Like the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi I have felt “suspended” between two worlds for half of my life. The feeling of not knowing where I truly belonged was unsettling. Having a Japanese father and a Bolivian mother made me the target of racial discrimination in Bolivia, my country of birth. During my childhood and early adolescense I often felt like a second or third class citizen and that feeling caused pain and inner turmoil. Furthermore, before becoming “civilized,” most children are little heartless savages with no idea of the pain they may inflict with insults and threats. Many a time I cried silently, unable to understand what was the thing that attracted such negative behavior.
When I was 12 years old I begged my mother to send me to a Catholic boarding school in La Paz. There, I enjoyed the seclusion of the convent and even entertained the idea of becoming a nun. Eventually I was drawn into “normal” life. The political situation in my country was dark. It was next to impossible to get a college education or to improve one’s lot in life. As a woman, I was supposed to marry and stay home to raise children. With the help of a Canadian family, I left Bolivia to live and work in Montreal, Canada. The experience was another opportunity to see the grotesque racial division between the “true” Canadians, the French versus the English invaders. While studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, I started a process of liberating my mind and soul through numerous readings, enlightened discussions and studying in depth the history of humankind. One day, I finally reconciled myself with my dual heritage and saw it for what it was — a definite plus in the process of understanding others.
experience and gave me still another perspective on life.
And it is now, during my golden years when I am finally capable of saying hello to the world through my first novel in English, ASK LUZ. I feel that at age 74 I’m finally able to express myself in English, in my native Spanish, in my acquired Italian and in my rusty French and almost forgotten Portuguese. And in a few more months, in broken Japanese when I visit my father’s birthplace, Japan, for the first time.