ハーフ (Hafu): On the Fetishization and Mistranslation of a Biracial Identity
Hafu carries insinuations of otherness; of not belonging, but being fetishized. How do I carry this name and this history at once?
This isMistranslate, a monthly column byNina Li Coomesabout language, self-expression, and what it means to exist between cultures.
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Nina Li Coomes is a Japanese and American writer, currently living in Chicago, IL. Her writing has appeared in EATER, The Collapsar, and RHINO Poetry among other places. Her debut chapbook haircut poems was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2017.
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More by this author
You’re Going to Be Cared For: A Recipe for Braised Chicken Thighs
A Le Creuset Dutch oven telegraphs contentment and cheer—but for me, mine is a token of complicated bitterness and longing.
‘Bad Sisters’ Captures the Intensity of Having and Being a Sister
My sister is not my best friend. She is my sister. Those are fundamentally different relationships.
I’ll Teach You Everything I Know: A Recipe for Ninjin-gohan
What a gift it is to be asked to feed a person, but what a further gift for that person to ask if they might be taught to make what you make.
More in this series
切ない (Setsunai): When You Need a Word to Hold Both Sorrow and Joy
‘Setsunai’ implies something once bright, now faded. It is the painful twinge at the edge of a memory, the joy in the knowledge that everything is temporary.
憂鬱 (Yuutsu): When Mental Health Is Mistranslated
How could I navigate my Japanese-language emotions in pursuit of a Western psychiatric label?
FMA and Me: Reckoning With Anime as Japanese and American
The affectations of white anime enthusiasts made me feel fake, confusing my yearning for the language and familiarity I craved.