2002年11月30日 土曜日

Karuna Shinsho

by Justin Hall

Family and Relationships, Features, Japan Abroad, People

In this three-part interview, former CNN/NHK anchorwoman Karuna Shinsho speaks about her childhood in Japan and Hawai'i, as the child of a Buddhist minister, now an avid spam-eater and mother of a possibly tri-lingual child.

First part: Background

in her own words:

I was born in Hawaii on February 19, 1968. My parents (both Japanese; dad from Toyama prefecture and mom an Edo-ko) were studying at the university of Hawaii's east-west center... Met, fell in love, got married, and then I was born. Initially my father was a classical music DJ, but later became a Buddhist minister (his side of the family has a temple in Toyama; my uncle now heads it). My mom taught Japanese and French at a local high school. I grew up in Hawaii going to a bunch of different public schools (because my dad had to move around to different ministries). I also attended Japanese language school after regular school. With that, and being the daughter of a Buddhist minister, I kept in touch with a lot of Japanese traditions and culture (i.e. bon odori, calligraphy and tea ceremony lessons, etc.). But at that time, I really didn't make the effort to learn the language much. I remember my parents speaking to each other and also speaking to me in Japanese, but I always seemed to talk back to them in English. I'm not quite sure why, but I guess I felt more comfortable in English as it was my mother tongue. And I think that even at that young of an age, I was aware that rightly or wrongly, speaking in Japanese somehow made you look less American. In any case, I wasn't too hot on being "the minister's daughter" (pressure to behave, got picked on by other kids who thought that I was "special", etc."), but I generally had a good childhood in Hawaii. It's quite laid back and the people are nice.

At 13, we moved to Japan. My mother's grandfather was sick so she wanted to return to take care of him. It was quite a shock for me. Despite the Japanese language and culture lessons, I wasn't quite ready to cope with the country. It was hard because I looked Japanese, but when people tried to talk to me, they realized I was "different" and branded me a "henna ko." Initially, my parents sent me to a local junior high school during the summer. I wore the seifuku and went through all the motions of a typical Japanese student. I say "going through the motions" because it was just that... I couldn't really understand any of my classes, except for English. But it was fun because the teachers and students treated me very well. At that time, there really wasn't any stigma yet for the so-called "kikoku shijo" (although I technically wasn't one). But after realizing that I wasn't going to make it at a Japanese school, my parents enrolled me at A.S.I.J. I spent five years there from 8th grade to 12th. It was obviously a huge change from the Japanese school.

After A.S.I.J. I went to Sophia university in Tokyo. There was great pressure on me to stay in Japan from my parents who thought I had become too "American" and that I should really learn what it is to be Japanese. At the time I was dying to go to the States like everyone else, but in retrospect, I think my parents were wise in steering me in the direction of staying home. I studied political science because I wasn't good with numbers and thus business/economics turned me off.

While at Sophia I started working at NHK anchoring their daily English language news program called "Today's Japan," which was broadcast in Japan and around the world. It was a valuable stepping stone for my future career in television. After working at NHK for four years, I felt it was time to go back to school. After learning, living, and working in Japan, I wanted to get away and see Japan from a different perspective. So I went to study international affairs at Columbia university in New York. It was a 2 year master's program. During that time, I also worked part-time at NHK's New York bureau reporting on U.S. Financial markets and business news in Japanese for their morning show "Ohayo Nippon." I have to say that it was a "trip." in Japan I was anchoring news in English and in the states I was anchoring in Japanese. How weird can that be???

After finishing my program at Columbia, I moved to Singapore to work at an American financial TV Network called Asia Business News. It's funny how I hated economics and business, but I ended up working for such a channel. I guess the challenge of overcoming my fear/dislike of business/finance and the opportunity to live in Singapore and learn about a new culture took me to the lion city.

About 3 1/2 years later, it was time to move on. I wanted to return to Japan and contribute in some way. But it was really hard to find any opportunities. I freelanced at NHK, worked on a TV project with the foreign ministry, but couldn't really find anything that challenged me enough. It was great being back though and spending time with family and old friends. But in the end, I moved to Hong Kong to take up a job with CNN. I initially helped launch their new morning show and later moved to evenings to anchor their prime-time news show. I loved working for CNN, a network that had such a powerful, global reach, and so many talented professionals.

