ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2011

December 19, 2011

Dear ASIJ Class of 1993,

Welcome to another year in the life of Class of '93!

We had a bit of a quiet year this year -- possibly an indication that folks have moved on to new media, such as our class Facebook page? Perhaps the notion of an old-fashioned annual newsletter is simply outdated in the modern world of instant communication.

What do you think? If you have thoughts on how this newsletter should evolve in the future, let me know, particularly if you would like to see it continue in present form.

In the meantime, here's what we heard from our classmates this year!

Mayumi Nakayama has the distinction of being the first ASIJ '93 alum to enroll her own child in ASIJ:

My daughter and I moved from Honolulu to Tokyo in December, and we are enjoying Tokyo! My daughter Erica just finished 9th grade at ASIJ, and is very looking forward to her new school year. She has had Mr. Seevers, Mr. Vikse, and Mr. Fernandez (remember all those teachers!?) as her teachers. I was working part-time at Nishimachi Int'l School at the development/alumni office, and I have reconnected with a lot of my classmates there as well.

We experienced the March earthquake, and my daughter had to stay the night at one of the teacher's house by ASIJ. Other than that, we miss the nice weather in Hawaii, but we are loving the seasons and the fun towns Japan has to offer! Hope to see anyone who comes by Tokyo!

Mayumi later informed us that she is now fully employed at an international school in Tokyo! Write to Mayumi.

Also in Japan is Philip Soldini, who was with our class from the last few weeks of 5th grade through the end of 8th grade.

This year my wife, Nami, and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Our daughter Masako turned 8, our son Rei turned 7, and our youngest son Don turned 5. We currently live in Miyazaki, Japan, where I work as a certified J--E translator, primarily in the field of game software localization. I also started up a medical tourism business called Checkup Japan (, acting as an interpreter and guide for foreigners seeking a less-expensive route to undergo comprehensive medical check-ups.

Write to Philip.

Mari Nagasue-Youn is in various places around the Asia-Pacific region:

I got married to Dae Jin Youn on 20th October, 2007, in Seoul and moved to Hawaii for a couple of years while DJ completed his MBA. I loved being in Honolulu for it was totally different from Europe where I grew up. On 2nd July, 2009, I gave birth to our first son, Kouei Hong Young Nagasue-Youn (3520g), who is now known as the "Milk Tycoon" on my Facebook! As the name says it all, he really is the biggest milk consumer I have ever seen besides myself!

During the past few years, Yuri Takemura (Katada) came all the way to Seoul with her husband and charming twin girls for my wedding, met Lalaka Fukuma (Ogawa) and Yumeko Arai (Yamauchi) and their lovely children in Tokyo, reconnected with my best gourmande friend Hanako Tokunaga, and will be seeing Julia Hung at the end of Sept in Hong Kong.

On the business side, the biggest news was that one of our books "SASAKI: the Theatre of Hiroshi Sasaki" has won the grand prize for the Chef's category in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010, and had the honour of attending the awards ceremony in Paris in March 2011.

As of Sept 2011, I still help out our family company occasionally, but am working more as an independent writer/editor/publishing coordinator. Kouei and I are always travelling between Seoul and Kyoto, so if any of our classmates are in either places, I would love for you to drop me a line. I can be reached at or anyone can find me on Facebook!

In a subsequent message, Mari adds:

Since then, I've started putting my nose into coffee business, which is quite fun! Actually, it is my brother's business and I'm just fooling around with it. But our coffee is very aromatic and excellent quality, so if anyone is interested in organic coffee beans, I'd be more than happy to share. =)

Write to Mari.

Also in the Far East is Chantal Balogh:

I've been in Hong Kong the last five years teaching first grade at an international school. Much of the experience has been rewarding and as such, I foresee myself being here a bit longer!

Write to Chantal.

