"What my grandparents experienced, what kind of people gave birth to and raised my father, all this represents an impossible knowledge. Does culture ordinarily form a net of remembrance, a safety guard against forgetting? Does it provide the individual with at least some clues, some vague outlines, from which to discern his family history? All I have are these doubts and feelings of loss, these questions which pull me on, step by step, a dance of folly. Over and over, knowing it is futile, I try to create my own myth of history." --David Mura, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei
In a world where everyone is competitive rather than collaborative in order to be number one or to have more than others, we often forget why we do what we do and how we began doing something because it fed our soul. I began doing genealogy for knowledge -- to know the truth. I still do that for my family and for others because I believe that by studying and dissecting the past and seeing how it works (or failed to do so), we can understand the present to then be smarter and more prepared about the future. When we shed the obligations, competitions, territory fencing, we may find we only know about what turf we are protecting rather than looking further. We may disappear without knowing the truth and that freaks me out.
David Mura's book Turning Japanese had many captivating parts that fed my genealogy soul. Trying to understand our grandparents and parents when we are cultures and countries apart is hard, but Mura is able to convey this in a narrative that is quickly readable. And if you do not have Japanese ancestry, that does not mean it does not transcend other cultures and ethnicities. Trying to understand the core of humanity goes beyond ethnicities because the commonalities are astounding.
David Mura, Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei
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