[Japanese Female, 38 years-old]
I was born in Japan in the south part of Japan where the big earthquake happened in the early 90’s or so and I moved to suburb of Tokoyo when I was five years-old. That’s pretty much where I grew up. When I was seventeen, I came here as a foreign exchange student and I graduated high school here. I was going to go to college but funds ran out so I have to go home and get a job and I came back when I was twenty-four and I got married, then I got divorced. My ex-husband was vegetarian, that is why I became vegetarian. But I really didn’t know what vegan was all about.
Around that time, I met this couple who are vegan – they’re very activist. They told me all about fish and cheese and all kinds of bad stuff about animal products. I was eating only fish and cheese. It was really hard for me to kick fish, because I’m from Japan. And also I love cheese. It took me a while to kick those but as soon as I got the knowledge about how bad it is and all of the suffering and mercury, and carbon footprint, the whole thing – I just quit.
Vegetarian or Vegan to Japanese people is mostly monks. When I became vegetarian my parents thought I joined Buddhist monastery – they thought I was going to become a monk! You must know, I was born in a Christian family, my parents are hard-core born-again Christians. They think God made animals for us so they think I came from Mars or something when I came back and told them I was vegan. They just asked questions like everybody else –where do you get your protein? Are you going to get sick all the time? – questions like that – they didn’t really feel happy about it for a while. I was angry at first. I felt they were ignorant. I tried to explain how I’m getting the protein, pretty much everything about how bad is eating meat. But they didn’t want to hear it. It’s very hard to talk to people about the food. Period.
Most of my friends are vegan – raw vegan. With others, I try the best I can to tell them about being vegan. But some people make fun of me. They call me hippy, or rabbit, whatever. I try to explain much as I can, for the health reasons, animal welfare. Especially now, it’s really important to become a vegan to save the planet. If they can’t see the connection, then I don’t know what to tell them. Sometimes I get frustrated. Some people will not listen to me whatsoever. I took this guy, he’s a musician and a hardcore meat eater, I took him to Japanese vegan restaurant. He ate the food, he said he liked it. Then fifteen minutes later he said, “actually, I want to go get burger.” They just have it ingrained that vegan food is not going to fill them. They already have that thought, so their brain is not going to let them feel full. This guy said he needed burger and wanted to go to McDonald’s. I told him, that’s the worst meat in the world, but he didn’t listen. Well, I can’t really waste my time if people won’t listen.
It makes me sad that people don’t understand, that they are so dis-attached from reality. It makes me really sad. I wish that people could understand that everything’s connected. They see a piece of meat nicely wrapped and they don’t see that as a whole animal – they just can’t see it. That makes me really sad.
There are so many sad things in the world, but living makes me happy. I think Life is a miracle. The sun makes me happy – I’m a sun worshipper. My dog and my cat, they make me happy too. I have a lot of love. I care about a lot of things – people and animals. Nature, everything. I think everything has a soul and is meant to be here. I want people to see me as a compassionate person. And I want people to see me as strong. My faith in veganism makes me strong.