from Germany. Something going wrong here. So what’s going on? So I started some research and actually I can at least say, that Möbus is not a fake brand name. The company was actually Germans third biggest sport-shoe producer, until it went bankrupt in 1982. And it was revived in 2003, although it is a really small, unknown company in Germany, which is selling nothing than several models of their sport-shoes. So no comparison to what is happening in Japan.

So how did it get here? I can’t give a definite answer to this, because I can’t find the information, but from the company history on the german website, I can tell you, that they worked together with the company Ontisuka Tiger in 1978 to sell and distribute their products in Europe. So they started producing the Möbus sport shoes as well as Asic-shoes in the same german factory. I can’t get more details out of it, but the deal might have been that the Japanese are allowed to use the brand-name and starting to sell Möbus shoes and other articles in Japan, becoming pretty succesful but not seem to have any relationship with the original german company which went bankrupt in 1982 anymore.

Sources:
Official website
Möbus – Wikipedia