Tomoko has been living in New Hampshire since last August, studying child development at Southern New Hampshire University, and enjoying herself. There’s only one thing she really dislikes about her new life in the U.S., and she wrote in to share her one big disappointment:
Hello, America! You are too sweet.
Hello, America, I came to you, the place I had been longing for. You had influenced my life too much by using a strong tool called mass media. The language that you are using is too powerful for me to neglect to learn. When you stare at me with your blue eyes, I want to dive into your blue ocean. When your blond hair flutters in the wind, I want to dive into your gold wheat field.
But, now I have to confess to you one thing: you are too sweet. You put too much sugar in your cake.
Red velvet cupcake was your cake’s name. When I saw it on some New Yorker’s blog after coming to you, I just felt in love with its vivid color and cute shape with its snowy mountain top.
When I enter the supermarket, I am overpowered by its huge space. I am fascinated with the colorful cereal boxes lined up in an aisle. I am thrilled to take a number to order a pound of today’s ham or cheese. I stop and watch a roasted chicken spinning for a while. I found your cake in the bakery. I was so excited when I saw the real one. Red velvet cupcake. I put it into a big cart without hesitation. I have to go home to try your cake now.
It is like a lady with red puffy dress and white hat. I hardly wait to eat! I open my big mouth and bite the red dress and white hat together …
My brain reels as my imagination of red velvet comes tumbling down. The cake tastes as if I were eating pure sugar, and the frosting is sandy-feeling from the grains.
Although I have tried many different kinds of pastries, most of them were too sweet for me. I borrowed a couple pastry books from local library and copied some recipes from books written by Michelle Obama and Martha Stewart into my recipe journal. The recipe guided me to put 1 3/4 cups of sugar for baking the buttermilk blueberry cake. I calculated how many grams of sugar are in 1 3/4 cups (Japanese recipes use grams). It was about 400g. If I compare American and Japanese recipes for baking pastries, I would say the amount of sugar in a cake in American is more than twice the amount of sugar in a cake in Japan. No wonder it tastes like eating sugar to me.
Now I always reduce the amount of sugar from original American receipt when I bake cakes. When I start to prefer to American pastries, I will tell my friends that I am Americanized and will gain a lot of weight.
Over a half year since arriving in the United States, I still find amazing scenery and rare food here. Every day there are the moments of happiness for me, no matter how hard my school work is. Except for the amount of sugar in pastries, “Hello, America! You are sweet.”
Are there any parts of American life you were particularly disappointed by? How did you cope? Share your story in the comments or using the form below.