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This haafu thing in japan.....
#1
ive read through alot of the posts on this website for some time now and i want to give my opinion on being haafu in japan , or wherever for that matter (although i have said before im not haafu japanese lol, demo haha wa eichiopiajin desu to chichi wa finurandojin desu).

ok maybe its because I live in the UK, but i NEVER EVER think of myself as a foreigner EVER. like EVER lol. nothing ever comes into my mind thinking '...i dont fit in Ill NEVER FIT IN!..' maybe cos i was born here.....but the thing is even people who move here from other countries, for example my auntie who moved here when she was 22 or something, she still has an ethiopian accent (shes 30 now), but she never considers herself as being not british, and her british friends dont secretly think in the back of their minds 'shes foreign therefore we havent got THAT much in common with her' - i don't understand - well actually i do, but i mean 'i dont understand' as in 'why cant it be different' lol - why japanese people can't just assimilate people - i mean especially HALF JAPANESE!? its a relatively large (in terms of population at least) modern country, can't people look beyond someone being of non japanese origin? its hard to convey what im trying to say in this post, but for example if you met a girl from say senegal, and you became friends with her and you were freinds for 8 years or something, her nationality wouldnt even come into your head when you met up with her for a coffee or go to the movies or whatever?! the fact that shes fun to be with, nice and just a genuine person is what you like about her. ok maybe she does invite you over to senegal sometimes LOL but thats not the point.....
i mean they call you haafu....as a label lol, in britain people say '...oh yeah that mixed race girl' but thats only as a description of what she looks like, in japan it seems to be a way of saying 'yeah that half us half wierd strange girl' its almost like saying half caste....
i can understand this sort of behaviour somewhere like Ethiopia, where i'm called Keles (half) and shouted at by kids and teenagers as CHINA or JAPAN (because i look oriental), even white people are shouted at FERENJI (literally means white foreigner)...but this is a 3rd world country.......japan may be a homogenous country and quite isolated but its been developed for some time now, and i think it could at least change its attitude to its mixed race children ....lol

i hope you get what im trying to say here because its really frustrating to try and describe it haha [Image: tongue.gif]
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#2
It's not a question of 1st world vs 3rd world, but how homogenous the population is.
Japanese hockey, Asian sports and whatnot:

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#3
this might be a little controversial to say but is it bad to feel like a foreigner? its a yes and no answer me thinks.
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#4
Gelaye I like how you described being haafu. I wish it could be different in Japan and maybe one day it will. Japanese friends that I've known for years don't think of my sister and I as half Japanese but just as Anna and LJ and they celebrate who we are. However maybe because in some parts of Japan it is still a novelty to see a non Japanes face, people ask questions that may make the person feel like they are very different.

When I lived in Japan I was asked to give a talk in front of 60 Japanese uni students who wanted to know how to make friends with the foreign students. Myself and a Dutch friend explained that instead of walking up to one of the international students and asking "American? English? French?" and then asking questions like "Do you drink afternoon tea and know the queen?" start of with "Hi, how are you?" and ask about things that you have in common rather than pointing out the differences between you. The Japanese students were really surprised and I think that most of them understood that they had seen many of the foreign students as aliens rather than people. They realised that the way to make friends with foreign students is exactly the same way as making Japanese friends.

I think that this highlights that many Japanese people immediately see a non Japanese face and are not sure how to act or think too much about what the differences might be.

Sometimes in Japan I felt like a fraud when someone wasn't aware that I was half Japanese and could speak the language and understood certain aspects of the culture. So foolishly I would pretend that I didn't know how to use chopsticks or that I couldn't speak Japanese that well. I realise now that this was because of my own fear of being rejected by them. I thought that if I was myself they would be disappointed. Most people weren't disappointed at all!!!

I know every person has different experiences and I have only shared mine. I'm sure that there are other haafus that have not experienced these things.
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#5
I totally get what you're saying. I hate how being mixed stands out so much in Japan whereas in Australia they dont care where we're from! Everyone is mixed or from overseas so its very multicultural over here so if you question one person, you're gonna be doing that to the next!

Sometimes being different can be an advantage but it can work against you. I've faced many criticism just for not having japanese features/mannerism. The worst part is that even if you think its unfair, you have to the lead the kind of lifestyle THEY lead. Only the pure Japanese has a say in everything and they're above us "haafu's"!

I cant stand how when you're living in Japan, all you seem to know is about Japan. Even when they air footage from some show from the US, it looks like it came from the moon or something! No wonder they have these talks where you learn "how" to talk to a foreigner. Thats crazy! I mean, I dont get a talk on how to talk to spaniards before I go to Spain! I just go and treat them like normal ppl, hoping they'd understand my english!

