“You better stay out of the sun already. You’re too dark. They look down on dark skin, you know. They’ll think you’re from the plantation.”
It was 1982, and this was my Nisei mother’s advice to me before I left Hawaii for a college year abroad in Japan. She made me cut my long, sun bleached hair and wear pink pumps on the plane. Hah! Little did she know that Tokyo had tanning salons galore and young people nailed surfboards to the tops of their cars to look cool. That was the last time I took my mother’s advice seriously.