Dear Professor Murphy-Shigematsu,

I have carefully perused your post and am really impressed by the way you have managed to balance two diverse cultural background which have made you who you are NOW. Since my PhD research is closely connected to your post, I have noticed a striking similarity between your and my 'haafu' participants' lived experiences. I have read many of your publications related to the 'haafu' in the Japanese and American contexts and found that regardless of the context, mixed-race individuals share similar experiences related to their past, present and future selves. What is more interesting, my participants (aged between 34 and 52) still find themselves culturally homeless, despite my naive expectations that people in their 50s should know for sure who they are. Far from it! 'Haafu' identity seems to be fluid, situated, portable and co-constructed, depending on the interlocutor.
When I first started living in Japan (20 years ago), my host father told me about the Japanese 'ma' many times, which I could not understand back then due to my poor Japanese language proficiency. However, as time went by, I learnt about the 'ma' throughout the communication and observation of Japanese cultural norms and social mores. Being a foreigner in Japan (20 years of permanent residence), I do believe that while it is hard to 'grasp' the 'ma' at the beginning, it becomes internalized with the experience, which has now become a part of me, as the SELF. I look forward to reading your future blogs and publications.
Kind Regards,

Alexandra Shaitan.