Aloha, Hip Hapa Homeez. What’s HAPA-ning?
One of the most mixed-race locales to reside in the U.S. is Hawai’i. It seems that a lot of folks here are a combo of ethnicities and even if they HAPA-en to be so-called monoracial, they still love to cross cultures. As strong as the East Asian presence is in Hawai’i though, it still remains well, Hawai’ian. Streets are named after indigenous Kanaka Maoli and, anyone who lives here for a length of time will soon learn to say "Kamehameha" with the utmost ease. Kanaka history is powerful, its culture colorful, and the melding locals truly reflect the Aloha Spirit originated by them.
This month, we feature two Hip Hapa Homeez both abundantly infused with the Aloha Spirit.
First, meet Anna Malone, a Japanese national who settled in Honolulu after attending school on the mainland. The mother of a blasian boy, Anna shares her story—the shorter version--here with you.
Q: Anna-san, where are you from, and how did you end up living in America?
A: I’m from Osaka City in Osaka Prefecture. I first came to the States when I was 19, graduated college, went back to Japan for 3 years, came back to the States, and married. It’s been about 20 years since I came to the U.S. for the first time!
|feeling the Aloha Spirit...|
Q: What are some of the differences between living in Japan and the U.S.?
A: In Japan, people tend to gather as group. So, they think of themselves as a group or unit. But in the U.S., people think of themselves as individuals.
In the U.S., I need to think about my race, but in Japan I don't need to. I’ve experienced racism on the mainland, but not in Hawai’i since the majority here is Asian.
Q: What have been the biggest cultural issues that you had to overcome living in America?
A: Racism. In the American town where I lived about 20 years ago, there was only one Chinese restaurant! Kids there met an Asian (me) in person for the first time. That’s how closed off that place was.
Another big cultural issue is learning English.
Q: What do you miss most about not living in Japan?
A: The food, but I’m lucky enough to get some ingredients to make Japanese meals in Hawai’i. So I’m not missing that much.
Q: What's it like for you to have a son, Sag (pronounced Saj), whose father is African American?
A: A long time ago I went to a black barbershop with my son, and I was accepted. But when I visited there by myself for the first time, they just looked at me like, "you came here for what?"
But mixed races are very common now, and I think it makes racial issues less important than a few decades ago. It’s making opening racial doors easier.
Q: Do you think it's better to raise Sag in the U.S. or Japan?
A: Definitely in the U.S. Japan is not as open-minded as it should be--only in major cities, I think.
|Sag feeling the Spirit|
Q: In your opinion, what's the future look like for mixed-race people like Sag?
A: I think more people will be mixed-raced in the future and it will be harder to find single-raced people, especially in the States. In Hawai’i, I have heard of people mixed with as many as 9 races, and 2 to 3 race mixes is very common here. My son is mixed with 4 races.
Mahalo nui loa, Anna-san.
Next up, Hip Hapa Homeez, please reacquaint yourself with Traion Le whom we featured here some time ago.
Below, Traion aka Traika tells her story in her own words:
|Traion aka Traika|
Aloha, Yayoi and readers!
It's your new Hawaiiana friend, Traika, from Honolulu on the island of Oahu, aka "The Gathering Place".
I'm a mixed-raced hapa lady (African-American, Irish, Native American) originally from the East Coast (Northern Virginia), and I'm a 9-year resident of Oahu. I love Hawai’i! I like the local people, and the ono grindz! I like being one with paradise. Feeling the island breeze. Cooling off in the Pacific Ocean. Smelling the sweet red, pink, yellow hibiscus flowers and, let's not forget, the pretty plumeria flowers. And the tradition of wearing flowers tucked behind your ears for the extra beautiful island flair! Tasting the island foods; Leonard's Malasada's, and all kine local cuisine. Favorites are the Japanese steakhouses, Tanaka's and Kobe's. Also, Northshore's Giovanni's shrimp and rice plate, and townside of Oahu's Pearl's Korean BBQ. Mmm, lish!
As a 45 year-old mixed-race hapa lady, I've always loved Asian culture. I love all god's children, yes, however, there's a weakness for Asian men! Ha ha. Yep, that's right! I've dated and loved Asian guys since I was young. Watching my first Bruce Lee film, Fists of Fury, I was a goner; crushin' on Bruce. He did it for me! In addition, I was raised in the melting pot nation--the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C. "Chocolate City". I had friends of every foreign nationality imaginable. So enriching!
Living in Hawai’i inspired me to write and publish books. My latest book, Destiny, is an AMBW (Asian Man Black Woman) true story. I believe all of you interracial couples, AMBW or other mixed couples out there, will relate to what I bring to a 6x9 250-page documentary.
|Hawai'ian style toenails...|
Destiny by Traika Le (2013)
"A coming-of-age, true story. In 1975, a young Vietnamese refugee boy flees Saigon and the war. In 1985, he meets his unrequited forbidden love, a Southern, African American girl. His enemies and family warn him to keep his distance from her. He joins a crime organization for fast money, hoping to live the American Dream and win her heart."
Look for your copy of Destiny, a story of forbidden interracial love and redemption. Watch for it on Amazon.com July/August 2013!
Thank you for reading! All the best and god bless!
Please frequent my sites:
www.amazon.com (search Traika Le)-Book, Faith Your Fears
|big Aloha kiss from Traika...|
Mahalo! Thank you!
Thank you, Traika. Hey, Hip Hapa Homeez, for a clarification of the word hapa, check out our Hip Hapa Homeez group page on Facebook. Send us a request for membership and you can join in discussions about being mixed-race, transracially adopted, interracially involved, or just crossing cultures. Remember, we have a Watermelon Sushi film and fan page, and our Hapa Teez t-shirts fund our projects.
Your Hip Hapa,
PS Lisa Giamo is conducting research on mixed Asian/Caucasian people as part of her dissertation at Simon Fraser University. Check it out: