Cheeky Guide To German Culture: “German Men Sit Down To Pee”

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?

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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.

Spinach and Mushroom Cream Pasta

Here’s another recipe which everyone can enjoy without feeling guilty that it’s not healthy. I’ve incorporated  spinach and mushroom as the  primary ingredients to the cream sauce so rest-assured that you would have the necessary nutrients in this dish.

Spinach and Mushroom Cream Pasta 

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  • 5 cloves          garlic
  • 1  piece           onion
  • 1 bowl             spinach
  • 250 grams     mushroom
  • 200 grams     cream
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon  chili flakes
  • vegetable oil
  • pasta
  • fried ham
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauté chopped onion and garlic in vegetable oil. Add mushroom and add a little bit of water. Let it simmer for around 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the cream sauce and cream cheese. You may also add salt and pepper to taste and chili flakes to have that tang. Mix the sauce and let it simmer for 6 minutes then add the  spinach. Turn off the heat after a minute.  If you are not a vegetarian, then you can also add fried ham or bacon on top.

Mung Bean Soup

During the Lenten season, my grandmother would always prepare Ginisang Munggo or Mung Bean Soup. We usually eat this every Friday, because we believe that it is a part of fasting. Not eating meat (chicken, pork, or beef)  can be considered as a part of one’s repentance or sacrifice. Since this is the first Friday of Lent, I try  to recreate this tradition by cooking my own version of this dish.

Ginisang Munggo  or Mung Bean Soup

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  • 2 pieces       tomato
  • 2 pieces       onion
  • 5 cloves        garlic
  • 1 plate           fresh Spinach
  • 100 grams   small shrimp
  • 200 gram     Mung Bean
  • smoked mackerel
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika powder (sweet)
  • olive oil

Boil the Mung Beans with water. Usually, it takes around 1 hour or more to make it soft. Others also soak the beans first for 30 minutes to an hour before boiling them.

In another pot, put olive oil and sauté chopped onions and garlic. Add  the shrimps and tomatoes. You may also want to put a pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika powder to taste.

After  2- 3 minutes, pour the pre-boiled beans to the pot  and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, or paprika powder depending on your preferred taste. Turn off the heat and put the washed spinach  and stir the soup.

Serve hot and put smoked Mackerel as your topping.