Hey all! I, Star, thought I’d bring a little of my background into this blog post. Being from Hawaii growing up heavily mixed, and raised by my first-generation Japanese Grandparents I have some experience with what it means to be so far from the homeland yet growing up with that culture ingrained in my upbringing. I’ll start with a little bit of background…
There was a whole lot of racial tension and embarrassment within my family’s history regarding a mistress from my Great-Great Grandpa to an interracial baby born out of wedlock which was my mother. This was something extremely difficult for my family to move past. For many years our Japanese family had no idea that my mother was born and it wasn’t for another twenty years later that my Great Grandpa traveled to Japan to meet his extended family. 15 years from that I was visiting Japan and meeting my relatives for the first time.
Racially, I was always told that I had a choice with whom I’d like to date (mostly because I was so mixed there was no reason to stick to one race). But deep down there is an expectation to marry someone with a similar cultural background to you. This means every good Japanese kid would marry another Japanese person. But there has definitely been a shift for Japanese seeking people outside of Japan.
In Japan, there were certain reserves and expectations as a young person to find your calling by the end of schooling. Have that be art, music, writing, history, mathematics, etc. they needed to know where they were going by graduation so that they can enter the university of their dreams. It’s a huge amount of pressure.
In America, we give a lot of time to finding a calling and career meaning, you can be in school forever taking classes and changing your major a ton of times instead of buckling down and seeing a major through to the end. We also open up to other opportunities that don’t require more schooling but heading straight into the workforce.
Things like early pregnancy, not graduating, divorces, suicides, mistresses, sex work, are all things within Japanese culture that are taboo. While America focuses more on forgiveness (or creating reality television). So imagine, the expectation to graduate and find a career at the same time and trying to tell your great-grandparents that you haven’t figured it out yet and yes you’re still single and here in America that’s totally okay that you don’t have a 410k or a down payment on a house for the family you don’t have yet.
Money is always a huge part of the Japanese mentality and asking for money is such a disgrace. It’s just something you don’t do. Being humble and refusing someone’s money even if you need it till they are forcing you with kindness to take the money.
Food ettquiete is historically different from America. Slurping is a sign that the food or drink is good and never stick your chopsticks into your food (it’s bad luck and an offering to the dead) just lay them across the bowl when you are done.
Of course, everyone’s upbringing is different and mine was influenced by very old values and standards. My American traits are still strong but there are things I value from groing up Japanese. I definitely have a strong understanding of hard work, saving my money and being humble (even though I may not sound like it sometimes) I try to follow through. In Asian company I will eat freely with some American customs thrown to the wayside. Regardless, I think I turned out okay right? -nervous laughter to hide insecurities- Okay bye.