pocoapocowithsmile

What’s my identity? 私って何人?

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The other day Neil and I went to a bank to open a GIC account. A young handsome guy working in the bank sat with us, explained options, and went through a lengthy procedure, and finally we were done. We stood up to say good bye, and at that moment….don’t know why….but I said to the guy something totally irrelevant.

“Thank you for saying my name right. I have been impressed that you pronounce ‘Haruyo’ so well. Not many people can do that…you know.”

The young lad’s face instantly lightened up. “Ever since I was a kid I was an enthusiastic fan of a Japanese animation called Captain Tsubasa. There were times I actually told people that my name was Kakero!”

“I would love to go to Japan. It has been my dream for a long time!” etc. etc.

So… we sat down again and listened to his story.

He said, when Genghis Khan invaded northern Pakistan in early 12th century, some Mongolian soldiers stayed back in the region. Their descendants still live there today, and he was one of them. His ancestors were Mongolian. He was born and raised in Pakistan, but was educated in England. Now, he is a Canadian!

Wow….what an interesting background! It sounds so much like Canada!

Then, I thought. Wow, well….then, what am I? What’s my identity?

Yes, my parents are Japanese. I was born and raised in Japan. So, racially, I’m a Japanese. At age 13 I moved to USA and lived my formative years there from Grade 8 to University Freshman. I went back to Japan at age 18, finished my undergraduate, got married to a Japanese man, and gave birth to 3 children. When the children were 8, 6, and 3 years old, we moved to Canada and it’s been 30 years since. In that time, my marriage broke down, I got divorced, and my children grew up with me in Canada. I studied in graduate school, worked in education, building, and music fields, raised my children, and remarried a Canadian person 20 years ago. I still have a Japanese passport, but my life is centered in Canada, and I am a permanent resident of Canada.

Hummmm…. so? I know for sure that I’m not an American.

Then, am I Japanese or Canadian?

2 weeks ago when I was coming back from Japan, I noticed in the plane that the screen in front of my seat showed where we were flying. It was about 30-40 minutes before the arrival time. The screen said “Comox”. What? Comox? So are we flying just above Comox? Thick dark clouds were hiding any views downwards. Then the screen showed “Powell River”. Right between Comox and Powell River there is Texada Island.

Straight below me lies my beloved Texada Island!! I am back….!!

Non-describable feelings of joy and excitement slowly bubbled up from somewhere deep in myself. I was surprised to realize such a reaction.

I am a person with Japanese face, with families in Japan. I love Japan…people, culture, food….everything about Japan. Yet, I deeply love Canada. It felt like I had an epiphany moment to realize that I might already be a Canadian at heart.

Whatever that was, Japan and Canada are both beautiful, caring, respectful, and sincere nations. So wonderful that there are people waiting for me in both countries. What Blessings!

先日カナダのとある銀行に定期預金の口座を作りに行ったときのことだ。若いハンサムな銀行員のお兄さんが、いろいろなが〜い案内や手続きをしてくれて、やれやれやっと終わったかなと思ったとき、私が余計なことを言った。

「さっきから感心してたんだけど、ハルヨって上手に正しく発音してくれてありがとうね。なかなか正しく発音してくれる人に出会わないのよ。」お兄さんの顔がパッと輝いた。「僕、子供の頃からキャプテン翼の大ファンだったんだ」「僕の名前はカケローだって言いふらしてた時期もあったんだ」「日本に憧れてる。いつか日本に行ってみたいんだ」などなど、とくとくと話し出した。

12世紀にパキスタン北部をジンギスハーンが侵略した際のモンゴル人の残兵の末裔がいまだに住んでいる部落があるそうな。お兄さんはその部落の出身で人種的にはモンゴル人、パキスタンで生まれ育ち、イギリスで教育を受けたと言う。現在はもちろんカナダ人。

うわー面白いバックグラウンドだね〜。カナダらしいなあ。

そこでハタっと思った。私はなんだろう。一体全体何人なんだろう。

そう。私は日本人の両親のもとに日本で生まれ日本で育った。人種的には完璧に日本人だ。13歳で渡米して中学2年から大学1年までのむずかしい時期にアメリカの学校に行った。18歳で日本に帰って日本で大学4年まで過ごし、日本人と結婚して日本で子供3人が生まれた。子供達が8歳6歳3歳の時にカナダに渡り、もはや30年。その間に夫とは離婚、子供達はカナダで成人した。私は大学院で学んだり教育や建材や音楽の仕事をしながら必死で子供達を育て、20年前にカナダ人と再婚した。パスポートは日本のパスポートだけど、生活の拠点ははカナダで、カナダの永住権を持つ。

うーん…😓、私はアメリカ人でないことは確か、でも日本人なのかカナダ人なのかは迷うところ。

2週間ほど前、日本からカナダに帰ってくる飛行機の中で到着時間の30分〜40分くらい前かな。なんとなく飛行機の現在位置を示すスクリーンを見ていたら、Comox 上空と出た。「え?Comox?」と思ったらPowell Riverという文字も出てきた。ということは… Comox とPowell Riverの間にタクセーダ島は位置するから…もしかして、今私はタクセーダ島の上空を飛んでいるのかも❣️

厚い雲にさえぎられて下界は全然見えないんだけど、私の愛するタクセーダ島はすぐ真下なんだ〜。

私は帰ってきたんだ…!

なんとも言えない喜びとときめきが心の深〜いところからフツフツと湧き上がってきた。そんな心の反応に当の私が驚いた。

日本人の顔をして、日本に親族がいて、人々も文化も言葉も食べものも日本の全てがが大好きな私なんだけど、やっぱり私はカナダが愛しい。私の心はあもうカナダ人なのかなぁと思った瞬間だった。

それにしても日本とカナダ、どちらも美しくて人間的で優しくて誠実な国。どちらにも私を待っててくれるひとがいるって素晴らしいことだよね。感謝。

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

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