“Hi, I’m Iku. I’m a writer.” “Nice to meet you, Iku. What are you writing about?” — And I always pause a bit to describe my work. “I’m writing… about myself. I authored three books and one co-authored book. All of them are my own life stories.” — This is the current answer which doesn’t make sense. What do you think is the best word for my job title?

Someone said to me, “Oh, so you are an ‘Autobiographer’!” I’m afraid not. I’m not the first Asian female President of United States, nor the first human lander on Pluto, nor…

It was originally published as my homework blog in the former ESL class. [12/14/2015]

Let me introduce a little book which was published 20 years ago.

All the quotes in this book were taken from conversation with New York City cab drivers. They are not ashrams, not psychics, not professors of literature nor philosophy. But, they are philosophers, and great thinkers.

It was originally published as my homework blog in the former ESL class. [12/06/2015]

Do you know this machine?

Gyrotonic exercise methods use specialized equipment that permits one to move with support and resistance. “Gyr-” means “ring, circle, spiral”. This is the key principle for this exercise; continuous flowing movements like drawing a circle, synchronized with corresponding breath patterns. It’s intended to increase the functional capacity of the entire organism in a harmonious way.

(photo by Jaqlin Medlock)

The Gyrotonic Expansion System was created by Juliu Horvath. Born in Romania in 1942, he was a swimmer and gymnast before becoming a professional ballet dancer. He developed the Gyrotonic methods…

It was originally published as my homework blog in the former ESL class. [11/29/2015]

Since moved to New York last summer, I have experienced many cultural shocks. I’m very interested in watching people with different cultural backgrounds. Cross-cultural awareness is everywhere in our daily life. Sometimes a shock makes me confused and annoyed, and it has given me the motivation to act.

For example, as a Japanese person, I’m always shocked that people have their feet up to chairs or tables. Especially, when they have food and drinks.

You might know that we Japanese take off our shoes at home…

Honestly I don’t play video games a lot. For the lack of knowledge, I didn’t care much about gender representation in video games before I moved to US. Last fall one of my classmates picked this topic for his assignment on our Exhibition Design class in college. He presented his collage work of many female characters, including Zelda, Tifa or Princess Peach. We had a tons of discussions about the topic at on-class critiques, beyond sexualities and nationalities. Then I realized this topic has been studied, reviewed and criticized worldwide more than I thought.

I’d like to write about so-called…

First of all, I am grateful that Minovsky and Hannah Cairns gave me this opportunity. As you see I was too lazy to keep this Medium alive, but now it’s time to write something much longer than my tweets.

Since yesterday Minovsky posted these tweets below. Hannah asked my opinion about it:

“Why criticize sexism/racism/homophobia in Japanese media? That’s their culture,” as if there aren’t also voices in Japan challenging these.

I’m on the lookout for other counter-culture voices in Japan with full confidence that they exist. I’ll link as many as I find.

Some Americans believe that there…

A Tokyo Girl named after New York — 9

As I wrote, I’m going to study abroad. Since last fall, I’ve been attending a prep school in Japan, to take a credit transfer system for my preferred college. Last month, I finally submitted my application to the college.

My major is graphic design. So I made a creative assignment and did a presentation for the professors. I think it was not so bad, because my speech was all prewritten. The professors seemed to be very satisfied with my design assignment. However, at the after-party, they told me that I should practice English more and more.

I’m really poor at…

A Tokyo Girl named after New York — 8

Nissay Theatre, Tokyo

I love all kinds of live performances, especially musicals. In Japan, a lot of musicals are imported from West End or Broadway after having been translated into Japanese lyrics.

Everytime I go to the theaters of West End or Broadway, I always think that the original productions are the best and brightest. Some of Japanese translated plays are no more than substitutes for the original English ones. Sadly, some of dubbed versions in Japanese plays are often killing the original lyrics.

However, I’d like to recommend some Japanese performers. They only sing in Japanese, but I believe “YOU’ll get a…

A Tokyo Girl named after New York — 7

Have you ever heard that the name “Anastasia” coming from Anastasis, which means “the awoken woman” or “restored life”? I had’t but I get it. Well, it must be the reason why so many people have been attracted to the story of the Princess Anastasia of Romanov still being alive! …Just kidding.

Anyway, now I will restore my life on Medium. There are many reasons. The biggest is that finally I decided to study abroad. So I need to practice English more and more for my exams. I know my English is poor.

One of my multilingual friends taught me…

A Tokyo Girl named after New York —6

A few days ago I saw the word ‘S.O.’ for my first time, and learned that it means ‘significant other’. Nice word!

In Japanese, we say it like ‘Daiji Na Hito’, only the meaning of ‘the person who is important for you’. It includes your parents and family, friends, mentors and clients, or the rest of the world you excluded the non-important people off.

There is no phrase like “Bring your significant other.” in Japanese. “Bring your Daiji-Na-Hito.” — If you were said so to someone, you have to bring all the recipients of your Christmas cards!

Iku Okada


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