Multi-Ethnic

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Copyright : ariwasabi

It’s pretty rare these days to encounter someone who is comprised of a single ethnic line. With the popularity of DNA analysis kits, most of us have found out that we are multi-ethnic.

Though it is obvious that I am of mixed heritage, I went through most of my life assuming that my paternal lineage was 100% eastern European. DNA summaries from both 23andme and Ancestry.com told me otherwise. I found out that though my paternal bloodline is mostly Hungarian, with a touch of Balkan, I also have a bit of Italian, German and French in my DNA. My mother’s side is 100% Japanese, which I definitely expected.

There are people like me whose multi-ethnicity is obvious, where you can look at them and see that something is different. Our faces are dead giveaways. I still get a kick out of the fact that some people tell me they don’t see any Asian features, while other people know upon first glance that I have Asian blood. After all, I am more Japanese (50%) than anything else. The epicanthic fold which is so characteristic of Asian eyes is something I possess, and because of it, I can never pencil in a fully lined eye shape. It’s a constant reminder of my Japanese heritage.

Me and my epicanthic folds from my Japanese lineage

Ethnic blending is not only more commonplace, but it is also celebrated more than ever before. What is puzzling is that our need to categorize can often stand in the way of making a pure, empiric assessment of someone who is multiethnic. Jamin Halberstadt speaks of “processing fluency” in multiethnic faces, but his research only examined blended faces created from two individuals, one Chinese and one Caucasian. He states that “racial ambiguity” can render a face less attractive if the viewer must suddenly categorize a blended face into one race.

How do multiethnic individuals identify with their surroundings, and how do they define themselves racially? It turns out there are differences which depend on the particular ethnic mix. As someone who struggles with checking off one ethnicity box on surveys, when push comes to shove, I categorize myself as Asian since 1. I have more Asian blood than any other, and 2. My primary parent, my mother, is Japanese and colored my upbringing with the nuances that a second generation Japanese-American from Hawaii naturally possessed. I can also tell you that by identifying with my Japanese-ness, I was teased and bullied by my very Caucasian classmates who only saw that I was different from them, and therefore, somehow inferior. I almost had to make sure I could blend in at least somewhat just to survive.

According to the Multiracial in America by Parker, et al, I guess I was behaving appropriately:

“…experiences and attitudes differ significantly depending on the races that make up their background and how the world sees them. For example, multiracial adults with a black background—69% of whom say most people would view them as black or African American—have a set of experiences, attitudes and social interactions that are much more closely aligned with the black community. A different pattern emerges among multiracial Asian adults; biracial white and Asian adults feel more closely connected to whites than to Asians.”

Regardless of how I and many other multiracial individuals have been forced to identify with one ethnic community, I am very proud of my Japanese heritage, and will always defend it, especially when someone is quick to fling disparaging comments my way simply because I’m not “pure”. The segment of the global population which is considered pure is growing smaller and smaller, and ethnic blending is accelerating whether people like it or not!

How Sleep Can Revitalize Your Body and Mind

Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com has done it again with another informative article!  Check it out here.

sleep

Image courtesy of Pixabay

When we lose out on restful sleep, our bodies tend to age before their time. If you’re tired or feeling run down and a bit haggard, it might be due to lack of proper rest. After all, nothing replenishes us the way a good night’s slumber does.

 

Why Sleep Keeps Us Youthful

How do you feel after a night of no sleep? Is your thinking slowed and your energy nonexistent, and do you notice new lines beneath your eyes? If so, you’re not alone, as poor sleep can make us feel and look older than we are. Our cortisol levels shoot up, our brains can’t properly restore themselves, and we look as haggard as we feel. Your mind and body both need this time to reset themselves and flush out toxins, which helps us stay healthy and energetic. Unfortunately, trying to force ourselves to slumber through sheer will alone seldom works. Instead, we need to be proactive about our patterns to change our sleep habits.

 

Transform Your Bedroom

If your room is uncomfortable, stressful, or too stimulating, you may not be sleeping as well as you could. If you have a television where you can watch from bed, a lumpy mattress, or curtains that let in every stream of light, then it’s definitely time for a change. Have good bedding, including both linens and your mattress, and add blackout curtains to extend your rests. Every change adds up, so transform your bedroom into a paradise today.

 

Best Sleep Position

Sleeping on your back is the best way to avoid the development of premature wrinkles, but there are options for side sleepers to overcome this problem. Adding a body pillow to take some of your weight, or using a silk pillowcase, can greatly cut down the strain your skin experiences at night. Supplements, meanwhile, can provide vitamins and collagen that our skin needs to stay youthful, which allows us to continue side sleeping without fear. Even a good moisturizer can go a long way to helping your skin fill in lines created from the pull of a pillow.

 

Banishing Tech

Many of us use smartphones into the late hours, but that can deprive us of restful sleep. The light from our phones and tablets signals to our brains that it is daytime, and thereby prevents us from beginning the sleep process. It can be hard to put your phone down at a certain time each night, as tech addiction is very real in today’s society, but we must learn how. Start by removing notifications from your phone, taking off tempting apps and cutting back in increments. All in all, do what you can to eliminate your tech usage before bed.

 

Eat for Good Rest

What we eat can impact the quality of our rest. When we eat poorly or consume foods that cause indigestion, our sleep is interrupted, and we may wake throughout the night. Even drinking coffee in the afternoon can negatively influence how well we slumber. To give yourself the boost you need, reach for healthy carbs over empty ones, and don’t overeat before bed. Cherries, milk, and poultry are also good options to ease you into a refreshingly restful night.

 

Keep a Routine

When you go to bed at different hours, and when you wake up irregularly too, you’re setting your body up for failure. It has no ability to learn when it should get sleepy or when it will awaken. That’s why setting a nighttime routine and sticking to it even when you don’t work the next day is beneficial. By teaching your body to rest at a specific hour, you give yourself a higher possibility of falling asleep when you lie down.

 

To keep your complexion flawless and to have more energy during the day, get the sleep your body craves. It may take some training, and you may need to rearrange your bedroom, but you can get more rest. Each and every one of us deserves a good night of slumber.

 

A Princess Dream Come True

Our court from 1991. I am second from left on the bottom row. This was taken about a month before our Nisei Week Pageant and Queen selection.

Over two decades ago, my first seemingly dreamy and unattainable goal was to be involved in a yearly Japanese-American festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week, which was established back in 1934.  Aside from a period of seven years between 1942 and 1948, during which World War II raged and carried a solid and jarring impact on the Japanese-American community, the Nisei Week festival has continued to run throughout the decades.

As a child, I remember seeing the Nisei Week Queen and court each year, and it became a dream of mine to be selected as a court member when I got older. However, I got sidetracked by life and didn’t bother to enter the  competition for the local queen selection until the year I turned 25.  I was stunned when I was chosen as the Queen of my community center (the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, or SFVJACC) for that year.

Once I was selected, I spent the next three months in regular meetings with the queens from the other eight participating communities, meetings in which we would practice all the routines for the beauty pageant which would mark the beginning of that year’s Nisei Week. We competed in that pageant for over 1,000 audience members in a 3 hour event, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was happy with being a Nisei Week Princess. We rode on floats, visited businesses, and fostered good will throughout the Japanese-American community.

August 16, 2015: Nisei Week Queen and Court on the float of Nisei Week Japanese Festival Parade at Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles.

When we were on stage, on parade floats, and on visitations, we would wear our sashes, a definite marker which identified us all as queen and court.  On some occasions, we would wear our crowns, and were either clad in matching dresses, or in kimono.

Queen?  Princess?  I guess so, at least in pageant terms!