Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thrust into Deep Waters

I'm currently reading a book called, "Leaving Deep Waters: The Lives of Asian American Women at the Crossroads of Two Cultures". At first, I was a little put off by it because although I know I'm "Asian American," even getting that label is strange to me.

But while reading it, I'm actually finding many similarities between these women's experiences and my own, and I guess I never really understood the particulars of a culture within a culture (the book details women from several Asian backgrounds).

It's refreshing to read about these other experiences because they validate my own, and bring to light other instances my counterparts may never really encounter.

For instance, I had never noticed this before, but many times when I've met or talked with another Japanese American, the issue of what sei you're from comes up. For one of my last articles for the Salt Lake Tribune, I wrote on the Nihon Matsuri (The Japan Festival), and the director of the festival wanted to know which generation I was, and I told her, yonsei (ish), without giving it another thought.

Just knowing that bit of information can tell you a lot about the person. How infiltrated his or her life is with the "true" Nihon culture, or how Americanized they probably are.

I just bought tickets to go to mainland Japan in two weeks; we're (I'm going with the head teacher here, Lish) only going to be staying about three days, but I'm very, very excited. Living in this part of the world just reminds me how long I've gone living in shallow waters. I need to search for something deeper.


Brad and Hailey said...

Awesome! I am so glad you're going to Japan. How fun1

Dad said...

Deep, Connie, very deep. It gets even more complicated when you consider that the Okinawan culture is a sub-culture of the Japanese culture, with it's own language, history, traditions, and racial mix.

Japan should be very exciting. Here are a few words that may help:

Nihongo ga wakarimasen.
I don't understand Japanese.

Amerikajin desu. (roll the 'r')
I'm American.

I don't understand.

Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?
Do you understand English?



- 'Dash' said...

I love your dad's lingual reminders.