Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yonsei means 4th generation Japanese...

Being  a Black and Japanese American is kinda cool, sometimes. 
Wanna know why I think so?

Met this lady at the coffee shop one fine morning. She came across the street to ask me for a light. It was a nice day, as I remember. I was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt. It wasn't cold. She was showing skin, too. She was kind of hot. In the good looking kind of way. A bit nervous, a little shy, a little stand offish, but she said that she appreciated the light I gave her. She stood about two feet away from me and took a few drags from her cigarette and said something about the weather. I agreed that the weather was great. We said nothing for about 3 more drags of sweet nicotine. She looked down at the shirt I was wearing and read it out loud to me.
I looked at her and said, " Yes, it means fourth generation Japanese." 
Her eyes widened.
"You?" I nodded with a look of certainty and replied with, " I'm half Japanese and half African American....with a 16th Cherokee and a 16th Blackfoot Indian."
"Really?" She asked.
"Totally." I replied. Thinking to'm, like, exotic.
"Wow..." she exclaimed, " That's quite a mix. So...who is..."
"My mother is Japanese, " I interrupted.
" That's fascinating. " she remarked. 
"Did they meet in Japan? Was, like, your dad in the army?"
"No..." I said, " They met at the Post Office in Berkeley...."

And the conversation just kept picking up speed after that. The more Japanese I was, the more interested she became. She asked me if I rolled sushi. Or if I drank Sackee. I corrected her and said that Sake was pronounced with the short vowel 'e' and that no, I don't drink alcohol and I have only rolled sushi once in my life. Then I just started blabbing away about myself, trying to keep my eyes from her heaving cleavage. I told her that I am descended from a royal samurai clan. Which is true. I also told her that my grandfathers family was turned to ash in the Hiroshima bombing. Which is also true. To which she shuddered like most folks do. I told her that my same grandfather left internment camp and joined the U.S. Army and became a decorated Nisei soldier. The very reason that my American Flag is in my room, still. Even before 911 it was on the wall. And after we finished the conversation, she expressed her compassion and empathy for my late family and walked to work. With my phone number in her phone. She called me that night and asked me if I would consider drinking sake with her. I got to her apartment later and replied, "No...I don't drink alcohol. But I do love a cup of Gen Mai Cha." She asked what that was.
"It's tea. Green tea."
She blushed...until morning.
That happened a few years ago. But, like I said...being a Black and Japanese American is kinda cool, sometimes...


1 comment:

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