Figure/Ground

Deutschland

Berlin [ 55 photos ]
Bonn [ 21 photos ]
Frankfurt am Main [ 28 photos ]
Köln (Cologne) [ 21 photos ]
München (Munich) [ 48 photos ]
Along the Rhine Valley [ 23 photos ]

EXTRA

Markets [ 31 photos ]
Cars [ 12 photos ]
Glass Facades [ 10 photos ]

ARCHITECTURE

Jüdisches Museum Berlin [ 29 photos ]
Neue Nationalgalerie [ 12 photos ]
DZ Bank [ 10 photos ]
Herz Jesu Kirche [ 23 photos ]
Kapelle der Versöhnung [ 11 photos ]
Vitra Fire Station [ 28 photos ]
Vitra Design Museum [ 10 photos ]
Vitra Conference Pavilion [ 15 photos ]

RELATED

Basel, Switzerland [ 17 photos ]

We were sitting on a bench on a platform waiting for the U-Bahn (subway) in München (Munich) early one morning. There was a man sitting behind us with his head on his lap, sleeping. Nothing unusual about this—you see this all over the world on train platforms, especially early in the morning.

Next thing I know, two police came and woke him up. They seemed to lecture or scold him about the sleeping and actually made him leave the station.

What the hell? Are you kidding me? You are not allowed to sleep? I know technically there's probably rules against sleeping in trains and stations in all countries, but I'm sure they are only there to use against the homeless. But to be enforced on the commuter who is tired?!

As I pondered if the Germans could really be that strict, the police, satisfied that the offender had left, started to leave themselves. As they went up the escalator, they surveyed the platform again and saw that the young man sitting next to us was starting to doze off as well. They immediately turned around and came over to him. They prodded him awake and started talking to him. I think they said something to the effect of: "Hey, you! You alright? Need to sleep? Not here." Then I realized that I haven't seen anyone sleeping on the subway trains or in the stations the whole time I had been in Germany (as opposed to Japan, where literally half the car is asleep).

That's Teutonic strictness for you.

All images and text copyright © Liao Yusheng. He can be reached at liao@yusheng.ca.