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Who, me?


After emigrating from Japan at the age of eight, I was detoured from my love of books by becoming the first Asian woman attorney in Colorado before unchaining myself from law to write Middle Grade and Young Adult novels.

Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan with Grandmother, Mother, Brother and friends. Notice the tiny tree.

Piano recital in Japan

Playing a duet at a piano recital with my brother in Japan

I was born in Tokyo, Japan and spent eight years chasing dragonflies and sumo wrestling with friends and my older brother before moving to the United States.

I moved to Pasadena, California, with my mother and brother to join our father, a researcher at the California Institute of Technology, who had moved there three years earlier. (He was the first person to determine the age of the moon.)

When I arrived in the U.S., I only knew a few words of English. During recess on my first day at American school, I stood in line for the swing. I saw that each child was allowed to swing twenty times and counted out loud, but I could only count to ten. When it was my turn, I pumped my legs and sang out the numbers. My plan was to count to ten twice. When I got to ten, I started over from one. The other children began shouting and pointing angry fingers at me. They thought I was trying to cheat. I jumped off. There was no way to explain.

When we moved to Denver, Colorado, the Mile-High City, three years later, I was disappointed to find that the city was built on level ground. I had imagined a city balancing precariously on the point of a mile-high mountain top.

I spent a glorious year in Japan during my junior year abroad seeing relatives I hadn’t seen in a long time, including my beloved grandmother. In college, English professors told me my written English was incomprehensible. So, I put away my dream of becoming a writer and went to law school.

Award ceremony for writing cotest

Award ceremony for the writing contest. (Front row, fourth from the right)

Dorm initiation in Japan

 Dorm initiation in Japan during my junior year abroad. (Second from the right)

Even as I practiced law, I couldn’t get away from my longing to write, and I took creative writing classes at a local community college in the evenings. How I loved those classes! I quit law and became an author. How lucky can I get?

To stay in touch with what’s happening in Japan, I watch Japanese TV shows via satellite every day. When I’m not writing, I ski, hike and frolic in the mountains of Colorado.