Sunday, September 07, 2008


A comment to the previous post about soccer treat mom's possibly kinder ulterior motives reminded me of this website alllooksame I stumbled upon a few years ago. I thought I was more sensitive to the differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures than the average Joe. By the time I took this test, I attended school at the University of Hawaii for one lovely too short semester where I porked up on Asian food like there was no tomorrow, and there weren't too many tomorrows, one semester was all I got, but you name it, I ate it and I ate a lot of it, with two scoops rice and kimchee. All my roommates were Japanese Americans who shamed me into using chopsticks by telling me that 5 million Chinese pre-schoolers could do it so then so should I. And of course, by the time I took the alllooksame test I had traveled to China a couple of times and had read Red Scarf Girl and Wild Swans and whatnot trying to understand modern Chinese history so I could wrap my head around the genesis of the misbegotten one child policy that ultimately brought me to my children. I figured if I couldn't affirmatively recognize something as Japanese or Chinese, well then, it must be Korean by default and if it looked like bulgogi, I couldn't miss.

So I felt confident as I took the test (you go to the exam room link on the right side of the home page). I would have done okay if the test for cultural awareness had been limited to identifying pictures of food, but it wasn't and as it turned out I am just average at identifying the differences between these three major Asian cultures based on the seven other categories contained in the test. But, hey, I sure know my Asian food. So I guess it's a start.

A well meaning friend (and one who does not for sure read this blog) gave me an antique doll dressed in a unmistakably Japanese costume (and even if she did, wouldn't recognize herself because she wouldn't know that the doll wasn't wearing a Chinese costume) before Ellie came home, truly a thought that counts kind of gift. I'm still not sure what to do with that doll.

So it would not have occured to me that soccer treat mom was making a nod at my kids' birth country because they weren't born in Japan. And of course, I'm too self-centered to ascribe any other motive to soccer treat mom other than
a bald faced attempt to make me feel more inadequate than I feel almost every minute of every day as a parent. To stick the knife in and twist where I'm most vulnerable because it is all about me, always all about me. Next thing I know soccer treat mom will inviter herself over to my house so she can shut the hall door real fast and make the dust bunnies jump. She's diabolical.


Anonymous said...

Man, I've missed you. Sushi for soccer snack? Puhleez. At our house, soccer snack is whatever I can pretend I went out to buy and have enough of to pass around. This is our week so now, I too, can succomb to the guilt of not providing sushi. I was toying with the idea of running to the store before the game and buying bananas.

All the same: The last few years, I've visited Sophie's classroom a few times and I swear, I cannot tell most of the boys apart. The girls are easier -- they have different hair styles and fashion sense ranges all over the map. But the boys? I know Nathan because he's Asian and about twice as big as everyone else but the rest of the little waspy boys? Clueless. I think my sil, mom to my two nephews, has the same issue with the little girls.

mom to Grace and Sophie

Abby goes to Denmark! said...

I have to admit, this post made me giggle way too much.

At the risk of sounding like a terrible person, I'll admit that I struggle to tell Asian people apart as well as distinguishing between little girls (and I work in a school!).... so added together, I can never tell your girls apart in pictures. Except for Ellie for the obvious height difference and glasses. =)

I'm the complete opposite from Lisa though. I can always tell the boys in my classes apart before I can with the girls, especially in the younger grades. It seems that all K-2 girls are about 3 feet tall with blonde hair in a ponytail. It kills me!

Amy said...

Marji -
You are ahead of me on the blogging maintenance right now, love reading about your kiddos, have to say that the fancy treat post made me laugh (given recent events in our own family).
I made fancy cupcakes a few weeks ago for our departmental "welcome back to hell" school year start picnic. They were homemade chocolate with oreo cookie sunflowers and red M&M ladybugs on top (cookies were the flower centers with yellow icing petals piped on, and the ladybugs were created with dark chocolate piped on for the ladybug features). Totally overblown. I used my first day off in forever to make 'em... and it pretty much took all day. Why did I do it? 'Cause I'm the only woman in the PhD program with kids right now, and I wanted to say something with fancy cupcakes: "So there, department - I can mother three kiddos, get a degree, and imitate Martha Stewart if I wanna." And there were indeed some happy kids at the picnic eating way too much frosting and chocolate. But my faculty advisor? She took one look, laughed, and said, "I need to give you more work to do." Oh, crap. Doesn't she understand I was only *pretending* to have it all together? The other downside: the kids are now going through my fancy cupcake decorating book to decide what they want me to make for their classmates when they bring treats in for their birthdays. Fat chance, kids. I can only manage so many Supermom days per year (um... one, to be exact?) I'm also looking at eBay for Halloween costumes, despite Sarah's elaborate plans for me to make her a Jedi costume from scratch. (I made 'em costumes last year - my Supermom moment for 2007). I am also feeling culturally deficient these days - we haven't done anything particularly Chinese for a while now (food or otherwise). Of course, Eleanor Zitao made me feel a lot better when she was eating our local Chinese restaurant's best fare, and said, "Mom, this is great. I wish they had food like this in China!" I figure no matter what I do, it's not like China (for better or worse).
Lots of love to you and your girls!