On Saturday, I went to my first Gay Parade. For some reason, I have never managed to go to one before; not because i haven't wanted to, but because there hasn't been one where i was. I think there is one in Tokyo - but it's not very well publicised.
Anyway, here in Germany the event is not known as Gay Pride; but Christopher Street Day, after the Stonewall riots in NY in 1969. The Stonewall Inn was on Christopher Street; hence the name. If you want to know more go here, Wikipedia explains it better than me.
Anyway, we had a lovely afternoon following the parade through town. Was a very smiley day, with lots of sparkly - that's what you're supposed to drink on CSD...
I've uploaded my photos, so have a look here.
Not really much else to report from Deutschland. I am now officially a resident of Stuttgart & am waiting for an appointment with the job centre. I'm registered as 'looking for work', so the job centre should be contacting me to see how things are going. Also, during the course of the interview, they can/will also decide whether German lessons will be beneficial for me. If so, i can get free lessons. FREE!! Can you believe that?
Was talking to a friend about that, and i explained that i couldn't believe that people can just turn up in Germany & get free lessons - wouldn't people just come for the free lessons & then just bugger off back to their home countries? Then the friend pointed out that German is only used in 3 countries in the world. It's not like English. I was just coming from a completely different perspective - free English education is pretty much unthinkable.
Always forget how lucky i am being a native English speaker. I think living in Germany would be really hard for a non-English & non-German speaking foreigner. As i mentioned before, there isn't much English support here. Also, TV is not bilingual (unlike Japan); here everything is dubbed into German. Except MTV, so i have been watching a load of crap on TV (which i actually don't mind, but i shouldn't really admit because i am about 20 years too old to be an MTV viewer).
The really bizarre thing is that i am actually using my French, which i defnitely didn't foresee. In the shops, a lot of things are produced for the (mainland) European market, which means that the packaging has German + French/Spanish/Turkish or some other European language. As you know, my German is pretty shoddy; whoever designed the GCSE language programmes needs to be force fed his/her textbooks; then again it was 20 years ago. On the other hand, my french - while not being by any means fluent - is WAY better than my German & i formally studied it for about the same length of time, but in France and high school (International Baccalaureate).
To cut a long story short, i find myself reading the French on the packaging & understanding more than i expected. Japanese, however, hasn't come in that useful yet...