Day 173: Woke is a joke

Day 173: Woke is a joke

Friday, June 22, 2018

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko is an intergenerational tale of a Korean family that moves to Japan; all the dramas, the filial piety, the struggles against prejudice… all of that kind of stuff. It’s been celebrated at many book and writer’s festivals, and it was put forward to me by a new acquaintance as a book I really need to read.

I know that she is excited about the prospect of talking about Asian cultural issues with an actual Asian, and that she hopes to impress me with just how ‘woke’ she is.

The truth is, the complex relationship between Japan and Korea, Japan and China, Japan and practically every other east Asian country on the planet is soooo last Thursday to me. It was all of last month, and the month before that. In fact, it’s been going on since before I was even born. I guess it’s something she’s only been aware of in the few nights she spent reading the book, and then spent a few hours chatting about it with a friend over a smashed avo and turmeric latté.

I don’t want to lie to her. I try to let her down gently.

“Yeah… I can see how that might appeal to a Western audience.”

You could see the confusion and disappointment on her face. Sweet lord, I’ve become my father.

 

 


About today’s photo: I imagine the sideways glance I gave her looked something like this.

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