I would have continued working, but I became pregnant with Justin last year. It really didn't take a lot of thinking on my part to quit, as my philosophy is that at least one parent should be home to take care of the kid(s) in the beginning. I chose to do it because I really didn't want to miss any of Justin's milestones and I also didn't want my child to be raised by a domestic helper, as many children here in Hong Kong and around Asia are. I have nothing against moms who work. But it's just my philosophy. Eventually, I may work again, but for now, I'm enjoying motherhood very much. It's a totally different kind of challenge than busting my bottom to get ahead professionally.

So here I am, a mother of a one-year-old son and a wife of an American diplomat living in Hong Kong. I'm learning Mandarin on the side and looking into doing some volunteer work soon. All in all, I'm very happy with my life.

Second Part: Quick Q & A

Can you tell us one story about when your chanpon background helped you?

My chanpon background helped me to be more open to different cultures in general, and specifically helped me land my first job in television. The fact that I was Japanese (knew the language and culture), but also was American (spoke English) enabled me to anchor a Japanese news program for an English-speaking audience.

Can you tell us one story about when your chanpon background hurt you?

As other chanponites would say, being chanpon is a double-edged sword. There are positives as well as negatives. Being chanpon was a disadvantage in the beginning, especially when I first moved to Japan. I wasn't conversant in the language and not used to all the customs so I was treated differently. But later, with more experience living in Japan, I didn't feel like a stranger as much. I think it also depends on the cultural awareness of the host country at the time. In Japan, there was a time when kikoku-shijos were looked upon badly... That they didn't fit in and were just showing off. But later the Japanese turned around and thought that being a kikoku-shijo was "cool." So I think how people perceive you is just as crucial as how you interact with them. Ultimately though, I think how comfortable you are as a chanpon depends on your state of mind. If you concentrate on the positives more than the negatives, then you can really thrive as a chanpon.

What do you miss most about Japan when you are away?

When I'm away from Japan, I miss the food (especially sushi, ramen, and gyoza), the attention to detail and cleanliness, onsen, the appreciation of some traditions (i.e. Hanami, local matsuris, etc.), and the chance to use my Japanese!

What do miss most about the US/Hong Kong/Singapore when you are in Japan?

When I'm away from the U.S. (especially Hawaii), I miss the "aloha" spirit, the fact that spam is considered a legitimate part of a meal, and that I can speak my mind freely.

When I'm away from Singapore, I miss the orderliness, the airport and how close it is to get into town from it (I know, it's a smaller country than Japan... But the journey from Narita is a killer!), and fresh cut chili peppers that accompany many of your meals there.

When I'm away from Hong Kong, I miss the authentic Chinese cuisine, the magnificent view of the skyline at night, and the incredible hiking up a mountain that's right behind my apartment!

What makes you feel Japanese?

I feel Japanese when I speak to Japanese people (especially older ones) and feel myself bowing my head a lot.

What makes you feel you aren't Japanese?

I don't feel Japanese when I read about and hear Asian countries like China, Korea, and the Philippines talk about Japan's war-time aggression and the country's lack of atonement.

Please let us know web sites related to you and your work, or any other favorite sites.

I don't have my own website. The only websites I regularly log onto is chanpon and baby-related ones!

Third Part: Interview

MI: Mimi Ito, JH: Justin Hall

MI: Did you hang out with other Japanese kids and families in Hawaii? Or were you getting most of your exposure to Japanese language and culture (other than your parents) at schools and classes?

KS: I think I was fairly lucky to be exposed to other Japanese families mainly because my father was a Buddhist minister. Within the Buddhist community, there were many Japanese families so when there were festivals or Sunday church activities, then we'd all get together. Some had come from Japan long ago and others were born and raised in Hawaii. Also, as you know, the Japanese community is quite big in Hawaii (I don't have the most recent numbers, but Asians as a whole make up the bulk of the island's population). But I must say, my experience with Japanese families in Hawaii is quite special. I didn't really have the same kind of feeling when I moved to Tokyo... I think it's a blend of things. People in Hawaii are sort of "mixed up" (in a good way)... We have many races living together... We are American, but our mentality is not quite like people living on the so-called "mainland" (the continental U.S.)... Yet we try to keep up our ethnic customs and traditions... Do you understand what I'm trying to say? Even if I had exposure to Japanese families... It's not like knowing Japanese in Tokyo... It was much more cozy and tight-knit in a way... Perhaps like living in a small village in Japan, not a metropolis like Tokyo.

