What It Is To Be A Mixed Race - Part 2
Don't put me in a box.
In my sophomore year in high school, I had an opportunity to travel to Australia for 2 weeks and stay with a host family in a small town called Nambour. At that time, my English was pretty mediocre, but I was hungry to challenge my English with my confidence that came from nowhere. This experience changed my perspective entirely about how we live in such a small box and that was quite eye-opening. I and other selective students had a great time at a local school where students around our age act exactly what I saw in Hollywood films, I went to an Evangelic church for the first time and realised that I was an atheist. The sun, the skies and the ocean looked familiar but different. Everything connected finally.
I came back to Japan still basking myself in this afterglow of memories that were burnt in my mind. I couldn't help myself but think that I needed to get out from Japan and study abroad. I was so eager that I even contacted one of the agencies who explained that I needed to repeat the second year if I transferred to another school in Australia. I did tell my parents that I was going to study at a foreign university and thankfully they were keen to support me to achieve this goal. To this date, my parents still wonder who I got this braveness from but I know the answer. It's my parents and my ancestors who cultivated their way to survive and thrive in this world. It's innate.
By the time I graduated high school, my English was at sort of okay-level. I could hold a conversation with native speakers but still not enough to enter a foreign university, so I went to college for a year to polish my English. In 2015, I finally made it to Scotland. The place I study and the place I call home now. At this point, you may be wondering, "how is your race-related to all these things?" I know, I was about to get into the core so brace yourself.
Being a mixed-race human but most importantly, a minority in a caucasian country can be challenging. For the most part, I never received nasty racial slurs and violence, but I've seen dozens of them. It is a weird feeling. After all, you can't simply process it at first, because you're just being who you are and people deny your existence. As I said, I'm lucky enough to be around with educated and kind friends and I try to ignore when I get mistreated. Personally, in Scotland, when you're Asian looking or when you show any sort of sign that you don't speak fluent English, it is hard to be included in a group. It is almost like going back to high school where you tried so hard to be cool and fit in otherwise you just become a loner.
Whenever I met someone new, I got asked "Hey! Are you from China/Korea/Japan?" Fair enough, I know I look predominately Asian, but why do you need to put me in a box and label me as one certain race? Just because I look like Chinese or Korean or any other Asians, doesn't mean that I've got the same background or history. My advice is to always ask "Where are you from?" instead of playing with your presumption of where they from. My struggle also comes within the family where my parents expect me to be more Brazilian and see my Brazilian side of me, yet my Brazilian families see me as this pure Japanese boy who got a spice of Brazilian blood. It is a hard position to be in, I feel like I'm always on the fence not knowing which side to fall on to. The struggle of not being able to fit into one category is still an ongoing issue for me. Especially, wherever I go I have to tell myself that I am not from the place where I live.
People often mention my other race being a contributing factor for my attractiveness, how it makes me "exotic" and makes me stand out from the crowd. To me, that is a big insult. Are you saying that because I am biracial, I am more attractive? I didn't choose to born like this and I didn't sign up to look a certain way. Although I want people to understand that I am truly blessed to experience both culture, I think it's one privilege to own as a biracial individual. I love being able to speak multiple languages and taste different cuisines from my mum's kitchen and how I was brought up. These are the things that shape who I am.
5 years in, my life in Scotland is coming to an end. Soon I have to move back to Japan and start a new life. However, it also means that I have to go through the same process of fitting into a box. Needless to say, I am a human being, I can only do so many things and I am frankly exhausted to paint myself in another colour to camouflage.
I know one thing though, I will not be tired of being myself - as a mixed.
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About the author
Hiya! I am a music composer, singer-songwriter. Just like anybody who is in love music, I listen to tons of music. I love travelling too! So I will be sharing my stories of music and reviews!