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Great article by Mistress Matisse in her regular column for the Stranger. It's about some not-so-attractive symptoms some folks are showing around their fascination with Japanese rope bondage.

Rant: On her blog I saw a reply from one of her readers in her blog (scroll down to Feb 10th entry) that corrected her that I'm not Japanese because I have a US citizenship. Huh? Since when do we lose our culture, upbringing, ethnicity, identity because of a US citizenship? Grrrr
The reality is that I wasn't allowed a Japanese citizenship even though I was born and raised in Japan, and couldn't much speak English. Japan has (or had) an ethnicity based citizenship qualification. I'm a halfbreed bastard. They would not give me a citizenship. Even as I was born, raised and cultured as Japanese, I had to be finger printed by law enforcement (as a baby even!), leave the country every year and had to qualify for a resident alien visa. The US State Department and Embassy at least recognized that I had a right to a US citizenship from one parant. Thank goodness for that. There are many children all over the world that do not quality for citizenship based on the law of the land that defines citizenship based on ethnicity. (It was so in the US until 1866). They have no country, no rights, no protection save what their parents can give them. It really annoys me when people confuse ethnicity, identity and citizenship. Dispite being officially and practically unwanted by my own culture and country, I am proudly Japanese. I'm also proudly of my chosen country. I'm one of the earlier of the new generations of Japanese - the new species, the little monsters. Many of us, especially women, left the country to go where there were more choices for us.
So that blog reply is a smack in my face. grrrr.
Ok, rant over - because it's a beautiful day in San Francisco today... and I have tons of stuff to do before leaving for Seattle and Portland tomorrow.


( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 16th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
Literally bastard?

My nephews are half-breed, too, but legitimate. I wonder if they also have to go through this. My brother's Caucasian, my sister-in-law Japanese, and my nephews were born in Japan and live there.

You're Japanese as far as I'm concerned.
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
Yup, literally a bastard. The chromosome providers were not legally bonded by the prevailing authority and law of the land.
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
Sigh it all gets so complex.
In a lot of ways it reflects the inaccuracies within the whole "Shibari" terminology war that’s been raising its head lately.
Nothing more dangerous than a westerner with a JEDI and no real understanding about how other languages work or the culture behind them.

As a side not there is a move in congress (tho not successful) yet to repeal that part of the 14th amendment that makes being born here an automatic in regards to being a citizen. Its part of the “close our borders movement” to remove the incentive for immigrants to come here and have kids just so they can stay.

Too many people have read it off a website and well just don’t get it.

So sayeth
Dogma Nawashi69.00000000001
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
That was funny. Good post in your blog. * giggle *
(no subject) - jaspamaster - Feb. 16th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC)
Sorry to read about that sort of nonsense.
Interestingly enough, I was born to two American citizens in Germany which evidently (as far as I understand, and I could easily be wrong) gave me dual citizenship in the BRD up until I didn't show up for my compulsory national service at age 18.

Identity is such a tricky thing...
Feb. 17th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Sorry to read about that sort of nonsense.
I'm not sure if that's correct. People of Turkish descent who have lived in Germany for generations are not German citizens.
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
I suppose the ridiculous extreme of debating what Japanese bondage is would eventually come around to what Japanese is -- depending on your definition of what "is" is.
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
No! thats "is" to you ;-)
Oddly that topic has come up "Shudder"
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't let it get to you. I'm all american mutt as far as I can tell. That doesn't prevent me from trying to honor some of my irish ancestors. :) For some reason what comes to mind with this is, families aren't so much biological anymore. I've disowned all but my two sisters after my father's funeral this year. Because the nephew my dad raised wasn't shown the least ammount of respect by my mother's side. As if his loss wasn't as great as theirs. I've come to the conculsion that families are created as we go along in life. The bonds we make, the people we turn to, and the common ideals we share. The narrow minds with never change, no matter what thier origin. It's how you identify, and how you feel in your heart that help make you the person you are. If you believe that you are Japaneese, then it's enough for me to say that you are. I hope that made some sense.
Feb. 16th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
thanks for the support.
It's not that I believe that I am Japanese. It's not a matter of belief. It's not a choice here. I am ethnically and culturally Japanese. My rant was about how some poeple mistake citizenship for ethnicity.
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
Tsh yeah...You're not Japanese. Hell, why stop there...you're not a top either...more of a service bottom...and you only wear jeans and fannypacks, and its really hard to get you to wear bras cause they don't feel "natural" to you...and you hate the queers...
Feb. 16th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
bwa ha ha ha!
hey, how you healing?
(no subject) - nickdandy - Feb. 16th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
It amazes me that this was even a question.