MI: Were you in Honolulu?

KS: I was born in Honolulu. Lived there until fifth grade. Moved to another city called Aiea... Finished elementary school there. Then moved back into town for seventh grade. Then moved to Japan for eighth grade.

JH: Growing up in Hawaii, did you find it to be a tolerant place for you as an ethnic Japanese?

KS: Racism exists anywhere... Including Hawaii. But I think it was a generally tolerant place for me. I think a lot of Japanese went to private schools. But I went to public schools until I left. I think it was because my parents weren't that well off. They had me when they were grad school students. Initially my dad was a classical music DJ, while my mom taught Japanese and French at a high school. Then my dad joined the Buddhist ministry (we come from a Buddhist family... My father's side of the family heads up a Buddhist temple in toyama prefecture) and my mom quit to help my dad. In a nutshell, they didn't earn much money. So I ended up going to public schools that had an incredible mix of races (i.e. Hawaiian, Samoan, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, etc.), but funny enough, I was in the minority as a Japanese. But I never really felt left out. Maybe Japanese who went to private schools acted differently, but I grew up through the public schools system so I didn't know otherwise. There were fights among girls (!) Every day after school... Fortunately I never got into one myself... But you really had to watch yourself and not tick off anybody.

JH: You said your parents realized you weren't going to make it at a Japanese school - was there any one event in particular that might have tipped them off to this?

KS: Basically because I couldn't keep up with the classes... I couldn't do algebra, history, science in Japanese at the junior high level. I don't think my Japanese language ability was at such a level. Maybe if my parents were insistent and after I dropped a few grades then I would eventually survive. But I think my parents decided that it was better to keep learning in English and not become "chuu to hanpa" in both languages. I don't recall saying that I wanted to go to an American school (I probably didn't even know it existed) or that I hated the Japanese school. In fact, I had a lot of fun making Japanese friends and being treated like a "different" Japanese. I think it was my parents' call.

MI: We are trying to figure out what to do with our kids schooling here in LA. The Japanese Saturday school seems to be the most conventional option, but we have also found one public Japanese immersion school that we would like to get Luna into next year if we can. All the instruction is in Japanese. Did they have anything like that when you were growing up in Hawaii?

KS: I'm really no expert. All I can tell you is what I learned from my experience. I think I learned a lot about my roots through the Buddhist church. The Japanese schools were affiliated with it (but the schooling had nothing to do with religion... Just the language was taught). And after Sunday services, I would go to ikebana/shuji/tea ceremony classes. I don't think I necessarily learned the "deeper" meanings of the Japanese arts, but it does open your world to discipline, Japanese aestheticism, etc. Which I think is a good start and a good contrast to the western/Hawaiian way of life (freedom, independence, etc.). I know this may sound like a cliché. But I think for kids, it's important to keep them exposed to their other culture (s) frequently and in a fun way. When it becomes a chore (which it often does for young kids who want to play or do other things) then they start to resent you and that culture. It's a challenge I think to keep up with your various cultures and identities. What I think also helps is to later take your child to the country of their culture at some point (perhaps when they're old enough and mature enough to appreciate it) to see what it's REALLY like. I never knew how different my perception of being Japanese was until I actually left Hawaii and lived in Japan!

JH: You said you were moving around to many different public schools - did your background, culture, two languages make that easier or harder?

KS: Moving has to be hard on anyone... Especially when you have to leave friends. I think it was hard for me too. But when you do it often, you get used to it. When you belong to a Buddhist minister's family, you kind of realize early on that you'll be moving around every few years. And even if Hawaii is such a small place, I was too young to drive and keep up with my old friends. So I ended up making new friends in my new home. But the move to Japan was a totally different story. It was a completely new territory.... I had zilch friends... And I must say, even if I did go to Sunday school activities and had been exposed to other Japanese, it was a whole new way of life. But without that exposure, I think the culture shock would have been worse.

JH: Why do you respect now your parents' interest in keeping you in Japan after high school?

KS: If I left Japan after high school, I would have become more American and missed out on further learning to appreciate my cultural heritage. I've said this before, but you really grow up fast in international schools overseas. You can often exist in a bubble (international school) within a bubble (Japan) and not have to conform to the rules/traditions of the bigger bubble (Japan) and therefore never "really" know the country you live in. I think going to a Japanese university and working in Japan opened my mind to another level of understanding of all things Japanese. And of course, you're more mature (hopefully) in your approach to things as a grown up than as a pimpled teenager with your hormones raging!

