Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Click here for larger image.
Took the new Line 10 over to the 798 Art District to have breakfast with Lyanne. Lyanne is a former table tennis champion (Barcelona and Atlanta) from Brazil who had contacted me before the Olympics after reading one of my book reviews on Amazon.

We had a very interesting discussion. Lyanne is Japanese Brazilian. I didn't know this before she told me, but the largest contingent of Japanese outside of Japan is in Brazil. She told me that the 100th anniversary of the migration had been held just recently. Sure enough, when I looked it up, I found that migration began in 1908 with 791 people. That's actually quite a significant number of people for 1908. And you know how it is; one group of migrants attracts others, so there have been many more migrations through the intervening years--more than a hundred thousand in the twenties and thirties.

But what's really interesting now, is that many of these Brazilians have started to migrate back to Japan. Did you know that the largest contingent of Portuguese speaking people in Asia is in Japan? It's because of Japan's immigration laws. I was born in Japan, but it would be tough for me to become a Japanese citizen, because my parents were Norwegian Americans. But the Japanese coming from Brazil are able to become Japanese. At least legally. Socially and culturally it would almost certainly be a whole different matter. Of course I expect to be treated as a foreigner when I go back to Japan, even though it is my home. But I have talked to Japanese people who tell me that even after being away for a few years, they are looked at differently. Henna Nihonjin.

Thanks, Lyanne, for a very pleasant morning.

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