Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ohayo Gozaimasu - Good Morning

Now that I've got your attention with that picture of beers, I may begin. Coming back to this blog I actually realized how poor my writing was in the past. Not that my writing is any good now... just a lot better than before. I had originally planned to keep a diary of sort and keep the writing on a daily basis while I was in Europe, but like many things in life, the path of desire and the path of reality are rarely the same thing. Quality cannot be rushed, right? I am just joking. I just didn’t find the time and the motivation during the trip to bring myself to write these summaries every night. It’s like telling yourself “I’ll do it later” and then you find yourself reading this thing instead, and you know what? That’s ok. That’s just fine. For me, I did the next best thing, I waited till my stay in that particular city was over, and then write longer more nuanced retelling of what I thought about that city while transitting to the next destination.

My first stop was Frankfurt and then we hightailed it to Berlin the next morning. With good reason too. It is to my experience, a very difficult thing to fully experience the lifestyle of the local people without first speaking their language. You cannot even begin to have the slightest meaningful exchange with the locals and therefore you cannot immerse yourself into their culture. My experience in Germany has been a touring experience. You land, you sleep, you eat, and then you leave. All that you can leave behind are non-existent traces of your transient passing in the streets of Berlin. That, and what you had yesterday for dinner. No one knows of you and certainly, no one cares. This is just the way I like it. The experience in a foreign city is removed, like going to an aquarium or visiting a zoo. You are in the middle of it all, the crowds, the talks, and the show, but you observe and you keep your participation to a minimum. I didn’t choose it to be like this, it just all sort of unfolded like this, mostly because I didn’t speak the language. This must be how westerns feel in Asian cities too, especially the ones who don't speak the language or look like the locals. As I would crudely call that the "Guai Lo" experience. I don't speak German and I don't look German, and was apparently mistaken for Japanese every single time in every occasion. It is understandable as Japanese people compose the majority of East Asians in Germany.

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