1) Why does anyone care
2) How could anybody doubt your heritage?
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
This is such a problem... I visited Thailand recently and was at an orphanage where this seems to be the main problem of obtaining even the basics of education.

Feb. 16th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
I left a response and saw that you left a very good response...
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)

kbbq discussion for certain

when in feb are you back home?
i return on the 20th
Feb. 16th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
I return from Portland/Seattle/Vancouver on night of 22nd. Then afternoon of 25th I leave for Dallas. Will be back on 27th. Will be around that week, mostly. BBQ then?
Missed you!
(no subject) - kumimonster - Feb. 19th, 2006 11:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fd_midori - Feb. 19th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
*sighs* sometimes people open their mouths and insert both feet. The "article" that was quoted attempting to label you as only a US citizen is pretty silly... To me, where one is born has a lot to do with their own idenity. It stinks that Japan wouldn't give you citizenship... seems way too complicated if you ask me.
I am German and European Mutt, and I'm very proud of my german heritage, and to boot, I can trace my liniage back to Daughters of the American Revolution on both sides of my family. There is plenty in my heritage that makes me proud.

For whatever its worth, I highly respect you for ALL of your cultural background, and admire that you are so proud of it.
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
You know, the idea of identity brings up the fact that _I_ dont feel 'indian' enough. I'm very westernized, having been raised here, tho I was born in India, and had to be naturalized in the United States.

Someone recently said to me when I was complaining about the state of the US, "well, you can always move back," and I was so _angry_ -- what do you mean, 'move back'? as if because I was an immigrant, I somehow wasnt as 'good' as someone born here, tho I'd lived 34 out of 35 years on American soil.

Anyway, it did bring up all sorts of realizations that I _do_ need connection with my home culture and stifling that was as dangerous as not accepting I lived here in the USofA and dealing with its dominant culture.

Feb. 16th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Welcome to collectivism -- it sucks.
I don't want to upset you or insult you, but you claim to embrace the Japanese culture and yet your mode of thinking is very Occidental. You're an individualist. It's such an interesting irony, despite the addmittedly unenviable fact that you find the dichotomy so frustrating and distressing.

I think the secret is that you can be Japanese anywhere. I know so many westerners enamoured of Japanese culture. Surely there are many people of Japanese ancestry who, nevertheless, are pervaded by western philosophical influences. You could find them if that's the kind of community you desire. You're an individual, and from what I have read, an advocate of accepting people for what they are as individuals, more than which culture or group has accepted them. You are not your U.S. citizenship. The trick is to rememeber that you would not be your Japanese citizenship either, even if you were granted that.

The point is, the world is a big place, and there are plenty of places to fit into it and find community where you would be happy and comfortable. Not all Japanese people live in Japan. You are as you define yourself and as you choose to be.
Feb. 16th, 2006 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Welcome to collectivism -- it sucks.
yup and yup.
The rant was about some dude who was trying to say that I'm not Japanese because I have a US Citizenship. blah!
Feb. 16th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
Gotta love it... NOT!
I am a first generation American born from Mexican parents, when I was 7 yrs old my mom and I moved back to Tijuana, Mexico. Talk about cultural identity issues!! I wasn't "Mexican enough" for the Mexicans becuse I wasn't Mexico born and Spanish was not my first language, I was viewed as a Mexican by my American friends and to top it off I wasn't even viewed as a Chicano by the Chicano community either! Through all this I am very proud to say I am a Mexican American, cuz in the end, that is what I am!
Feb. 16th, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Gotta love it... NOT!
Yeah, you get it. Dead on. Thanks.
It's something that's really hard to explain to mono-cultural people and I know I'm not doing a good job with it...
so, really thanks.
Re: Gotta love it... NOT! - nytes_heart - Feb. 17th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Gotta love it... NOT! - pantryslut - Feb. 16th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 16th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)

I think, regardless of your official citizenship status, you're still considerably more qualified to comment on japanese culture than a bunch of white guys in bathrobes.

