What Germans Traditionally eat on New Year’s Day

Traditionally, we eat pork (simmered pork knuckle, Bratwurst, or smoked pork chops) and Sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Eating Sauerkraut is especially important, as it promises a financially good new year.

Eisbein

In some rural areas, you might also find the Eierring or Eierweck on the kitchen table. Many years ago, families had to pre-order the Eierring days in advance to make sure to get one. Fewer and fewer bakeries sell these nowadays, as demand has gone down for this traditional form of bread. The Eierring, with its round shape, is similar to the horse shoe, another good luck charm.

Eierring in Franconia (northern Bavaria)

Growing up, I remember having the Eierring on New Year’s Eve (while it is still fresh) and mulled wine. Whatever was left, we had on New Year’s Day as it was supposed to be.

Same with the pork and Kraut – we had it for dinner this evening, and will have the remainder tomorrow, on New Year’s Day as it is meant to be.

Have a great New Year’s Eve, wherever you are!

How to Beat Homesickness

On GoOverseas I read the article 19 Ways to Reduce Homesickness When Living Abroad, which reminded me of  my own battle with it at times while I lived in the U.S. and Japan for close to ten years.

These 19 pointers are definitely worth reading, and yet, I’d also like to add a few of my own.

20. Don’t blame your host country when things go wrong

Remember we had rough days in our home country too. But it is so easy to point the finger, e.g. at a U.S. regulation flaw or the Japanese bureaucracy. There are things you probably disagreed with in your country of origin as well. Keep that in mind when confronted with challenges.

21. Volunteer to make friends and contacts

While waiting for my U.S. work permit, I opted to use the university library to use my time wisely. I was able to help others less fortunate in language skills to navigate their way around. OK, this was unofficial volunteering, but I made some wonderful friends along the way.

In Japan, e.g. I volunteered at a children’s home and made sure to limit my time to 6 weeks. That way, if paying work came up, I’d be free and without hard feelings for having to stop.

22. Learn how to cook some local food

In exchange for English conversation, I learned how to make some home-cooked Japanese food. We chose recipes with easy to get ingredients and I really enjoyed the process. I kept the empty packets, so I’d know what to pick up from the supermarket the next time around. It also gave me a sense of self-sufficiency.
A full stomach with good food, good company, and a sense of accomplishment is at times more satisfying than a night out.

23. Blog about it!

This is your chance to share your writing and photos.You will be making more friends along the way. I have since I’ve kept this blog. And I’m not even in a foreign country, but after all these years of living abroad, even Germany can seem odd to me at times.

24. An opportunity to discover your strengths and weaknesses

There is no better time to take a look at yourself than when you are living abroad. You think you know yourself? Try again. Under normal circumstances, our reactions are predictable. But add language confusion and different cultural expectations, then you will get to see a new you.

What used to annoy you before, you will suddenly find quaint. And vice versa. You do not have to reinvent yourself, your new environment will do this for you. Be prepared for some surprises.

——

Living abroad can be a very fulfilling experience if you are willing to contribute.

Our son has just recently moved to the U.K. to attend college. The first two weeks were difficult as he had a bad cold and was room-bound most of the time while being homesick. I shared some of my advice with him and since then we have not heard from him, which was two weeks ago…

The other 19 pointers can be read here at  GoOverseas 19 Ways to Reduce Homesickness When Living Abroad

Okonomiyaki

On our last night in Japan, our good friend Yoshiko took us out for okonomiyaki. My, oh my – this was good!

Prior to going out, my companions wanted to know what it was and I described as a pancake with Japanese ingredients. I had had it before, but this time I tried it with mayo on the side.

Surprisingly, I saw quite a few Japanese using mayo on dishes such as okonomiyaki, yakisoba, sushi, etc.

Okonomiyaki

To learn more about its history and local varieties, visit History – Okonomiyaki World.

 

Education in Travel

What looks like very pleasant to our eyes and inviting to our taste buds is actually meant for canine pleasures. Found this pet shop with a wide selection of canine delicacies for all occasions.

Dog food Japanese style

We surely miss all these jidou hanbaiki 自動販売機(じどうはんばいき) – Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita around the world, averaging one machine for every 23 people. There are vending machines for hot and cold beverages, cigarettes, ice cubes, eggs, vegetables, umbrellas, beer, rice wine, instant noodles, and much more. It seems every street corner has at least one. There are close to 6 million machines throughout the country, generating a huge amount of sales.

In 2008, a smart card called taspo was implemented in tobacco vending machines to restrict sales of cigarettes. From such machines, cigarette purchases may only be made by taspo card holders, which is issued to adult applicants (in Japan,  this is 20 years of age). The card is held up to a sensor after money is inserted into the machine. Some beer vending machines also require age verification.

Vending machines in Japan

At the Fukuoka Airport, I saw a tobacco vending machine customer holding up his wallet to the sensor. He did not even have to take out his card. This looked very futuristic to me.

Japan spends  a lot of money on its conveniences, but still neglects to hire proof-readers/translators when putting information onto print.

Translation Japanese - English

The simple beauty of a stone basin and floating flower heads, as seen in Japan, inspired me to take out my Imari bowl and snap off some pansy heads from the flower box on the balcony.

Stone basin with flower heads

 

Discriminatory Food Names in German

Just discovered the post Discriminatory food names should be banned, says Austria – Telegraph.

Well, come to think of it, it might be time to clean up the cuisine, that is if you have no other fish to fry.

Zigeunerschnitzel (gypsy schnitzel) could be derogatory towards gypsies, but I have always liked the colorful array of paprika slices on the pork cutlet. It added a nice Hungarian touch to it.

Had never heard of Negerbrot (n… bread) before, but there is even a Facebook fan page for it.

Read the original post: ‘Discriminatory’ food names should be banned for some more ideas which food names should be banned.

For some funny food names around the world, visit Funny Food Names.

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