love list: sprout bunny, marathon running, rock climbing, green tea lattes, Jonathan safran foer and his novels, Jason Mraz and his music, community service, peanut butter mochi and The Office.
hate list: Creed from The Office, that sound of silverware scratching plates, fur and the people who wear them.
profession: Programs Associate at the JCCCNC
If I told you I wasnâ€™t a spaz, you would say â€œDo you like to swim in large rivers located in east Africa? Cause youâ€™re in de-nial!â€ (get it, â€œthe nileâ€). Ohh that joke never gets old. I think the simplest way for me to describe myself is to offer some designations others have branded me with over the years. The few I have selected are: cultural-less child, California roll and hippie.
Ali the Cultural-less child= My parents (who have been involved in the Japanese American community since Iâ€™ve known â€˜em) could not figure out how to get me interested in learning about my Japanese culture. I was a proactive teen involved in sports, student leadership, Marin County Youth Commission- but shied away when it came to Asian American or Japanese American related programs. Then, after my first attempt to make rice resulted in a broken cooker and small fire, I was finally dubbed the â€œcultural-less childâ€. To this day the name and story have stuck, perpetuated by my bully of a boss, Paul Osaki.
Ali the California Roll= Moved to Hawaii for college and suffered a major identity crisis. Walking to class was like going through the mirror fun house at the county fair- everywhere I looked I saw reflections of myself in different sizes. Outwardly I looked like the majority, but inwardly I felt like a cultural minority. But it was in Hawaii where I met a diverse group of friends and learned more about my own culture. They (and even my hakujin friends) would call me things like â€œbananaâ€ and â€œtwinkieâ€ (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) but eventually I graduated to the name â€œCalifornia rollâ€ (a JA girl with cali roots).
Ali the Hippie= Im not really a â€œhippieâ€ in the conventional sense, but I guess in contrast to my brotherâ€™s standards of living I could be. Kenso has been calling me â€œhippieâ€ ever since visiting me in Hawaii during my college years (thatâ€™s when he met my shaggy-haired bf corey, rode public transit the first time, learned I had turned vegetarian and found that I preferred kayaking over shopping). â€œYou and I lead very different lives,â€ my brother sighed discontentedly after realizing I didnâ€™t have cable. After growing up in a home where gifts = love (= me being a spoiled brat) it is refreshing for me to now realize that the things that matter most in my life arenâ€™t things at all, but people and life experiences.
Now that Iâ€™m a little older, a bit wiser, and a lot poorer I know more clearly what kind of person I want to be, and that person is: a nakayoshi young professional! (that was intended as a joke but i do truly enjoy being in the group). Thanks for skiming, see you at the bar crawl!