I think that most Canadians/Americans judge or assess people by their appearances first, thus for me it has always been the quickest and easiest to identify myself as Japanese or Japanese Canadian. As there were very few Asians in Coquitlam when I was in primary school, many people would ask, “Where did you come from?” In my early years, I would answer that I was Canadian and was born in New Westminster but that would rarely satisfy them. Thus that would usually beg the next question, “Well where did your parents come from?” My answer would be “Canada”. At this point, some of the questioners would become irritated and would ask, “Ok, well where did your grandparents come from?” I would usually start by saying my grandmother on my dad’s side was born in Vancouver but my other grandparents were born in Japan, and that would finally satisfy whoever was questioning me. Thus over the years, I would adapt by simply answering that I was Japanese Canadian.
Today, I truly feel that I am very much both Japanese and Canadian. As an adult, I have sought out to learn about my roots and today. I can very much relate and understand to both countries’ cultures and traditions, but I must say that I am still first and foremost a Canadian above all.