Maneuvering Margins – Adventures From The Between


It didn’t take long after I moved from a cramped apartment I couldn’t afford on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to a friend’s house in Astoria, a highly cultural yet homely neighborhood in Queens, that I began to notice that my surroundings had become more Japanese. Whether I was buying onigiri …

Five Places That Can Make a Hapa Feel at Home in NYC


For the first six years of my life, I was convinced that the United States and Japan were literally on different planets. During fourteen-hour red-eye flights from Narita to Ohio, I envisioned the airplane as a rocket ship, speeding through the silver clouds in the night sky. I was stupidly …

I Am Job


I was fourteen when I got my first job as a cashier at a Japanese convenience store in Lexington, Kentucky. We sold imported goods like Haichu and Pocky at inflated prices and welcomed each customer with a pleasant “irasshai mase!”



I know that the last time I said goodbye to my Grandfather, he told me he loved me very much. But when I look back at that moment, I can only see blurry flashes of memories that never existed.

A Day in a Life of a Not Quite New York Hapa Who Is Told She Looks Like Winnie Cooper From The Wonder Years


  8:15 a.m.

Nature vs. Nurture - Everything is going to be okay


As a bewildered immigrant child imported to the hills of central Kentucky from metropolitan Japan, I often found solace in torturing small animals.

On Isolation


I saw her picture on my computer screen after I pseudo-accidentally hacked into my boyfriend’s Facebook account. When you’re sharing a disintegrating relationship and a tiny bedroom with a partner, social networking sites left unattended morph into mere temptations of privacy invasion. By frequently using my laptop and forgetting to …

The Hapa Advantage


“Hybrids are better”—Shayne KaoFor as long as I’ve lived here, New York City winters have put me into voluntary solitary confinement. December through March is a particularly bleak period when everyone in the city seems to be wearing only black, and I want to do nothing but crawl under my …

Am I Unstable? Or am I just a Hapa?


I have an early memory of a “bowing war” that occurred between my Japanese grandmother and a visiting neighbor who had come to her home bearing gifts of mochi and tangerines in Shimabara. In my mind, the conversation went like this:

Suupaa Gaijin Justin Baldwin


Justin Baldwin hands me a business card. He is endearingly tense as he begrudgingly mingles at a benefit honoring his mentor Roger Shimomura—the infamous yet acclaimed artist known for his controversial social political art on Asian America. I immediately notice that Justin and I have two things in common.

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Leah is a first generation hapa from Lexington, Kentucky by way of Kamkura, Japan.
She is a writer/director based in Brooklyn, New York and contributes to Discover Nikkei through the A/P/A institute at NYU. Aside from DN, she is an artistic director and a founder of Everywhere Theatre Group ( everywheretheatre.org). She is also working on a book on hapa identity. She loves hearing from people at leahnana@gmail.com.


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