Up until that moment, I didn’t have a defined concept of race, ethnicity, or citizenship. I lived in Japan, didn’t that make me Japanese? Japan was my home. I rode the trains. I ate ramen and beef bowl with chopsticks. I took my shoes off when I came into the house. I would bow when I met new people and I never crossed the street without raising my hand way up high so the cars wouldn’t run me over.
I wore my kimono proudly. I did traditional Japanese dances and sang Kimigayo with as much vigor as I sang The Star Spangled Banner. I even understood the difference between Valentine’s Day and White Day.
I spun in the warm, heavy, angled summer rains that made it impossible to see further than 6 inches from my nose. I laid on the floor during earthquakes to feel the earth roll beneath my back. I anticipated the turning of the Japanese Maple leaves in the fall.
I showered in the thousands of cherry blossom petals that fell when the spring winds blew; I wore them like I wear my own skin.