The Tribal Times

Riona Garner
From Dragonball Z to the Korean band PSY, Japanese culture has meaningfully impacted young Riona Garner’s life.

An unique African American young woman with a very diverse way of thinking expresses how finding a different culture won’t just set you apart but bring you closer with people. It made the little outcast girl she truly believed she was into a person that was accepted by her family. She describes what the culture has done to her as an eye opening in more ways than one.

Why can’t I fit in with anyone,” Garner said. “Why am I so different?”

It was a typical day in life for Garner in the spring of 2005 but her typical day wasn’t what you would’ve expected from a five year old girl. Garner was blatantly bullied and felt in her mind that she was out of place to this world, believing that “I don’t belong anywhere."

That all changed as she saw her brothers Ja'Lontay and Jo’von watching the Japanese animated show Dragonball Z. At first sight, she was completely amazed by the flashing colors and odd themes this show brought. It was like a wonderland of yells and fictional blasts from super powered characters. This was also instilled in her two brothers watching the anime.

For hours, Garner would sit and gaze at the television screen with her brothers but something grew between Garner and her brothers: a bond which gave young Riona a place to fit in: a place to be accepted by someone.

But another bond grew too: a bond that was built off of Japanese culture. At age 10, Garner began to expand her knowledge about the Japanese culture as she did what any 10 year old would do to learn something new, she googled it. She automatically became obsessed with their culture from taking your shoes off at the door to bowing to her elders. Garner was also amazed by the age of the Samurai but it didn’t stop there.

Riona got into the Korean music scene also as her teacher introduced her to a Korean band BigBang and the song Bang Bang Bang, which exclaimed that South Korea would stand up to the North for their rights. Songs like this gave Garner a sense of confidence, a place of belonging and the key to a future she truly wished for.

“Asian culture has helped me out in more ways I can actually grasp," Garner said. "I’ve matured both mentally and intellectually from it, it’s who I am."

Riona Garner, Staff Writer

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