The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mai
Born to an Okinawan mom and an American dad, thus growing up bi-racial in a multi-cultural home meant Mai had to ask tough questions from the start about identity, equality, community, friendships and the like. An aspiring graphic designer and a secretive poet, she uses the arts to continue the journey of those questions, through her multi-cultural marriage, and the community around her. A fighter for love to be in action in all places; who loves hearing the stories of those around her in hopes to build better bridges in all places and with all people. Mai also enjoys the simple pleasures of puppies, coffee, food of all kinds, and summer activities.
In this episode, we talked about her cultural heritage and tips on how to navigate multiculturalism in language, marriage, and expressions.
PS: Okinawan-Japanese is the equivalent of Hawaiian-American; thus, Mai is ethnically Okinawan. Also, it would mean a lot to Mai if you went to see 'Crazy Rich Asians;' according to her "your ticket purchase helps affirm the industry that people want to see diverse leads."
Fun facts about Mai:
Her parents met in Japan when dad was in the US Airforce.
If she speaks too much in one language, her brain gets tired. So, she needs a fine balance of people with whom she can speak English and Japanese.
She spent a lot of time in Japan when growing up. So much so that when she moved back to the US, she was classified as an international student and had to take ESL (English as a second language) classes.
Mai had two very good questions for me as a Nigerian about Nigerians.
Your insight as a multicultural person is always needed and valuable.
Be proud of your heritage.
Notable Quotes from Mai:
“I find the Japanese culture at times fascinating because even though it is a communal society, there is so much pressure on the individual to succeed which sometimes creates a painful tension.”
"In America, it is harder to build quality friendships because it is an individualistic society. Thus, self-love here, ironically, is to schedule spontaneous activities to make sure I spend quality time with my friends."
“Being married to a Chinese-American, we both have to learn how to navigate this space of multiculturalness we share. We both have parallel lives of being able to relate on how it feels to navigate multiple cultures and not really feeling like we belong to anyone in particular.”
"Say Anything" - X-Japan (1991) [Mo says: "The arrangement of the musical instruments reminds me of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody"]