Mixed Roots, Mixed Feelings

Malfunctioning families, embarrassing holiday habits, the great debate of ‘do we tell X they’re being a         ist or let it slide (again)’ – this fun stuff made up my morning. Today was an oral interview test for Japanese, so being the first victim meant I had a lot of time to kill before lunch. Which led to the above stuff. Always fun bonding with new peeps, especially over this kind of crap. Everyone had a lot to input, which was just a hoot. #sorrynotsorry fam

After lunch I took a nice break on the lawn that Doshisha students are always crowding up, and lemme tell you, they have such nice soft grass, very lovely for laying down. I read for a bit, napped for a lot and then made my way off to class. Today was a break day in compensation for a Saturday field trip we took ages ago, so we took it easy with a movie. That film was Hafu, a 2013 project that dives into the mixed-roots, multicultural experiences of mixed-race Japanese. It was an extremely well-done piece, in my opinion, that explores a various mix of people/families all with different relationships to their mixed identities. Some of these people can ‘pass’ for Japanese while fellows are glaringly ‘other’. One woman was raised never knowing that she was zainichi until she found personal documents at 15 detailing her half-Korean background. The eclectic jumble of people it focused on gave a cohesive and varied peek into the life of mixed-race Japanese, a country whose strong sense of homogeneity makes it a difficult place to be out-of-place in any sense, especially racially.

Watching the film was far more intriguing and humbling than I was prepared for, and I appreciated our professor’s choice of it. It also made me reflect on my own country, America. While we’re currently a shit show and have our fair share of problems, it made me proud to imagine looking around back in high school, my friend group or even a crowd and being able to look at so many people of different racial/cultural backgrounds and simply think and see ‘American’. I know, I know, we’re very segregated in many places and not everyone is so accepting, but you truly can look into a crowd and not be able to distinguish anyone’s nationality despite their skin color, language, dress, or other factors. It’s a small but lovely thing we have that I can truly say I appreciate.

On the other hand, it’s sad to think of the flip side of that – Japan and other countries where differences like that are glaring and considered problematic by most every countryman as opposed to just some of them. In Japan, 1 in every 49 children born today is mixed-race, and yet these people still have to fear being rejected for marriage due to this making them ‘impure’, or whatever they call it. Kids bully for it, and teachers turn the other way; the media has no representation for this, at least not in Japan. As I said before, it was simply a very thought-provoking piece that I’d highly recommend for anyone, and especially those interested in Japan.

Fun fact, completely separate from all that? Saki-san updated her flower blog and my and okaa-san’s arrangements are in there! I’m the LNさん! There are 2 posts; one simply talks about how we got together and had a fun time making the arrangements, as well as where they are now (all in Japanese), while the other one goes into the flowers we used, the type of arrangements we made and our fun tea time following the session. Bonus for y’all, the latter is in english 🙂 Saki-san’s English is so good, and she’s so sweet, I really hope to see her at the next English lesson I go to with okaa-san! That’s all for now, thanks for reading and oyasuminasai!

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