Jodie Chiemi Ching

Because I am a writer for The Hawai‘i Herald and an Okinawan performing artist, people might think that I’m the type of mother who forces my two sons, 14-year-old Gavin and 12-year-old Cameron, to attend or participate in Japanese and Okinawan cultural activities. Actually, I rarely do. I try to encourage them to find their own path in life. While I enjoy playing 300-year-old Okinawan music that my boys say sounds like “tortured animals,” Gavin says he would “rather play music people actually want to listen to.” How rude!

There are occasions, however, when I feel it would be beneficial for them to learn about their ancestral roots and Asian American heritage, despite their monkutare moans and groans.

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