Sunday, December 19, 2004

About Onigiriman: FAQ


ve reached the home stretch of the grading the finals... for my first class. I have two finals--count 'em, TWO--for Tuesday. This is not a Dominoes ad. This is two days before Christmas Eve. This is hell. So I don't really have time to spend on Xanga... well, except to procrastinate. It's 6:50AM and time for me to go to sleep!

In the meantime, I thought I'd post something that is actually at the JAJournal, my original site where I archive my stuff. However, I'm in the process of moving over to Blogspot. Archiving manually is a pain in the booty, and Blogspot allows me to enter any date I wish, so I'm moving all my old entries over there. This is a slow process, particularly since this too is a procrastinating tool... But if you're interested in what I had to say a couple of years ago, check it out.

Frequently Asked Question about Onigiriman

Inquiring mind: So who are you?
O-man: Me? I'm just a lump of cooked rice squished together. But seriously, I'm a Japanese American born and raised in LA... that looks like a lump of cooked rice squished together.

What generation are you?
I'm technically a Sansei, but I refer to myself as a phony Nisei. My mom was born in Japan and my dad is a Nisei born in Idaho, so that make me a Nisei and a half, sorta. But he's a Kibei Nisei--a Nisei who went back to Japan for his education--so his Engrish is not so native. So while I'm a Sansei, I often feel like a Nisei.

Do you speak Japanese?
Don't you?

Is it important?
To speak Japanese? No, not really. I used to think so. I used to think that any self respecting JA should understand Japanese, but given the history of Japanese Americans in the US, then it may not be too much of a surprise that they more or less abandoned the language.

What do you mean?
Well, the mom of an ex-girlfriend once explained it to me. After everyone was interred during WWII, many JAs felt that they had to prove their US citizenship, that they were really Americans of Japanese descent. The first casualty of this attitude was the language. I mean, what other everyday act brands you as different from the rest? Speaking Japanese pegged you as a Japanese, not an American. But I thought we were talking about me?

Yeah, right. Uh... So why do you speak Japanese?
Working in J-Town. That's Japanese Town or Nihonjin-machi to you, and Lil' Tokyo to everyone else. I hung out there for many years, but started working part time at a sweet shop in 1st street. I worked part-time as I went to high school. At first, my Japanese was very crude, but working there 4 hours a day, 6 days a week in an environment where all the workers and customers only spoke Japanese got me to speak at a basic level rather quickly.

And now?
Well, I have been regarded as "near" native, whatever that means, but I still strive to improve. Japanese is not a language that is easily mastered. Ask any Japanese. They're very good at reminding me of that fact.

What do you do when you're not on Xanga?
I teach at a post-secondary school, Japanese language and literature. I believe that knowing Japanese is beneficial to all, for if nothing else it allows people to learn how to think in different ways, to perceive "truth" from a different perspective. Have you read "In a Grove" by Akutagawa?

Uh, I thought this was about you...

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