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Racist parents? Banned from Japan. 2007/7/15 11:57
I'm a 14 year old American girl, freshman in high school. My father
is military and we were stationed in Okinawa, JP for three years and
returned to America a year ago. I absolutely did NOT want to leave,
but obeying my parents, left with little complaint. While I was there,
I was studying Japanese on my own accord and found that I really
enjoyed it, it was sort of a godsend and I didn't really begin to
enjoy my life until I began the language, mainly because I began to
make Japanese friends. I always had trouble making friends with
Americans, mainly because of a maturity difference, but found that
I made friends easily with Japanese people.

However, once I began making friends, my parents forbid me to see them.
They claimed that all Japanese (or even Asian people), at that were
perverts who hated Americans (even though my friends were girls as I am)
I was discouraged, but continued studying anyways. I have never heard
them once say a good thing about an asian person, they prefer to
mock them and even go as far as to do impersonations and "asian eyes",
i.e. pulling on the sides of their eyes to make them slanted.

Then we moved back here, and I have been extremely upset ever since.
I could hardly stand my parents before, but now they are driving me
totally insane. If I even mention the word, "Japan" they go totally
physco, my father even threatening to "make my life hell" if I don't
stop being so "disrespectful" to their opinion. He said I should be
happy with my life because I have a roof over my head, ect ect. Both parents
agree that I must wait until I am 18 or in college to ever go there

My Japanese skills are declining fast, and although I try to maintain
them by keeping a Japanese blog, that is only helping my typing skills
and I can no longer write or speak, let alone understand spoken Japanese.
Penpals are not enough to keep (somewhat) language fluency.

I really would like to leave my parents and live on my own, but
my age and education level prevents that. I try to make the best of
my situation but I can't stop thinking about Japan. It's as though I
was born in the wrong body, I have never been able to find happiness
in America. People are supposed to make their own happiness (or so
my mother says), but it is difficult when you aren't comfortable
at home or school. The only reasons I keep my grades up and attend
all honors classes is not because I have great parents, but because
I want to leave them ASAP, and college is the best way.

I don't want to sound immature or like I'm complaining, I simply want
to get out of here.
by Mari  

18 sounds reasonable 2007/7/16 09:32
Hi Mari-san,

It's really sad that people who are stationed here to protect and cooperate with us have to sound so negative about the race living here. At the same time it's very reasuring to know that their children will eventually be a good bridge over the cultures. Then I know it's difficult for them having multiple cultures inside them and having to be forced to go back and forth. It's wonderful and suffering at the same time. Like you, I am a Japanese woman who lived in L.A. for nearly five years in my youth due to my father's job. I had thought that my parents were social with the locals too, but later on I began to discover that my father is quite racist, and he did used to critisize the race of my best friends even as we were living there. I was furious having to listen to that.

Mari-san, your parents sound pretty harsh on Asians, but I think they are simply scared about their precious daughter going away to a far away place. And the fact that you cannot agree with your own parents proves that you're making progress to be an independant person.

However, I think they're being very reasonable that you are free to do the things you want when you become 18. I'm a parent now and I would say the same to my teenage son. Moreover, parents would be worried about girls than boys.

I myself was not able to go back to L.A. until I was 25. Air fare wasn't as cheap as it is today and I couldn't manage the time either (I was busy going to Europe, which was another great experience). There are thousands of children in a similar situation. If it were our grandparents' days, going abroad almost ment goodbye forever, and still there were children who were forced to go overseas.

About the language, it's like riding a bike. You get rusty when you're not using it, but when you start using it again, it always comes back to you. I was the same. I even realised later that my English was immature than I had thought, since I was only in the U.S. when I was very young. But I brushed up my vocabulary etc., and now I work as a professional translator sometimes as an interpreter. Language always comes back to you.

18 isn't bad. It's soon, actually. Try to enjoy the time you wait for it by planning your trip to Japan thoroughly. Ask the Japanese Embassy near you to see if there are any Japanese communities in the area you can visit so that you can speak Japanese. And there's always Google Earth to take a peak at your second home.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Thank you 2007/7/16 10:11
Thank you Uco for your response. It is very comforting to know that there are other people out there who have gone through similar experiences as I am now.

Both of my parents seem extremely childish to me. The only reason they said that I should wait until I am 18 years old is because they will make sure I will be out of their house by then, which means I can go where I please. Sort of like dumping out the trash, they said. I cannot tell them anything as they will share it with anyone around them, and they tell the neighbors that I'm "crazy". They make it so obvious sometimes that they don't want me around, but I don't understand why they won't allow me to get away.

