Growing up as a Japanese American, the differences of opinion regarding various subjects and current events across different generations intrigued me. These differences in opinion would lead to thoughtful insight and lessons learned from my grandparent’s nisei generation, as well as intense arguments with my parents, the sansei generation.
Whether it is lessons to be learned or passionate debates, I think that we all can gain something from a new perspective. This series looks to offer perspective through the lens of three different generations concerning one topic. February’s topic is “love,” and we have 3 generations weighing in: Gen Z (Yonsei) represented by Jessica Yamashiro, Millennial (Yonsei) represented by Kerilyn Sato, and Baby Boomer (Sansei) represented by Alan Nishio. Let’s see what these lovebirds have to say!
What is your name? Age? Generation?
Gen Z: Jessica Yamashiro, 17, Gen Z Yonsei
Source: Jessica Yamashiro
Millennial: Kerilyn Sato, 32, Millennial Yonsei
Source: Andrew Takahashi
Baby Boomer: Alan Nishio, 76, Baby Boomer Sansei
Source: Discover Nikkei
Do you have or have you had a romantic partner/significant other? How long have you/were you together for?
Gen Z: I have never had a romantic partner.
Millennial: Yes. Current partner 2 years, previous partners 8 years and 3 years.
Baby Boomer: Yes. We have been married for 54 years.
What is your simplified definition of love?
Gen Z: It is sacrificing parts of yourself for someone. This does not necessarily refer to materialistic things but rather your time, effort, care, and attention. But the most important aspect is that the sacrifice is mutual. When it comes to something that is not a person, love is more of an admiration for the feelings that thing evokes.
Millennial: To quote Owen Wilson in the cinematic masterpiece Wedding Crashers, “True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another.”
Baby Boomer: Love is having an emotional attachment with someone with whom you want to share a life together.
What is one thing (not a person) that you love? Why do you love it?
Gen Z: I love the rain because it creates an inviting and comforting atmosphere. Everything about it is perfect: the sound of the water droplets on windows, the smell of wet sidewalks, the cold weather, and the freshness of the air after. Rain calls for a chance to have a “main character” moment of laying on the ground in the middle of a street. Also nothing beats the feeling of listening to calming music while enjoying a favorite pastime as it rains.
Millennial: Yo! Zine readers know I love my dog, Cricket. I know I love her because even though she does things that drives me nuts or irritates me, I will still give her little kisses and treats or make excuses for her bad behavior.
Baby Boomer: I love being able to make a difference in helping others and making the world a better place.
Using celebrities, please create your composite, perfect partner:
- Legs: RM (BTS)
- Arms: Jungkook (BTS)
- Face: The8 (Seventeen)
- Torso: San (Ateez)
- Eyes: Vernon (Seventeen)
- Hair: The8 (Seventeen)
- Fashion Style: Jhope (BTS)
- Personality: Johnny (NCT)
- Legs: Jeon Jungkook
- Arms: Jeon Jungkook
- Face: Jeon Jungkook
- Torso: Jeon Jungkook
- Eyes: Jeon Jungkook
- Hair: Jeon Jungkook
- Fashion Style: Jeon Jungkook
- Personality: Jeon Jungkook
- Legs: Michelle Yeoh
- Arms: Michiko Nishiwaki
- Face: Catherine Deneuve
- Torso: Michelle Yeoh
- Eyes: Zhang Ziyi
- Hair: Audrey Hepburn
- Fashion Style: Diane Keaton
- Personality: Susan Sarandon
What is your idea of (or describe from experience) an ideal date?
Gen Z: An ideal date would be going to the aquarium. You have opportunities to talk with your partner but there are also moments to enjoy the setting. It is especially good for a first date since awkwardness is inevitable. There is always something to look at or discuss whether it focuses on the animals or an actual conversation. You can also figure out if they like otters. If they do, that is a great sign.
Millennial: I went on a bowling date (I love competitive dates). We bought a bucket of beers and made bets on the frames. If you scored highest in the frame you could ask the other person anything you want. This wasn’t a first date, so it was a great way to get to know each other better. You could decide how deep to go with the questions, some were lighthearted and some were more personal. I learned so much about him that day.
Baby Boomer: An ideal date is one in which both have a great time, you are able to get to know the other person better, you are able to share values and perspectives about life, and you want to continue seeing the person.
What is the worst date you have had (or could imagine)?
Gen Z: A horrible date would be meeting someone and not having a good time. You know it is bad when you are constantly checking the time and wishing you could go home. In many cases, it usually relies on the person. With the right partner, you can be in a boring setting but still have a great experience.
Millennial: The worst date I’ve ever been on was to a Gabriel Iglesias show. I already knew that I wasn’t really feeling this dude anymore (strike one), and comedy is not my thing (strike two), but the guy wanted to introduce me to his best friend and his girlfriend. I was losing interest in him because he liked me too much and made things too easy. I’m an Aries, I enjoy a bit of chase and work.
A couple days before, I (drunkenly) fell down the stairs at my apartment while trying to move an armchair up the flight of stairs (strike three). I considered canceling, but I knew he already had the tickets and felt bad, so I went anyway. Instead of watching the comedy show, I walked around Staples Center, drinking beer with his best friend’s girlfriend. I asked her if he always liked girls so fast and hard, and she said yes and that they’ve told him that he needs to chill. After hearing that I knew I was done. After the show, instead of catching a ride home with him I Ubered home and ended things over text the next day.
