It would be wholly dishonest to say I have dealt with the problem well; but in my personal experience I have seen transformations of my thought, whose culmination isn’t so trite as “I have gained useful experiences from both cultures”!
But allow me to declare that I will approach this topic from the more fragile, Japanese side.
My childhood, from years three to ten, was spent in Japan.
Strangely, though I lived in Tōkyō—the center of action—my mind recalls almost a pastoral perfection from this period.
Being at times slightly better at navigating class material, I am sometimes asked questions.
It may be a quick clarification for a passage in a novel, or an explanation of some concept in chemistry, or tips in computing a tricky integral. ” Most of the time, the conversation will end quickly, and the inquirer will leave with nothing more than the added knowledge that some languages are written in different directions.It is difficult for me to ascertain exactly what caused this change, but two possibilities seem the most likely.First, my increasing frustration with one of my passions, mathematics, convinced me to find an alternative topic of research, so that I could shift back and forth. On the surface, I see zealous students eager to spread their message, and demanding adults prodding them.This does not imply any geographic quality, but rather that life, because of my innocence, seemed detached: the summertime fireworks, with the delicious smoke, were severed from the piling of dark leaves and playing with sticks, and both of these were separate from the long walk along the river with friends, chasing after a milk bottle cap.Fly forward five years from my last year in Japan, and we are three years behind the present: there is a change; I live in Bothell; the mind is forming an opinion.Here are all the essays I wrote for admission to the University of Washington.The UW application actually did not allow unicode characters like smart quotes and em-dashes, nor did it accept italics, so the essays as displayed here are in their intended form, not as they were submitted.Intellectual curiosity can mean seeking useful information; however, research is only half of the experience.It is important also to use one’s creativity, to apply one’s learning to bring about something new.Second, my interest in literature as an art led me to an obvious starting point: works written in Japanese. The University of Washington seeks to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. And below, there is universal indifference, a kind of despair.But by now the obstacle is obvious: my ability to use the language had thinly escaped destruction. And here I am, one year later: I am still reading Ōe; I have returned to Japan; I am unsure what the solution is, but endurance—what Ōe calls —is my tentative answer. But I cannot hold inside of me such ostentatious deceit—at least, not for long. I like to see myself as a stone, sunk at the bottom of a deep and sedulous river.