[The 90’s raw: Fran and Tak]

Raw footage for The 90's. Fran and Tak, an interracial couple, talk about the experiences of a mixed marriage.

00:00Copy video clip URL Videographer Skip Blumberg records paper, notes, and a personal calendar.

00:35Copy video clip URL B-roll of New York City streets on a windy day. Blumberg rolls as he walks down the street photographing a deli, newspaper dispenser, a store owner closing his shop, various street life and shops. Blumberg records his own shadow as he walks, a mailbox, flags blowing in the wind, various shop windows.

04:10Copy video clip URL Blumberg walks with a still photographer who is shooting pictures of architecture. Blumberg comes upon a news crew packing their gear in a car.

05:40Copy video clip URL Richard Bliss at E. Houston and Broadway is selling hub caps with the World League football logo on them. Blumberg continues walking down the street. He comes across two young men checking out a dent in their car. Blumberg continues walking down the street recording mundane street life. He records himself in a monitor in a shop window.

08:10Copy video clip URL Footage of a “Recession Buster 10 per cent off” sign. B-roll of pigeons in a square. The male bird chases a female bird.

14:33Copy video clip URL Blumberg is in an apartment building. He takes the elevator and knocks on an apartment door. Fran answers the door.

15:15Copy video clip URL Interview with Fran and her husband Takayoshi (Tak). Fran says she knows a lot about Japan culturally but not historically. She says she met Tak on a blind date through a neighbor in the building. They dated  a year-and-a-half then got married.

18:23Copy video clip URL Tak says when he was in high school in Japan a church in southern England invited students  as part an international experience program. In those 10 days at age 16, the visit changed his idea of the world from totally closed Japanese society to discovering other cultures.

21:40Copy video clip URL Fran adds that she and Tak independently have interest in other cultures. She notes that food connected the two of them. They both love international foods. She adds that they are friends with other mixed marriages. When asked if there’s any racial consciousness that enhances the relationship, Fran says when visiting each others families. Fran says visiting Japan is exotic, exciting, different. For Tak it was simply family, nothing exotic. For Tak being introduced to Fran’s Jewish heritage enhances the relationship.

24:40Copy video clip URL On the subject of prejudice against their mixed marriage Fran notes that before they got married they were required to go to counseling. In counseling the hypothetical case was asked: if you moved to certain towns in America you must realize your unique marriage would stand out and people might say things. How would you deal with that? Fran answered that she would never want to live in a community like that. New York City has so much diversity, you don’t have to deal with small town prejudice. She adds their world is so international they don’t really notice any prejudice. She notes at work many of her colleagues have mixed marriages. The same for Tak.

26:28Copy video clip URL In Japan, Tak says, they are looked at as a curiosity. Fran notes that in 1988 people made the assumption that Tak is her tour guide. The idea of an interracial couple never crossed their mind. Fran adds that this past year the experience was much different.

28:08Copy video clip URL When asked if they are losing their heritage by intermixing their races, they both dismiss this thought. Fran says her family might think that, but she doesn’t. She thinks they’ve gained. “We participate in each others traditions.”  Tak says while working for a Japanese bank in New York he always felt like he was being watched as though he were looked down upon for being a Japanese citizen living in New York. Working for an American banking firm now the feeling is totally different.

31:02Copy video clip URL Fran notes that when Tak first was employed by an American firm and asked at a party where he works he would reply, “An American company.” Fran laughs and says that he was so satisfied to be working in  the US for an American firm that the name wasn’t important.

31:48Copy video clip URL Fran says they’ve been are married about five years and are expecting their first child. Fran expects the child will have to explain his multi-race, but all of their friends are mixed. She says she sees lots of mixed kids in Manhattan. She adds it will be interesting to see the reaction of the grandparents, her parents and Tak’s parents.

35:12Copy video clip URL Tak says his mother is Buddhist. His dad and sisters are not. He adds that he does not really have a religion.

36:10Copy video clip URL Tak talks about the first time he met Fran’s parents. Tak impressed them with his knowledge of Yiddish phrases. Fran said when she first went to Japan to meet Tak’s family she was willing to try new things and experience the culture.

38:31Copy video clip URL Blumberg asks about the stereotypes they face. Fran notes Tak’s physical size. He is taller and bigger than the average Japanese man. Family and education are important in both cultures. Maybe there are stereotypes about parent involvement. There are stereotypes about money. People infer that because Tak is Japanese and works in a bank he is rich.

41:40Copy video clip URL If you go into a store how are you treated? Fran says “They assume I have money and that Tak will buy expensive things.”

43:00Copy video clip URL Fran tells a story of buying cosmetics with Tak. The sales lady said she and her colleagues usually fight over a Japanese customer because they buy a lot.

44:31Copy video clip URL Tak tells a story of he and Fran being at the cinema. A woman sitting behind him told Fran to ask Tak to sit lower in his seat, she couldn’t see over his head. The assumption was that because Tak was Japanese he didn’t speak English. They also referred to him as her “friend”, not assuming they could have been married. They note that these are petty examples. “We’ve never had any negative experience that was hurtful.”

46:16Copy video clip URL They note that their marriage is a successful one. The video ends in the middle of the interview.

46:53Copy video clip URL B-roll of a construction site at night on a New York City street.

47:28Copy video clip URL END



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