Student going through two worlds

Juggling two cultures


Yunmi Kim, reporter

Senior Yasmin Wiggan speaks English and Japanese. She juggles between the two different cultures on a daily basis. Wiggan was born in Nagasaki, Japan at a military hospital and went to Osaka during her preschool years.

She then moved to Hawaii with her mother to live with her father, “so that we could live together as a family,” Wiggan said, making her cope with a different culture.

Although she experienced many cultures , the most significant cultural differences that Wiggan’s experienced between her home country and the culture in America was the etiquette.

“I have to use keigo(higher form of speech) to the adults and to even people that are my age,” Wiggan said, and Japanese people are strict on manners. From this, Wiggan continues to  follow even the smallest things, such as saying “Thank you”or “Please”  in her daily life. When saying “Hello” to an adult, she must always bow her head slightly to greet them as a sign of respect.However, Wiggan explained that in America she saw that it was okay to just wave her hand to greet an hello, or even call them by their first name.

Even though there are cultural difference in her home country and in America, Wiggan was happy about the diversity in America.

“I am viewed as an individual, and not as a family,” Wiggan said, for she is half Japanese and half African American.

People in Japan viewed her mother and whether as a “mistake” because her mother not only divorced, but was a single mother. In America, people don’t really care or get surprised if somebody were to say that their parents are divorced. Also because America has many ethnicities in one country, compared to Japan that has mostly one ethnic group, this shows her how much of a difference these two countries have on their values, cultures, and viewpoints.