For this assignment we needed to interview someone about our topic. It would’ve really helped if they were someone from the country we are going to, but I don’t know many people from Tibet so I decided to interview someone from another country who is now living in the US. I know a girl from Japan so I decided to use her. I’ll call her A.
Bonnie: “Where are you from?”
A: “Kanagawa, Japan (south of Tokyo)”
Bonnie: “What kinds of food did you typically eat there?”
A: “Rice, noodles, seafood, veggies, soy bean foods (miso, soy sauce, etc). We would also eat foods like hamburgers, spaghetti, pizza, and hotdogs. They were easy to cook them at home. But the veggies we ate were Asian, not Western.”
Bonnie: “What was your favorite food there?”
A: *laughs* “Chinese food! But not the American kind, we use Asian veggies and not veggies like broccoli. I like tempura foods too.”
Bonnie: “When did you move to Utah?”
Bonnie: “Are there Japanese foods here that you can easily find?”
A: “I can find non-seafood foods. It’s hard to find fresh seafood here and if it’s not fresh then it’s terrible. If I want ‘weird’ foods I can find them at an Asian store. These foods are different soups, fish cakes that we used for soup or noodles or to eat with veggies, and rice cakes. The more popular foods I can find at a normal grocery store. These foods are like sushi and udong noodles.”
Bonnie: ” Do you eat these Japanese foods?”
A: “We used to not eat them because my mom is a student and we didn’t have time. Plus, my mom is from Okinawa and it’s a different culture. She didn’t make ‘normal’ Japanese foods. I grew up with ‘unnormal’ foods. We ate a lot of American foods. Right now I’m on a diet so I’m eating more Japanese foods like rice and miso. But my family doesn’t care *laughs* they’ll eat American foods more often.”
Bonnie: “So have you noticed that you eat more American foods the longer you’ve been in America?”
A: ” The first year we didn’t eat any Japanese food. The longer we’ve been here the more Japanese foods we eat. We have more opportunities. We have more knowledge of where to buy ingredients and the special utensils we need. We’ve inherited some of these special utensils from friends and neighbors who are also Japanese. My mom still doesn’t have time to cook though.”
Bonnie: “What is your favorite Western food?”
A: “Pizza :)”
We talked some more about different Japanese foods that I’ve never heard of before. We also talked about our different breads and I got really hungry and now want to try all these different foods.
The information I received from A seems backward compared to all the information I’ve been reading. It seems that her family already ate a lot of Western foods. They are still eating a lot of Western foods now that they are in America, but she is trying to eat more Japanese foods for her diet. And her family is able to eat more Japanese food the longer they are in America because they know where to buy all their special ingredients. This is giving me a lot to think about.
Does it take immigrants a long time to find where they can obtain their special ingredients for their ethnic foods? During this time do they have to rely on the foods of the country they’re in? How does this affect them?? There are so many different variables that it’s hard for me to focus on just one.