It’s a standing joke that their necks support umpteen cameras, but one would hope that the actual pictures might be rather good? Nope. I’d plump for them being dire.
I base my obnoxious generalisation on today’s events: Seven Japanese men are standing around the famous statue of Bremen’s town musicians and, one after another, posing next to it.
When I say posing, I simply mean standing woodenly, unsmiling. Can you imagine going round to a slideshow in a Tokyo home? I’d rather just see the hotel receipt as proof of a city visit.
Nearby, cabbies stand with thermos flasks beside their Audi and Mercedes taxis, wolfing down the ubiquitous bratwurst. Namibian and Little Dick make preparations to visit the U-boat museum, inviting me along. But I have cousins to visit today – in Oldenburg, half an hour away by train.
I’m sold a stupid ticket, showing a price but no destination, with a stub that needs detaching and validating in a stupid platform machine. The remainder of the ticket has a slogan in German – presumably stupid – which probably urges me to ride by train.
Well, I’m already on it. Indeed, anybody in possession of a ticket has already chosen rail over road, so what a waste of printer ink. Stupid.
Aunts ought inherently to be wicked, or is that stepmothers? Well, Heike isn’t. But then she’s not really an aunt. And I’m not entirely sure that her offspring are actually my cousins. Oh hang on, that sounds ridiculous.
Bear with me: if my scoundrel of a grandfather produced a son, who fathered children with Heike, then are they half-removed cousins or something? Or perhaps “foreign cousins”? – they are German, after all.
“Auntie” parks the car underground to avoid ‘bits of paper on the window which cost a lot of money’ – parking tickets, we say in English – and gives a thoroughly efficient tour of her physiotherapy rooms.
Then we’re off to meet my “cousins”. We find it easier just to say that we share a grandfather…but if anybody could help, please comment. This is serious.