I never realized that my family and personal background was so complicated until I moved to Japan. I’m Chinese American with family roots in Indonesia and Hong Kong. I have personal roots in Canada and the US – the south and west coast. My husband is Japanese, and I also now live in Japan. Whenever the Olympics roll around, I’m never at a loss finding a country to cheer for!
Living in Japan (or possibly anywhere where the majority of the population is of one ethnic background), people try to categorize you. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad thing. People try to understand each other in a way that will fit into their existing mindset. It’s similar to asking for someone’s profession and being able to make connections in your mind about that person based on that information. For example, if someone told me they’re a blogger, I would tend to assume certain personality traits (creative, sociable, friendly, awesome) about that person based on my experiences – until I develop more of a relationship. (Side note: I’m a Communications Major so how people interact with each other really interests me. In fact, I’ve been known to stare in the name of “observation”. Very often. I’m oblivious to others’ disinterest.. and at times, normal social graces. So please feel free to jump down!)
The problem occurs when you meet someone whose background you haven’t had much experience with previously. Your mind quickly tries to find a category, even if that only describes one aspect of that person. Since I moved to Japan, I’ve heard “Oh! You’re American.” or “I see. You’re from China!” or “You’re Hong Kongese.” many times since I moved here. I just smile and nod, but in my mind, I always think, “Yes, but I’m obviously Asian, ” or “But I never lived in China,” or “Is ‘Hong Kongese’ really a word?” As much as people would like, they can’t categorize me into one ethnicity or location. But I don’t blame them for trying because I can’t either, and I’ve had a lot more time to process it!
To me, my blog thus far has felt like “an American experiencing Japan.” My perspective and original recipes, crafts, and projects have been heavily influenced by American style and culture, a bond that’s grown stronger for me since moving to Japan. Over the past few years, my other cultural identities have gotten a little lost in the mix. Moving forward, I’ll still feature my favorite spots and finds in Japan, but I’ll be featuring more projects and ideas that pull from one culture or another or a fusion. I’ll also try different cultural takes on popular projects in the blogosphere. If I have all of these influences, I might as well use them, right? :) I have some really fun plans in store, and I really hope that y’all will enjoy the little change in direction.