MI: Most important question: do you still eat spam musbi? You can get them in the Japanese groceries here in LA, but I don't know how to make them. And I have never actually eaten one.. Tara tara... (Justin, do you know about spam musubi? They are the Hawaiian adaptation of onigiri)

KS: Funny thing. We do eat spam musubi. My husband absolutely loves it. He especially likes to munch on it after he golfs! I like it anytime. It's easy to make. Just make some rice. Fry the spam (there's also low-fat spam now)... You don't need oil because they're greasy enough! After you've browned them on both sides, let them cool on paper towels (they suck up all the extra oil). Then make the rice into rectangular shapes (like the spam)... Then top them with the spam. Then get nori and cut into thin strips... Wrap a strip around the spam musubi.... And voila you got your spam musubi. When I went to New York to grad school, all my dorm mates would laugh at me when I ate spam musubi... They said it was poor people's food!

JH: How was the NHK bureau in America different from the NHK bureau in Japan?

KS: I think my experience with NHK in Japan or New York is two-fold. One is that I was young, particularly when I was in Tokyo I was still going to university, so my colleagues treated me like a daughter and also like a student. I think I was good at that time because I had no experience in journalism/TV. Whatsoever so it was necessary for me to absorb all my knowledge and know-how from the senpais. But as I gained more experience and insight, that relationship changed a bit. I was able to express my opinions about stories/scripts more.

JH: Did you find anchoring in Japanese or anchoring in English felt more natural to you?

KS: English is my first language so I felt more comfortable anchoring in English. I also think my personality comes out more when I'm speaking in English. When I anchor in Japanese the pitch of my voice is much higher and my personality takes on a more reserved nature. I have noticed this after viewing recordings of my shows and also other people have said the same things. It's quite interesting how one's personality can change so much just with the language usage.

JH: How did you meet your husband?

KS: I met my husband at an alumni Christmas party in Tokyo. He also went to Columbia and was studying in the same master's program. We overlapped a year, but never met then! So it was quite exciting how our paths crossed in Japan. He loves Japan... Speaks, reads, and writes Japanese... Which is great. But the most important thing is that he loves to eat in Japan! (Mimi, I know you can relate to this!)

JH: Between Japanese, Chinese and English, how do you plan to raise your Justin?

KS: Wow, this is a challenge. I haven't quite come to terms with this yet. I'm still trying to raise him as a human being! So far I've been speaking to him in English. My husband mixes English and Chinese. I thought about doing the English/Japanese thing. But it's so hard to keep that up. And then I hear conflicting reports about speaking in one language vs. Speaking two languages at a time. So I guess you could say it's a work in progress. I think the hard thinking will come in when we think about education and extra-curricular activities. It's easy to expose him to Chinese in Hong Kong, but keeping up with Japanese would be a challenge. Unless I take him to a class or something. Then I worry about inundating Justin's poor little brain with so much just to make him multi-cultural and multi-lingual. I'll let you know how it goes!

Posted by Justin Hall at 2002年11月30日 21:55

1- Junko Sumiya

Thanks for a great interview.

I couldn't help but look at the similaries and differences in our lives.

Just a silly comment for now, but on a chanpon note, I think Spam has achieved general acceptance and is well loved in Okinawa as well. As seen in ingredients of Chanpuru of all kinds. For example lot's of people put it in Goya Chanpuru (Uchi wa buta niku dake ) Because Okinawan cuisine has hit the rest of Japan, and also because Hawaiian cuisine (is it called Loco?) is also fashionable right now in Japan, Spam is pretty popular now. so I understand.

I must confess that I have not tried Spam musubi. yet.

2- dean kuwata

just as american spam is ubiquitous in hawaii, canned corned beef from new zealand is equally omnipresent in samoa and some other south pacific island cultures. it seems that many within the pacific rim have acquired a love for tinned meat products that cannot be denied. in my home turf of carson, california, where many samoans now live and thrive, the local chain supermarket carries plenty of industrial cans of this substance, for special events, or to mail or take home for care packages. years ago, my best friend attended a samoan wedding where, along with many interesting and delicious dishes, each table had a large tin of cold corned beef for guests to scoop plateward at their discretion.

another time, we will discuss the filipino penchant for american canned fruit cocktail as an exotic delicacy within their vast culinary repertoire. bon appetit!