As for the Japanese community, I think I began looking for one in my area as soon as I arrived in America. However, the closest one to my home is three hours away.
by Mari rate this post as useful

stay positive 2007/7/16 12:24

I am very sorry that your parents behave that way, but I am also glad that you have realized how it's wrong and you don't allow it to influence yourself.

I was a military "brat" and now my husband and I live in Japan with our two kids. My husband and I lived here in Japan when our oldest was born but when we left to go back to the states he didn't remember Japan. We came back to Japan two years ago and now he is 9 and I always tell him he needs to appreciate this chance to experience another culture because many children aren't encouraged to go far from the small town where they grew up and their parents grew up (at least the small towns where I have lived) and I think that is very sad.

Yes, your parents sound extremely immature and that's unfortunate for you (and I'm curious whether you have any siblings to talk to?) but please just hang on to your dreams and your curiosity about the world. Too many people nowadays are so ignorant about other countries and/or cultures and its a shame. Keep your head up and although you still have 4 more years until you can leave home, if you study hard and make good grades and go to college you can easily come back to Japan or any other country you wish.

Good Luck to You!
by AFwife rate this post as useful

Harsh Love 2007/7/16 16:02
Hi Mari

While I dont agree with your parents views on japanese I agree with what they say about when your 18 and your dumping the trash view :)
I think parents say wait until your 18 all the time to teenagers. Mine certainly did, and you understand/appreciate it more when your well past the 18 mark.
by Kevin rate this post as useful

racists 2007/7/16 17:33
you parents make my dad look good, kind of. I am a guy and until we were 19 my brother and I couldn't even go to movies, play soccer etc. with other boys our age unless he was there!!! the first time I dated a girl I was 20 and he sat between us!. many years later, after I had left home, he came to see me in my new country and was so very nice to my Japanese boyfriend!. he even invited him for a visit to his country, all the while pretending that he couldn't remember my name!!
Be brave! believe me, years go quickly. make sure that you get a good education and learn a job or at least enough of a trade to live on your own at 18. can you buy cds to practice Japanese? is there a library in your town with Japanese classes?. is there an adult you can trust? yes parents worry about children under 18 but what your parents do is emotional abuse. with some luck one of these days your parents will have to work for a boss, or be treated by a doctor, that are Asians and it will eat them and depress them a lot.. what goes around etc.
keep up the faith in yourself!
by Froggie rate this post as useful

dumping :) 2007/7/17 00:34
Oh, I certainly understand the dumping part as a parent, lol! My mother always used to say that she is "inakunatte seisei suru (relieved that I'm gone for good)" but from her attitude I know she misses me a lot.

Parenting is a strange job. It's very time/energy consuming, because you have the duty to take care of this kid 24/7, feeding him/her, buying clothes and shelter for him/her, and teaching him/her manners. If something happens to the kid, it's your fault. But this kid often quarrels with you, and says things that you never had imagined just because you're from another generation or culture.

So it would be a relief if the kid goes elsewhere at 18, and takes care of him/herself instead of you taking care of him/her. BUT (this is the main part) you have to raise this kid carefully so that by the time the kid is 18, he/she will be sensible enough to do the things he/she is supposed to in the society, and not cause crime or get involved with a pervert.

For Mari's parents, what Mari should do is not the same thing as what she thinks she should do. But come age 18, and the parents can just shut their eyes and say, "You are free now. I don't have to be responsible for all the crazy things you're going to do or say or think any more." But they're still going to miss you a whole lot, because that's what parents are all about.
by Uco rate this post as useful

P.S. 2007/7/17 00:36
And let them talk to the neighbors about how crazy you are. They need someone to talk to too, just like you do. If you be nice to the neighbors, the neighbors will judge for themselves about whether you're crazy or not.
by Uco rate this post as useful

I know how you feel 2007/7/29 13:04
hey mari,
i also am 14 years old and i am about to be a freshman. i just moved to a new school and i do not know anybody around my apt. complex. until tonight i saw 3 girls and 3 guys my age or a little more walking around. i looked at my mom and told her "i just want some friends around here." she looked at me and said yeah but not them. "they" were black. i have a black boyfriend that i have been with for 7 months. but it seems to me that my mom has a problem wit black people. all of my friends are black and she is always making comments about it. we are hispanic so i wouldnt think that she would have a problem with black people since we a re both minorities. it upsets me because i just get along wit black people and they i feel like she just looks at them and automaticaly thinks that they are bad. these kids were walking around to go to the park. they werent holding a gun up or smoking a black or weed. they were walking with their friends haveing a good time. i told her if i want to be friends with them that i will and that just because she is hardheaded that shouldnt change how i feel about black people. she automaticaly said you dont kno how much power i have over you and all of this other crap. i cant do anything about her ignorance and it makes me sad because i want to be a ble to chill with my friends and not have to worry about her bitching at me every time she sees a black person around. i just need to know how to deal with this situation. please and thank you
by Andrea rate this post as useful

