For this blog entry to make sense, you’ll need to know what I look like. Here’s a photo of me, taken by improv genius Fuzzy Gerdes last Friday:
For the past couple of months, I have been approached by at least a dozen times, asking something along the lines of “We were trying to guess your background. Are you Hawaiian?”
For some reason, unless they find out my Spanish-sounding name — Jose Martin deVilla — nobody guesses that I’m Filipino. The guys at Asian Farm, the grocery store around the corner from my place, think I’m Japanese and still say domo arigato whenever I shop there. The guy at the corner store thinks I’m Korean. Kudos to the cosmopolitan guesser on College Street who thought I was from Peru (remember, they have a sizeable Japanese population there — their president until 2001 was one Alberto Fujimori, and they pronounced his name Spanish-style: foo-hee-mo-ri).
But most people guess I’m Hawaiian. My aunt says I look Hawaiian, especially because of my collection of loud Hawaiian shirts. I think it’s my lei’d back attitude (har, har).
One guy added to his comment: “It’s your voice. It’s very smooth; like Don Ho.” His buddy follwed up with “And you speak such good English too!”
Me so happy you rikey my speechie velly much, honourable round-eye.
Have I ever faked being Hawaiian? Only for a moment, and only once, two Saturdays ago at my friend Derek’s stag party. We were dancing at the Velvet Underground when a cute brunette slid beside me and put her arm around me.
“Are you Hawaiian?” she asked into my ear, doing that cute girl thing were they press their nose into your cheek.
“Alooooo-ha!” I replied.
Awww, c’mon, you’d have done that too.
Cowboy Jack Clement singing My Little Grass Shack (Quicktime video). I should really learn this on accordion.