My name is Angela but I am called Angie. I am 19-years-old, and I live in Los Angeles California. I identify as a hapa. In Hawaiian that means white foreigners. It usually refers to anyone who is half white and of island decent. I am Japanese and white. I’m not more of one. I was culturally raised Japanese during the weekdays but on the weekends I was a very American girl.
My dad took my siblings and me to a lot of free concerts in the park during the summer and weekends to see, not the rolling stones but their tribute “the Hollywood stones”, and it was not Led Zeppelin but “Led zeppagain” These were all the tributes to his favorite rock and roll bands.
I felt most myself when I was at the park dancing and singing with my dad.
Weirdly at that age, I couldn’t appreciate being foreign, just because I really wanted to be white. I wanted to be all white. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I thought at that age white people were more beautiful or smart or confident or something exclusive. No one told me to think that, it was just my perception.
Of course, my perception changed as I grew older. I rejected being Japanese because I thought being all American was so much cooler.
Harmony, order, and self-development are the three main virtues of Japanese society. As a child that sadly meant nothing to me, and I didn’t actually care to emulate any of those qualities till later on. Its no wonder that the Japanese are so respected by the rest of the world, in business, science, and politics. I remember coming to school in Japan, and we were taught to clean up after ourselves. We cleaned the school, there were no janitors.
Then I remember my American schooling, my silly school friends would throw wet paper on the ceiling so the poor janitor could clean it. Discipline and respect are cultivated from a very young age in my household. This separated me from my peers.
I am visiting Japan, my birthplace, at the moment. I have to tell you it’s very hospitable here. Customer service is #1 and politeness comes first. With that, I’ve always had this extra awareness to think about others, to make others comfortable. The Japanese eat healthier, and they use less waste and energy. If anyone has traveled here they can tell you how much different things are over here. Also, the Japanese have, like, no curse words
Weird and off topic but I was the last of my friends to start swearing. It’s things like that, that really preserved my character. I had strong beliefs and my Japanese culture grounded me in that way.
American culture is very consumption-oriented, whereas the Japanese are more minimal. Japanese people will sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of someone else. Whereas Americans would say “don’t do it for anyone else, do it for yourself!”
I was raised like this. Eating a certain way and performing a certain standard of mannerisms and then being able to let loose when I wasn’t around my Japanese mother. I had to learn to control myself, I had to be adaptable. I have my mixed culture to thank for my ability to camouflage so well.
I was raised in a very split environment.
I am half and half, I feel very half and half. My mentality is split like this as well. I tend to lean towards extremes and that has nothing to do with illness, but the fact that I am a spiritual being and I would prefer to feel things completely and express myself honestly. My feelings are very true. If I’m happy you will know it, you will feel it. I’m sorry that when I’m sad you’ll feel that too. I enjoy being the facilitator of vibrations wherever I go; I cannot hide. If you make me feel like I am too much I’ll just move on. I am aware of the power and energy I carry.
I choose to cultivate a lifestyle that keeps me happy. When I am in California I am a lifeguard, an artist, and a student. I like to stay active and keep creating because that’s what keeps me motivated. Who I am, what I’ve learned and been through has everything to do with what I want from here on out. I’ll work hard and do my best, and forget the rest.
I chose this piece because it was the last one that I have been working on. It’s about soul mates taking care of each other and bathing each other. I was inspired by the concept of unconditional love, something I’m trying to master. I’ll paint it whatever I think it looks like. There’s still more to do and I like to make it up as I go.