You mentioned similar thoughts to those express in the article whilst you were over here in October, and it all came flooding back to me when i was watching a demo by a UK 'Nawashi'. Seems so many people feel the need to hide the fact that they enjoy tying people up and wrap it up in imagined ideology and words they don't really understand.
I really loved the attitude you had in the class I helped with, it was actually really refreshing to hear someone saying; hey, we're doing this cuz it's hot right?
...without all the bs that seems to be getting attached to rope bondage at the moment.

Feb. 16th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
I <3 Midori
God, this made me laugh. You're so damned sensible. That's what I like about you. Too many people in "the scene" take it and themselves so damned seriously, and they just make me laugh. Like you say, if we're not having fun, why are we doing it?

Anyway, I've linked to this in my own blog now, and am now trying to readjust my schedule so I can go to your class at the Wet Spot on Saturday. (My big question is: how the heck do I register? Neither their email newsletter or their website tell me anything ....)
Feb. 16th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: I <3 Midori
LOL. Thanks!
The Saturday class at the Wet Spot is one that I'm particularly proud of. It's a class I wished I had when I was new.
I am not sure about the registration.
How about you just show up?
Feb. 16th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Interestingly (to me, anyway)- this post of yours happened along on the very day I've spend some hours online and on the phone, trying to sort out a replacement for my Canadian Citizenship card- without which I have no proof of nationality, and can't get a passport. The administrivia required is truly boggleworthy.

I'm lucky enough to be a dual citizen. Born in England of a Canadian mother and a British father; I chose to become Canadian as an adult, but wouldn't have done so if unable to keep my cool and useful European Community passport.

Ethnic-based citizenship! That, my Lady, sucks most profoundly...
Feb. 16th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
From my perspective, it always sounds funny (not in the laughing way) when somebody says "she is a U.S. citizen not Japanese" or the like. It's a bit like "she is not Westfalian/Saxon/Frankish/Bavarian/whatever but German". Germany has been artificially made up by politics in the 19th century. (Soon after that a common enemy was badly needed to form a "German identity" and to unite the diverse people under the national identity "german"). The "Germans" didn't exist until 1871 - it goes back to the times, when the Romans kicked our fury butts.
All U.S. citizens I know are still proud of their heritage and even add their linage to their self-description like irish-american, afro-american, italian-american, scottish-american etc.
In the near future on this continent it will be spanish-european, dutch-european, polish-european (France will résist, and Bavaria moves to Texas) people - but we won't have to migrate - or maybe just a some hundred miles to get a well paid job. So there will be Dutch in Spain, but all will be Europeans in Europe with a cultural identity that takes more than just political agreements, treaties and common enmies.
Identity is individual and it comes a long way in time and attitude, it's so much more about family roots than politics or any government claiming your body as its property.

Btw. Germans don't speak german, we speak saxon, because that was the dominant superpower and "deutsch" is very, very close to "dutch". But all Germans have accents or even speak dialect that will always tell about our family heritage long before 1871, and the few people that don't have an accent come from the Hannover area or pretend to be better than others. And I met so many U.S. citizens who have accents and gestures that tell me that speaking american english is just a consensus made up to make it possible to all these diverse people to communicate - well, the English were the U.S.Saxons - House of Hannover.

