Der Eintracht Indian Restaurant

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Gah. My restaurant visits of late seem to be very hit and miss. This was a bit of a miss.

Every now and then I like to invite a random group of about 20 friends out for dinner, so people can meet new people (and more often than not – so I can set people up…) I chose Der Eintracht as it had been recommended to me, and been listed as a hidden gem on many review sites so I thought it would be the perfect place.

What’s the “done thing” here, apparently, is that you give them a price per person and they bring food out to suit that amount. So, that’s what we did.

Well, it wasn’t that it was bad. The food was ok, but if I say that one side of the table is vegetarian and the other is meat eating, it would be nice if meat dishes weren’t put out for the vegetarians. And when we are finishing off the starters (fried veg and CHICKEN with sauces) it would be nice if the waitress didn’t poke my back and tell me to eat faster so she could clean up faster. It was done in jest but still, wasn’t so much appreciated.

The food was ok. I think I’m pretty picky with Indian food because I’ve been lucky enough to live in places with really excellent Indian food (the best of all, surprisingly, was in my tiny town in Japan…) This was ok but nothing special at all. Certainly not a gem.

Frankfurt doesn’t have a lot of really super good Indian restaurants. If you’re craving a good curry like you would expect in Britain, then I say it’s worth a try. But don’t expect bells and whistles.

You can find Der Eintracht atย Oeder Weg 37, Frankfurt

Thoughts on Drunken People

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The other day it was a nightmare getting from my place to Boyfriend’s. Weighed down with his guitar on my back, as I got to the tram stop in front of the main station, I was saddened to see what seemed like a never ending group of fans of Frankfurt’s football team, Eintracht.

I lived for 3 years in Liverpool and I have, I think, encountered more than my fair share of drunken football fans. And drunken Eintracht fans are so very very annoying. In Germany it’s perfectly fine to drink in public (including on public transport), and so you get very large groups of mainly men shouting, singing, bashing on train/tram windows, shaking the carriages. I would never think that any of these people would hurt me (though a fair few bashed past me while I waited for my tram), the way they present themselves is very intimidating and not very nice at all for a girl walking by herself.

In the UK it’s worse. In the UK, when people get drunk, they seem to just get more aggressive and I don’t know why this is. The only other place I’ve seen street fights in is Seoul, but in the roads outside bars, clubs and pubs in the UK it’s not uncommon to see people physically sorting out their differences. I’ve never seen one here in Frankfurt.

It seems it’s not just me who thinks this. I was at Frankfurt’s wine festival last week and was speaking to one of the wine sellers who happened to be a really nice guy from Leeds who used to be a high flying banker, but quit it all to study wine (how awesome is that?!) We were talking for quite a while and he also said that he noticed a big difference in drinking culture in Britain and in Germany. While my friend said that he thought it was mainly due to pubs and bars in England having to close early, forcing people to buy two drinks at a time, I’m not sure that’s where the problem lies.

In Germany they treat alcohol as just another thing in life. Like in the UK, you can drink from the age of 18 and are able to have a beer with a meal with your parents from 16. I was surprised at how relaxed people are here (in Frankfurt at least) with what seem to be under-age drinkers and smokers. The rules are there but if they are broken then no one really cares, it seems.ย  Perhaps them not treating drinking as a race that starts in their teens makes them a lot more relaxed about things; alcohol is just a normal thing instead of something that needs to be used in excess.

But I wonder if it’s just that the drink less than us. There are certainly people at night who drink way too much (Boyfriend lives next to an Irish pub and we are serenaded by their drunken chorus most nights) but I don’t really see anyone getting violent. I’ve been intimidated many times by groups of drunken guys who look kinda scary, but in my two years I’ve only had problems with two guys; once on the way home from town a drunken man wouldn’t let me past, and once a month or so ago while waiting for a bus on a Sunday morning a drunken Irish guy kept shouting insults at me when I wouldn’t talk with him.

In Japan it’s a completely different story still. Most of the Japanese people I have been drinking with go very very red when they drink. I don’t know what it is but their faces just goes like a tomato as soon as their lips touch alcohol. And no one gets that crazy when they are drunk, either, just cute. The craziest thing I have ever seen from drunken Japanese people (and this will tell you SO much about Japanese culture) is when I was teaching at the JHS, after one of the staff parties one other teacher stumbled down the street, saw a car, gently tried to open the car door and found it to be open. No one was shocked by a parked car not being locked, but the owner happened to be coming back to his car and started shouting at the teacher for being a bad role model. Japanese businessmen seem to like putting their ties around their heads as soon as they start to drink. That’s kinda cute.

One thing about drinking in Japan that is kinda scary is the rate of drink driving over there. While obvious foreigners like myself might find themselves being breathalysed while riding a bike at night, no one seems to mind that it is very very common for people to just drive themselves home after an evening in the bar. I have seen so many people who could barely walk get up and drive themselves home.

This has been a pointless, ramble-y post, but if you have stories of what drunkards are like where you are, I’d love to hear them! Usually these cultural sharing posts turn out to be the most rewarding ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hafen 2 Cafe

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A short bike ride along the river towards Offenbach is one of my favourite places to be – Hafen 2 Cafe. I was shown it on a gorgeous Autumn day – the day I bought my bike – and I have such amazing memories of the times I’ve made the trip over there.

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To get there, bike along the Main river towards Offenback on the Sachsenhausen (south) side. Just keep going straight (there will be a few small turns but keep in that direction) and when you hit proper roads, look left and it should be there behind some construction.

On the way, keep an eye out for the “ich” plinth! It’s always a great photo opportunity!

