The Journey of Japanglish


My friends always encouraged me to develop something with the stories I have about my family. I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, don’t we all have funny stories about our parents?

One day, I was riding the bus with my friends. I told them a story of when I was a child, and my Mom filled out an application form for a library card. Under the category ‘Sex’, she circled ‘M’. At 7 years old, I looked up at my Mom with some confusion and said, “Why did you mark down ‘M’?” She replied, “ ‘M’ stands for Mother, ‘F’ stands for Father.” I had to explain to her that ‘M’ stands for Male and ‘F’ is for Female. My friends started to laugh and I looked over at this stranger standing near us who did not smile since he got on the bus. He looked away and started laughing. Then I thought, maybe I have something here.

So I started recording down every story I could remember from my childhood, teen years and as an adult. After 2 and a half years of writing, my solo show Japanglish, was created. At the time, I was in a place where I was discovering my own voice and knew in my heart that this story was meant to be told by me.

I debuted the show at the Victoria Fringe Festival in 2009, where it was warmly received as well as being nominated for Best Solo Show & Best Female Performance. After the run in Victoria, my director and I went back into rehearsals to add more details and to fine tune it. In 2010, Japanglish has been presented to sold out houses at the Cultch in Vancouver, Uno Festival, and most recently the Edmonton Fringe Festival, where it received it’s first 5 star rating and was considered Best of the Fest from Vue Weekly.

Japanglish has both comedy and drama, is a family friendly show, and runs about 50 minutes long (with no intermission). It deals with the communication and cultural struggles I had growing up Canadian with traditional Japanese parents. It has a universal message and experiences of family relationships we can all relate to. It’s been described to me from audience members as a “love letter” to my parents.

I have been truly blessed with the experience I’ve had with this show so far. I am passionate about sharing my story with people and know it is what I’m meant to do right now in my life.