On Wednesday, we began the day by going to the Reich and going to glass funnel-dome-thingy >.> on top of it, which gave a great view of the entire city of Berlin. You could see practically anything and everything major in Berlin from up there, but it felt like a furnace up there. Outside the glass dome, it was super sunny and warm, warmer than I’d prefer, but not hot. After enjoying the view for a few hours, we left and split for a bit.
We returned to Potsdamer Platz, and I was with Cheyanne, TJ, Doug, Iman, Angelic, and Anthony. We decided we wanted to explore a little, but after a little bit of exploring, decided we just wanted to sit, eat, and relax. We chose an Australian restaurant, but TJ decided he wanted to relax at a cafe, so he split from the group. I had fish and chips for lunch, and was not expecting the fries to be covered in some spice that I can’t really identify. It was good, but different. Anthony only ate a sundae all by himself (which was giant btw) because I may have accidentally gave the impression that no one wanted to share, even though I only meant me. Sorry if anyone did want some. >.< Oh and sorry Anthony…I suppose….but you got all the ice cream to yourself, so I’m not really sure if I should apologize.
— HQ of the Christian Democratic Union: “So what’s the sitch?” —
After that, we went to the main HQ of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to meet, Dr. Peter Tauber, the secretary general of the CDU. He’s a very prominent politician, working closely to Chancellor Angela Merkel, but he also loves games, particularly Skyrim and FIFA 13 for iPad is what he told us. He’s also a major Star Wars geek. He is very big into gamification in education, and also understands that the major reason for the various debates on video games is that the older generation still has a difficult time comprehending them because video games have only existed for around the last 50 years.
Our host, Sidney, then gave us a presentation about the CDU. From what I understand, it’s pretty liberal by American standards, despite its foundation being in Christianity. However, this aspect of the CDU being Christian sparked an interesting debate that revealed that when Christian ideals get entwined with politics in the US, it’s a bit extreme, but it is much more mild in Germany, as can be inferred from my statement above. As an example to prove that the CDU is fairly liberal and also not very entwined too much with Christian ideals, Sidney mentioned their party leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel. She’s a woman, has been divorced and remarried, and is childless. The first is a break away from the world’s dominant patriarchal society model. The second two are not seen favorably in terms of Christian ideals. Sidney then gave us a small tour of the headquarters building, so we got to see Dr. Tauber’s Starship Destroyer, a video recording room, and a cool meeting room in which they asked every province as well as the most northern and the most southern houses in Germany to donate a chair for the room. One chair was completely made of cardboard!
— PARTAY ON DA ROOF —
Next we went to a party of the roof, hosted by the Games Academy College and University. I will be honest, I was really tired at this point, so the party for me was unfortunately not very exciting. However, I did still learn some things, but I didn’t intermingle as much as I would have liked. For the most part, I spent the evening talking to Vincent, a Games Academy student, or at least listening for the most part. Just from the issues he’s talked about with coding and school projects and the industry, he felt like an RIT student with a foreign accent and an open bottle of beer. So I felt very at home talking with him.
At some point, I was ushered over to another table because someone from the Games Academy was fluent in Japanese. If I wasn’t so out of it and confused, I probably wouldn’t have embarrassed myself by responding with “ok” when he told me he could speak Japanese. Then again, I am in no way fluent in Japanese. Well, at least I entertained everyone. 僕は日本語を少しだけ話せるよ。RITの日本語の授業だけをとったから、やっぱり小学校生になった。Trust me, the structure of these sentences proves how little I know.
— Oh yeah, German culture is different —
Anyway, after finally no longer being sick, I was able to pay more attention to my surroundings and go into “experience new country” mode versus “don’t fall on my face/when can I sit/I need a tissue” mode. SO, I find it interesting how the paper plates here are about three times the size of the ones I’m used to in the US. It feels like I’m picking up way too many plates, and when I try to separate them, I slightly tear them apart. I also realized how interesting it is that most German toilets have buttons for flushing, two buttons in fact, rather than a single handle. Paying to use public restrooms is also very different. Beer is cheaper than water in a lot of restaurants. Soda is super abundant. Carbonated water is too abundant (for me). Apples are a huge craze. Basically being only a 25-year-old country, Germany is in an extremely fast-paced progressive movement in terms of construction and politics (as I’ve hinted at already). F2P and casual games are the most prominent types of games in Germany. Trains and buses are actually punctual meaning their schedules are actually accurate. :O
WARNING: HIGHLY OPINIONATED PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES AHEAD
ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK
— Where’s the color? —
This whole day, particularly the time at the CDU HQ, really got me thinking about those “difficult and complex” topics. I was thinking about how our society thinks today. I realized that a lot of us think in black and white, because it’s simple; some of us think in shades of gray because we’re willing to try to tackle complex things. But with how connected we’ve become and how easy it is to access any kind of information, we’ve seemed to all have gone color blind. Where’s the color? Everything has its consequences, but with a world as big and as connected as ours, the consequences of taking risks are starting to outweigh the benefits. Many people around the globe are talking about the pros and cons of games. One popular debate is how big of a role games play in young adults and teens committing acts of violence. I say it’s very small. As a youth, I say it’s not really the games, but a much larger problem we must tackle. It is a major side affect of our instantly connected world – we have lost a large amount of leeway to make and learn from our mistakes. You never know if someone will snap a photo of you doing something silly or dumb and put it up on Facebook to be instantly seen by others. One second can ruin your life – that’s always been true – but the amount situations where those seconds can occur has dramatically increased. The risks are too great. We’ve sucked the color out of our thoughts and ideas and lives by placing billions of Big Brothers over our shoulders.
— Final Thoughts —
I could go into much more detail, but I believe I’ll stop there. Please excuse me for ranting, but I felt like sharing that as it’s a direct result of my being a foreigner in a different country such as Germany. Also politics was a previously unopened door for me, but now I’ve peeked, and all I saw were glaring eyes in the darkness.
My next post will be much less serious, I promise because they’ll be cute anim– Er, organisms (to be politically correct). Some were scaly, some were fluffy, and some were hairy.