I am proud to be Hapa because I represent more than one culture — bringing the countries of Japan, Germany and England into a beautiful blend. Before, these countries were at war. Now they have created me, among many other half-Japanese, half-White people.
I love the fact that I can break the barrier of race purely with my appearance. I have no idea how many times I have been asked the question “What are you?” or the more politically correct “What is your ethnicity?” I love it. I thrive on it. I almost beg to be asked.
Sometimes, I play the guessing game. At other times, I inform them immediately. I’ve been called everything — ranging from Brazilian and Spanish to Chinese and Vietnamese. Based on just looks, 98% of people cannot guess what my ethnicity is, unless they see me with my parents. While I don’t necessarily “belong” in any one culture, I embrace the challenge. To me it’s more about individual happiness with one’s true and chosen identity.
I find it admirable that I not only speak Japanese, but I also celebrate the New Years customs and cook certain Japanese dishes. During one period of my life, I hated going to Japanese Saturday school, because I wasn’t as fluent as the full-blooded Japanese students. During another period, I wanted my parents and I go out to dinner, so I could be seen with them and my heritage wouldn’t be confusing. Nevertheless, I have persevered through my “identity crisis,” and have come to realize that my personal happiness with my chosen identity of being both races is of utmost importance.