The reason why I am a devoted MC fan

Do you like Mariah Carey? When I ask this question to my American friends, some of them say “Mariah is cool..” and others say..”Not really..” I have to say that every boyfriend that I had in the past hated Mariah. I can’t convince my current boyfriend to go to Mariah Carey’s concert! Yes, I am actually a devoted Mariah Carey fan. People say I am crazy because I ended up spending a lot of money to buy this VIP package that she was offering for her vegas residency show.

It was a once in a life time opportunity…at least that’s how I see it so I didn’t have any hesitation but ouch, it was very expensive. But if what the promoter is promising is accurate, I should be meeting MC after the concert to have an opportunity to take picture with MC. I am already so excited and nervous at the same time because I’ve waited for this moment since I was 15.

So what do I like about Mariah? Quite frankly I love MC’s music but the reason that I have been such a devoted fan of MC is because of our “similarities.” Similarities between me and MC? People are going to laugh but in fact, I do not think I am the only fan who has this type of story to share..

I will never forget when I saw Mariah Carey’s interview on MTV for the first time. I was 15 years old. I was familiar with her music because my aunt kept listening to “emotions” So I knew MC as a great singer..singer with crazy high notes. But the interview that I happened to see alone in the living room when I was 15 ended up changing my perspectives forever.

I was going through typical teenage issues. I think mine was a little more complicated. I often felt sorry for myself that I was different from everybody else. My mother is from South East Asia but met my Japanese father while she was studying at Japanese school and they ended up getting married and decided to raise us in the countryside of Japan. Japan is a very homogeneous society, so it can be challenging for mixed children to grow up because we are more likely to be subject to bullying and all that nonsense in Japanese school simply because my sisters and I were the only mixed children.

Japan is a very collective society so there is the Japanese proverb “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” I was pretty scared everyday as the junior high we attended was the worst school in the prefecture. You heard me..the worst! There are all kinds of very serious bullying in that school and we tried really hard to at least blend in as much as we could so we don’t stick out like the nails!

It really isn’t healthy for teenagers to have this mindset that something isn’t right about them. There is something wrong with them because we are not fully Japanese. There is something to be ashamed of because we were inferior to our classmates who were full Japanese and also we were inferior to beautiful Ha-Fu mixed on TV. These HaFu are usually half Caucasian so the subgroup of people Japanese society tends to value. But us…? Forget it. My teachers in junior high often simply assumed that my mother came to Japan as a prostitute. There were many prostitutes working in Japan and they were usually from S.E. Asia. I felt ashamed of myself and didn’t want anybody to find out about my true identity.

So when I first saw the interview, I was captivated by what she was saying on MTV. I had no idea that she was also mixed but not the most desirable or more controversial we should say. MC does look mixed but I didn’t guess that she was half Black. Because MC’s skin is pretty pale and she seems to look predominantly White.  MC talked about having endured painful racial discrimination as a child. I had not idea that MC had to go through the feeling of not having a group that she felt like she belonged to, or certain racial group she could identify herself with or she wanted to go to a place where nobody really paid attention to MC’s background. So MC talked about her childhood a little in the interview so she wrote a song called “Make it happen” that reflects on her past.

Her theme is “no matter what anybody says about you and tries to discourage you, don’t give up your dream. You can be anything you want to be.” Of course, I knew that I was not going to try to pursue a singing career (that would have been nice!) but her strength and what she said in that interview just really inspired me. Since then I bought all of her CDs and I really feel the inspiration to be I am despite how people constantly judged me and even felt sorry for me. I was pretty much determined to leave the country and my dream of studying in America steadily grew so I moved to Los Angeles right after finishing high school.

It’s been ups and downs and yes, I still have my doubts but MC’s old music really remind me of the time that I was determined to do “make it happen” like Mariah was singing because hero lies in you..

The most inspiring Mariah Carey’s song is titled “outside”. Whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of how I felt growing up feeling different from everybody else. Mariah wrote this song about her experience not knowing where she exactly belongs to and was uncertain about her space and who she is. As I hear this song, I remember how I used to feel…but not anymore..

It’s hard to explain

Inherently it’s just always been strange

Neither here nor there

Always somewhat out of place everywhere


Without a sense of belonging to touch

Somewhere halfway

Feeling there’s no one completely the same

Standing alone

Eager to just

Believe it’s good enough to be what

you really are

But in your heart

Uncertainty forever lies

And You’ll always be

Somewhere on the outside

Early on, you face

The realization you don’t have a space

Where you fit in

And recognize you

were born to exist

And it’s hard

Falling in between

And it’s hard

To be understood

As you are

As you are

Oh, and God knows

That you’re standing on your own

Blind and unguided

Into a world divided

You’re thrown

Where you’re never quite the same

Although you try-try and try

to tell yourself

you really are

But in your heart-uncertainty forever lies

And you’ll always be

Somewhere on the outside

You’ll always be

Somewhere on the outside


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