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my intro


12 Jun 2002
Hello All,
I joined a couple days ago and still am trying to figure my way around here. My name is Darleen Shizuyo (Ishihara) Alkhalili. My only connection to Japan is my ancestry but I am third generation Japanese-American. I do have relatives living in Japan..Hiroshima and Fukushima . I don't speak the language nor do I read it though I know a word or two here and there but not enough to survive if I lived over there. I don't really have any desire to visit there but I find the history fascinating.
Hi Darleen

I hope that you will be able to find something here that will help you discover a newfound curiosity for Japan and the beauty of its history and cultures. Hopefully you haven't been too westernized yet! :p

It's weird because I was never interested really in my ancestry or in Asian culture until maybe two years ago and ever since I went on holiday to SE Asia, my curiosity and desire to know more about it has hit through the roof, so to speak! I love Japanese culture and sometimes visiting there is all I think about, so perhaps I'm biased! However, welcome and enjoy your stay :)
Too late...

LOL...I am totally westernized. Besides my looks I am 100% westernized. So much, that several years ago I attended an all Japanese-American church and I felt so uncomfortable around them...like I was the only "caucasian" there among all the asians.
hmmm my theory is true?

I had a big argument with a Korean girl in our uni's cafeteria that if twins were raised seperately they would look different; ie 1 in the US and the other in Korea.

Are you just referring to ideas? clothing fashion? makeup? what? Would you mind going into more detail?
I was lived in Tucson, AZ, Columbia, MO and Terre Haute, Indiana..mostly in Indiana (1970 - 1979), so orientals in that area were sparse unless you lived in the larger cities. I grew up with only caucasian and African-American friends. We were never taught Japanese, or we'd get teased even more than we already were. Anyway, my parents didn't feel it was necessary to teach us. I was as westernized as I could get. Sure there were a handful of orientals at school, but I viewed them as "different". When I attended that Japanese-American church in Colorado, I felt so out-of-place around them. I didn't dress any different than they did, nor were my habits/customs any different though they spoke more Japanese than I did. Is that what you meant about explaining further?
Come to think of it..when I moved to Iowa to go to school, I got involved with a Christian group...all Asians. Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, etc. I felt a little out of place with them...it was kind of clique-ish because they all had something in common...English was their second language, whereas it was my first and only language...I did try to learn Japanese from a Japanese student who wanted to practice his English, BUT he got too frustrated at my mispronunciations.
Hi Darleen,

Your history and mine sound pretty similar. Check out my intro. When I moved to California, I didn't exactly feel out of place but the first time I went to Thousand Oaks Mall (T.O. Mall) I felt so out of place that I hate the creeps and ask my friend if we could leave. He rolled over laughing when he heard my reason ... "too many white people".

After living in Japan for ten years the movie theater does it to me every so often too. I forget that I'm living in Japan and live my life as normal but the big screen and darkness sends me into the movie and sort of back to the US. When the lights come on, I look around and everybody is Japanese ....

I was wondering since English and Japanese use different facial muscles to show facial expressions and speech itself is different so that after a while it seems that you look different. Of course, fashion and body language and your speaking methods change therefore adding to "looking different".

My friends at home say I have changed and sound Japanese. My parents too for the matter of fact. While in Japan, my co-workers fondly refer to me as their adopted "Japanese" Gaijin.

Many of my Asian friends in California wanted to be Japanese, Korean, Philipino or what ever their heritage was but they are and probably might remain Americans for good. My ex-girlfriend from college, is Japanese with an American Green Card. Slightly before we broke up I mentioned that she was turning American and she refused very strongly and got angry. Later, after breaking up and had dinner together to talk over old times she mentioned that I was some-what right that she is slowly turning into more an American than her actual citizenship. So, just don't forget who you are. You're both Japanese and American at the same time. And hopefully, you'll find a happy medium between the two.

