Japanese | Swedish
I speak Japanese and Swedish. Swedish with my father and Japanese with my mother. I am an only child so ended up being the translator between them. Of course they speak English but English is not my mother’s mother tongue so there are certain things that you cannot express. It was a bit of a burden but on the other hand I got so much benefits from that. In work, whenever there are interactions between Japanese culture and European or western culture, I feel very comfortable helping people communicate because I have done that all my life. I worked for a Japanese company for a while and when they had meetings I often could see that communication was not happening. I would always not only literally translate but socially translate also. In Japanese culture you almost never say no so I would try to help or hint to the other side what was actually intended so that there was no miscommunication.
For me, I think that I can really understand Asian people in general, especially Japanese people and where they are coming from. What they are going through and what they are feeling. An awareness and an ability to empathise and sympathise. My father is an extremely generous, warm, loving and hugging kind of person. My mother is much more Japanese, much more conservative. I got really upset when I was younger with my mum and said, ‘why don’t you ever say you love me, all my other friend’s mums always say I love you, I love you’. So I asked that. I will never forget the one time she answered. She said, ‘I show you I love you every single day’. And she did. She made the most amazing packed lunches for me, she woke up early in the morning, made my breakfast, did everything for me. From that minute on, I was totally satisfied. I was like, you are right, it’s true. She has showed me every day in so many ways.