hapa275Hi everyone! My name is Julie Taeko Gramlich, and I have always associated more with my Asian side.

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.

6 thoughts on “Japanese, German, English

  1. I am Japanese, German and British too!! :) And I went to Saturday Japanese school when i was younger but I still don’t speak Japanese… maybe if my mom spoke it that would have helped. Also, nice write up :)

  2. I can relate to the school situation too! For me, I was fluent early on in Japanese and it was always the teachers that kept looking at me, asking questions and making sure I wasn’t some foreigner speaking so perfectly. Noticeably they would challenge me because of that, but nonetheless it didn’t shatter me as a person.

    very nice story!

    • Thank you very much. I wrote this so quickly, but now I am starting to write a book to help parents who are raising mixed hapa children! Let me know if you have any ideas. Thank you!

  3. I hated Hoshuko too! It was the absolute bane of my existence… I was the only hapa and so I got picked on badly. But now as an adult, I am so grateful that I get to be bilingual and bi-cultural. Sounds like we have some things in common!

    • I don’t remember getting picked on, but I didn’t feel like I fit in. I hated it specifically because I got bad grades, whereas in regular school, I was doing so well! Lol. Have you ever lived/worked in Japan?

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