Anyway I believe that aslong as you have people who believe in you and think you're okay just for being yourself (and thats mixed), you'll be strong as a HUMAN BEING. I'm still struggling with it sometimes but I thank God I'm finally in an environment where I dont have Arabs screaming "chinese!" at me or Japanese people pointing and making fun of me. Over here, Aussies like hearing about my experiences but they dont bug me about it. Plus after the introduction period, we just talk about what we saw on TV or what kind of drinks we order at the bar! Like Gelaye said, you stop thinking about someone's nationality after a while.
I'm only here for this moment



Jeff Buckley - Everybody here wants you lyrics
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#6
I think it's very very different nowadays than it used to be, at least in the US. When I was a kid, whenever I'd meet anyone, the very first thing I'd get asked was, "Where are you from? No, really, before that, where are you really from?" Because people HAD to know. Nowadays, that hardly anyone ever asks me, until we become good friends, and then it's like it just comes up in conversation as just a thing. LOL, I was chatting with a friend of mine and I forget how it came up, but at one point he laughs and goes, "Oh, did you not know? I'm gay." Since we never talk about his dating life, it never occurred to me to ask him, and when it came up it's like, "Oh, cool, OK." It's like that. I think a lot of my discomfort in my world partially has to do with the crap I put up with when I was a kid -- although there's still an irritating racist element, but it's not nearly what it was.

On the flip side, I was in class yesterday and the professor was talking about how what makes us Americans is not our race or background, but our allegiance to the constitution. But last year a very well-known Harvard asshole wrote this annoyingly well-recieved book about how the character of America is "white, Western European, Protestant" and anyone outside of that really isn't what is considered a "real American." He was speaking specifically about Latino immigrants, but it certainly made me -- half-Japanese, Catholic -- feel excluded from the American dream, at least from his perspectives and the people who read his crap.
"Soccer is crystal meth. It's very addictive, but really messes up your teeth. I guess I've never viewed soccer as some sort of controlled substance. To me, it's probably more like Nutella. The rest of the world clearly loves it and puts it on almost everything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tastes like almonds." -- Jon Stewart
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#7
In most western developed nations, due to the high percentage of non-native people, ethnicity is not really a factor in deciding if the person is part of the ingroup or not. However in more homogeneous countries like Japan, Korea etc ethnicity, looks do play a big role in how the people over there see you.

There are three main rules in Japan to being seen as a Japanese. They are actually quite simple, although the second one can take a considerable time to master if you didn't grow up with the Japanese language.

1. You must act Japanese.
2. You must speak Japanese (being good in reading, writing, speaking JP)
3. You must look Japanese.

So anyone who wants to integrate into Japanese society and being seen as part of them must meet all the above stated prerequisites. You know the Japanese saying "The nail that sticks up will be hammered down". In Japan it's okay to stick out a bit but not too much.

Now about half Japanese people. There are half Japanese people who look more Japanese and some who look full Japanese. These two types of half Japanese have the ability to mask their foreignness and are able to pass as Japanese.
The Force is Strong with Me Always.
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#8
<!--quoteo(post=137192:date=Feb 1 2006, 11:17 AM:name=yoshinori)-->QUOTE(yoshinori @ Feb 1 2006, 11:17 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->Now about half Japanese people. There are half Japanese people who look more Japanese and some who look full Japanese. These two types of half Japanese have the ability to mask their foreignness and are able to pass as Japanese.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

So if you look Japanese, speak Japanese and act Japanese, you can "pass" as Japanese, even if, for all intents and purposes you "are" Japanese, except for that pesky halvsieness. Which, if that's discovered, immediately demotes you to non-Japaneseness.

Sounds very "one-drop-rule" esque to me.
"Soccer is crystal meth. It's very addictive, but really messes up your teeth. I guess I've never viewed soccer as some sort of controlled substance. To me, it's probably more like Nutella. The rest of the world clearly loves it and puts it on almost everything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tastes like almonds." -- Jon Stewart
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#9
<!--quoteo(post=137193:date=Feb 1 2006, 06:48 PM:name=Sirena)-->QUOTE(Sirena @ Feb 1 2006, 06:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->So if you look Japanese, speak Japanese and act Japanese, you can "pass" as Japanese, even if, for all intents and purposes you "are" Japanese, except for that pesky halvsieness. Which, if that's discovered, immediately demotes you to non-Japaneseness.

Sounds very "one-drop-rule" esque to me.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


I don't understand what you're trying to say can you clarify that.
The Force is Strong with Me Always.
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#10
Exactly.