Still, does it matter? It shouldn't, but it does. Just ask a jewish person how he or she defines "national identity" or citizenship.
Feb. 17th, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Unfortunately ignorance like that isn't rare. My American extended family is still surprised that I identify as Canadian. Considering I've lived in Montreal for a cumulative two decades I don't know why they're so surprised.
Fortunately the Canucks weren't as discriminatory and were pleased to allow me citezenship in their fine land.
Feb. 17th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
At risk of taking the wrong tact here—

I saw a reply from one of her readers that corrected her that I'm not Japanese because I have a US citizenship.

I’m going to assume you‘re referring to John U.s comment, not the one that MM deleted. If that is the case, I have to say I think you’re over-reacting and misunderstanding the intent of that post.

I am not a good friend of Mr. U. - In fact it seems the few times he and I have had dealings, he ends up apologizing to me because he’s disappointed me (at least in his eyes). But I know he’s a good person and intended no disrespect by his comment, either personally or culturally. Without asking him, I’m sure he was only trying to make the information complete and correct. (A western fetish, I know.)

Mr. U. has a long history in the Seattle kink community, littered with his generosity. Last night I sat and watched him spend nearly three hours of his time dealing with the issues of the board of a local community center. Without pay or glory. I doubt there’s twenty people out of the more-than-a-thousand who use that center who could correctly identify him as doing that service. (I couldn’t before last month, and I’ve been going there since it started.)

To the best of my knowledge, neither you or he are the sort to be vindictive, and I’m sure if you and he met you would find each other to be good people with much in common.

Thank you for listening to my (perhaps ill advised) remarks.

I hope to see you when you’re in town.

Take care, play hard and always have fun.

Feb. 19th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
I am sure he's a nice man. And he is still incorrect and wrongly informed to say that I am not Japanese because I'm American or have a US Citizenship. I am correcting his error as well as ranting about common mistake made of confusing citizenship/ethnicity/culture/.
Feb. 17th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
mono-cultural, I like that :)
I think a real issue is the American tendency to "identify with my heritage" based on a theoretical notion.

"I am French," said a woman I knew from Kansas. "My ancestors emigrated three generations ago. I have the family tree going back 13 generations."

Now, I think that's something to be proud of, and I absolutely applaud an interest in your family and your roots.

But that doesn't actually make her French. Now, if she was brought up (even in Kansas) by a French-speaking Grandmother who taught her how life was lived in a small village in Bourdeaux (or Paris, or wherever) then I have some sympathy.

But that sort of being "French" is not related to Midori's being Japanese. It's just not even in the ballpark. Because people identify themselves based on their immigrant ancestry, there tends to be a suspicion (I think) of people calling themselves something whilst holding US citizenship.

I am German-American, I grew up in both countries, I speak both languages, I identify with both cultures. I was "the Kraut" in California and "the Ami" (doesn't sound that nasty but isn't meant in a friendly way) in Germany. I am from both and I am not fully accepted by either. If I only held one citizenship, the entire culture that I grew up with would be completely dismissed by a lot of people.

It's worse for my son. He has German and US-American citizen (via me) but has never lived in either country. He was born and mainly raised in the UK and absolutely has no concept of US lifestyle other than television and random influences by me. He doesn't speak German. To top that off, we live in Spain (and yes, he speaks fluent Spanish).

His citizenship is nothing but a means to a travel document to him, it is not in any way connected to who he is.

"Where are you from," is a question he doesn't have a simple answer to and never will.
Feb. 17th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
Re: My Blog Reply
I sympathize with your annoyance, and it wasn't my intention to annoy you, although at age 62 I am at peace with the fact that I am sometimes taken as annoying. I don't confuse citizenship with ethnicity, and I do think you spent most of this entry making my point. I could bloviate at length about my considerable personal and professional credentials in the area of ethnicity, but perhaps it will help to tell one story.

In the 1980's I had a very talented client who was at least third generation American. Her father was Chinese-American and her mother was Japanese American. She went to Japan to study Kyogen, the classic Japanese comedic theater. She was concerned about how seriously she might be taken both as a woman and as an an American of mixed Asian heritage. When she brought that up to the master, he smiled and told her not to worry about it. He said she was one of the "new people" and that she should take what she could from the traditions and use them in her way.