3- strider

I missed you on CNN cause you remind me so much of my friend who just looks like you. Anyway, congratulations on the new baby!

4- Aimee Wang

I love spam and thought that everyone would enjoy the following spam hiku (written from the perspective of an American):

Ate three cans of spam
But there's still room for ice cream
I love this country

You go, Karuna!

5- Roy Chang

I just wanted to say congratulations on your baby and thanks for all the wonderful Asia Tonight broadcasts. When I was working in Taiwan, the only English language channel I had was CNNInternational and your broadcasts, including Inside Asia, really brightned my day. Born and raised in Hawaii myself, I was immensely saddened to hear that both you and Dalton Tanonaka had left the network.

I hope you all the luck in the future.



6- Kaori K

Hello Karuna!

Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading this article! And I must say it's a joy to find a website like this!! (Never knew one like this existed for people of the chanpon community.) I went to CAJ(remember, the one out in the boonies...)and later on to ICU(yup, near ASIJ), and I am a total chanponite myself. It's cool to find a community I can relate to! Plus, just until last month I worked at NHK... so I was able to relate to that part of the story!

Anyways, my father and I have missed seeing you on CNN tremendously but I want to send our congratualations on your baby. He's adorable!! Best wishes for you and your family in the future!


7- MImi

Kaori, it is great to see people like you finding this site. Hope you will continue to check in.

8- Greg Kawamoto

I've always wondered what happened to you after you left NHK. "Today's Japan" was like my nightly ritual when I was attending the University of Hawaii Manoa. I had to get my 30 minutes of Karuna!!! But the show also really helped me get in touch with my cultural herritage, as you mentioned, knowing the local Japanese in Hawaii is not like knowing the Japanese from Tokyo. It's probably because the local Japanese culture is a chop suey (mix) of different cultures as opposed to one that's specifically Japanese.

On a side note, it's kinda funny that you left for Japan after the 8th grade because my wife arrived from Japan at about the same time and started attending high school here in Hawaii. Initially, she experienced a similar cultural shock, as well as, language difficulties. Now she's very localized but most people here, at first glance, still think she's a tourist, while Japanese nationals think she's gaijin (a foreigner). Go figure!?

What's even funnier is that she says that I'm more "Japanese" than she is, because I practice more of the cultural norms and rituals than she ever did. I think that's a testimate to watching years of "Today's Japan."

I hope you return to broadcasting in the near future.

God bless,

Interesting. I forgot having seen you on NHK back when I lived in Japan or was visiting. I remember the CNN gig.

When I was in Japan last month working, I was with a family where the child was getting English from dad and Japanese from mom. And of course her language skills were amazing, and she was tri-lingual, and talking rings around both of them simultaneously. Mother worried that the child's reading and writing skills were behind the mythical average. It took some doing to convince her that when a child has that deep and complex a series of oral skills developing, also developing concomitant writing and reading skills will take time, but will probably also be as dynamic.

I hope you have a great time watching your child's skills develop, and have the opportunity to manifest them to the fullest.

Very interesting site. Met Joi some years ago, but had no inkling there was a sister. Just got to this site from a link in his.

I'm an American father with a Japanese wife and four daughters. At my insistence, all my daughters went to high school in Arizona (after attending compusory education in Japan). Two have elected to stay in the States for their higher education and careers. Two elected to come to Japan for higher education and careers. Go figure. I speak Japanese with the daughters in Japan and English with those in the States. Just seems to come natural that way.

Keep up the good work.

Charlie Whipple

11- Sai kazumi

Hi Chanpom cultural Japan:
It is very interesting to read Chanpom cultural Japan.
It has been so long since Karuna san not in CNN.
I miss Karuna san's Inside Asia.Recently I connected the Flet's
line and find that Karuna san has a
baby. Congratulation! I also have two boys. They are big boys. (The older one is 25 working in Komatsu Ishikawa. The young one is 20 studying in Keio
I absolutely agree with Karuna`s point
of view. It is so precious to share
the time with one`s own children at the childhood. As Karuna has so much
talent,there will be many opportunities to get a job. But for children, it is only one time to grow up with their
mother. Go for it Karuna.

Howzit Karuna!?!
Found a place near Kanda station called Hula Coffee that serves Spam Musubis. I don't remember the price, but it was ONO. Seemed more ONO than any SpamMusu I ever had, but that's cause I haven't had it for three months. Here's a link to an article on <a href="http://www.aloha-street.com/fromeditors/?publishdate=030409&id=555">Hula Coffee</a> (Japanese).

