Thursday, June 12, 2008

To My Cousins in Mongolia

There are lots of benefits to being married to an employee of The Generations Network (aka, fka I know more about the digitization of the U.S. census records than I'd like to, for instance. I'm also scandalously close to the genealogical rumor mill--I'd be the first (or second or seven-hundred-ninety-fifth, depending on circumstances) to find out if it turned out that Barack Obama is 1/64th Mexican, which would solidify his title as Most Diverse Presidential Candidate Ever. But best of all, I got to send a Q-tip soaked in my father's spit, which they analyzed, categorized, labeled, and catalogued, ultimately forwarding me my Authoritative Declaration of Ethnic Origins in a nice email. From a strand of DNA in the mitochondria of a cell in my father's Orbit-laced saliva, the oracles at Ancestry's DNA lab have determined that I am Asian. (Or at least my great great great great (repeat infinitely) grandmother was; she came across the Bering Strait from Siberia into North America, down through Central America, and eventually into Venezuela).

Forget zodiac calendars, Tarot cards, and those paper fortune tellers from 4th grade. Knowing my haplogroup(s) explains so much about me. Now I understand my obsession with Korean food and my adoration of Zhang Yimou movies, including Raise the Red Lantern and To Live. Now I get why a Chinese woman thought my baby was Chinese, and why I found NPR's spotlight on Toshio Hirano, a Tokyo man that sings country and bluegrass standards with an old-time country twang for starstruck Japanese crowds, so entertaining.

See if you find his music as amusing as I did. You might just be Asian, like me. (If you're short on time, fast forward to minute 1:30 for a sampling of It's Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia).


  1. Wow, this explains a lot about you... :)

  2. Who knew! Great video clip.

  3. i love it. toshio's music is very nice. get this, when i first looked at the video before hitting play i thought toshio was kendall. i was actually excited thinking that kendall would be dancing to a favorite toshio rendition.

    maybe kendall's resemblance and your asian roots explain on an even deeper level why you first were attracted to and fell in love with kendall..?

  4. i apologize kendall. you can see that the picture is pretty grainy. his hands are definitely bigger than i digging a hole for myself here.

  5. It's been really fun reading about you and your family. You have accomplished so much educationally and to top it're a super mom!! I took the last picture you were asking about and Jocelin Blohm an amazing photographer took the other two.

  6. Ikiru ("To Live") is easily within my top 5 all time movies. I absolutely love it. Good to hear I'm not alone.

    You have NO idea how happy I am that you found me in facebook! I swear I was just thinking about you the other day!

    I am on break from work right now but I will browse around your blog later! I have a blog too, you can check it out

    I can't wait to talk more!
    ~Shannon Muncey (Weeks)