Introduction to Berlin|Rei Watanabe|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2015.06.05
  • Introduction to Berlin
Hello. From here in Berlin, I will be joining this website that links street corners all around the world.

Although this year’s winter was not all that cold yet seemed to drag on, we are finally seeing warmth that matches the time of the year on the calendar. In Berlin, streets are empty during the winter and anyone passing through the streets looks depressed with furrowed brows. As soon as the sun starts to come out, though, people literally gushing out, wherever they’ve been moping their Wintertime away.

The sun may be out, but since the long dark winter has been soaked into the ground, it can still feel chilly in the shade. I decided not to put away my winter clothes just yet, and as I walk wearing a scarf, striders wearing sleeveless shirts passing me by, as if they had been waited for this moment. Perhaps in preparation for the next long dark winter, many people bask in the sun any opportunity they get.

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People keep gathering towards the sunshine, playing guitars, chatting and relaxing in their own distinct ways. Many spend hours like this until sunset, that my curiosity about what kind of work they do, turns into concern, if I’m the wrong one not to have that much of free time.

Such things are not only limited to Berlin but are commonly seen in dark cold regions. For my first post, I would like to focus on aspects of Berlin revealed in a few quotes.

“The Berliners are unfriendly and inconsiderate, gruff and self-opinionated, Berlin is repulsive, loud, dirty and grey, construction works and blocked streets where you stop and go. But I feel sorry for those people who cannot live here!”
Anneliese Boedecker (1932-), Social worker

Are Berliners really that bad? Let’s hear what others have to say.

“In the sight of God, all men are Berliners.”
Theodor Fontane (1819-1898), Journalist, theater critic and essayist

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Seems like he shares the same idea. Why, though, are there so many construction sites? 80% of the reason can be attributed to their slow work speed incomparable to that in Japan, and 20% to a part of the sad history of division.

“Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin!”
Jack Lang (1939-), French former culture minister

The occurrence of drastic changes is connected to the history separating the east and west. Or so one would think.

“Berlin is a city condemned forever to becoming and never being.”
Karl Sheffler (1879-1951), Art critic

This statement is from 1910, so the curse of never-ending construction seems to have existed even before the separation.

“Happiness can be found in all places, as honey is in all flowers. Men just need to find them as would honeybees.”
Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), Dramatist, novelist and essayist

He means in all places, or in other words, even in Berlin. However, such appeals have already been discovered, and with people gathering from all over Germany and the world, foreigners abound while Berlin natives are few.

“Berlin is rather a part of the world than a city.”
Jean Paul Friedrich Richter (1763-1825), Poet, editor and educator

Originally, these words were meant to express that there exists a place that is quite serene. In recent years, one would almost be unable to recognize where he is amidst the chaos of languages and blending of diverse cultures. It is like an intermixing of people, as it were a mix of different “parts of the world.”

it’s my wish to be that honeybee to find and share the happiness from Berlin.

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  • Rei Watanabe
  • AgeMonkey( SARU )
  • GenderMale
  • JobActing manager of a Chinese restaurant Translator

He studied the master’s program at the Free University of Berlin. His fields of expertise include film theory, new phenomenology and neurophilosophy. Now in my13th year of living in Berlin, He hopes to rediscover the unique aspects of life in Berlin that can start to be taken for granted when living there, by sharing such information with everyone.

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