Yes...does seem parallel...the way we both grew up. My feelings toward my heritage/ethnicity are mixed...sometimes pride and other times resentment...especially when December 7th rolls around and they splash reminders of the "treachery of Japan". I lived in Saginaw, Michigan for a couple years and kind of developed a loyalty to the American car manufacturers...really had no choice since almost everything had some sort of influence by those automakers. Now I realize Toyota and Honda and some some of the other automakers DO make a superior product...we own a Honda Prelude and Toyota Tacoma and a Ford Taurus. The idea of visiting Japan doesn't appeal to me right now...I think I would feel so out of place there. I may look Japanese but I probably would not fit in.
One of my good buddies is half Japanese. He mentions it all the time that even though he looks the part, the other Japanese still treat him as a gaijin and at other times are a bit rougher on him for not understanding.

Either way, I truely hope you find your happy medium!

I think I'm amongst the younger folk in this forum but in the UK when I was growing up, there weren't really any areas concentrated in Asians asides from Indians. There were in fact, hardly any from SE Asian or Far Eastern descent. Kinda made it weird in ways growing around around all of this, knowing you're different to everyone else but I clung onto it for dear life. I am happy that things turned out the way it has in the present, with lots of communities of different races existing in most places around the western world. It's helped to stamp out most racism, which is what I was subjected to a little when growing up.

I grew up here in the UK and asides from family friends, I knew of no other Asian asides from Indians. I remember if I walked down the street I would get stared at, and just as moreso by other SE Asians who might have been just as surprised as I was to see the other. I was so westernized when growing up because asides from my family-life there was no contact or reminder that I was Asian.

It wasn't till a few years ago that the Asian inside of me kicked into gear and although I love western culture and am glad I grew up here, I will always love Asian culture the best. I know a lot of my parent's friend's sons and daughters and similar Asians who grew up here and are my age who have said that they feel really westernized. Most of them do not even really speak their "native" language anymore. Sometimes I think about it and find it really strange, but you really have to find something you want to hang onto for it to work. I think in many ways I think like an English person but my sensibilities feel Asian. I guess it's about filtering out the things that don't matter to you and getting the best of both worlds.

I have come across a lot of British-Asians and American-Asians who are quick to denounce their heritage. If I ask them of their origins they reply "England" or "American" in the perfect appropriate accent. They sometimes seem embarassed when I reiterate "origins" and tell them they do not look English/American. I see this as possibly the ultimate extreme of being Westernized... where you no longer even think of yourself as an Asian!

The comment about your half Japanese friend is interesting, Moyashi. The "half-breeds" tend to get a lot of stick from natives but me, I give just as much attention and respect to them since I know it must be harder for them to retain their identity.

I agree with Moyashi. Try not to lose sight of who you are while you are trying to find yourself :)

Good luck in finding your happy place, wherever it may be...
My two kids......

are really going to have an interesting time because they are half Japanese and half Lebanese...I cannot teach them much about my heritage but they probably know more about their Lebanese culture since my spouse was born and raised there. We did buy them a picture dictionary that teaches them Japanese words and also a book on Japanese-Americans.

still learning my way around here and didn't mean to start a new thread...just reply...
Darleen, don't worry about the two threads, I've just merged them.

It's great your kids are growing up in such a cosmopolitan atmosphere, with chopsticks and mezzeh, green tea and tabouleh.

Sorry for being so curious, but did they grow up learning Arabic and Japanese? I don't know about their age, but do they show interest in Japanese culture as well?
I think that what you are doing to teach your kids about their heritage is great.

My wife is african-american and there is a lot of German, Dutch, French and a few others in there too. I have the same, just no african-american.

I want to teach my son about his back ground and others too to show him that he can be whatever he wants.
Bassam is 6, and Zayna is 4

..they are learning Arabic, but as far as Japanese...they know "Bachan" and "Jichan"...what few words I do know is not proper Japanese...maybe even rude or street language-like. I hardly even cook Japanese food except for teriyaki and "okazu". The rice I do Lebanese-style... Regarding the questions. I don't mind...I get curious too. Oh, by the way, in regards to chopsticks..."hashi" I was taught wrong how to use them by my mom...LOL. I am also ambidextrous. I eat with my left when I use "hashi", but I do like every other right-hander with regular silverware.
Bassam and Zayna really don't show interest in either heritage..still too young, I think.
Most kids don't show intrest until they get into their early teens and are trying to find themselves...just keep plugging along. They will come around.
Kinda true. It really ate into my 20s before I developed a full blown fascination. Maybe the years of neglect kick in at some point
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