Hmmm 2007/7/29 21:15
It's a difficult one. Racist people are ignorant, and unfortunately for the rest of us, it seems that more often than not they prefer to remain ignorant rather than hear any arguments that contradict their opinion. My mum was telling me that her dad ripped a Bruce Lee poster off the wall because he was asian. To be fair, he had just fought in the 2nd world war (irnoically against the Japanese, not Chinese/Americans), but anyway, she never let it affect her, and as soon as she was old enough, she made her own mind up about what she wanted to do. Be thankful that you've turned out normal, because so many people end up believing their parents crap.

As for the meantime to make things a bit more liveble, is there anything you might be able to do that your father might respect? Perhaps a martial art like Judo, for example? Your father might be too short-sighted to notice the effort you put into your language and the progress you make there, but he might not be able to ignore something that's more on his level (but still Japanese).
by I'm With Stupid rate this post as useful

extreme step but possible 2007/7/29 23:49
this might be an extreme step but u said u wanted to live on ur own but when u turn 16 or even 15 in some states u can apply to become an emancipated minor and go court to separated from ur parents but i would do this unless u are sure!!!
but it's sad that ur parent look down on the japanese when they happen to the most open minded asians. someday maybe ur parent will let go of their hatred for the japanese.=/ i hope this helps but only use this option when u have thought really hard about it!! u can get a jop and save up enough money for a plane ticket and a deposit on an apartment in okinawa! =)

hope this helps
by chloe rate this post as useful

Keep your chin up 2007/8/1 18:38
Mari chan you are quite mature and articulate for a 14 year old.
It is wrong for your Parents to share their hatred with you. To act in the way they do. As a parent though, I can tell you that we all do and say things that we regret later. Sometimes its a bitter pill to swallow.
You are wise though. You actually have this beat already. At 14, you not only know what you want later in life but you are on track to meet your goals. Your an honors student and college is not far off. Keep up your hard work and gain the best education you can possibly earn. Enter a College with intensive Japanese coursework.
You may feel that you are losing your Japanese skills but you are ahead of the game. You also have had the pricless experience living in Japan and learned much about the culture.
Take advantage of this time under your parent's roof to continue your studies. Perfect your future plans. Continue to blog your little heart out. Join a Japanese Club at school if you can. Let your school counseler help you plan your destiny. Stay focused, tune out the noise and follow your dream.
Try to forgive your parents very human mistakes and cherish your time left together at home. Focus on the positives in your life.
I have no doubt that you will make a great English teacher or whatever profession you decide upon in Japan. Patience, understaning, hard work an discipline will get you where you want to be before you know it.
Gambatei Mari chan
by A Dad rate this post as useful

Mari again 2007/8/9 03:23
I apologize for not replying sooner.

AFwife: I do have an older brother, but he behaves
the same way as my parents, if not, worse. He is extremely
racist towards blacks and hispanics, but also Asians as well.

Froggie: My parents are the same way. They won't allow me to
get a job, take Drivers Ed, or leave my home. The basically keep
me trapped in my bedroom while my brother is free to do what he
wants. I remember when I lived in Japan I used to go off base
and walk to the Family Mart that was a block away to get some icecream
(and a break from my parents) but once they saw how happy I was when
I came back they stopped allowing me to go. They said that all
Japanese people are perverted so I wasn't allowed to leave anymore.

Uco: Although it would be nice to go when I am 18 and can fully
support myself, I don't know if I can stand to stay that much longer.
Their lack of support and the fact that I don't trust them has made
me have several breakdowns, I just wish I could be around people that
actually seem to care. And since I do not trust my parents, I have to
keep everything bottled up inside. This is the first time I have
ever gone to anyone for help for anything. My father has made it
perfectly clear that he doesn't care about me, through both actions
and words. I felt so much closer to the families of my Japanese friend
than my own. I would be so happy if I was at least allowed to do
a homestay for a month or so I could warm up to the language again,
but my parents say they do not want me to stay with Japanese people.

Andrea: Again, my parents are the same way. I am not even allowed to
speak to black people, and they way my parents speak of them in
public is humiliating.

I'm With Stupid: Sadly, I am not allowed to do any extracurricular
activities or hobbies.

Chloe: I have looked into becoming an emancipated minor before. In my
state the age requirement is 16. I'm just worried because if my parents
find out I wish to apply, I am worried what they will do to me. If the
judge and does not grant my petition, then I am just back where I started and in a
worse situation.

