MATSUNOSUKE - Akiko Hirano's Pie & Cake

Akiko Hirano's Essay

Backnumbers American Cake form a Housewife who studied abroad

Essays from Akiko Hirano who studied in the U.S. at age 45.

Reproduced and translated with additions from the 2000 Sojusha Publishers' publication (sold out).

COVER: American Cake form a Housewife who studied abroad
housewife's dream

The dream of exchange to the U.S.

Invitation to Illinois

The illusory exchange

An 8 million yen investment in me!

The struggle with English begins

Inside a multi-cultural class

Japanese food in
an underground kitchen

My composition appears in a text book

If only I had read more books
when I was younger

The death of
a Chinese exchange student

American style stress relief

Finally, a real university student

Independent students in the states

Driving debut

Amazing silver power

Visiting New York City

Crossing North American Continent by car

Amazing silver power

When I drive my car in the states, I sometimes get frightened by running into senior drivers. It would be rude to compare them with wild animals but I get startled by senior drivers more than wildlife. It was very common to see drivers in a wide age range in the town I lived, starting from 16 years old high school kids to elder people who seemed to be in their eighties.

One Sunday morning, I decided to go to a hair salon since I didn’t get my hair cut for a long time. The hair salon I was going to go was located inside a nearby shopping mall so I was looking for the closest parking spot to the salon. Luckily I thought I found a spot so I was driving in and there was another car approaching from opposite direction of me. The driver of the car wasn’t even looking at me.

I stared at the driver but the driver I saw was quite an old lady. She still didn’t even notice me, lifted her leg high to kick open the door, and ambled into the shopping mall.

This kind of silver driver (especially female seniors) seem to have something in common. They are really not looking at people and cars around them or in another word, they can’t seem to look around. They seem to drive just looking straight, so you will have to be really careful with female senior drivers.

However, if you look at them from a different point of view, driving is their proof of their energy that they want to stay active. The lady I met at the parking lot was also one of those powerful active seniors. When I sat down on the chair at the hair salon, the same lady was sitting right next to me. The conversation I overheard was something like this:

Hair stylist: How was Florida?
The lady:It was a lot of fun!
Stylist: So did you ski again?
Lady: Actually no... I wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t try this time.
Apparently she often visits her grand kids in Florida and she goes water skiing. She looked like she was shuffling when she was going out of the hair salon but how could she manage to go water skiing? She was such a typical American woman I thought.

Speaking of active powerful seniors, I saw some TV show that was featuring 8 seniors who belong to a senior synchronized swimming club and they were practicing for the championship. The members were all over Seventies and one of them was in her eighties.

The show was showing their last rehearsal for the meet so that they were all wearing the same costumes and make-up. Their vibrant performance in the water was zoomed in on TV.

Their lively faces with deep lines were beautifully shining in the water. “America, this country can make anything possible.” was what came out of my mind after watching the show. To my surprise, I saw something more astonishing scene in the news which showed after this program. The weather girl was a big-bellied pregnant woman. Whether you age or get pregnant, it doesn’t matter. All that matter is inside of yourself.

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