Laurie Toby Edison


Women of Japan 日本の女性

The Models’ Words モデルの言葉


レッベッカ・ジェニソン Rebecca JENNISON

So many people in today’s world are “of” more than one place. I feel that I am part of two places, two languages, two (or more) views of the world—and that they are part of me. I feel that I am neither “this,” nor “that.” But other people think they know which I am because they can see what I look like: when I go through immigration to enter the U.S., I am usually asked, “Did you have a nice vacation in Japan? I hear it’s beautiful there.” And when I return to Japan, the kindly immigration officer tries to direct me to the “Foreigners Only” line; I have to explain that I am a “permanent resident with a re-entry permit.”

None of the words for people who are neither “this” nor “that” seem to fit me—“gaikokujin,” “ex-pat,” “resident alien.” Laurie’s photograph helps me along: Here I am, more than a little exposed, and only partially visible. Immersed, and head well out of water. Nudged into a corner, and comfortably enveloped in warmth. Neither one nor the other. Both.

translation by the author