I was talking with my friend Nigeria in Venice and thought to share some of our conversations.
My friend Baba asked me, why do you do research? You are always carrying so many books and you live in a library. lol.
People are sometimes surprised to hear my research and my life. Maybe because a lot of people never really faced how deep this problem is in the society.
I spent 17 years in the Ryukyus (small islands in the south of Japan) and moved to many different parts of the world including USA, Tokyo, Scotland, Nagoya, Germany, Finland, Lapland.
I am writing a PhD thesis now but you should know my secret.
I never wanted to become a researcher.
A lot of my colleagues who are researchers or professors might be surprised but I never wanted to be a researcher. The purpose of my work was not to become a researcher. I just wanted to be myself.
It makes me sad to go to a conference and get comments like “you are so brave to come here.” “you are so exotic.”
For me the world I grew up was the centre of my world, until I came to study at the University, I did not know we have our own languages. Can you imagine how shocking it was for me? Until I was 17, I did not know. That is why I had to study more. It was not easy because I did not share the same “habitus” , what Bourdieu calls, with many of my friends.
I wanted to be Japanese but I cannot become completely like them because they look at me and tell me to speak in the language we are losing.
You can try to imagine everywhere I go, I become a minority.
Only in my island, I was a majority.
But after all the education I received to realize what is happening there, I am a minority also there now.
I do write because my family lost our languages and culture.
I do write because I experienced something sad in my family.
I do write because I just wanted to be myself.
I do write because I want to be myself.
I just wanted to be myself.
Being indigenous is not easy.