I Wish I Had Seen Wendy Kweh Play Calpurnia When I Was a Kid

I was a member of the ‘mob’ audience of Nicholas Hytner’s stunning production of Julius Caesar (2018) at the Bridge Theatre, and aside from being completely blown away by the production itself and the incredible level of talent from Ben Whishaw, Michelle Farly, and the whole cast, there was one person whom I found so personally inspiring.

When Wendy Kweh graced the stage in all her elegance, I paused for breath. In that space, seeing an incredibly talented actor of Asian ethnicity onstage as a distraught Calpurnia, a realisation hit me like a wave: in all my years of growing up and going to the theatre, as far as I can recall, I had never seen an Asian actor in a professional Shakespeare play in the UK before. Moreover, I had not even realised this fact until I saw Kweh onstage, standing in front of me. I had subconsciously accepted that it did not happen – even to the extent that I had not consciously thought about it at all. Continue reading “I Wish I Had Seen Wendy Kweh Play Calpurnia When I Was a Kid”

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Because We Are Taught Not to Complain

In response to actual YouTube “make-up tutorial” videos: Being hafu is NOT a make-up look which you can wipe off at the end of the day. It is your skin.

It’s hard to be a woman. Everyone has their own story. I’ve been socialised not to complain, but actually, I’d like to take some time and space to acknowledge that sometimes it can be hard to be hafu (half-Japanese, half-“other”). In a global context, we’re a relatively small ethnic category with fairly specific cultural issues and barriers. But so many people have identity crises and doubts about “belonging”, so perhaps others will be able to relate in some way as well. I feel that it’s important for other hafu or biracial women out there to know that it’s ok to feel that it can be hard sometimes. It’s ok to feel. I’m in no way pretending that my life is one of terrible struggles or that my life is awful, but I do have a story. It’s called:

Just Because I’m Biracial, Why Do I Have to Balance Two Patriarchal Ideals of Beauty?

Continue reading “Because We Are Taught Not to Complain”

Halfie Hour: Alexandra Luo

Konnichiwa, Thinking Japlish readers. Today I have an exciting gem of a blog post: an interview with another fellow Eurasian and dear friend of mine who is half Chinese, half British. I hope that you enjoy the interview below, when we asked our guest all about her experiences of biculturalism.

Alexandra Luo Continue reading “Halfie Hour: Alexandra Luo”

Tadaima, Tokyo

Narita airport greeted me exactly how a best friend would after a long-haul flight: with cameras poking in my face, keen to capture the red-eye and frazzled expressions. As soon as I came out of security, there was a Japanese TV crew waiting to capture the faces of backpackers who had come to Japan to find some adventure. Not so keen to have my dazed, exhausted, and pallid face on TV, I tried my best to melt away into the background.

Another fellow passenger (who had also come from the UK) did not share this wish of avoiding them. Dressed in the style of a Harajuku girl, with three or four grey roses in her hair, blonde locks, white tights and a cream dress, she soon attracted the attention of the film crew. I watched with amusement whilst sipping my CC lemon from a vending machine in the waiting area as one of the members of crew spotted her and rallied his colleagues. The whole crew sprinted over to her in what I can only describe as a very Japanese-like fashion. In the UK people try so hard to make it onto the silver-screen of daytime TV; in Japan it really is no hard task. I made a mental note to dress in a more eye-catching costume the next time I touched down.

Continue reading “Tadaima, Tokyo”

Tokyo Has Lungs

In the largest metropolis in the world, the crowds bustling around you become a blur. Shibuya lies at the heart of this vibrant city. To me, standing in the middle of Hachiko crossing, the path of about one million people per day, I feel as if I’m at home.

Continue reading “Tokyo Has Lungs”