I was born and raised in Japan, where I was one of two blonde children in my town (the other was my brother). I was vaguely aware that I was not Japanese as a child, though I did ask my mom to only speak to me in Japanese once we neared my kindergarten “because I don’t want them to know I’m different.”
In addition to growing up in Japan, my childhood was also profoundly shaped by my brother Daniel, who has severe mental and physical disabilities. Daniel and his friends were normal in my world, so much so that when visiting friends of my parents, I asked my mom “where’s the handicapped person in this family?”
After finishing high school I moved to the U.S. for college, where I majored in anthropology. My undergraduate thesis examined the community supports available to families with a disability, through which I realized that siblings of those with disabilities are largely overlooked both in the research literature and in the support structures.
Throughout my time in graduate school I have volunteered with SibShops, contributed to Bloom (a magazine for parents with special needs children), and given talks about disability and family to various community organizations. I currently serve on the advisory board of Sibling Tree.
I also enjoy frequenting my local farmers market, photography, and watching tennis.