Hi! My name is Anne, and I’m half Japanese and half Mexican. My dad is Mexican-American and grew up in East LA, and my mother grew up in a small city in Kyushu, Japan called Tosu.
I grew up in Montebello (near Los Angeles) in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, speaking Japanese at home with my mother and spending time with my Mexican extended family. Even though I knew a handful of other Hapas, I was not always comfortable with my identity.
I specifically remember filling in the “What is your ethnicity?” bubble on standardized tests. I made sure to alternate between “Asian” and “Hispanic” during my elementary school years, for fear that my parents would find out and get upset with me for denying either side of my heritage. Eventually it became a hassle to remember what I filled out the year before, and by the time I reached middle school, I settled for filling in “Other.”
I’m blessed with an amazing family – they have taught my sister and me to embrace who we are. Over the years I’ve learned to put up with the inquisitive stares, the “What ARE you?”‘s, and I’ve learned that while I’m proud of being both Japanese and Mexican, I’m more than my ethnicity. I’m a musician, an educator – I’m Anne.
Now that I’m older, I’m seeing that there are so many of us, and I think it’s beautiful! It’s great that we’re slowly but surely becoming our own community and culture, and it’s something that I’m very excited to be a part of.