Food Culture

Food Culture

5

Culture has a strong influence on everyone. It affects people onnumerous aspects, among them food choices. Culture has an impact onfood choices, because every culture has their own unique delicacies.For example, a person from America has a different food culture whencompared to one from Japan. Food culture regards to having a deepconnection to food. It can also refer to eating habits one acquiresas a member of a particular society. When someone moves from onecountry to another, he or she encounters many cultural differences.In the case of food, one realizes that the types of food that werereadily available in their home country are not easily available inthe host country. As a result, people have to adapt to new foodcultures. When adapting to a new food culture, the impact can beeither positive or negative.

Kita Akira is one who has experienced the negative effects of thefood culture of his host country. When Akira moved to America, leastof his expectation was that he would become obese. Akira is aninternational student in the United States. He moved to America fromJapan when he was nineteen years, after successfully applying for ascholarship. The scholarship presented a good opportunity for Akirato advance his education in a better learning institution, ascompared to having furthered his education from his home country. Inaddition, his parents could not afford to make the huge investment ofspending on his education. Hence, when Akira got the scholarship, hewas overjoyed and could not wait to come to America. However, Akiradid not expect that, days later he would be having a difficultexperience adapting to the different cuisines in America. Akira comesfrom a mainly traditional family. Back at home, he notes that he wasaccustomed to eating traditional Japanese foods. Somehow, he expectedthat such foods would also be readily available in the US.

Akira’s first day in America was fun. He was happy to be in a newenvironment and settled in fast. In fact, he was happier to realizethat there were more people from different countries in university.At least he did not feel as though he was the only stranger around.Akira was also lucky that his roommate was an American. With the helpof his roommate, he was able to visit new places within and outsidethe university. It did not take him long to notice that there weremajor differences between his food culture and that of America. Akiranotes that from the first day, he realized that many of his fellowcampus mates would buy food from fast foods. He explains that fastfoods were easily accessible and the food was affordable for thestudents. It was not easy for Akira to adapt to these new food types.

He notes that he had hoped there would be at least a food joint thatserved Japanese food. To his surprise, such eating-places were tooexpensive to afford. In addition, seasonal American foods are alsoexpensive. Due to his traditional upbringing, Akira had learnt thathe should maintain his health by eating healthy food. However, it wasnot possible for him to uphold such values. He was living on a tightbudget, which means that he could not afford to eat healthy. Heslowly blended in to the eating habits of his fellow campus mates.Akira is quick to note that most students prefer to eat from fastfoods because the food is cheap and readily available. The outcome ofsuch unhealthy eating habits has been that most people in Americahave obesity. American food culture comprises of processed foods andfats that lack important nutrients. The more an individual consumesthe unhealthy food, the more fats they collect in their body, andslowly develop obesity.

Akira explains that he is not happy with how he looks now. He hasadded too much weight, which makes him feel apprehensive about hishealth. In addition, he does not feel as attractive as he did before.He is aware that provided he continues eating unhealthy, he maydevelop health conditions. This includes illnesses like diabetes andhypertension among others that are associated with being obese. Hesilently whispers “I wonder what my family will say once they seehow big I have become, they might even think that I am not the sameperson”. Despite faintly smiling, it is obvious that Akira isworried deep down. For the moment, he explains that being a studentmakes him live a “freestyle” life. Although Akira desires to eathealthy as he was back in Japan, he explains that influence from hispeers and lack of enough money compels him to continue eatingunhealthy foods.

According to Akira, American and Japanese food culture differ onnumerous aspects. He says that it is probably why it is hard forAmericans to adapt to cooking Japanese foods. For instance, he notesthat Japanese food requires different ingredients to prepare. Theseingredients are not easy to access, especially in local grocerystores or shops. Akira has thought of cooking his own meals as a wayof restoring his health. However, the fact that he cannot easily findingredients to cook further disheartens his efforts. On a light note,Akira comments that he has noticed that Americans eat large portionsof food, unlike how they eat back home.

Japanesefood serving

This he says probably explains why people in America gain more weightthan in his country. He explains that his campus mates will alwaysdecide on buying food that comes in large portions, like pizza orburgers mixed with fries.

Burger and fries

At first, he would easily feel full after eating two to three piecesof pizza. However, he has fast adapted to what his friends do, and attimes consumes all the pieces in a large pizza on his own.

Akira is concerned that he is already experiencing some of thechallenges associated with obesity. Back home, he would eat small andhealthy food portions, but now his quantity intake seems to beincreasing daily. The more fast foods he consumes, he continues togain weight. He explains that he has become lazy, is unable to walkfor long distances, and is no longer interested in any physicalactivity. His suggestion is that American culture should consideradapting food cultures from other countries. In addition, it isimportant to make healthy foods more affordable. Using himself as anillustration, he notes that if he were able to afford Japanese foodsfrom when he moved to America, then he would not have to be concernedabout his current health condition.

Work Cited

Akira, Kita. Personal Interview. 5 Oct. 2015.