TOUR DATES Oct 23 - LAVA Space - Philadelphia, PA Oct 29 - The Sco (Oberlin College) - Oberlin, OH Oct 31 - Convention Hall (as X) - Asbury Park, NJ Nov 01 - Harrisburg Midtown Arts - Harrisburg, PA Nov 02 - Smiling Moose - Pittsburgh, PA Nov 03 - Mohawk Place - Buffalo, NY Nov 04 - The Garrison - Toronto, ON Nov 05 - Bar Le Ritz - Montreal, QC Nov 06 - Boston Hassle - Allston, MA Nov 07 - Columbus Theatre (Revival! 2015) - Providence, RI Nov 08 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY Nov 13 - Wesleyan University - Middletown, CT Nov 14 - Community School of Music - Ithaca, NY
“I always wanted to dress a certain way when I was younger, but I never had the courage to do it. Now that I’m older, I wear whatever I want. People always say, ‘Oh, I can’t wear something because I can’t pull it off.’ But I think that if you’re happy and comfortable wearing something, then you can pull it off. You might look back one day and think, ‘I can’t believe I thought that was a good fashion idea’ but everyone should be free to experiment with how they look. “This applies to everything: life itself is a never-ending trial period of experimentation and figuring out what works. My mom’s tried all sorts of things for a career: she went to school here to study piano and she works at a bank now, but she’s thinking of buying a farm and raising animals.”
“My mother is Japanese and my father is American. I only just recently reconciled these identities. In middle school, my Asian-ness was a quirky thing about me. I made Asian jokes about myself so my white peers would accept me, making a caricature of myself as the ‘Asian person’. At the time it was really important for me to connect with people who had the same cultural characteristics as myself, but I couldn’t find anybody. So, I tokenized my Asian identity. “Later, I realized that making my Asian-ness a central part of my identity was harmful—there were so many other facets of myself that didn’t have to do with that. It affected how people interacted with me: when I earned a good grade, people would say, ‘Of course, you’re Asian.’ “I then decided to go to the opposite end and shun my Japanese heritage by pretending I was white. That was my strategy for a few years. Without even realizing it, I internalized certain racisms against Asian people. I saw them as inferior, which made me want to identify with my ‘white’ self even more. “Finally, last semester I went to a giant cultural celebration for people of color. I saw a Japanese Taiko performance, which made me think of when I was a kid going to Japanese festivals—I would be so excited about everything Japanese. I almost cried and realized that I love a lot of Japanese culture, and that it was a part of who I am. I needed to revisit how I thought about my racial and cultural identity: what it was that I felt, why I felt it, and how I wanted to identify myself from that point on. I went back to Japan for a month and fell in love with the culture again. That was very important, because I shunned it for so long. “So after a lot of processing this summer, I realize that I am in peculiar place between being a person of color and being white: I have too many privileges to identify as a person of color, yet I’m not white because of the way people label me as Asian and the shame I experienced as being Asian and Japanese. It’s a unique experience, being Japanese-American, and it’s important to know that this is who I am—no matter how people label me.”
cathyboy and I are giving a talk at Oberlin College on Dec. 1st, thanks to oberlincomicscollective. It’ll be free and goofy and open to the public. Find us in Wilder Hall, 135 W. Lorain Street, Oberlin, OH.
You can also catch us both tabling at genghisconcleveland on Sunday, Nov. 30th, from 2-7pm in The Lakewood Bldg, 13000 Athens, Lakewood, OH.