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Watashi no namae wa Melody desu — my name is Melody.

My mom is Dutch and my dad is Japanese, making me biracial, hybrid, and Hapa.

I grew up in the predominantly white city of Kelowna and from an early age was very aware of my different appearance, heritage, and identity.

I wanted to be blond when I was younger and was slightly self-conscious when I would have onigiri for lunch instead of a peanut butter sandwich. However, as I grew up my heritage became not only a part of my identity but a source of pride.

I am asked the question “What are you?” on a regular basis. I am proud to answer this question now that I know exactly who I am.

What are you?

What are you, little girl with dark eyes?
Where did you come from and why are you here?
Why is your hair not golden like wheat?
Why are your eyes not sapphire blue?
What do you do? And what are you?

What are you, little girl with tan skin?
Where did you come from and why are you here?
Why are your eyes so big and round?
Why is your not hair pin straight and jet black?
What do you do? And what are you?

What are you little exotic faced girl?
Are you from China? Hawaii? India?
Are you Italian? Native or from the Philippines?
You do not look normal. You do not fit in
Please tell me exactly what are you.

What are you little girl with soft hair?
Why do you not resemble the colours of your mother?
Why do you not share the same features of your father?
Why do you look so different little girl?
I really do not know what you are.

-Melody Nishi

3 thoughts on “Japanese, Dutch

  1. Wow, that was a very nice poem! Good job!
    And your picture is very cool! Do you like kabuki?
    I’m also part Japanese! And it’s my father too! It gets old how the mom is always Japanese… :/

  2. Love the poem – I know exactly how you feel about growing up as basically an outsider! Kids can be cruel, but now that we’re older, our unique-ness is actually valued and the exotic features are envied.

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