My father is 75% German and 25% Polish, while my mother is 50% Japanese and 50% Korean.
I was born in Yokosuka, Japan at a Naval Hospital. I spent most of my time growing up in Sasebo, Japan. I learned how to speak both Japanese and English, and was well educated in both Japanese and American culture. I attended school on a Navy Base until the age of 7.
I moved to Minnesota and attended school from 3rd – 12th grade here. It was quite the drastic change. While I lived in Japan I mostly ate Japanese food. The availability of Japanese food in Minnesota was scarce. I could only buy certain things at Asian grocery stores and had to go to Japanese restaurants to fulfill my cravings for Japanese food.
At school I did not know any other Asians except for a few. The majority of my friends were Caucasian. But it was nice to have peers that were interested in my background and where I was from. I usually found myself telling stories in class or educating fellow students about Japan and its culture. I even took up Japanese as my language class. It was quite easy, I quickly became a teacher’s pet and somewhat of a teacher to the other students as well.
I am more in touch with my Japanese heritage than anything else, though I do wish to become more educated in Korean, German and Polish eventually. I know a few words in Korean, I like certain Korean foods, and I watch Korean dramas. I used to take a German language class from 3rd – 8th grade. The only side I haven’t been getting in touch with is my Polish background.
I look forward to learning more about who I am as a person. I want to be able to relate to everything instead of just Japanese. Knowledge and understanding is key to appreciating life and all the cultures it has to offer.
I could go on forever about this topic so I should probably make this come to an end. I am open to talking to other Hapas out there. Please feel free to leave me a comment. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this. (:
Even though your story was posted a few years back, it’s so nice to relate to someone. We are of the same ancestral mix (Korean, Japanese, German, Polish) and I also missed parts of Japanese life after moving to the US. Still searching and learning everyday. Best of luck on your path!
Wow! another Yokosukan! Although i am not mixed, growing up in a place like Yokosuka, hapas are quite common. Japan itself use to be a very homogenous culture but now that certainly has changed! But it must be very lucky to be able to reach out to all your cultures and share them with people. I definitely am able to relate to one background: Japanese.
I really like your perception on being hapa! I can relate to a lot of things you mentioned! Being able to share with people a part of my culture is really a joy! How is Sasebo? I’ve heard from friends that living there can be rough for hapas. (I hope thats not the case in your experience though) anyways thank you very much for your story! :D
Hi! I only have two backgrounds that I can relate to. That being Japanese and Korean! I’ve had influences mostly from my Mom side, but do have some recognition for Japanese stuff as well as I have lived in Ibaraki early on in my life. I lived in Dayton Ohio and have been to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, all of which were dominant in caucasians with very few asians. It’s tough. But making the proper adjustment and settling in, I’ve been content with being around all types of people, hapa or not. You have a very nice story, and im happy as hapa’s there are ways people are able to relate to such!
I know this is two years late….but you are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never heard of a mix like yours. Eurasian Hapa I think is what it is..but nonetheless your story brings a lot of optimism to those that have read this, and to myself as well. I agree with the previous comments that support your efforts to being a complete person. It takes a lot for people to accept who they are and admit having influences from one side doesn’t fulfill themselves..By learning and appreciating all backgrounds would only do just that. I commend you on your efforts and hope people have a chance to look back at your story because I find this truly remarkable.
~Cheers to all of us Hapa’s out there!
Wow! I can completely relate to your transition from another culture! It was the opposite for me as I was born in the U.S. and left for Germany! (German, Vietnamese, Korean mix) The need for a lot of things weren’t available for me, and had to make the adjustments necessary to survive…
No way! I’m also from Yokosuka as well! We probably were stationed in the same navy base for a short while…
Im polish, and Indonesian, but your mix seems very exotic! It’s always an inspiration when someone can come to gripes with their cultures and find ways to appreciate and seek nothing but being a complete person. I wish you luck in completing your goals, your story gives me and hopefully others a lot to think about..
I love your story! And I think its great for someone with so many backgrounds to pursue an interest to become a complete person. Thats pretty amazing in its own right. Hope you do master all your languages, and identify yourself with all your backgrounds. You truly have something special. :)
well written story about yourself! As hapas its great to see all of us have different ways of fighting with adversity and culture shocks early on in life.
I have friends from Yokosuka, and interestingly enough most of them also lived in sasebo, or hiroshima! I could imagine growing into an american lifestyle was odd, and the need for Japanese stuff must have been challenging!. Although im part Korean, i did have the same crave for certain things, and would feel lonely most of the time.
Being mixed is definitely a task, but as hapa’s its a task we are all willingly able to embrace! :D
Really interesting background you have! Im Japanese and Pakistani, but have grown close more to my japanese side than anything else! I cant stand eating most food out there unless it is fish or any grown items from Japan as well. But i strongly agree with you when you said “Knowledge and understanding is key to appreciating life and all the cultures it has to offer.” I feel this is universally a great message to all us hapas out there, and reminds us that we should not take things for granted.
Just wanted to add: to be eurasian mixed, i think its very interesting that your background comes from countries known to have past rivalries! I always wondered how people would be perceive that, and how much growing up was like…
I have met numerous people with different backgrounds and unique stories, but never someone like yourself, and was hoping if maybe we can be friends..? Either way, thank you for sharing your story!
Great story! I too have germany and polish descent, with a bit of Korean and Chinese! But after reading your story i feel good to know i am not the only one who faced similar circumstances early on in life.
Your really pretty! I definitely can relate to your story as well I lived in Minnesota for a brief time and it felt very homogenous like..almost as if I was in Japan still.
Such a very unique mix! I myself am part Japanese, grew up in both Japan, and the States and has always had the need to be around my Japanese side more than anything else! I totally agree with you on how knowledge is a key to understanding and valuing identity. Even if others may not accept you initially, never let up! To be Asian infused with a European background, is truly a blessing! Appreciate reading your story!
Wow! I was born in the same navy hospital as you, in Yokosuka! :) My African-American father met my Japanese mother in Japan while he was the Navy. I feel very connected to my Japanese culture as well. I CANNOT live without natto and miso soup, hahaha. I wish I was still fluent in the language as I was when I was young :/.Thank you so much for sharing your story. You such a beautiful young lady, and it gives me so much joy to read other’s stories about growing up mixed. Hapa Pride! :)
Hey! I really like your story!
Im also part japanese! Glad to know that someone has faced similar problems as me, there’s so little Japanese where I live. It’s really lonely..
I hope that maybe we can be friends, if you want?