Chinese-Japanese Relations with youth and her family
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“Never buy a Japanese car or anything large that’s Japanese. We can’t forget what they did to us,” speaking in Chinese, my grandmother shook her head disapprovingly as she walked away from Japan House’s doors and into the parked car.
The Volvo deftly slid out from the Japanese restaurant drive way onto the service road. My mother who is driving in the front seat gives a soft reproaching glance at her mother-in-law. I immediately stop the tickle war with my brother and sank back into my seat. I’ve heard this talk before.
My grandmother turns towards the backseats where my sister and I sat, “It’s also best not to have a Japanese boyfriend unless he’s someone like Bill Gates. Then that’s okay. But try not to like anyone who is Japanese.”
Note: the common Chinese rule is to marry or date a non-Chinese over the family head’s dead body, few exceptions are made with some Sino-Asians.
“Mom, It’s okay, as long as its part of God’s plan, it’s alright,” my mother patiently sighed while her eyes were still trained on the road.
“As long as we remember what they did. They twisted the truth,” my grandmother responded with a frown. Turning towards the window, I stared at the passing scenery thoughtfully.
Actually, there was a time when I would love to live in Japan and personally I have an undying love for any Japanese food. Sushi. Sashimi. Tempura. Bring it. And my childhood anthem is the Japan’s Pokémon opening theme song along with several other anime.
When my mother took away my art supplies as a punishment when I was nine, I rebelled by learning how to fold origami. Even my best friend at lower school was half-Japanese.
However as a Chinese, my family would always remember the deaths and brutalities of the 1930s, and so I don’t call my grandmother’s requests unreasonable at all.
Along with many other Chinese and Taiwanese of my grandmother’s generation, they still remembered the Nanking Massacre and Japanese control respectively. Any female—former neighbors who were women, elderly, infants, and the youth—were dragged off by the dozens daily to be used as gory pleasures to the Japanese. Furthermore, no formal apology was made to the Chinese as many Japanese textbooks merely skipped over any mention of the Massacre. Growing up for the early years of my life at my grandmother’s house, this was a constant reminder of her distrust.
Individually, one of the greatest insults is not owning up to an action which is a betrayal of sorts. But as a person, who was born around 60 years later, I don’t hold any sort of a heated grudge that the generation of my grandparents may hold. I can’t say “forgive and forget” because it’s not my place to forgive so there’s nothing to forgive. I won’t forget either, because like any other national or personal tragedy, it won’t be erased. Not to say that, I should just sit sulking in the past, but I’ll leave it behind and take what I can gather from it.
But being a frequent customer for 16 sixteen years to Japan House, boycotting Japanese food just doesn’t happen.
“It’s okay if we go out and eat their food once in a while,” my grandmother opened the car door as we all headed back into the house.