Tea with Milk

February 13, 2014 - Comment

At home in San Francisco, May speaks Japanese and the family eats rice and miso soup and drinks green tea. When she visits her friends’ homes, she eats fried chicken and spaghetti. May plans someday to go to college and live in an apartment of her own. But when her family moves back to Japan,

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At home in San Francisco, May speaks Japanese and the family eats rice and miso soup and drinks green tea. When she visits her friends’ homes, she eats fried chicken and spaghetti. May plans someday to go to college and live in an apartment of her own. But when her family moves back to Japan, she soon feels lost and homesick for America. In Japan everyone calls her by her Japanese name, Masako. She has to wear kimonos and sit on the floor. Poor May is sure that she will never feel at home in this country. Eventually May is expected to marry and a matchmaker is hired. Outraged at the thought, May sets out to find her own way in the big city of Osaka. Allen Say has created a moving tribute to his parents and their path to discovering where home really is.

Comments

kt says:

Caught between cultures An important theme in Tea With Milk is the fact that as people move between two cultures they often do not feel completely comfortable in either one. May’s parents return to Japan because they are homesick. I would guess that they are not as Japanese as they would have been had they not lived in the U. S. Their pushing May to be so traditional could be the result of their attempt to reassimilate. May, of course, experiences most deeply the pain of immigration, and even Joseph, Say’s father,…

Anonymous says:

Hard to find a home Realistic in both its pain and beauty, this is a wonderful book.Many Japanese-Americans find, after being considered foreigners in the US all their lives, that they are also considered foreigners in Japan. They find themselves thinking, “Hey, I’m American after all,” even if they had been treated as foreigners back home. This is worst for people in parts of the US where there are few Asian people, and this kind of experience can lead to them feeling alone in the world and deeply…

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