Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cool Car

Germany is the land of cool cars (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, etc.) and I have seen them all since I have been here. But perhaps the coolest car in all of Germany was parked in front of my building recently, making me homesick for the Hanshin Tigers. The German Tigers, located in nearby Tübingen, are a basketball team. I don't know much about German basketball as I am still struggling with the soccer. But you have to love the logo. Go Tigers!

See the Tigers' web page (in German):

Film and Talk on Crows in Tokyo at I-House Japan

Photo borrowed from I-House.
From H-Japan:

IHJ Artists' Forum
John Haptas & Kristine Samuelson

Title: "An Abundance of Crows"
Date: July 9th, 2010 7:00 PM
Place: IHJ Lecture Hall
Admission: Free
Language: English with consecutive Japanese translation
Co-sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission

John and Kristine, recipients of the Japan-US Creative Artists' Grant, are filmmakers who collaborate in making documentary essays. On a previous trip to Japan, they were impressed by the large number of crows living in Tokyo's urban environment. Their research led them to the realization that the way crows and people live together in Tokyo can teach us a lot about Japanese society and ourselves. In this forum, the two filmmakers will discuss their concept of the documentary essay illustrated with clips from previous works and their current work-in-progress, "An Abundance of Crows". The film includes interviews with such diverse people as a Buddhist priest, an ornithologist, and a homeless activist.

For information or reservations please contact the International House of Japan Program Office: 03-3470-3211.

Online reservations can be made at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Privacy Rights for Soldiers in Germany

Photo and text below borrowed from The Local.

Bundeswehr protects soldiers from harassment with anonymity

Bundeswehr soldiers who serve on foreign deployments and their families experience so much harassment in Germany that the military has taken to blurring their faces in press photos, a media report said on Tuesday.

After a recent ceremony for some 20 soldiers at the
Clausewitz barracks in Saxony-Anhalt, their commander decided to have their faces rendered unrecognisable for local press photos, daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported.

He justified the decision by saying that otherwise their homes would be broken into and their families would receive anonymous calls claiming that their soldier had fallen in

“Such things do happen,” parliamentary commissioner for the
Bundeswehr Hellmut Königshaus told the paper, referring to “anti-militarists” with a targeted plan for creating uncertainty in the ranks and playing with the emotions of their families.

Some of these people are known to organise parties to celebrate the deaths of soldiers, he said.

A Defence
Ministry spokesperson confirmed with the paper that such incidents are becoming more frequent, saying that some soldiers and family members had even been accosted. The Bundeswehr has therefore chosen to protect the anonymity of soldiers serving abroad, giving only their first names and blurring their faces in any public document.

"18-yr-old girl arrested for online sale of photos of herself naked "

From today's Japan Today:

Police on Monday arrested an 18-year-old girl on suspicion of breaking child prostitution and pornography laws after she was caught selling photos of herself naked.

The girl was quoted by police as saying that she was “looking for some spending money,” and based on her mobile phone records, had sold photos to around 150 people since November last year, earning some 1.1 million yen.

According to police, between December 2009 and April 2010, the girl posted on an Internet message board, advertising that she was selling photos of herself and underwear. She reportedly sent a total of 43 nude photos to a Kyoto man in his 40s and a Nagoya man in his 20s for 12,000 yen. Police discovered the girl by using the contact details she had posted on the message board.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Frankfurt Celebrtes the 4-1 German Victory over England in the World Cup

Germany won another match in the world cup and celebrated heartily. Here in Frankfurt I was able to witness and document celebrations in the business/tourist center of town, Hauptwache. The festivities made me question the craziness of Hanshin Tigers' fans. Everyone was decked out in German soccer attire and the celebrations were wild to say the least: drumming, dancing, singing, drinking... In Visual Anthro class yesterday we watched "War Photographer." Not to make light of the work of James Nachtwey or the serious wars and poverty he documents, I felt like I was in a war-zone today. People pushed and shoved while dancing and/or trying to get in a better position to take photos; beer bottles were thrown to the ground and crushed underfoot; real and large/fluffy soccer balls were flying overhead (I had to dodge and deflect the balls more than once) and explosives (OK, fireworks) were lit in the midst of the crowds. The local TV news crew was there for a while and they were a target of the enthusiastic celebrations; people wanted to be on TV showing their joy of the German victory. The police stood by but seemed unconcerned. I saw one officer playing soccer with children. The only officials to get in the way were street sweepers but they were soon drawn into the celebrations. All this being said, Germany during the world cup is the place to be during the summer of 2010...

World Cup Celebrations in Cars

One way in which the Germans celebrate a world cup match victory is to drive fast though the streets of Frankfurt while hanging out of their cars, displaying flags and constantly honking the horn. The other night such a celebration went on until past 2:00 AM; today the match was in the afternoon so the celebratory convoy ended in the evening.