Photos of America from Another Perspective

I don’t need to tell you smart readers what globalization looks like, but clearly it can be amusing at times to see what parts of American culture get transplanted into other countries around the world (at least when it isn’t sad).

Here is a peek at a few images Jeffrey has created over the years showing what happens when American taste lands in other parts of the world.

Photo of the Hard Yak Cafe in Lhasa, Tibet

Lhasa, Tibet (selling yak burgers on the roof of the world).

Photo of McDonald's in Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Photo of Denny's in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Superman in Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Photo of a knock-off Chicago Bulls sweatshirt in Beijing, China

Beijing, China

M & M Billboard in Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Photo of a Visa sign in Vietnam

Saigon, Vietnam

Photo of a Marlboro billboard in Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

If you had one wish, what aspect of American culture would you want to share most around the world (if any)? My guess is that it wouldn’t be the Marlboro Man.

26 thoughts on “Photos of America from Another Perspective

  1. A few years ago I was riding a bus from Marrakech to Ourzazate, Morocco when along the highway in the middle of nowhere I saw a billboard of an old Coke ad!

    To answer your question, I would spread “coffee culture” (which could be considered more European than American) because it is impossible to find good coffee in China!

    • It’s mind-boggling how far-reaching Coke is around the world. Crazy.

      And I can imagine how you would crave a really good cup of coffee in China. I know they’re hard to come by, although with Starbuck’s now in the Forbidden City…

      Let me rephrase that…we are talking about GOOD coffee…not sure ‘bucks would qualify. Guess it’s all relative though. :-)

      Sending rich, dark roast thoughts your way! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Becky, you picked out a great series of photos. Something to think about, America’s influence on the commercialized parts of the world. I have a friend from Japan, who one day dressed her little boy in a shirt with all the words spelled wrong. The words were in English, which the mother had not yet taught her son. I asked her why he was wearing a shirt with a misprint. And she told me it was a gift from one of her family members in Japan. I said, Japan? Why would they send you a shirt with an English misprint on it? And she went on to tell me that her family, and others, don’t care if all the letters are in the wrong place, or even missing, all that matters is that the shirt holds value because it portrays the English language. I’ve thought about that a lot over the years, and can’t get past a feeling of sadness over it. To celebrate some American ideal, just to have the characters of our alphabet, and it gains in importance? Though, people are the same way here. Name brands rank higher in price and “street credit” than off brands for so many of us. I remember being in the third grade, and asking my mom to please buy anything by Gap. As long as it had the word Gap on it, I wanted it for my Christmas gift. All the other kids, it seemed, had something by Gap. And I fell into that trap. Was it worth it? No. But was it part of growing up? Yes. These photos capture such perfect, everyday moments in time, reflecting our own lives right back at us. And boy was Jeffrey on his game to capture that man reaching for a smoke in the same pose as Ronald McDonald! Great post, Becky, as always.

  3. Fabulous post! The photos and focus are more than amusing! Love the Chicago Bulls mispell and, in fact, bought myself a $2 pair of Cavlin Klienn jeans at the silk market near the embassies! And imagine my own surprise when I stumbled into a Starbucks in the Forbidden city! Eneuks, courtesans, the emperor and Starbucks baristas. The world is one funny fantastical place…

    • I’m glad you could appreciate the humor. It’s funny you should mention Starbuck’s in the Forbidden City, I was going to add an image of it, but then I thought it looked too “normal.” I guess it’s all perspective and what you get used to seeing.

  4. I was visiting my sister in New Zealand (She is married to a New Zealander), and her boss at the time had just returned from a first-ever trip to the US. I was so embarrassed when she said that her favorite food that she had tried in the US was a chalupa from Taco Bell. The US has so many wonderful restaurants, communities, arts, and events, but when tourists visit the US, they typically see only NYC, LA, and Disney World, which doesn’t seem like a fair representation of all of the US. NYC, LA, and all things Disney certainly have great things to offer, but listening to this New Zealander’s experience in the US made me feel that she had visited a country that I didn’t even know.

    • Oh how sad that Taco Bell was somebody’s culinary highlight in America.

      Our country is so big and diverse that it would be nearly impossible for somebody from another country to experience the richness of it all during a short visit. Many of us who live here have never been to some of our country’s most magnificent places and/or events. I hope at least your New Zealander friend got to experience something more than a chalupa!

  5. I agree with Lori. I don’t believe that McDonald’s and M&Ms (among many other products) represent the full scope of American culture. It is true that were are considered more greedy and materialistic than most countries, but I believe Americans are also the most hard-working and generous people on earth. I think the one thing that I love about our culture is that we always come together to help when there is a crisis, whether it is here at home or abroad. So I guess my wish would be that we continue to share the great bounty that we have with those who need it most.

  6. I am sad that M&Ms and McDonalds are what we call American culture. Americans are the most charitable nation in the world and my wish would be to export that giving nature all around the world. Lori

    • I use the word “culture” loosely. I agree with you one hundred percent that America is one of the most generous nations in the world. Unfortunately, it’s hard to deny the other aspects we “share” with the world.

  7. I love how the photos juxtapose American culture against the country the photos are taken in. My favorite is the guy sitting on the bench with Ronald McDonald. I found myself cringing a bit, thinking, so this is what we export. American commercialism at its best. Shades of our imperialism, shades of the ugly American. If I were going to use one product to represent America, I’d choose Apple. Second, Coca-cola. That’s a drink found just about in every part of the world. That’s all.

    • I like Ronald too, especially how the guy sitting next to him isn’t giving him the time of day. So classic. It’s funny you mention Apple as a product you’d be proud to have represent America. It’s one of the most sought after in the world–especially IPhones. The rest of our junk (especially food), I think the world would be better off without. I’d much rather export our art and music and giving nature than our “things.”

  8. Becky what a creative post; Hats off to you & Jeffrey. :) You people always bring something innovative in your blog. That’s what makes this blog really special.

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