Nationality: Japanese

How many children do you have at YIS? 

Two, I have one child in middle school and another in high school.

Why did you choose YIS?

I graduated from YIS and the experience has helped me gain a wider view of the world and where my personal place is within it.  Since my time as a student at YIS I have wanted my children to get educated in the same wonderful environment I grew up in.

How important was selecting an IB school, and what specifically appeals to you about the IB Program?

Actually, we were not so familiar with the IB program when my daughter applied for YIS 15 years ago but are glad now that we chose it.

The unique part of the IB program is that through learning, not only do students attain knowledge in a certain subject, they are constantly reminded of other essential skills and attributes in academics, such as being creative and collaborative. I believe the skills students develop through IB will accompany them throughout their lives. 

You are an alumna of YIS. The school has changed a lot since you were in school here. Does it still remind you of the YIS you went to?

Although the school has become larger in terms of moving to a new campus and becoming more well-known as an international school, the community still has a strong bond and I am constantly reminded of the warmth I felt as a YIS student.

Please describe a memorable moment from your time at YIS and how that has had an impact on you and your family?

One of my most memorable moments in YIS was the time my son was in ELC. During that year, the ELC children were very fortunate to have an art exhibition at Kenmin Hall. They were free to express anything they liked and each student worked with creative materials and mediums such as natural artifacts, clay, paint, photographs, dance, and music. My son made his work with wood and leaves, and I was very impressed by his unique thinking. It was amazing to see how each and every artwork was unique and different in its own way. As a parent, I was able to take part by preparing and displaying the artwork, and I still remember how proud the children looked at the opening ceremony.

You volunteer in our school library regularly. What was the motivation for that?

I often went to the library to check out books with my children when they were younger. They loved books and I enjoyed reading stories to them. The librarians were always welcoming and kind, and I started to volunteer at the library hoping to be a help to the school. I still work at the school library, now as a part-timer for a few hours each week.  I enjoy seeing the children, hearing what they like, and recommending them different books.  

Who are some of your favorite Japanese authors, and do they have books published in English?

I enjoy reading novels where fantastical elements are implemented in the real world. I must say my two favorite Japanese authors are Mizuki Tsujimura and Nahoko Uehashi. Although the settings of their stories are often unrealistic and mysterious, the characters all have this unique and complex background, making them very human. I think those characteristics are what allow readers to experience a sense of empathy, which is why I find their novels so beautiful and sensational. I would like to recommend Mizuki Tsujimura’s かがみの孤城 (Lonely Castle in the Mirror) if you haven't read it yet.  

Which author would you like to have dinner with and what would you talk to them about?

I would like to have dinner with Kumiko Moichi who is a famous author of children's novels. Many of her stories are set in the countryside of Japan and center around the idea of beauty in nature.  She introduces mythical creatures of different cultures such as oni (demons) and fairies, which makes readers want to believe they are real. I would like to ask her what her greatest inspiration had been to produce such creative writing, whether it had been a memorable moment or thought from her childhood or a personal experience she recently encountered. I would also like to ask her perspective on environmental preservation and recent issues around them, as she greatly values nature.