Thursday, January 7, 2016

13 Ways How I Became More Asian in the Last 13+ Years

On our first date back in the summer of 2000, Megan and I talked about her life in China and a three-week trip I had just taken to Japan. Something I remember from our conversation on Indy's Canal Walk was how Megan said she was more Asian than me. This may seem odd considering she’s white and I’m half Japanese, but her statement was true and is still true in many ways. There are a number of things about me that don’t equate to the stereotypical Asian such as my beloved camo vest, a desire to go bass fishing whenever possible, and my prior ownership of a Chevy Camaro, S-10 Blazer, and Silverado. Because I’ve been living in East Asia since 2002, the Asian in me has grown quite a bit though. Below are 13 ways I became more Asian in the last 13+ years.

1.     I find the Asian squat to be a comfortable position, and I’m not afraid of using squatty potties.
2.     I eat more fish and shrimp, as in, I occasionally enjoy eating every part of the fish and shrimp.
3.     I prefer picking up my bowl of rice and drinking my soup. Having a beverage at my meals isn’t a requirement.
4.     I like eating fat - not a whole plate of fat, but chunks of the stuff in certain Chinese dishes.
5.     I prefer using chopsticks at Asian restaurants in the States and now know the difference between Chinese, Japanese, and Korean chopsticks.
6.     I have a much stronger liking for spicy food – kimchi, Thai curries, Sichuan, and more!
7.     I’m very comfortable bowing to Koreans and Japanese people.
8.     I know a few words in several Asian languages; I’m not smart enough to be multilingual.
9.     I enjoy eating sunflower seeds like an American baseball player or an old Chinese man at the market.
10.  I watch Asian films that don’t star Godzilla or butt-kicking kung fu artists. I have matured some during my time overseas.
11.  I am the owner of various kinds of long underwear, and I will proudly walk around in an overnight train in just my long undies (I still keep the shirt and shoes on).
12.  I have a home and classroom that is decorated with various Asian items. My homes and classrooms in Indiana definitely had different decor.
13.  I sometimes wear clothes that are clearly from China, Indonesia, Japan, or Thailand, and from time to time I get mistaken for being (fill in the blank with whatever Asian group you want)

Perhaps I’m more Asian than I think. If you’ve become more Asian over time, I would enjoy hearing about it. Peace!