Wouldn't it rankle you to have to "pass" for what you are?
"Soccer is crystal meth. It's very addictive, but really messes up your teeth. I guess I've never viewed soccer as some sort of controlled substance. To me, it's probably more like Nutella. The rest of the world clearly loves it and puts it on almost everything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tastes like almonds." -- Jon Stewart
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#11
<!--quoteo(post=137209:date=Feb 1 2006, 10:39 PM:name=Sirena)-->QUOTE(Sirena @ Feb 1 2006, 10:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->Exactly.

Wouldn't it rankle you to have to "pass" for what you are?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

"what you are" is abstract in some ways. It's not only physical. I wasn't talking about me personally but about the three main rules of how to be seen as a Japanese in Japan.
The Force is Strong with Me Always.
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#12
Sorry, I mean the "in-general" you, not you personally.
"Soccer is crystal meth. It's very addictive, but really messes up your teeth. I guess I've never viewed soccer as some sort of controlled substance. To me, it's probably more like Nutella. The rest of the world clearly loves it and puts it on almost everything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tastes like almonds." -- Jon Stewart
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#13
Maybe it's because I look tooooo Japanese but the "haafu" thing in Japan is overrated--I don't think anyone living here really feels it. I know so many "haafus" that grew up in Japan only speaking Japanese and they have no issues.

In Japan, growing up haafu, you go through two phases:
1. Getting teased or treated as a gaijin when you're younger
2. Fawned over for your "haafuness" post-puberty

A couple girls told me how they went from being bullied til jr. high only to become the hottest chick in highschool. Of course, individual mileage varies.

Of course, once you get older, you just don't give a damn... I mean really older.
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#14
<!--quoteo(post=137234:date=Feb 1 2006, 04:13 PM:name=wombat777)-->QUOTE(wombat777 @ Feb 1 2006, 04:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->A couple girls told me how they went from being bullied til jr. high only to become the hottest chick in highschool. Of course, individual mileage varies.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I should've gone back to Japan for highschool so that I couldve become the hottest chick....oh wait, nanka chigau.
[Image: random_number.png]
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#15
<!--quoteo(post=137234:date=Feb 2 2006, 09:13 AM:name=wombat777)-->QUOTE(wombat777 @ Feb 2 2006, 09:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->In Japan, growing up haafu, you go through two phases:
1. Getting teased or treated as a gaijin when you're younger
2. Fawned over for your "haafuness" post-puberty<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

that's exactly the experience i had, even though i've grown up in austria.
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#16
There's the next phase.

3. Fighting a weight problem and looking older than your age compared to full Japanese.

But in all seriousness, there are some clear phases many go through.

I think a lot of haafus in their teens and early twenties struggle with young angst and identity issues at the same time. There's a bit of narcissism, falling in love with your tormented self as well as genuine moments of isolation and loneliness.

Oh yeah, and a lot of people (especially the girls) tell me that going through the two phases above (being bullied then idolized) gave them a detached perspective on life because the same people that were giving them a hard time as a child were now desperate for dates.

It definitely colors your perspective on human nature and race issues.
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#17
<!--quoteo(post=137253:date=Feb 1 2006, 07:59 PM:name=wombat777)-->QUOTE(wombat777 @ Feb 1 2006, 07:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->I think a lot of haafus in their teens and early twenties struggle with young angst and identity issues at the same time. There's a bit of narcissism, falling in love with your tormented self as well as genuine moments of isolation and loneliness.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Wow. If that doesn't sum up my experience in a nutshell, I don't know what would. You are so spot on that I'm shocked.
[Image: random_number.png]
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#18
Sam honey, you can write a halvsie self-help book or something...ur so good at all this! U must be such a good listener ne [Image: inlove.gif]
I'm only here for this moment



Jeff Buckley - Everybody here wants you lyrics
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#19
<!--quoteo(post=137209:date=Feb 2 2006, 06:39 AM:name=Sirena)-->QUOTE(Sirena @ Feb 2 2006, 06:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><!--quotec-->Exactly.

Wouldn't it rankle you to have to "pass" for what you are?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

But when it comes to identity as part of group, it's the group's rules and values that decide, not the individual. I can believe with all my heart that I'm Brazilian, live there, speak the language, and all that, but unless the Brazilians acknowledge it, I'm wrong.

And I think that "Japaneseness" as yoshinori describes it correct. Like it or not, it <b>is</b> a "one-drop" culture. Part of being "truly Japanese" is "not being foreign at all", and that includes cultural values as well as ethnicity/parentage.
I shall serve no fries before their time.
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#20
<!--quoteo-->QUOTE<!--quotec-->that's exactly the experience i had, even though i've grown up in austria<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

i've heard similar stories in norway too. however perhaps it is more common in japan than in europe. i have met a few arrogant, cold haafus and you might think they might have gone through some of the phases which wombat777 is stating.

the international schools which are in japan are so hyped up. this is due to the japanese school system.
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