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[YRP Students' Essays] Japonaise et Taïwanaise

"Where do you come from?" My answer to this question is "I come from Japan," but then I always add, "but my parents are from Taiwan."

From this answer, many people notice a contradiction and ask, "Why are you not Taiwanese?" The reason is because Japan is the place where I was born and where I grew up. For me, my hometown, birthplace, and nationality are all Japanese. Yet even though I am Japanese, I will never forget that I am also Taiwanese. I accept both sides of my roots, and it is good to have two.

First, in my house we basically speak Chinese. For that reason I am able to speak Chinese. Also, we lived in China for three years. I went to International School when I was in China, so I was able to learn English there. This caused me to realize my interest in languages. Now I can speak Japanese, Chinese, and English, and I am learning Taiwanese and Chinese from my parents, English from Mrs. Ogawa and Mrs. Gatsinski, and - a new challenge - French from Mr. Idaka.

Second, I could have more experiences in foreign countries than others because my parents are not Japanese. That means I can have more different experiences than others and know more than them. If you know more than one culture, you might change your viewpoint of everything that you know. Also, you might have more respect for people from other cultures. When we understand the difference between people and culture, we can know more, see more and feel more. This will build up our identity to be unique and special.

Third, from these experiences with foreign countries and languages, I can conceive my future in many different ways. The possibilities for my future are increasing to be more and more numerous as I master languages or gain valuable experiences. If I only have one culture I probably cannot speak more than one language. Also, I may not even have a passport. Yet because I am bicultural I can consider a large number of choices when planning my future.

Being bicultural is not an easy situation. When I was little it was quite difficult to be different from others. However, after I survived the trials, I realized how special I am, and I decided to be confident of my roots and my identity. Now, I want to say thank you to my parents for giving me special surroundings and circumstances in which to grow up. I will treasure this identity of mine forever.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yumi Kawai, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.

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