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Amparo Bertram

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08:31 pm: The Island
Before I came to Japan, all I knew about Okinawa was what I had seen on Karate Kid II.

The image of Okinawa in the Japanese popular media--TV dramas, comics, and so on--is quite a different story. It is commonly referred to as "the Island" (or "Islands" if you prefer, since there's no difference between the singular and plural in Japanese), and residents are often depicted as being easygoing and laidback, living in beach houses surrounded by flowers, and often whiling away their time going surfing or scuba diving (giving them all perfect tans).

I mention this because the second-year students will be going on their class trip in early October, and the exchange student will be going with them. Ordinarily they go to Korea to visit our sister school there, but this year they'll be going to Okinawa. Whereas last year's exchange student was troubled because she disliked spicy food, this year's is afraid that someone will come up to her on the street and yell at her for being American. She asked me what they would do there...and I hadn't a clue, since I'm not involved with the class trip at all. I couldn't even really hazard much of a guess, since from all I knew, the only things to do there are listen to music, eat local food, and hang out on the beach (or learn karate).

Thus, I wound up asking one of my team teachers, who happens to be the homeroom teacher for one of the classes that is going. She gave me a copy of the class trip schedule and pulled out a booklet about Okinawa to show me. They will be visiting a lot of different places, including some WWII monuments, though they will also have free time for sightseeing and shopping. There is certainly a lot more to do there than I had previously imagined. I'm kind of sorry I don't get to go.

After I finished work yesterday, I still had no luck finding cream of tartar, so I tried substituting lemon juice as suggested. It seemed to work fine. I made a batch of about two dozen angel food cupcakes. Unfortunately, even with my two-tiered cooking rack, only one dozen would fit in my oven. I used my toaster oven to cook most of the rest, but it heats unevenly, so those turned out with unsightly brown patches on top. (Darn...have to eat those myself, I guess.)

I had completely forgotten how sweet angel food cake is. (I guess I should have expected it, from a recipe that calls for half again as much sugar as flour.) I took the decent-looking batch in to work today, and I was careful to put a sign on it warning people that it was extremely sweet. (This is, after all, a country of people who believe that eating cake and ice cream at the same time is too sweet...^_^;) Over a dozen cupcakes vanished, even with the warning, so I guess it went over well.

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[User Picture]
From:kataren
Date:September 15th, 2005 05:06 am (UTC)
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all I knew about Okinawa was what I had seen on Karate Kid II.

See what one misses when one does not watch cheesy karate movies? :P

eating cake and ice cream at the same time is too sweet...

Noooo...the heathens, what can they be thinking?!! Food bought/cooked/made/heck, stolen by other people always tastes better than if you'd gotten it yourself. Always. It's like a universal law. ^^;;
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 15th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Noooo...the heathens, what can they be thinking?!

Not only that, but--are you ready for this?--they don't put sugar in their whipped cream. It's just...fluffy cream. <shakes head> What are they thinking, indeed.

There is a cultural belief that sweet things are only for women and children. Many men boast that they hate sweet things. More than once, I've seen it referred to as "childish" if a guy puts sugar in his coffee. (Not all men succumb to this, but it is pretty pervasive.)

[Side note: Why don't I have an Asano icon...? <hurriedly uploads one mid-message> There, that fits better than Ikegami did.]

Even among women and children, sweetness is generally more subtle than it would be in the US. One of my team teachers in Niigata loved making cookies, but she would always seriously reduce the amount of sugar called for in the recipe.
[User Picture]
From:kataren
Date:September 15th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Asano & Crowe! *chu* ^^

There is a cultural belief that sweet things are only for women and children.

Well that explains a lot, especially in Yamane Ayano's Viewfinder, where Asami smirks whenever Takaba orders/eats ice cream/Pocky, which is quite often. :D

But I guess it's a good habit to have, limiting your sugar intake. (I certainly need to...) But I still feel sorry for Japanese men who have a sweet tooth. ^^;;
From:mangaroo
Date:September 15th, 2005 11:44 am (UTC)
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this year's is afraid that someone will come up to her on the street and yell at her for being American

That seems inconceivable to me. Not that American tourists don't get accosted, but do they get accosted in Japan? I've always just felt silently loathed.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 15th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
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Not that American tourists don't get accosted, but do they get accosted in Japan?

Well, she's thinking along the lines of someone elderly who remembers the war.

(I'd be willing to bet, though, that if she gets accosted by someone elderly in Japan, it will be in a fight over a seat on the train. ^_~)
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