Kultur – Kapitel 6

I was surprised that I have never heard about Martin Luther before.  But after I read the article, I understand why.  Before came to the US, I had next to zero exposure to Bible and Christian.  However, since I am here, I have many nice friends who are Christian and I started to learn Bible a little bit, which I think is actually very interesting.  Back to this this article, it is amazing that Martin Luther’s significance went beyond religious, but also influenced German language, mentality and way of life.  I think I can somewhat understand it if thinking about the history of China.  We also have a famous person who reformed almost the entire society at that time.  Things changed after several decades have past, but his influence is still affecting every generation.

The “door culture” in Germany is really interesting, almost exactly at the opposite of America.  For any American who first comes to Germany without being aware of this cultural difference, he/she will totally feel confused.  Still I think the opening door makes more sense – it conveys a clear message and makes everyone’s life easier.

Previously, I knew that Japan has a strict and comprehensive garbage system.  Now I am wondering if there is any difference between Japan and Germany in terms of garbage.  Well, I do think that a garbage system like this is a good thing for the country.  However, it is very hard and challenging to adopt and change in the other countries.  From residents’ perspective, it might cause extra label reading and more chores.  But from a nation’s perspective, it contributes to a better and sustainable development.  I hope that we can have a similar garbage system one day in China, at least moving towards it.

Kultur 6

I found the article about Martin Luther to be interesting because it highlights again how history can influence modern culture, although various aspects, such as theological, may not be as present. And that’s really the significance of Martin Luther and the Reformation,

But the Reformation was not just about God. It shaped the German language, mentality and way of life.

I was particularly interested in Martin Luther’s ideas against ostentation, and how this influences not only German culture and values, but invariably the entire world. I love understated pieces from IKEA, and it was cool to learn where the simplicity came from. I also liked learning about the exception of ostentation, music. If I remember correctly, music, particularly classical music, was seen as something very upper-class in history. However, music’s role in German culture is not really described to be that of an extravagant display, but rather one that was an ally to Germany’s theological underpinnings.

The article about the closed-door culture struck me as a small detail that illustrates a contrast between German and American culture. I think about how freshman in college are encouraged to keep their doors open to meet new people, and how professors often have their office doors left open. I wonder if there is anything like that in Germany, and if not, whether they view this as a weird American thing.

The article about garbage culture in Germany pointed me back to the fact that Germany is very environmentally conscious, and again to the differences between American and German culture. Although in many ways I consider myself to be environmentally conscious, I catch myself freezing when trying to tell if my trash is compostable or not. It’s definitely a more complicated system it seems, but perhaps that is part of the makeup of a country that leads the way in environmental innovation.

Kultur 6 – Allie

As a pretty devout Catholic, the first article was pretty interesting to me, because I’ve grown up learning about Martin Luther’s break from the Catholic Church. Martin Luther’s 95 theses established the need for reform in the Catholic Church, but it also established the first Protestant church, somewhat by accident. I think it’s fascinating that Martin Luther’s way of thinking has influenced Germany in much more ways than religion. It explains their somewhat simplistic architecture and their love of classical orchestra concerts. I especially liked the part that explained why Germany has such a large book market – Luther wanted everyone to read the Bible after he had translated it into German. The article also claimed that anti-Semitism might have stemmed from Luther’s personal beliefs also, which I thought was a pretty large claim to make, considering Germany’s rather rough history with their Jewish population.

The other article that really interested me was the German Privacy article. I thought the author was pretty correct in his synthesis of American door policies: if it’s open, come in, if it’s closed, come back another time. The German way of a closed door surprised me in some ways and didn’t in others. It’s so different from America that it was startling at first, but as I thought about the closed door policy more, it kind of fits with what we’ve learned about “stereotypical” Germans this whole semester. They tend to be more private and direct than Americans, so it fits that their door would be closed for privacy, but then if you open it they would tell you exactly if they want you to be there or not.