2013-08-20 18.27.58What you’ll find at Hafen 2 is a lovely little hipster cafe with homemade cakes and small brand cola for you to enjoy while sitting in a deck chair. The view isn’t the best in Frankfurt but there’s so much going on that you won’t need much to look at.

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This is what you’re looking for – the entrance!

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There’s an outdoor cinema with loads of different things showing. They also have a stage for gigs as well.

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A library of posters for events to fill your days…

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If you have a bike and are able to get there, I highly recommend Hafen 2. It’s my go-to place for a lazy bike ride-y day!

Common Mistakes in Beginner Japanese

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A few days ago I was sat in a cafe with a friend, when a group young people (gah I’m so old) sat at the table behind us. The group consisted of 3 Japanese junior high school girls, and 3 German people. My friend and I were studying but as soon as we could overhear Japanese, our concentration was broken.

It was then that one of the German kids started speaking in quite low level Japanese.

“ใจใฆใ‚‚้ซ˜ใ„ใงใ™๏ผ” [It’s really expensive]

What stood out about this was that…you very rarely hear a native speaker use ใจใฆใ‚‚ [really]. Only when you’re really emphasising something, I think. But people learning Japanese love to use it.

[EDIT: I posted about this on Facebook and a Japanese friend said she’d use it with her boss. Perhaps it’s too polite for normal usage? I’m no native speaker, I don’t have the answer!]

It got me thinking about all the things that foreigners say a lot that aren’t exactly incorrect Japanese, they just aren’t what a Japanese person would normally use.

And before I continue I’d like to say that I am by no means an expert on Japanese. If anyone would like to correct me on anything here, or add something, please do so!

So, instead of ใจใฆใ‚‚, what should one say? Well, here are what I consider to be slightly more natural ways to express the same;

If you’re with friends, and are a girl, like the group in the coffee shop, you might use ่ถ… [cyou]. It’s used by young women a lot, and is pretty informal. It has the nuance of being ‘overly’ as opposed to ‘really’ like with ใจใฆใ‚‚. ใƒกใƒƒใƒใƒฃ can be used in the same way, but has a nuance like ‘totally’ in English, as opposed to ‘overly’ like ่ถ….

I’d say that the most general, natural ways to say “it’s really expensive” would either be “ใ‘ใฃใ“ใ†้ซ˜ใ„โ€ or โ€ใ‹ใชใ‚Š้ซ˜ใ„โ€. A google search says that ใ‘ใฃใ“ใ†้ซ˜ใ„ getsย 139,000,000 hits whereas ใ‹ใชใ‚ŠใŸใ‹ใ„ gets a little less atย 137,000,000. Neither of these mean flat out “really expensive”, both mean more “quite/fairly expensive”. I think in Japanese it’s better to imply something rather than saying it directly, and so maybe this is why things are said this way.

Another rookie mistake is the use of ใ™ใ‚‹ใ“ใจใŒใงใใ‚‹ [are able to do ___]. There’s a magazine stand near where I live that is owned by a French guy who loves Japan. I sometimes go in there and speak with him in Japanese since he likes the practice (and I could do with the practice these days too!!) When I first met him, I remember, he was so happy to find another Japanese speaker, he bellowed at me “OOh!ใ€€ๆ—ฅๆœฌ่ชžใ‚’่ฉฑใ™ไบ‹ใŒใงใใพใ™ใ‹๏ผŸ” [You’re able to speak Japanese?]

Now, I know why we non-native speakers use ใ€œไบ‹ใŒใงใใ‚‹. It’s because you don’t have to think about changing the end of the words, right? Well, the thing is, I’ve never heard a native speaker use this phrase before – they use the harder, verb changing grammar. So, instead of ๆ—ฅๆœฌ่ชžใ‚’่ฉฑใ™ไบ‹ใŒๅ‡บๆฅใ‚‹ they’d say ๆ—ฅๆœฌ่ชžใ‚’่ฉฑใ›ใ‚‹. Yep, changing that second to last hiragana. It’s a pain, I know.

I have one last example of common mistake. And it’s one I know all too well. When we all start out with Japanese, we all like to translate literally from our mother tongues, and so we translate all the words. The word “you” is ใ‚ใชใŸ and so, perfect! You can ask something like “what’s your name?” – “ใ‚ใชใŸใฎๅๅ‰ใฏไฝ•ใงใ™ใ‹๏ผŸ” Just typing this into google brings up mainly direct translations of “genki English songs”, or websites for Japanese – English translation. It’s just not used so much. If you don’t know a person yet, you’d be polite and shove an ใŠ, the honorific prefix, onto the name – ใŠๅๅ‰ใฏไฝ•ใงใ™ใ‹๏ผŸ

Even when you get to know a person, you don’t use ใ‚ใชใŸ. When I went to study in Japan I didn’t know how to cope with this lack of ‘you’ and so when I learnt the word ใใฟ, which also means you, I used it a lot. Although it’s the kind of thing a boyfriend would use for his girlfriend, it’s not a cute way of saying “you”, it is mainly used where a superior person is speaking to an inferior person – like a boss to the secretary. Needless to say, this didn’t go down well with my Japanese friends. The truth is, you don’t need to use anything at all – most of the time Japanese doesn’t even need a subject anyway! They just make it that way to make translators like us cry. It’s like a great mystery in Japanese conversation, just leave it up to the listeners to figure out who you are talking to!

If anyone has any other examples like this, I’d love to hear them! Things like this really interest me – differences in languages are the interesting parts of learning! Especially because I have a lot of people following my blog who have a much higher level of Japanese than myself – I’d love to hear your views on this!

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