In-Between the Binary

Maya Kogulan, Staff Writer

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She still remembers the glares she caught in the corner of her eye, while she walked down the streets of Japan. She still remembers the whispers as she walked into Japanese School. From a young age, junior Aska Wurtz was confronted with the idea of race, as she is half Japanese and half Caucasian.  

“It’s been kind of difficult to find that place of where I belong,” Wurtz said. “I’m not Japanese enough for the Japanese people because they say that I’m only half. But what am I? Because I’m only half of both. So it’s kind of hard finding that balance of where I belong.”

Although she often faced judgment due to her race, Wurtz was also able to experience the many benefits of being immersed in two different cultures growing up. 

“I think knowing two languages is probably, not necessarily my favorite thing, but one of the most useful things,” Wurtz said. “It’s just a cool thing to have different parts of your life.”

Wurtz has gone to Japan every summer since her birth. Through her many trips, she was also able to compare the different moral values of each country. 

“People in Japan are much less progressive,” Wurtz said. “Japan is really lacking in areas of sexual harassment.”

Wurtz, who grew up in a political household, cites viewing this injustice in Japan as the catalyst that got into political science. She saw first hand the lack of action in areas of sexual harassment and climate change. These injustices further strengthened her progressive values. 

“If there is no environment, if our environment is destroyed, then nothing else really matters,” Wurtz said. 

Through her unique experiences, Wurtz has developed a very interesting perspective on the world. In the future, she wants to study political science and become a politician, She hopes to use that unique experience to develop legislation that focuses on protecting our environment and reducing CO2 emissions.