Of immigration, cosmopolitanism, and diversity: Lost identity and the challenge of integration for women in Hiromi Goto's Chorus of Mushrooms
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Bringing together the problems of immigration, cosmopolitanism, and diversity, the article considers immigration as a powerful force of globalization. Examining Hiromi Goto's novel Chorus of Mushrooms, the article unwraps the intricate issue of immigration, focusing specifically on the lives of Japanese (and later, Japanese Canadian) women in Canada. Considering the well-known concept of melting pot -- that the novel overtly questions -- the article demonstrates that the life of an immigrant even in cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse western societies can turn into a personal and generational nightmare. The article pays close attention to the novel's technique of mixing two languages, i.e., English and Japanese, as well as two fonts, to demonstrate how the issue of otherness becomes twisted and the immigrants turn into strangers both in their native culture and in the new one. To corroborate this idea, the article also considers some of the main problems for immigrants that the novel singles out, including new climate, food, traditions, as well as one's appearance, particularly when it is ethnically charged. Finally, the article examines the issue of otherness as a gendered problem, claiming that it is particularly hard for women to lead the life of an immigrant, preserve a specific culture, and be able to pass it on to further generations.