Baby Boomer: Being with someone with whom you cannot make a connection and you cannot wait for the date to end.
Do all personal relationships have love, and what’s love got to do with it [ie. why is love important]? (Got to do with it?)
Gen Z: Most personal relationships have love but not all. An example is a therapist and client will not have a mutual “love” for one another. It is more so a feeling of appreciation. To build strong relationships love can be important for a foundation. It creates a mutual respect and understanding between two people.
Millennial: Yes, all personal relationships have love. Love doesn’t have to be between significant others. Love exists between friends, family, pets, passions, everywhere. Love’s got everything to do with what drives you to be a better person. If you didn’t have love for others, you would just be a selfish dick who only did things for yourself.
Baby Boomer: Not all personal relationships have love as a component. Relationships can be based on common interests, functional reasons, or you are brought together in a social setting. Love in personal relations is based upon an emotional or familial attachment where the relationship is seen as a long-term commitment.
What is the best love song of all time? What is your favorite lyric from this song?
Gen Z: “Answer: Love Myself” by BTS. Lyric: “Why do you keep wanting to hide inside your mask? Even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellation.”
Millennial: “You and I” by John Legend. Lyric: “All of the stars, you make them shine like they were ours. Ain't nobody in the world but you and I.”
Baby Boomer: “My Girl” by The Temptations. Lyric: “I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame. I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim.”
Is there such a thing as unconditional love? Why or why not?
Gen Z: Unconditional love can exist on a surface level, but when looking at every condition, its existence is just not possible. There will be some type of circumstance that breaks the love in a relationship. It can be something minor like not having the same music taste or an extreme like someone believes a group should not have human rights. Unconditional love can exist with ignorance. Without morals or an understanding of certain conditions, people can continue to love one another unconditionally. This is why I think it can exist in a non-human realm. A dog will continue to love its owner even if they commit horrible crimes.
Millennial: I think that there is no such thing as unconditional love. There’s always something to get back from loving something or someone. The closest thing I have to a kid is a dog, and while I wish I could say I love her unconditionally, I know I’m getting her love in return and that makes me feel good. You can say you love your partner unconditionally, but if they cheated on you, would you stay with them? There are always conditions to love.
Baby Boomer: I do not believe in unconditional love. Love is based upon trust, understanding, and affection.
Do you believe in soulmates? Why or why not?
Gen Z: Soulmates are people who have such a strong and natural bond that it is almost unimaginable. Soulmates also have a fate aspect since the possibilities of having that close of a connection to another person is slim. I do not have a clear explanation of why I believe in soulmates but you can just feel the chemistry between people. While thinking of your soulmate you wonder, “Of all the odds, how did we end up meeting?” People will just know when they connect to theirs.
Millennial: Yes. But soul mates aren’t only significant others. I have friends that I know are my soulmates. I also think you have multiple soulmates. Your soulmates are meant to be a part of your life at a certain time. Someone can be your partner/soulmate but meet you at the wrong time, so your relationship doesn’t work out. Timing is everything.
Baby Boomer: I do not believe in soul mates. Relationships change and grow or ebb based upon experiences shared. In a loving relationship, both partners grow and change based on the relationship.
Do you remember a particular time in life when you felt loved, or felt you were giving someone unconditional love?
Gen Z: I constantly feel loved by my parents. They sacrifice their time and energy to take care of my siblings and me. Apparent moments are when my mom will continue to listen to me even when I ramble about a topic. Her engagement in the conversation demonstrates her affection. Like many parents, her love is also shown through worry. She reminds me when my grades are low to ensure I am not struggling in school.
Millennial: Every weekend morning, when my partner wakes up and walks the dog so that I can sleep in another hour or so, I feel loved.
Baby Boomer: I have been blessed with a long-term loving relationship. One particular time when I felt a particular love was when I was confronting an aggressive cancer with an uncertain outcome. The understanding, support, and love that was expressed was intense.
Do you believe in true love? Have you been in true love?
Gen Z: Everyone has different criteria for true love but I think it depends on the relationship. True love between a parent and child can exist since parents devote their lives to the ones they created. My definition of true love may be too extreme or it may be because I have not experienced it but I believe true romantic love is impossible to have. One cannot give that much of themself to their partner to the point where it is considered true love.
Millennial: Sure, I believe in true love and would like to believe I have and am in true love.
Baby Boomer: I am not a big believer in absolutes. True love is in the eye of the beholder and I do not feel that love can be classified as true, false, or delusional.
What is your best advice to someone who wants to love themself more?
Gen Z: To be blunt, no one really cares about you. You have notable qualities that are recognized through your personal relations and yourself, but you are not that important to other people. Part of loving yourself is accepting your true identity while disregarding outside opinions. If someone feels the need to harp on you then they should work on self love too.
Millennial: F*ck the haters! But for real, self-love is a process and journey. You might not love yourself right now, but you will one day. Seek help if you need it.
Baby Boomer: You can love yourself more by extending your love to those around you who are important in your life. Love is reciprocal– the more you give, the more you get.
What is one act of love that you would suggest to someone who is reading this article to perform today?
Gen Z: Give words of kindness and appreciation. Simple things like “text me when you get home safely” or “this picture reminds me of you” will show you care for a person and it can really elevate their mood.
Millennial: Do something for someone! My love language is acts of service so if someone does something, even if it’s the smallest thing, to make my life just a little bit easier, it makes me feel loved.
Baby Boomer: Identify those around you whom you love and find personal and creative ways to express this love.