Jon Lech Johansen (most commonly known as DVD Jon) wrote in his blog about things he doesn’t miss about Norway, and while I know he’s right on some points, they seem minor. I’d like to see his list about the US when he leaves. It’s really only after you leave a country that you realize what you can do without.
So, here’s my list of things I don’t miss about Germany (sure to be less widely read than his list):
- The weather. In northern Germany, winters are depressing gray affairs, with maybe one week of snow, tops.
- Dubbing. All foreign films shown on German TV or in the cinemas are dubbed. As a result, most Germans speak terrible English and they miss out on everything but the Hollywood mainstream. The same goes for other media, too: Foreign-language books, computer games or DVDs are rare, and you usually have to shop for them online.
- The Smokers. Not only do Germans smoke in restaurants, malls and other public places, but also in your office, on trains, in airconditioned buildings or even schools. Also, advertising for cigarettes is still legal.
- Church Tax (7% of Income Tax).
- Underpayed jobs in the Game Industry. There’s hardly any game industry to speak of, and everyone I know that works in it is getting about half what I’m paid here.
- 11.5% Unemployment.
- The Discounters. An often heard Mantra is “stingyness is cool” (Geiz ist Geil), and Germans will choose cheap over good. Not because they’re all poor, but because the idea of paying too much for something is shameful.
- Phone sex advertising on TV. These are openly pornographic and obscene. They also seem to be paying well, because there’s virtually no other advertising after 20:00.
- Two big political parties that are short on ideas for turning the country around, and apathetic voters that will vote for them anyhow.