Blind, buttered, and bred: Stories of parents and children
I’m a Kyoto girl. Kyoto born, Kyoto fed and Kyoto bred. But this perfect little Kyoto girl just happens to be half American. After my American father died in the Korean war, my mother remarried Japanese, but she didn’t bother to tell me much about my father until I was an adult. So I grew up as any Kyoto girl might except for one small detail: my face is 100% American.
This small detail, my face, opened the door to a whole world of odd encounters, bringing more than your typical Kyoto girl might expect. Like once when the telephone repairman came to the house and asked me what country I was visiting from, or when I’d step out and people would try their English on me.
My fortune brought me to Tokyo where I met and married a Japanese man and gave birth to one daughter. For better or for worse, my daughter looks just like me. So now she is out there getting her share of “My, your Japanese is very good isn’t it” or “Oh you write Japanese so well”. She eats Japanese, loves Kyoto delicacies, speaks Kyoto dialect and adores Rakugo. Like me, she couldn’t be more Japanese. So how is it that the two of us, one after the other, got stuck with this face? In the future she’s thinking of doing Rakugo. She’s thinking of establishing a whole new act based on our shared quirk of fate. I guess you could say it’s given her an ambition.
(translation © victor woronov 2007)