Finally Going to Japan

source: 123rf
Image ID : 75553096
copyright : Sasin Tipchai

 

Next week I will be in Japan for two weeks, and though it hasn’t quite sunken in yet, I will finally see the country which is responsible for 50% of my DNA makeup and many of the  sensibilities and habits which were instilled in me when I was little.

For over 50 years, my desire to visit Japan was coupled with remorse over even wanting to visit without my mother, since she has never once visited the country from which her parents came.  Even more guilt-inducing was thinking about how in the world I could believe that my diluted, half-Japanese self had any right to visit Japan if my mother never got a chance.   For those of you who are wondering why I am not taking my mother on this trip, she is 87 years old, wheelchair-bound, incontinent, and actually refuses to take any trips anywhere due to her weary, broken state.  I know that she will live vicariously through me, as I retell the stories and experiences which I am about to create on this journey to the motherland.

Over the course of 14 days, I will visit Sapporo, Sendai, Kyoto/Osaka, Nara, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka (the prefecture which my grandfather was from), Kumamoto (the prefecture my grandmother was from), Okayama, and Tokyo.  Most of my destinations within the land of the rising sun will be reached via Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train.

Because samurai blood runs deep on my grandfather’s side (we are also ultimately descended from the Imperial Family of Japan), I look forward to seeing the older architecture in some areas, and also plan to visit the cemetery in Fukuoka where some of my ancestors are buried.  But what I look forward to more than anything else while I am in Japan is the FOOD.

Many Japanese foods, like chawanmushi, mochi, takuan, sukiyaki, agedashi, ramen, sashimi, anpan, and manju, are my comfort foods, and since I will have all types of Japanese cuisine available to me to sample for two weeks, I have a feeling my taste buds will be very happy.  I also absolutely adore seafood (perhaps I was a cat in a past life), and will probably be eating it every single day while out there, which is why I will also continue to take chlorella daily to control the mercury levels in my body.

Once I return home, I look forward to creating a blog post in which I discuss my adventures in Japan.  It will truly be a blessing to visit the exquisitely beautiful country within which my family’s roots sit.

Proud hapa

I am described as a hapa in Hawaii, which means mixed or part. Typically this means part Asian or Malaysian, mixed with any other ethnicity, usually resulting in very exotic and often strikingly beautiful looks. Over the years I have noticed a strong sense of community among hapas, and this sense of community has strengthened over the years with the popularity of hapa celebrities such as Kristin Kreuk and Dean Cain. I am always fascinated by the combinations which result from such ethnic mixings, because they can be quite unpredictable. Hapas are often studied for their unusual phenotypic characteristics, and usually present an amusing puzzle for others to figure out. I personally get a kick out of people who try to guess what my ethnic blend is!

Kristin_kreuk_short_hair

Dean Cain

Dean Cain is 1/4 Japanese, while Kristin Kreuk is half Chinese. Can you see the Asian features in these celebrities?

I am still waiting to see if research marketing organizations catch onto the idea that more and more people are unable to check just one box when asked to describe their ethnicity. I think it is ridiculous that someone like me who is EXACTLY half Asian and half Caucasian must claim only one ethnicity. Since I was raised by my Japanese mother and had been exposed to a more Asian upbringing, I check off the Asian box. I also know of many people who have such complex ethnic mosaics that no single ethnic group dominates over the others in terms of percentage. Do these people have to go “eeny meeny miney mo” to fill out a survey?