Anton's Harvard Application Essay


On Being White and Yellow

Being racially mixed is a personal issue, a fortuitous circumstance of birth, which - literally - has colored my view of myself and the world around me. My mother is Japanese, born Shintoist in wartime Tokyo, raised as a Buddhist, educated in an Episcopalian school in Kyoto. There she met my Jewish, American, Caucasian father, who has trekked in Nepal, hitched through the Khyber Pass, worked in Japan, lived with headhunters in Borneo. We are an odd (oddball?) family who loves to cross all kinds of borders: international, interracial, inter-faith. I myself am bi-racial, multi-cultural, poly-ethnic. Is this hodgepodge, or, as I prefer, hybrid vigor?

As a unique sort of world citizen, I long to explore "my" kingdom. My earliest memories include global travel (Please see Activities Supplement, paragraphs 2 and 3), and at 17 I've traveled to 5 continents. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more I want to see and do. I want to learn how mountain gorillas make love and war. I want to learn the clicking language of the Bantu, to study Zoroastrianism and Zen. I want to visit Sibu and Sarawak and live with the Dayak in their long houses. I want to see the hill towns of Tuscany, the statuary of Michaelangelo and Ammanati - and the snow leopard of Nepal. Ahhh!

I know - I think I know - what I do not want to be. I do not want to be a doctor, lawyer, or industrial chief. I don't want a BMW and a Manhattan townhouse. I prefer a camel and a yurt. My interests lie in anthropology and field biology, archaeology and art, history and language, religion and philosophy. It is a melange - as, in a different manner, am I - of "social sciences" and "humanities" which the French call sciences humaines.

My friends think I'm a bit crazy. Why pursue such diverse and "useless" studies? They see little chance for money in the camel and yurt business! But I was born to a different tune, I march to the beat of a different drummer. My genetics, my blood and background, give me claim to planetary citizenship. Mother Earth is my big blue marble, and I feel an irresistible, almost biological urge to reach out to her and experience her variety of life in multiple and unforeseen ways.