People back home call us “third-culture kids”. Hence the name, basically children who grew up in different countries, with different backgrounds infused in them.
I, Hibiki Sato (some people call me Hibs, Hibiscus, Hibby, etc.) was born in Japan, raised in China, and currently go to school in Savannah, GA.
Although I do have the three different cultures within me, my roommate who probably knows me the best described me as “Japanese deep inside, Chinese when you talk, and American culturally”. I guess I kind of know what she means by that, but...not quite at the same time.
Living in three different places, and also traveling to multiple countries, I observed and experienced a lot of things. There are four things that really stand out to me when traveling - language (of course), food, mannerisms, and fashion. Yes, fashion.
Western and Eastern are very different. The main difference? Skin exposure.
The first time I traveled to the States was 2014. Prior to going, I considered myself to be pretty influenced by western culture. Based on my “scandalous night out outfits”, my mother definitely agrees. I distinctly remember when we went to LA, we would see girls just wearing a bikini top, or a sports bra on the streets, and that was honestly so mind blowing. Today, I wouldn’t look twice if I saw a person wearing the exact same outfit, because that would probably be me.
On the other hand, Asia is a judgemental continent. Japan is the worst - people judge on the inside but will never ever say it out loud verbally. They won’t even tell you if you had lipstick on your teeth (the actual worst). Here in America, I would be considered a small. Back home, people see me as overweight and my grandmother is a constant reminder. Being bigger than a size 2 is considered unattractive and people are often shunned for it. Having a big butt is just un-womanly, period. So, society trained bigger people to wear clothes that hid their shape, and if you wore clothing that showed your big arms, rolls, etc, you’d get THE stares on the subway.
Japanese fashion in my opinion is often misinterpreted in the media. When people who are not from Japan think of Japanese fashion, they often envision the crazy colours, hairstyles, lolitas, and doll makeup. We call that Harajuku fashion, which means the people who dress like that only exist in an area called Harajuku, on Takeshita Street. Takeshita Street is only 437 yards long. Hopefully by now, you can get a pretty good idea on how niche Harajuku fashion is. Japanese people value social image a lot. Fitting into society is extremely important, and dressing like you’re in Harajuku is a major no-go for the majority of the population. It’s the sheep mentality, you know, because sheep travel in groups and follow each other...haha.
I came to an understanding that in western culture, especially in America, it doesn’t matter what you wear - as long as you are confident in what you are wearing, anything goes. Compared to Asia, people are much less judgmental.
It’s been 3 years, going on 4 living in the States. I wouldn’t say I had much of a culture shock coming in, but things are definitely a lot different here. Like any country, it has its pros and cons but I’m so glad I made the decision to come here. As for my future, I would love to start working my way into the beauty industry, preferably in fragrance. I just find it kinda cool how you can tell a person’s personality/values by the scent and brand of choice. The future is terrifying, but I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.