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hapa287My name is Michael Astar, I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Japan – Tokyo ’til I was 11 years old, then we moved to Norway. I am half Iranian half Japanese. I am proud to be Hapa because I can speak fluent Japanese, Persian, Norwegian, and English.

I feel special even though my appearance looks mostly middle eastern. When I tell people where I’m from, people get surprised — especially tourists from Japan in Norway get shocked when I speak fluent Japanese to them!

Although my childhood in Japan was great there were bad times where I faced bullying at school because I was different from others — I was the only kid in the entire school who was not 100% Japanese — so I was lucky to have one best friend that was there for me in those times.

hapa287-2My biggest challenge now is that I don’t use Japanese that often as there are almost no Japanese people living in Oslo. But I do speak Japanese to my sister when we hang out.

Today I work with music (as producer and DJ) and I am a professional chef, specializing in Japanese dishes, everything from homemade miso to takoyaki. I feel that Japanese food brings me Japanese culture and I get the connection with Japan even though I live half a world away.

3 thoughts on “Iranian, Japanese

  1. Hello Michael! I think it’s awesome that your a chef specializing in Japanese food! one of my favorite parts of the culture. I also grew up in Japan and went to a public Japanese school k-middle school, my brothers and I were the only people were were not full Japanese there. Also amazing that you know 4 languages! I barely keep up with two. Great to know that there are people like you. Thanks for sharing your story! :)

  2. Michael, you are a beautiful blend of culture and nationalities. Embrace your uniqueness always. My children are one quarter Japanese and another quarter a mix of Scottish/English and German. The other half is Iranian. Even here in California, my children have heard people make various remarks about their difference in genetic make from cruel humor to name calling, “terrorists” and “Asian” “slant-eyes” and so forth. They understand that being unique makes them “kick ass” people and so they embrace every part of who they are. Different is cool. Different is not boring. You are your own UN. May you be successful in all that you do and be recognized for your achievements as a person and not as a label.

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