13- ash888

Hello Karuna. I would just like to say you are among the best news anchor/presenter on any TV news channel in the world. I used to watch CNN asian edition everyday at 12:15 (uk time) but sadly it is no longer avalible in the uk but i enjoyed it when it was. just one thing I would like to say. All the best for the future karuna. ash.

14- John O'Leary

Hello Karuna,
My kids are also growing up with a blend of the Japanese and American cultures. I continue to be encouraged that all the hard work that teachers and parents put in while raising kids is so well spent. I really enjoy running into all of my old ASIJ students and find each one built on the experience of living in an international community while living her in Tokyo.
It was great to read the article about you.
John O'Leary,still at ASIJ.

15- Mimi Ito

Mr. O'Leary hi! Hisashiburi desu. Glad you found our site!

16- Karuna Shinsho

this is a bit belated, but i wanted to thank everyone who responded to this feature with such kind words. what made being a broadcast journalist so fulfilling was to have people actually give you feedback on your work. not all of it may be so complimentary, but constructive criticism is also very important. anyway, it's nice to know that there were people out there beyond the black hole of the camera watching our shows. i hope to be of service again for you in the near future.

17- Ed Matsuwaka

Hey Karuna, you have many fans in Seattle! I used to watch your program every night on the local PBS channel, then discuss it the next day with my co-workers. I'm from Honolulu also, and even wrote to you once (you sent an autographed postcard). Congratulations on your new family and this was a fascinating interview. If ever in Seattle, I'll be your tour guide:). Aloha, Ed

18- Ed Matsuwaka

Hey Karuna, you have many fans in Seattle! I used to watch your program every night on the local PBS channel, then discuss it the next day with my co-workers. I'm from Honolulu also, and even wrote to you once (you sent an autographed postcard). Congratulations on your new family and this was a fascinating interview. If ever in Seattle, I'll be your tour guide:). Aloha, Ed

19- Ed Matsuwaka

Hey Karuna, you have many fans in Seattle! I used to watch your program every night on the local PBS channel, then discuss it the next day with my co-workers. I'm from Honolulu also, and even wrote to you once (you sent an autographed postcard). Congratulations on your new family and this was a fascinating interview. If ever in Seattle, I'll be your tour guide:). Aloha, Ed

20- Sameer

Many years ago, as a graduate student at UT Austin, I was hooked on watching Today's Japan on local PBS late night. Once I was accompanied by many coleagues and I bragged that KS is the prettiest newscaster I have ever seen. In the end many of my coleagues agreed after watching her with me. One of them, an Indian told me that Karuna means compassion in Sanskrit. Being from subcontinent, a Panjabi from Pakistan, I felt pride to find out Sanskrit words in Japanese langage due to Buddhism.

I don't know why after more than 10 years, I just did goggle search for Karuna Shinsho and arrived at this site. I thank Karuna for bringng back some old memories today.

Best wished and good luck.


21- John Jensen

For several years we watched Karuna Shinsho do the NKH news from Japan. It was carried here in San Francisco. Karuna was the best news anchor ever. Her pronunciation and delivery was professional and captivating.

When In Tokyo a few years ago we saw Karuna doing the CNN news. We were so delighted!
My wife is from Hong Kong. Our son Julian (13) studies Spanish, but might just study Japanese if it is offered in high school.

Thank you Chanpon for posting the Karun Shinsho interviews. We wish Karuna and her family all the best.

John, Rosalyn and Julian

22- Ron Dirkse

Very interesting site and great interview. Since my wife is Japanese and we have two children I can relate to all the discussion about the different influences of Japan, America, etc. We also have gone though (are going through) the whole issue of bilingual/bicultural/etc. I can remember a former colleague, Paul Zwintscher, who was raised in Japan talked a lot about the difficulties of living in two cultures. He eventually left his teaching at ASIJ so his children could relate more to one country. (But I'll bet they come back to Japan someday). Greetings to all the ASIJ'ers on the list.

Ron Dirkse
ASIJ mathematics teacher





27- Gopal Kshetry

Hi Karuna,
It is incredible to know your background in this site. I saw you long time ago in Japan Today program. For a long time, you disappeared and again you appeared in CNN. It was nice to see you again in CNN. But again you are disappeared in CNN and I came to know that you are upbringing a child. I hope someday you will start again.

