January 10th, 2011
One way in which volunteers are supporting the film is by transcribing. Transcribing interviews and b-roll, help us when it comes time to edit as it allows us to save time and narrow down our selection of responses. It also helps us prepare for subsequent interviews since we can review what we’ve asked in the past and discover what is still needed. Since we are still filming, we are asking our transcribers to offer any suggestions of what they find interesting in the particular interviews and give us feedback. It’s a great way to have an insider’s look into the filmmaking process.
That being said I want to introduce you to our rockstar transcriber Virginia! Virginia and I shared a plane ride back from San Francisco to Tokyo nearly a year ago when this film was still an idea. I’m so happy to have met her and grateful for her support~
Name: Virginia Haruna Vaughn
Mix: Mother—Japanese, Father—Caucasian American
Volunteering as: Interview transcriber
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, USA
Time spent in Japan: A year and a half as a child + annual visits growing up + over two years as an adult = 4+ years
Your experience growing up as hafu: My family lived in Yokohama when I was 5 and 6, which was around the time I became acquainted with the term “gaijin”. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the word, but I remember feeling extremely embarrassed and self-conscious when my “gaijin” dad would pick me up from my Japanese kindergarten and speak to me in English—and even more embarrassed when he attempted to speak in Japanese!
From an early age, I’ve been aware of my mixed background but it wasn’t until later that I started to see my multiracial heritage as a truly positive and wonderful thing.
Any changes as an adult? I’ve been able to shape my own identity, which incorporates both of my roots. Starting from my teens, I became frustrated with the limitations of trying to choose one racial identity over the other. Now, I find it incredibly freeing to be able to identify with multiple cultures, instead of being tied to only one.
Why you are supporting the film: The hafu experience is one that is very personal to me and one that is especially complex in a historically homogenous society, like Japan. As the country continues to become more heterogeneous, I think it’s important that hafu experiences are shared.
What do you hope is the outcome of the film: I’m very honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the film—even in such a small way. I hope it encourages viewers to reconsider what it means to be a member of a society and to recognize that cultural and national identities are changing.