I have two home countries: the Philippines, where I was born and raised; and Japan, where my parents are from. I grew up with a very clear sense of my Japanese heritage, but also developed deep understanding and appreciation of Filipino culture, and my identities lie in both cultures. I have always wanted to contribute to both countries in some way, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to do so through my linguistic research. I have also been learning about my Ryukyuan heritage through fieldwork trips to Yoron, Japan. Because of my upbringing, I am also interested in issues surrounding third culture kids, ethnic/linguistic minorities, and diaspora communities, which have inspired my research and teaching.
After I left the Philippines at the age of 15, I have moved around quite a bit. I lived in Kobe, Chiba, and Tokyo in Japan, and Pittsburgh and Honolulu in the US. Every single place I have lived in has contributed to my complex cultural and linguistic identity.