From the day I know you, I am wondering how did your parents name you as Karuna, which is not a Japanese word?
Best regards
Gopal Kshetry

28- Noriko

It was interesting reading Karuna's comments.
I have a similar background. I was raised overseas, went to international and American schools,and went to ASIJ when I was in Japan.However, all of my work exeprience has been here in Japan,and now I work for a very conservative Japanese university. I am now 46, and it seems that I am still trying to come to terms with my identity as a hen na Japanese.
It would be interesting to communciate with other
chanpon people about my age, to compare notes.

29- Kaz

Finally I found you in the Internet after a long absense from broadcast. It was 15years ago I saw you first on TV. I did not know you are the same age as me. Go for it, Karuna!

30- Yuta Masuda

Even though I have not seen you on NHK or CNN, your background is so interesting and also fastinating! Being a s a first generation, I have just moved to Hawaii as a Japanese teacher. Prior to this, I have also taught almost 10 years at an international school in Japan. I was born and raised in Toyko but also lived in mainland for several years. But I must say that Hawaii is the best for hen na nihonjin! I really enjoy raising my two year old to be bilingual here, too.

31- Yasuko

Dear Karuna,

I am so happy that I accidentally found this interview with you talking about your experience at the Japanese junior high school. I do not think you remember me but I was one of the girls in the class at the junior high. We hanged around together after school and watched your favorite class mate boy playing soccer on the school field! I also remember that a group of girls including me challenged some senior students who treated you "differently". After the summer, we were shocked at the news that you were leaving. We missed you a lot. After a while, we looked for your house, but for some reason, we could not see you. Since then, we lost your contact.

Well, I do not know if Karuna sees this message, but I decided to hang my hope on a chance. Karuna, I wanna tell you we liked you and missed you a lot almost 25 years ago!

32- carolin

i am a special fans of karuna shinsho.you maybe feel surperised that you have fans in China mainland,but we do really like you because your professional report whenever you in cnn or abc later.by the way,are you stlii living in HongKong now?

33- alan

wish you the best! btw, you look like my girl friend who is japanese too.She going to graduate this april.

34- yoi801

nice to see your news again out of TV :)

35- Ely Chiang

I was highly impressive with your programs like Inside Asia, This morning… on CNN international. With the programs specially hosted by you, I was well aware of lots international politics, economy and culture in Asia. I miss your elegant style, beautiful appearance and forgettable memory bringing your first hand news to your audiences. Hope that we still have opportunity to watch your show soon. Very happy to know your recent condition. Finally, congratulate you on the birth of your beautiful son, Justin.

36- Mariko Terazaki

Hello Karuna

It was very interesting reading your interview. My mother is also Japanese, and my father American and I received most of my education in Europe. I did, however, attend ASIJ for one year. My upbringing, like yours, took me to many countries as a child and also exposed me to a variety of cultures and languages. Most of my studies were conducted in French, but I feel my Japanese is nonetheless comparable to any Japanese as I did attend "nihongo gakkou" rather diligently. I worked in Tokyo for almost ten years and never felt myself any different from any other Japanese. I met my Japanese husband in Switzerland, when I was working there, and have two children. We now live in the United States. It is interesting how I never realized that people with international backgrounds may feel "champon", as it never occured to me. A very interesting insight for me. Thank you!

37- langdon77

Good to see you again, Karuna. You are the one of the most unforgettable anchor I've ever seen, since I studyed English using sources from news media. I had even tried to memorize every single words you said while you reporting on CNN, I liked your clear accent and intonation,After I finished my military service(it's mandatory for every adult young men in Korea), I found out you not be on the CNN any more, I've searched your name pulling every possible stings, and finally one of your fan (I think he is) left me some information about you on this website.
I feel great to see you again and find every things around you look so well(marrage, cute little child). And from this interview I found out you are learning Mandarine, it makes me feel good you and I have at least one thing in common (i know it's not a big thing) - learning Mandarine as foreign language.
I've been staying one of northern city of China called Dalian for my work, feeling pretty lonely away from my family and girl friend, but finding you makes me think back about the time duting I was in college and that refreshed me for real.
Thanks. I hope to see you again to be of service like every body else here.

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金, 12 20, 2002, @ 6:15
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金, 12 20, 2002, @ 6:19
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