Number one question received in Japan: but where are you REALLY from?
Apparently, the global expectation for what-Americans-look-like is not me. I was asked by a Japanese man on the train. By Italian tourists at a sushi counter. By people in big cities and in smaller cities.
Happily, the American couple I met on Mt. Fuji believed that I was American right off the bat.
And oddly, the question bothered me less while abroad than it usually does in the US. Maybe it’s because vacation is too relaxing to get worked up over anything. And because I expect more from people who have spent their whole lives in a multicultural context. If you live in the United States, you should be familiar with the many types of people who make up the United States population. But if you’re used to living in an ethnically homogenous context, and your image of the US is based on TV shows and movies, then maybe I’ll cut you some slack. Because you’ve never encountered a mixed-race American in TV shows or movies and you’re understandably confused.