Hi, my name is Kiki. Thank you for dropping by!
I was born in Tokyo, raised in Los Angeles, spent my 20′s and early 30′s in Japan, and now live in New York City. Transition Central. Through my travels I’ve pondered about cultural identity. Questioned my own dual-personality, being both Japanese and American, turning it off and on at a moment’s notice. I’m often told I’m nothing like how I look. I take that as a compliment.
MY PAST LIFE
I’ve laughed and cried and found expression as:
- Translator – Translating cultures, not just languages, makes this a fascinating life-long hobby.
- English Teacher – I’m a teacher who uses the Broadway musicals RENT and West Side Story to teach English to Japanese artists-to-be and people who want to express themselves in English. Did it work? Ask my students, who could all dance and sing the entire show in English, understand every small nuance, and treat the audience to a good cry.
- Principal - A lot of heart carried me through. Heart was everything.
- Acting Coach - Once I knew acting was about seeking and expressing truth, I was hooked.
- Writer/Director/Producer (Musical) – Let’s just say, obsessing over Broadway shows growing up wasn’t a waste of time. Seats packed, theatre full, talent bursting out of students. Joyful.
- Writer/Director (TV Drama Program) - My popular musical became a popular television series. My gut instincts were in full effect as I wrote, location scouted, directed, edited, chose soundtrack, and narrated the show every week for two years. My cast became famous in town.
- Writer/Director (TV Documentary) – Entertainment + Education = Inspiration. My formula, in anything I wrote or produced. The show gained respect and was lauded for its integrity. Smiles.
- Producer (TV and Stage Shows) – I live and love live performances, and working with young Japanese artists was especially challenging and rewarding, as I learned first-hand that anyone could be filled with talent and just not know it.
AND THE PRESENT
When the earthquake and tsunami hit, I saw after ten years, a Japan I had never seen before. I had spent so much time willing the Japanese to express, speak up, be individuals already! But what I witnessed on television after the disaster were people coming together as a community (AKA “one-group mentality”), sharing calmly (AKA “unemotional”), not complaining (AKA “not speaking your mind”). (The words in parentheses are what I would have called those characteristics before the disaster.)
I was at once shocked at my ignorance, embarrassed at my judgment, and tearfully, proud of the Japanese. Of a heritage I had misunderstood (though my parents raised me in a Japanese home, and my partner is 100% Japanese), maybe even gotten to resent a bit for its aloofness and difficulty.
Not any longer. Which is why I began expressing again. Thank you again and again, for joining me in my attempt to educate myself and continue finding inspiration.