Tina’s Story

Born in Japan, raised in the US, UK and Hong Kong.  By the time I was 18, my family and I had moved about 10 times.  It was a lot of changing schools and cultures which led to a feeling of not having an identity.  During my high school days in the US, it felt like I could never fit in because I was too Japanese. However, when I returned to Japan for college, everybody I met said I was so American.  That’s when I started to accept myself as who I am. 

When I first volunteered as an interpreter, I was shocked at how bad I was. Our mentor said to us “Assuming someone can be an interpreter because they speak two languages is the same as assuming they can be a pianist because they have two hands.” Yes, it takes training. I was also very fortunate to be able to build a career as an interpreter, bilingual emcee, voice-over artist and TV announcer.  (Currently hosting  “Science View” on NHK World Japan)

Sawmi and I clicked because we had many things in common. We were the same age, and we were both soccer moms.  I could also relate to her difficulties of living in a foreign country.  I did not know much about Myanmar before I met her, but I now feel that this is part of my mission as well and that I might be able to make a difference.  COVID and the military coup has put our travel plans to a halt, but I truly hope that some day in the not so far future I can travel to Sawmi’s hometown to meet the people of Myanmar.


初めてボランティアで通訳を経験した時、あまりにもうまく話せなくて愕然としました。その時アドバイスしてくれた方の言葉が「2ヶ国語が話せるから通訳ができる、というのは、腕が2本あるからピアノが弾ける、と言うのを同じ」。訓練が必要なのだと実感しました。幸運にも、その後いろいろなチャンスに恵まれ通訳、バイリンガル司会者、ナレーター、アナウンサーとしてキャリアを細く長く続けることができました。(NHK WORLD JAPANの番組Science Viewに現在も出演中です)