Lori Tornoe Mizuno (Nepal)

Lori Tomoe Mizuno (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP - Nepal): Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Lori Mizuno attended the University of Washington and received her B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas in 2003. In her junior year at UW, Lori took part in an innovative study abroad program in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Cyprus. This introduced her to international human rights, and led her to pursue graduate studies. At the time of her fellowship, Lori was studying for a Master’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy at New York University, in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

One Week In

26 Jun

After traveling ten time zones, taking six flights, and staying in two European cities for two weeks, I finally arrived in Kathmandu.

Nicole and Stacey (interns at Jagaran Media Center) greeted me as I departed the airport. Additionally, I was greeted by hords of taxi drivers yelling
out prices of 200 rupees, 100 rupees for a ride. Some would add in a “konichiwa” my way. The process of deconstructing my identity has begun.

I’ve gotten mixed responses in relation to my Asian appearance these past seven days. At times, it seems vitally important that those I have conversations with understand not where I’m from physically, but where my blood comes from. A typical conversation goes something like this:

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from the United States.”

“No, where are you from?”

“Well, I was born in the United States, but my parents are from Japan.”

“Oh, Japan! How is Japan?”

And then other questions ensue about the weather in Japan, what city in Japan I’m from, etc.

In my previous travels, I’ve learned to take in stride people’s assumptions as to where they think I’m from. Often, I don’t even correct them. (The little boy in the South African township yelling “CHINA!” comes to mind.) But in the case of being in Kathmandu, this seems to work sometimes in my favor. In fact, I’ve been mistaken for Nepalese at least a couple of times. And some of the volunteers at COCAP have unofficially placed me into the Mongol caste. They say it’s a positive thing. I guess I’m not going to question it.

Posted By Lori Tornoe Mizuno (Nepal)

Posted Jun 26th, 2006

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