Thursday, July 23, 2009

Turning Japanese? I really think so!

People lately have been asking me what’s the deal with my girls flashing the peace sign in every picture and so I thought I’d give a quick answer. It snuck up on me too, quite subtly. The first time I saw it was on a field trip to the miniature Taiwan World with its model 101 Tower, Chaing Kai Shek Memorial Plaza and Martyr’s Shrine. Xi’an and Rebekah were standing in a group of other students in their blue and yellow school uniforms posing. You know the Asian tourist scene: Parents flashing hundreds of pictures noisily. Dads setting up tripods. Moms barking to squeeze in tighter in shrill Chinese. All the kids robotically shifting back and forth trancelike in front of some Disneyesque landmark with their two fingers propped beside painted smiles. It’s weird. You know it. I know it.
Yet that day both my girls were raising their two fingers in unisome with the others, smiling wide for the camera, looking for acceptance, fitting in, running to me afterwards and riding away on my back.
The whole time I was thinking. Whoa now, cool kids don’t flash V signs in photos. Oh no! Will raising my daughters in Asia make them cultural dorks later in America?
Not if you remember the source.
In the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, American skater Janet Lynn slipped and fell during her free style and landed hard on the ice. Spinning on her butt in embarrassment, she continued to smile, raising the two fingered V (victory) sign for the cameras before getting up and finishing her routine, placing 3rd. The Japanese, acknowledging her humiliation and admiring her spirit, quickly adopted the style. Afterwards, Lynn, a social activist, was repeatedly photographed flashing the sign for world peace, which spread wildly across Asia even to this day.
How cool is that?
So flash on V sign. Viva la V! And here’s to us dorks sliding on the ice.

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