Take policemen. Our historian knows about policemen; he saw an old documentary on China once. So when he puts policemen in his slice of America, they're the sort that wear white gloves and blow incessantly on whistles.
He fares a lot better with that strange thing called "diners". He knows they server combination plates! He can do that: spam and teriyaki fried chicken is a combination plate, right? Also pies- dobash (chocolatey thing) and haupia (coconut custard). He knows there's a side dish that comes with every single meal, but nobody actually explains what "fries" are, so in his reconstructed Americana, all the diners and fast food joints offer rice instead.
His "chips" are shrimp flavored, and he knows that there are stores selling sweet tasting "candy" to eager children, but not that "candy" isn't pickled mango with preserved plum powder (bless his ill-informed soul; that stuff is great). Birds are particularly troublesome. He reads that all the city streets are beset by 'pigeons' and 'sparrows' who travel in huge flocks and defecate on statuary, and he picks out some likely species from a genetic bank: spotted dove, zebra dove, java sparrow.
And yet, somehow every time I come back to this place, it seems a little more like home.