I like the idea of the New People. Whether mixed race or not, these are the people who are leaving the bitter, cruel, ignorant aspects of ethnic culture behind while celebrating the wise and beautiful aspects. Being a new person is a much more positive and useful concept than feeling caught between cultures.

I grew up feeling alienated to both my ethnic community and the maintstream American community. I'm not sure I get to be a new person, but my Japanese-Korean-Hungarian-Polish-Lithuanian-German-Jewish children definitely do.

John Ullman

Feb. 17th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Context is everything
Hi John,

I almost responded to your comment over on Matisse's blog. At the time I read it your comment made me uncomfortable because I have heard Midori talk about herself and I had the feeling she would disagree with what you said. What I was thinking of posting was something on the order of "I believe that Midori self-identifies as Japanese."

Midori has probably met you, but she doesn't have the history with you that us decade-plus Seattle kinksters do. She doesn't know what you've done for us, how dedicated you've been, how warm and patient and good natured and hard working and talented you are. With a background like yours, when miscomunication or misunderstandings occur one would hope they could be patiently and cheerfully resolved so that good work and good will can continue to flourish.

Thanks, John, for all you've done, and for all you continue to do. We love you.

- Silver
Re: Context is everything - cgmp - Feb. 17th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Context is everything - fd_midori - Feb. 19th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 17th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
Go Ahead;..... RANT!!!!
Don't ya just hate bein'; "mislabled"?

....But, Ya know, Sweetness... a woman like you gets under estimated and mislabled all the time.

....makes it easier for them to dismiss you as a person ....a person who really counts for something.
Seems to me that; "strong vibrant brilliant beautiful women" get slammed socially all the time...Like it's; okay to be vivacious...okay to be brilliant, good to be beautiful....Just don't be ALL those things and a woman too!!!

...PEOPLE just can't seem to handle all that in a woman!!.....So, of course they'd rather label YOU a fake and a phony...or worse....Then, they can go on believing themselves superior to you. It's much easier for them to buy into their own bullshit, that way.

Speaking from experience and reading your letter... helped me to understand these constantly reoccurring social circumstances for myself....So, THANKS!!!

Feb. 18th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
My father was English and (because he died when I was very young) I didn't know him and far from wanting to explore this aspect of my ancestry, I couldn't care less. I'm an Australian who's somewhat uncomfortable with strident patriotism.

In contrast, my mother (who was adopted) has been researching her ancestry and finding a great sense of belonging and comfort in locating relatives etc. For whatever reason (perhaps undiagnosed mild autism :)), I can't relate to her need to find family. It even feels strange when I make the conscious connection that Mum's relatives must also be related to me.

I suppose what I'm driving at is that your sense of belonging to a group/culture/family depends greatly on your own personality and ability to make emotional connections.
Feb. 19th, 2006 02:36 am (UTC)
not japanese
Culture is subjective. We who get to be of multiple culture get our collective chains jerked frequently because we aren't enough like the dominant culture or we aren't "pure" enough for the culture of origin.
Personally I am Finnish/Saami/American, only no one bothered to tell me that we weren't in Finland anymore when they sent me to school. I really didn't know what to do with that ugly flag or all this harsh sounds the other children were making (yes that would be english....)Not that I am not a proud American, but a mention might have been nice Muami (I doubt grandma reads my emailing as she is dead....but who knows where cyberspace goes)
The reason I was shuttled between countries was that I too am a bastard. My "father" is some reindeer herder mom took to bed or sailor or....well mom wasn't exactly the monogamous type (I think it is genetic)
When I was eighteen, I received a letter from the US government informing me that the US would not acknowledge my Finland citizenship as I would most certainly prefer the US.
Sometimes I wonder....and in today's climate I am very tempted to run down to the Suomi Consulate here in LA and see what the Finns think. Just in case the right wing succeeds is killing the Constitution
and I need to shuttle all us kinky/queer/liberals to sunny Helsinki
And for you Midori I'll stuntcunt anytime.....
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