A Dad: Thank you. I am trying my best, but it is extremely difficult,
especially now that I am entering high school.

Another thing that bothers me about my parents is that they are totally
against having penpals and all that. They think that everyone online
is some 40 year old pedophile. I was going to get a webcam for
school purposes and they said that I was probably going to use it
to become a camgirl or something, my father says that I am going to
grow up to be a prostitute. The thing is I do nothing that would
suggest any of that, I am extremely careful online and I wear clothing
that is too large for my underweight frame.

Anyways, thank you everyone again for your input. It is deeply appreciated.
by Mari rate this post as useful

get an adult to support you 2007/8/9 09:29
Mari-san, have you been trying to get a _white adult_ to support your thoughts? Your school teacher, school counselor, someone from church or camp, or even your parent's colleagues would do. But someone you meet through a reliable organization.

You can't find these people overnight, but someone who they can respect but can also understand you would probably be the first ones to become the bridge between you and your family. At least you'll have someone to talk to.

For example, I do think that penpals can often be dangerous. But if it's someone your teacher or reverend introduces, it will be much safer AND convincing. Especially, school teachers and reverends often are able to find contact with high schools and churches in other countries.

Meanwhile, feel free to keep posting here. I find this forum to be a well-maintained friendly place with reasonable and informative users.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Holy cow 2007/8/9 13:22
Your story sounds a lot like mine (except you actually were in Japan, and only my dad (seems) racist). I'm stuck here too, but if I can get enough money, I'll try to go there after my junior year for a little while (like a week). 18 sounds fair enough, though, because you're considered an adult.
by Eren rate this post as useful

ganbatte 2007/8/10 00:13
i had the same problem(but it's opposite; i'm japanese, and my parents and grandfather were (still are) racists). i just couldn't give up my passion towards america, so i waited and saved money till i turned 25 years old. here i am now in the states. i have a good job, bought my own house, i'm just enjoying life. it's been 10 years since i came to the states, and my parents now just started to come along.
mari-chan, hung in there. you're not alone.....
by a j-girl in us rate this post as useful

Reason behind racism 2008/6/13 15:10
Unfortunately, there is a lot of latent racism in Japan which the Japanese always choose to deny or ignore. Perhaps that is what has incluenced your parents. As one famous Japanese statesman had once admitted,"Behind our tonkatsu and ju jitsu stands hidden our jinshu sabetsu."
by Ken Chinpira rate this post as useful

. 2008/6/13 16:07
Hey Mari,

Your parents might be racist, but they DO love you and that is why they are overprotective.

They seem to be a bit immature with the "telling to the neighboors" stuff, but that is their immature way to protect you against something they think is bad for you (i.e. going to japan).

You are 14 (probably now 15), so the best part of your life will start within years... Do what you have to do for now, attending your high-school, get good grades, learn and learn and learn a profession a new cultures (languages and etc).

When you are on your 20's, and independend, you might be living in Japan or anyother coutry you like and will actually laugh about your parents attitude to protect you. And also probably laugh about your feeling right now of wanting to run way from home.

The best thing you can do now is to stay home, learn as much as you can at school and enjoy your parents, since after you get to uni I can see you will probably won't bee seing them for a good time.

Your parents are protecting you (in a akward manner, though).

Best regards,
by SOmeone rate this post as useful

Hold on! 2008/6/14 23:39
Hi, there. I think this is your parents' way of making you forget your good and happy moments in Japan. So you don't have to reminisce and feel bad that you had to go back to America, so that life would be like it was (before). You know how parents are. Although this approach is rascist, I think your parents don't have any other way to make you forget Japan. Maybe, they miss Japan, too and this is also their way of forgetting the good times they had.
by Candy rate this post as useful

old thread 2008/6/16 05:19
keeping in mind that this thread is over a year old, i'm not sure people understand the situation between japanese and american soldiers in okinawa.

there are 2 distinct groups of japanese people there: those who like american soldiers and those who hate them. due to the abnormal rate of sexual crimes committed by american soldiers in okinawa most people fall into the latter category.

american soldiers fall into the same two categories, they either love japanese or hate them. most soldiers go to okinawa liking japan but due to the restrictions that keep increasing due to rapes/murders etc. they come to resent japan. not that it makes a lot of sense since they are guests here but a lot of soldiers forget that.

just my 2c but i know lots of people on both sides of the coin and i think it's a pretty accurate picture of the situation in okinawa and in fact any american base in japan. a lot of people in misawa don't hold a very high regard for the americans living around there and vice versa.
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

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