There was a lot of excitement the past few days…the excitement is over and now it’s back to business. Whenever I have to explain my last name, people usually will ask me if I know any Japanese. I know very little. If I got off a plane in Tokyo tomorrow, I’d have the look of confusion and of course would not be able to get around without a translator. But the knowledge of the language and culture did not come from my Grandpa. It came from my curiosity to learn about my Grandpa’s culture, but only the Japanese part and not the Hawaiian part. He was born and raised in Hawaii so it was a bit mixed. My great-grandfather came to Hawaii from Japan while my great-grandmother was born in Hawaii. People will often look at me with some disappointment that I don’t know more. A part of me would want to shout from the rooftops and say, “It’s not my fault!” But really…does it matter? Why should I let this question bug me so much?
This is yet another question/issue/dilemma that I address in Japanese Eyes/American Heart. One of the characters has a line that says,
“He was Japanese in a time and place where it was not okay. Even if you completely Americanized yourself, you were still watched, suspected, never to be trusted.“ -(Japanese Eyes/American Heart, Act I, Scene 4)
And that’s why I don’t know any Japanese.
When I was younger, I attempted to learn from a Japanese singer named Seiji Tanaka because he made covers of American songs. It’s kind of amusing actually…his rendition of “Saturday Night” is my favorite…and I’ll end on a lighter note for this short posting:
BTW, I’m accepting artwork submissions for the play’s poster. If you saw the first staged reading and wanted to make some artwork, contact me directly. A few people talked to me after the first staged reading and hopefully someone is still interested.
Random Side Note: I’ve just realized that I’ve met and worked with more well-known British actors than American actors. I wish the United States had the same vibe as British theatre…I remember seeing my Shakespeare teacher from BADA playing a major role in “Vanity Fair”. I’m tempted to send JE/AH across the pond and see what feedback I get since I have the connections.