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I grew up as an only child with a single parent, my Japanese mother. I am an American citizen but currently hold a Japanese citizenship as well.

Growing up Hapa in a rural town was not easy. My peers couldn’t figure me out and resorted to name-calling and mocking. At 12 years old, I moved to a more urban city where I experienced for the first time being accepted regardless of my background.

My appearance has always been commented on, positively or otherwise, and as a result I felt more connected to my Japanese side. Although my mother has always been quite American in personality, she taught me Japanese traditions and took me to local Japanese holiday festivals and I grew to be quite Japanese in my own personality.

I will teach these traditions to my own children; I am very proud of my culture and I will teach them to be proud too.

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