I grew up in a very ethnically diverse area on the East Coast — there was a large Japanese community, and we were also lucky to travel to Japan every few years to visit my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family friends.
My mother is the only one in her family that left Japan, my father is Caucasian but speaks, reads and writes fluent Japanese and seems to have some non-biological Japanese running through him somehow. Japanese was my first language.
Through most of my twenties I didn’t feel especially connected with my Japanese roots, but now in my thirties I am wishing I had spent more time in Japan as an adult. Around this time of year, autumn turning to winter, like clockwork I am always hit with an intense yearning to be in Japan, to speak Japanese, cook and eat Japanese food, and certain aspects of my Western life stop making sense to me.
My husband has Norweigan roots and has come to love my Japanese cooking, appreciate the culture, and has picked up a few words here and there. We live a farming life in the country and I feel that my lifestyle makes it easy for me to somehow to adopt the ways of my ancestors that I am interested in…growing, eating, and preserving a lot of the same foods they did, learning some of the traditional crafts, and doing my best to live a humble and hard-working life.
I feel super lucky to have a foot in two cultures. Having another perspective on the world is a gift!