Gali (Eshkol) Heffer is in the Middle East:

This March I quit my job in Human Resources at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, after nine wonderful years. I just felt I needed a change and had had enough. I took a break from life and spent the next two months renovating our house, which proved to be a project within itself! My husband, Chen, also made a change a few months ago and started his own business with two partners - as information security specialists. I recently joined their new venture as their office manager (working from home) and I'm loving every second :)

We're also expecting a fourth daughter - due in the end of November! Our eldest, Amit (8) was pretty bummed out because he was hoping for a baby brother. We're trying to convince him of the upside of being an alpha male with three little sisters. He's an amazing older brother and his two younger sisters absolutely adore him so we're hoping all goes smoothly with another one!

The photo below is of Gali and Kinneret Eshkol '93. Write to Gali.

In the States, Brian Conaghan moved from Northwest to Southeast:

My partner, Shawn, and I have moved to Durham, NC to be closer to my family. So, after 10 years with Intel, I have finally left the nest and am now working for Cree making LED chips for lighting. Since the last update we had another foreign exchange student for a year, this time from Germany. And then last fall we got to visit our kids in Paris and Bielefeld, which was a great trip. Our French student let us borrow his bachelor pad 6 blocks off the Champs Elysees ... not too shabby.

Write to Brian.

Matt Clark is rocking the bicoastal thing:

still living / working in san francisco although i'm spending a majority of my time in new york city these days. hang out with yujiro kohri and dean lee from time to time. saw emile goldberg and jesper edman in tokyo a few months ago. also caught up with Dev Ahuja at the ASIJ San Francisco reunion a few months ago.

Write to Matt.

In between coasts (in Ohio) is Lisa Witt:

My husband Glen and I had a new addition to our family this year -- a baby boy, Carter. Big sister Claire (3 years old) is thrilled. I am taking a leave of absence from my job as an English teacher to take care of the kids for a year or two. My parents continue to work at ASIJ and we usually go back to Tokyo to visit once a year, although we didn't go this year because of the earthquake.

Write to Lisa.

On the East Coast (in Boston) am I, Tom Reid,

where, having recently completed my physics PhD on fluctuating-surface-current techniques for computing Casimir forces, I am confident at long last that the world will now finally understand me!

Any resemblance between the timing of my graduation and the resumption of this newsletter is purely non-coincidental. To share your wild and crazy adventures involving Casimir forces, write to me.

On the opposite coast is Jen Woodard:

I'm living in San Clemente, Southern California. I manage a local store in town and my parents Steve and Shelly Hillyer are just up the road from me so I get to see them often (not typical of me as I have always been moving around).

Kind of setting roots here. Surf, beach volleyball, and enjoying SC. Nothing too exciting. Been continuing my education at Chapman University while here, studying psychology.

I haven't run into anyone from ASIJ, just see what folks are up to via fb.

P.S. image is of my mom Shelly & I.

Write to Jen.

Also on the West Coast is Katie Sakuma Moore:

I guess it has been a while since the last newsletter. Since then, I have moved across the bridge to Oakland, CA where I live with my husband, Jeff, and two dogs, Duncan and Hadley. My husband and I were married in October 2010 at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, CA. A couple of ASIJ classmates were in attendance -- Julie McCord and Melissa (Brinkmann) Miller -- as well as some ASIJ parents -- the McCords, Ferros, Sakatas, and Johnstons.

We took a two-week honeymoon in Argentina traveling to six cities -- touring the sights in Buenos Aires, visiting the massive Iguazu Falls, viewing the wildlife in Peninsula Valdes, trekking on a glacier in El Calafate, hiking near the Andes in El Chalten, and relaxing in Bariloche.

After that, the travel seems to only be for work. I am currently working on a project that takes me up to Vancouver, BC every week. But, I think my travel days will become more limited as we are expecting a baby boy in January. I figure he will keep me grounded at least for a little while.

Write to Katie.

And that's a spin 'round the world of the Great ASIJ Class of '93! Thanks to all who wrote in -- and thanks in advance to all who will write in next year, if we decide we want to keep doing this! Send news and address updates anytime directly to me, or post them on our class Facebook page!

ASIJ Class of 1993 Alumni Newsletters

ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2011
ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2007
ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2006
ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2005
ASIJ '93 Facebook Page

ASIJ '93 Alumni Newsletter 2011, by Tom Reid
Last Modified: 11/16/16