Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two Random Things

First. We just started watching the show Two and a Half Men. I understand that I am late to the game, and maybe the humor gets stale after a while - - but DAMN that show makes me laugh. I won't remember the evening that it is on unless I put it on my calendar (I have a weird thing about not recalling when shows are on - except for AI, but that's cause it's ALWAYS on Tuesdays). Why do shows in the US seem to move around all the time? A recent phenom here, as I don't remember it being that bad before. Having said that, my memory seems to be more in question than the actual timing of the shows, so maybe they used to move around a lot and don't remember that either? Duh...

Second. Last night I'm lying in bed getting ready to nod off to sleep and I started a little daisy-chain of thoughts. I started thinking about the good news that I had received earlier in the day that a couple of our friends from Tokyo were going to come and visit us this summer. The news was especially nice since they have both promised to teach me (re-teach me) how to make onigiri - quite possibly the EASIEST thing to make that is Japanese, but I still can't get the hang of it. This led me to thinking that we would need to go over to Japantown and get some ingredients for the onigiri.

This led me to thinking about going to Chinatown in London for some of the best duck outside of the mainland.

This led me to thinking about all the other "towns" that I have been to in various countries. Lots of Chinatowns, Japantowns, Middle Eastern neighborhoods, lots of little Italy's, a few little german or swiss hamlets in various places.

This led me to acknowledging that while the US is a pretty big place - - I have never visited a foreign country (and while I haven't been to all, I might say that I've been to a fairly large representative sample) - and seen or visited a "Little American" or an Americantown. I don't think any exist. The closest I might have come was actually living in a place nicknamed the Geijin Ghetto in Tokyo. And yet, that was just location. It wasn't as if there were a whole bunch of US stores clustered together and all the local favorites from home being served at the neighboring restaurants.

This led me to thinking - - what would they actually offer to eat in Americatown? Hamburgers? The best Cheese steak subs? Great fried Chicken or other homemade favorites like meatloaf and mac-cheese? And, NO, US fast food doesn't count. McDonald's is just an American Corp (so is Wendy's, KFC and Pizza Hut - which are also fairly recognizable internationally) - but to say that is representative of US cuisine would be paramount to saying that the Japanese food we used to get a the 7-11 was the epitome of Japanese cuisine and should be sold in Japantown.

This led me to thinking what kinds of stores would there be in Americatown? Walmarts? Super Target? I would prefer a Nordstrom - but that's just me. Besides, Walmart is International already. They just sell that country's goods for the most part. So, you got the sign, but you don't have the same products. Is that what the Chinese think when they visit the stores in Chinatown? Probably. They walk out of those stores mumbling to each other, "that's not a real Chinese store. All that stuff was made in Indonesia. Damn tourist traps..."

This led me to wondering why aren't there Americantowns? Is that we are so generic that you can't put your finger on what should be represented in our little neighborhood? Is it that we are not a nomadic people (i.e. we import more citizens than we export - so there's no need to set up Americantowns so that we can gather and create a new life for ourselves)? Is it that we also see ourselves being represented by the Big Mac as something that defines us internationally?

The led me to thinking that I needed to stop thinking about that and it also made me hungry for Vietnamese food. The connection? Who knows. It was late. I had done enough thinking.


2W3 said...

The neighborhoods to which you refer were created by immigrants of those countries coming to different countries. In the past, there has not been a reason for Americans to emigrate hence the absence of American foreign communities - although based on the current direction of this country, you may find these foreign Ameritowns popping up and finally the Germans will get to taste some chipped ham and corn dogs.

Deanna said...

Two and a Half Men is Gerry's favorite show. If you need a fix, try Fox.....we get reruns at 7 & 7: 30 every evening. Enjoy!

Love, Mom

Chris said...

Ronald Reagan said something to the effect of:
You can go to Germany but you can never become German.
You can go to Japan but you can never become Japanese.
You can go to France but you can never become French.
But anyone from anywhere in the world can come to America and become American.
Clearly this is one of the great strengths of American Society.


KB said...

You need Tivo. Then you never have to rememeber when a show is on, just set your season pass and you're good.

Molly~ said...

Two and a Half Men is the show we went to see taped when Deb and Jeanna took bay and I and her sister and niece to california. It was a lot of fun and the preseason show included Bailey acting like a sick chicken. It was hysterical and who knew she was such a ham. And speaking of ham.. I am sure they dont have Islays ham, Buffalo wings or pretty much meat in general. I read somewhere that there is a direct link between the the appearance of wealth and eating meat.

Personally, I like what Ronald Reagan had to say. (Then again, he said staying home with my children was the right decision, but I have been unable to put "expert on 4th grade math and prek cut and paste" on my resume).