When one lives in another country, one will be confronted with a lot of cultural differences or some unique things, which one will be confused whether to accept or shrug off. I also have my fair share of these scenarios as well.
Calling a Medical Clinic
I needed to call a medical clinic to book an appointment. Since the lady who received my call cannot speak English and I didn’t have that good German proficiency at that time, she really did not understand me. As a result, she just dropped the call. I was thinking that if this is an emergency situation and they cannot speak English or don’t have any patience in understanding a person who has a bad German proficiency, would they care to save a life?
Fried Rice for Breakfast
We Asians are rice lovers since we eat it with every meal. A warm fried rice with a lot of garlic is our staple breakfast meal paired with fried eggs, tapas or any other fried meat. Some Germans find it awful having rice for breakfast as well as the smell of garlic early in the morning.
At the End of Class Presentations or Sessions
After one finishes a class presentation or after a seminar or lecture, it seems so weird for me to knock on the desk. I just go with the flow every time most of the Germans do it but I exactly don’t know why they do it.
Asian and German Pairing
When I arrived in Germany, most of the Germans asked me whether my ex- boyfriend and I met on the internet. I don’t have something against people meeting on the internet. Most of them do really have successful relationships. However, I need to admit that the stigma of mail-ordered-brides or an Asian woman marrying a white Guy just for money is still there.
It is really difficult to comprehend these situations. I always question myself whether I’m wrong or not. How much of my own culture or traditions do I need to change just to adhere to German traditions? What can I do to belong and how can a foreigner delineate Germans’ directness and rudeness?
This book German Men Sit Down to Pee, which is written by Niklas Frank and James Cave, may not answer every question that I have. However, reading this book is a good starting point in understanding the German culture.
“The problem with stereotypes is that they’re limiting”(10).
They begin the book by pointing out that there also stereotypes that have been associated with Germans throughout different time periods. One of which is: “Planning is such a big part of the German psyche that everyone expects everyone else to be organized as well” (106-07). However, I meet a lot of Germans who just chose not to be organized.
As foreign readers, the book gives us a lot of perspectives about German life, culture, tradition, celebration, entertainment, food, drinks, etc. There are also some trivia which I never knew before like:”April Fool’s Day… is said to have originated in Germany” (34).
The book has also an in-depth explanation about some interesting German terms such as Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis, Freikörperkultur, etc. The book has many different short chapters, which makes it easier for readers to understand and remember the content. The information in the book is short, concise, and direct with some given historical or social context.
As a reader, I highly recommend this book because it is useful if one can read this before they embark their journey to Germany or if one still want to try to make sense of the German culture. There are a lot of interesting information here and you will basically know the truth and the reason whether German men really sit down and pee 🙂
The Authors are currently working on a printed version of the book. Interested readers can find more information at www.germansbook.com.