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Queuing

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This week Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Frankfurt. My wonderful colleague queued up before work and brought us a big box of brightly coloured doughnuts. This whole concept brought me a bit of Japan-nostalgia since the city I lived in, Ise, had special mochi sweets on sale on the first day of every month. People would go down to the old district at 4am and queue up for some of these rare sweets.

My friends always went and I scoffed at them, but towards the end of my time in Japan I realised I’d regret it if I didn’t start going to buy these mochi. I went about 3 or 4 times in the end and it was really amazing because I could zip through a completely empty city on my moped at 4am, and then when we got to the line we always met really great people which made the (often) 2 hour wait completely worth it. Then after buying the mochi we’d queue again (above) for the special breakfast that was available at the restaurant next door. That breakfast was one of the best I’ve ever had. Hmm… I wonder if I have a photo of that too…

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Look what I found!

But thinking about queuing up for stuff in Japan and in Frankfurt got me thinking about queuing up in general. You may think this is not so much a topic interesting enough to blog about but actually, as a British person, I think about queuing a lot. These crazy 3 hour long queues are not a thing for me. In Japan they will queue for anything, and they have NO limit to their patience. If it says in a magazine that such-and-such a place has good cakes, they will wait for 3 hours to try one – even if they know the article is sponsored and probably a lie. At any given time on Japanese tv there will be crazy tv shows where minor celebrities go to some restaurant in some town and try some food, announce that it’s the softest, juiciest  tastiest thing they have ever eaten and afterwards that restaurant won’t be able to move for customers – they will be spending the whole day queuing outside to taste this soft juicy tasty thing. (Please click on the “crazy tv shows” link to watch the video… it’s SUCH a typical Japanese tv show…)

For me, I think my limit would be 40 minutes. When Krispy Kremes opened in Osaka I did wait for 40 minutes to get some (and boy were they worth it…) but when it opened in Nagoya I saw people waiting for 4 hours and said to my friend that they could go to the airport, fly to Korea (where they have had Krispy Kremes for years), walk into a shop and buy doughnuts, fly back and they would still beat the people in the queue.

As an expat, queue methods can also be pretty confusing. In Japan they have pretty much the same queuing system as in Britain, but with one added rule – old women can break all the rules and it’s ok. I remember this one time when I was in Japan I went to an illuminations event. When it was over, the route back to the exit was ridiculously crowded and so we had to wait in a long crowd-queue to get out. I was waiting patiently with everyone else until these old ladies started jabbing me in the stomach to get past me. They really had no shame. They will also push in front of you when you’re waiting for a bus or train as well. I’d gladly let elderly people through but I get annoyed when they are rude about it.

Here in Germany there is a slightly different queue style. Where in the UK we form one line that feeds multiple cashiers in a shop, in Germany they form one like per cashier. This means that you can easily be served first if you just join the right queue. German people are a lot less angry at people who push in, as well. In Britain, we are REALLY angry when people push in. But most of the time we just tut and glare and do no more. A few times I have had people ignore the line and wait at the side of the counter to push in but where German queuers are ok with this, German shop staff are thankfully strict.

Where German people are TERRIBLE, though isn’t technically a queue but it’s a related form of waiting; when the train is coming into a station and people need to get out. Instead of waiting to see who else is getting out, each person assumes automatically that they will be the only person and as soon as the platform is in sight, they will push to get to the front of the door so that they can be the person to press the button and exit the train first. And then people rarely let you off the train before they cram on it. I guess German people just get stuff done.

I find peoples’ queuing styles say a lot about their culture and way of life. British people get angry a lot but don’t say anything out right. German people are harsh and abrupt but get what they want in the end.

How does queuing happen where you’re from?

Yummy Things

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I try really hard to lead a fit and healthy life. After spending my teens eating any and every food put in front of me, I am now trying hard to make it up to myself by going to the gym and exercising as much as I can, and making sure I fill up on fruit and veg. As you can see from my blog, I do still eat a lot – what can I say? I love food! But every little helps.

I found a few recipes for curly kale chips on the health blogs I follow, but it took me a while to get round to trying it out since Germany is (quite rightly) a country which supplies mainly things that are in season and nothing else. I think this can be hard for Brits like myself who are used to Tescos selling every kind of fruit and veg regardless of the season. Kale is still rare in supermarkets so I usually get mine on a Saturday when I go to the farmers’ market at Konstablewache.

I feel I should issue a warning with these, since they are highly addictive! I was over my friends’ house the other day and I even got them addicted to them!

How to make kale chips

Rip the washed kale into small pieces – you want to keep them small because when they are crispy the crispy bits go everywhere so it’s best if they are bite sized.

Rub them with a tiiiiiny bit of olive oil (I use this “healthy” oil and it still works great).

Put them in a really hot oven for about 5 minutes or so, then flip them over and keep them in for another few minutes. Depending on your cooker, the times will vary. The chips will need flipping when they get pretty scent-ful and you know they’re done when they are a nice dark brown colour.

Once cooled, pop them in tupperware and they keep for about 2 days – though you’ll be reaching for them so often they probably won’t make it that long!!

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On a separate note, a colleague of mine let me try this lime and chilli hot chocolate! It’s from the British company Whittard, who make amazing drinks. Tubs of hot chocolate powder like this are pretty pricey and I remember as a student I would save up and treat myself to some every once in a while.

The lime and chilli version was… interesting. The lime hits you as an aftertaste and then towards the end of the drink the chilli kicked in. It certainly made a change from regular hot chocolate!

If you get round to making the kale chips, do let me know!

OCS Japanese Store Frankfurt – Closing

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I have the day off today because we get an extra day when we move house. Apparently this is just a Nintendo thing and isn’t universal in Germany.

As I was biking round town trying to get official things done for my move (like registering my change of address, taking my name off of the bills for my old apartment..) I went past the Japanese store OCS. The has been a hit with the Japanese speaking population in Frankfurt since it sells Japanese books, magazines, snacks and other cool things.

But apparently it wasn’t popular enough since it’ll be closing at the end of March. The online shop will still remain, so there’s not much of a sale (right now it’s 30% off). Just like when I was in Paris, I didn’t feel the need to splash out on a 20 euro Japanese book, so I left empty handed in the hope that that 30% will grow a little in the next few weeks.

Anyway, if you are in Frankfurt then check this place out before it closes down! Find it at Große Gallusstraße 1-7.

Paulaner am Dom

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Ahh… one of my favourite restaurants. Paulaner am Dom is a lovely Bavarian restaurant right next to the cathedral here in Frankfurt. If this is what Bavarian food is like, I am living in the wrong part of Germany.

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The best part of this restaurant is that on top of a good solid menu of the meats and potatoes you’d expect from a traditional menu, they have an awesome seasonal menu which always makes choosing a meal difficult.

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The meal above is a firm favourite – the sausage symphony.SONY DSC

Vegetarian? Well you’re also catered for! It’s very rare for a German menu to have good vegetarian options, but Paulaner am Dom pulls through!

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And lastly, the mighty schweinshaxe! It’s not the BEST I’ve had here, but it is up there in my top 5 I’d say. I went for the one with the beer gravy which wasn’t as good as the classic one so my advice is that if you are a haxe fan as I am, still to the basic ones. The gravy just ruined it all.

The food here is amazing and it’s known as the place where we take our parents and visitors when they come to town. However, depending on who you get, your service could range from helpful (the young non-German girl… I think she’s Polish?) to downright rude (the old German woman).

You can find Paulaner am Dom at Domplatz 6  60311 Frankfurt and I see there is an online reservation form if you need to book!

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