Kultur 4

I found the overarching theme of order and assimilation very interesting, with the most influential reason that people seem to follow norms in Germany being a fear of possible consequences.

The first article mentions the prevalence of biking in Germany. I think that there are a few ways that this mirrors the US, but with a few fundamental differences. First, Germans are very environmentally friendly, and there seems to be a norm of being conscious of one’s own footprint. In the US, there may be many people who walk or bike in cities, but there are still plenty of people who drive, and plenty of people who do not care so much about the environment. I may be wrong, but there seems to be a more consistent norm of environmental consciousness in Germany. Additionally, people who opt for biking or walking may do it because they are either in the subset of the US population who are environmentally friendly, or because it is cost-saving. I also found it cool that bicyclists are a pampered bunch in Germany—when I’m biking in Ann Arbor, it seems that there isn’t much infrastructure in place for bicyclists compared to Germany.

The article about the honor system in German public transportation interests me, as well. Being a college student, the first thing I think about is the honor system as it pertains to an academic context. For example, I just took an exam this last week in which no instructors were present in the room when students were taking the exam. Many other exams are take-home, as well. These sorts of systems are intended to work in the students’ favor, where a take home exam for example allows a student to take the exam in whatever environment makes them most comfortable. With the main incentive to abide by the honor system being that students want to believe that they earn their grades, the other incentive is that punishment if you are caught violating the honor code is severe. Similarly in Germany, I imagine that the honor system is intended to make things easier for everyone, and most people follow it because they are honest people. Another reason may be the culture of organization along with the fear of being caught—no one would want to be publicly shamed.

Kultur 4

I think the Bike Path in German is definitely a great thing.  It encourages people to bike, instead of driving.  From the public health standpoint, the sedentary way of commuting, like driving, contributes to the epidemic of obesity.  I have heard that, the US is a country on four wheels.  On the opposite, the bike path in German promotes a healthy lifestyle.  Actually, Americans also realized the potential benefits associated with bike path and one can find bike path in many cities now.

Honestly, I would just ignore the red signal and cross the street in an empty intersection, even though I know pretty sure that I shouldn’t.  I found the idea that never ever crossing against red in front of an impressionable child is really interesting.  I’ve never thought about the influence of illegal cross on children.  And sometimes, others’ behaviors not only influence children, but also have an impact on adults.  In the city that most people cross against red, I am more likely to follow others and cross the street.  On the other hand, if everyone around me obeys the rules, then chances are I would wait patiently.

When I was in Germany, I took trains to travel in between cities.  Many times there is no one check the ticket either before boarding or on the train.  However, as foreign travelers, we had every ticket for our ride because we didn’t want to be caught and you never know when the conductor would suddenly come out in front of you.

Kultur 4 – Allie

A strong theme in this chapter’s culture texts were modes of transportation. Starting with “Two-Wheeled Teutons”, which described how German bikers have the right of way, and they are well aware of it. I thought it was interesting that Germans put such big stake in biking everywhere, whereas in the US we still drive pretty much everywhere. My best friends from home live less than a mile down the road from my house, but I still drive over to see them. I’m sure that in Germany it would be far more common to bike over to see them, because it is such a short distance to travel. Another interesting point is that bikes do not yield to pedestrians on foot in the bike lane like cars yield to pedestrians in the roadway. If a person on foot steps right in front of a biker, it is likely that the biker will run straight into them. I thought this was an interesting contrast to the US as well, where we have a stunning lack of bike lanes, and bikes usually yield to people on foot, or go around them.

I also thought that “Fare Dodgers Beware” was an interesting read. I never knew of a public transportation system that operated on the honor system. I think that it’s certainly an interesting way to run the German transportation system, where you can board a train or bus without the correct ticket – or without a ticket at all. However, you will be held accountable eventually, even though you’ll still make it to your intended destination. This is so different from the public transportation in the US, where your ticket needs to be checked before you can board the train or bus at all. I’m not sure where these differences in trust stem from, but perhaps it comes from what the author mentions in the first paragraph – the American belief in the occasional free lunch. Maybe we brought all the ticket checking upon ourselves, as a country full of people trying to get their free lunches where they could.

Kapitel 4 Kultur – Pheebe

In the first article, the author mentions how Germans go to places by bike a lot. I think it is very different from the United States. However, in my home country, people do go to places by bike (not a lot but fairly common). It is usually pretty crowded in the cities and when people want to go to a close place (i.e. school or shopping mall), they would ride their bike. When I first came to the United States, I actually noticed that all my friends drive to school. People here usually just drive everywhere even when the place they are going is pretty close. The author of the article also mentions that people should be careful on the bike path. I think this is a very useful information for people not from Germany. When visiting, people can be more aware and careful about walking on the path.

The articles on crossing red lights and never getting a free ride make me think that Germans really care about their “rules” no matter if the person there is a foreigner or not. This is also a very important message for the tourists. When going to Germany, tourists need to be more cautious about not breaking the laws and “rules” they have. The article about German logic really throws me off because I am not quite sure why they have such different thinking. However, this reminds me of my german friend in high school. Her and I sometimes could not communicate “properly” because of how our thoughts were very different, but these things became funny memories for us. The “Einbahnstrasse” article is really funny. One of the things it mentions is that there is actually a support group for messy people in Frankfurt! But honestly, the “Einbahnstrasse” signs would definitely be very confusing to everyone.

I have never been to Germany, but I would really love to go someday in the near future. After reading all these things about Germany so far, I feel like I am ready and will be more ready to travel after this semester ends! (Even though we have honestly read a lot of negative things about Germany, but they are definitely fun to read!)

Kultur-Texte 4

Der Artikel on Deutsches Rad fahren struck home für mich. I have not biked in Deutschland. However, over the Sommer when my friends and I were visiting Europe, we spent a large amount of our time in Amsterdam biking around. I imagine that the Kultur there and in Deutschland is similar, if not more bike-centric in Amsterdam. Spazieren in the bike lane in Amsterdam would have been a death sentence, though probably only for the pedestrian. I was shocked at the skill and ease at which Dutch bikers rode in the lanes- I remember being specifically impressed to see a woman talking on ihr Handy with one hand and holding ein Buch with the other, all while riding a bike with ein Kind in the seat behind her.

Der Artikel on stoplights in Deutschland also reminded me of meine Reise to Europe. While meine Freunde und ich were never chastised for crossing during a red light, we certainly did notice the difference in etiquette between Europe and die USA. However, I do remember seeing ein Mann in Österreich crossing during a red light when there were keine Autos around. Either the rules aren’t so stringent in Österreich, or der Mann was one of the rebels mentioned by the article.

I have also taken note of the Deutsche obsession with Logik. Here in der US, we often assume that customer support will do their best to meet all of our needs, even if we aren’t totally clear with them. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Deutschland, so I will keep that in mind for future visits there.

Interestingly enough, me and my friends never had any trouble with Zigtickets in Deutschland. On the train trip von Frankfurt nach Berlin, we had forgotten to write in our travel date on our Eurrail pass. However, the ticket-checker on the train did not punish us, and instead gave us ein Stift to write in the dates on the spot. It was actually in Italien that we had trouble with this- we forgot to write in the dates again, and did not have ein Stift with us. The Italienisch officer who checked our tickets forced us to pay a 50 euro fine each, which we were not happy with. So in some respects, die Deutschen can be more lenient than some of their European neighbors.