He is one of the types of people that represents “the cool”. Someone that inspires, stimulates, makes you want more. Mehervan Sethi is one of them. He welcomes us to a café in Daikanyama, a trendy district in Tokyo, where he recommends us to try the Cold Brew Tonic, a combination of cold-pressed coffee and sparkling water - surprisingly delicious.
This 34-year-old Japanese imposes his presence, far from the archetype associated with his nationality and marked by his dastar, the Sikh turban which he never fails to wear. Born and raised in Kobe, he represents the third generation of Indian immigrants from Bombay, who originally settled in Japan during the '50s. “I am 100% Sikh Indian by blood, Japanese by my daily life, and cosmopolitan by my education at the Kobe International School”.
A surprising definition, which nevertheless raises an uncertainty: “In fact, I am not really Japanese and not totally Indian. Deep inside, I feel Japanese and the places I associate with the idea of “home” are Kobe and Tokyo, but reactions of others around me are a constant reminder that I am not considered Japanese." There is deeply rooted discrimination in Japanese society – 97% of the population shares the same traits and are of pure Japanese ancestry. But Mehervan Sethi's response reflects almost like a certain Japanese philosophy. "There's no point in getting upset: it's not racism, just ignorance. Often, when I speak Japanese, I am answered directly in English. It's a common frustration but I'm aware that no one means any harm.”