Today, I have the pleasure and honor to interview Emiko of Her Confidence Her Way, a Podcast series with a mission to guide Japanese women towards having self-confidence and living a meaningful life.
So, for every episode, I aim to make the topic applicable to the Asian/Asian American community but for this one, I wanted to tune into a more specific audience and that is, of course, the Japanese/Japanese American women listening out there. Despite the fact that Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries of our time, like many other countries, it still has room for improvement for gender equality. We will be discussing on Japan's current state and progress in its agenda for women empowerment.
Emiko Rasmussen is a Confidence Building Coach, Virtual Mentor, Host of Her Confidence Her Way Podcast, Speaker and Leader of the Her Confidence Her Way Community. She helps Japanese women who don’t feel confident because of their self-limiting beliefs and language/cultural barriers. Emiko empowers Japanese women to be more confident by helping them break through their fears and discover their gifted talents so that they can do what they really want to do and live a meaningful life without worrying about someone else’s opinion.
TRANSCRIBED BY WINETTE VO
PROOFREAD BY SABRINA KU
JESSICA NGUYEN, HOST: Today’s podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/projectvoice. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or MP3 player.
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NGUYEN: Hi! Welcome to Project Voice. This is Jess. Today, we are gonna focus on a very special topic. Often time, I aim to make each episode topic that we cover applicable to the entire Asian/Asian American community, but for this episode, I wanted to do something a bit different and this time I am focusing more on a specific community and that is the Japanese/Japanese American community and today, our very special guest is Emiko Rasmussen and we actually met online and it’s really exciting to have her online today and join us to share her voice with us today. I’m actually gonna have her introduce herself for a bit, but how we got in touch is that she reached out to me one day over Twitter and we found out that we were both podcasters and we quickly bonded over the fact of, that over our experiences as content creators as well as our feelings about like wanting to empower other women, other Asian women and I am going to have Emiko introduce herself today and, hi Emiko, how are you?
EMIKO RASMUSSEN, INTERVIEWEE: Hi Jess! Thank you so much for the introduction. I really appreciate it. So, I am going to go ahead and quickly tell about who I am. So, I have been in San Diego, California for 14 years and I’m actually originally from Japan. I was born and raised in Japan, it’s the city called Yokohama. And I am currently mom of two and I’m a proud working mom and I have been working, I have been in the higher education industry for over 10 years with 6 years of management experience, and so that’s just a full time job. And on the side, I help Japanese women, who don’t feel confident and feel undervalued due to self-limiting beliefs, language and culture barriers in the U.S. and I help them to recognize their gifted talents so that they can build their self confidence and they can do whatever they want to do without worrying about someone else’s opinion. So, that’s just a side of what I do and I’m also, as Jess said, I’m also a podcaster. My podcast is called “Her Confidence, Her Way” podcast, where I interview inspiring Japanese women who are breaking through their self-confidence and doing amazing things around the world. So, that’s just about me and yeah, I feel like I do a lot, but I definitely enjoy and I just live the fullest, for sure.
NGUYEN: That is awesome! Yeah, you are one inspiring woman. You are doing so much out there. You’re a podcaster, you’re a coach, you’re also a mom. How do you find the time to do all of that? I don’t know, it’s like very admirable of you.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, I think I focus and of course, it is my responsibility to say no, so things that I don’t think it’s...I don’t want to sound like I’m very selfish, but you know, things that it’s not my, it doesn’t align to my mission or the purpose, then I would say no or I ask for lots of help because I’m not a superwoman so I cannot do everything and anything, so you know, whenever I need some help, I have a group of moms and friends who I feel comfortable just reaching out and I, of course, I do the same for them whenever they need some help, and I of course help them out so yeah. It’s just kind of like give and take.
NGUYEN: Oh yeah, I think it’s very powerful when we women come together and provide this sense of community and act as a resource for each other and it’s great seeing how this momentum of growing support for one another is picking up and how quickly it’s picking up and especially with the help of the Internet, it’s so much easier to reach out to people and then provide advice, information, just provide support for each other so it’s like a stronger sense of solidarity through that so like you mention about empowering women and more specifically like empowering Japanese women. I understand that there is a gender inequality issue in Japan and that Japan, actually, despite being one of the most developed countries in all over the world, it still ranks low in terms of gender equality and there’s still room for improvement and this is just from what I’ve heard, like from my friends who have either lived or studied abroad in Japan. And I was wondering whether you can share with me your perspective on what the issue is like for you, like what it is like from your own personal experience, so yeah.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, sure, so I definitely agree that gender inequality is a big issue, especially in Japan and then, even people who are living in the US, who are originally, like grew up in Japan, I think they kind of carry that value and cultural value, so meaning women tend to undervalue themselves and I totally see that. So, I did some research because your question is so good and I was like man, I have to do some research. So, the current Prime Minister also pointed out that, you know, promoting more women in the government cabinets too and of course the workplace, too, but this is my opinion but the inequality is really embedded culturally and socially and women really struggle in staying in the workforce so based on this one, I think it was the Goldman Sachs, I looked it up and it says that the global gender gap report, Japan was ranked 101st out of 145 countries surveyed. So like you said, even if, although the Japanese is, Japan is a developed country, we’re pretty much at the bottom of the bottom, so it was very sad to find out and also wage gap, so by the time that the women, men and women are in 30s, their wage gap is over 30% and I can see the reason why it is so hard for women, especially when women are getting married or having kids, that’s when women leave and for example, this is something that I know. People work longer, long hours in Japan, like working overtime is really expected and then people are also expected to go to this thing called nomikai, which is like a, it’s like a social drinking, you know happy hour type of things. That’s where the networking and relation building and even negotiations and deals, making deals happen. So with that said, that puts a very challenging position for women, especially working moms. It’s like, there is no way for me to go to those nomikai, which is the, you know, after work and going for networking and do those things there. There is no way because I have to go and pick up my kids so those things are very hidden, but it is culturally embedded and also Japanese culture value a lot with women like dropping out of the workforce in their 20s so there is a term, it is called koto wiki taisha that is like a mid-20 or preparing for wedding and becoming the housewife so that’s kind of like a, it’s a term that people call it like oh, you know, wiki taisha, meaning I am leaving the work because I am preparing for wedding and becoming a housewife and so there is even a term for it. And also, this is a shocking one. A former health minister even called women a baby-making machine. That was a huge deal so when I heard this, I was like oh hell no. (laughs) So that was very, you know, it’s those things that are already embedded and I also talked to, because I wanted to make sure that, you know, I have the most updated information since I have been out of Japan for a while so I asked a couple of my friends who are still, still in the workforce. She told me that there are some like bullying term so whenever people are pregnant, people are often demoted or forced to quit.
NGUYEN: Oh wow. That’s horrible.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, so because they’re pregnant so I, I think although Japanese women hold higher education than men actually, but it’s just, it’s obvious that these are very hidden, but it’s like a culturally embedded. And for my personal experience, I actually did work in a professional environment right after I graduated from college and I worked for this company for one year, here in the U.S. and after that, I actually went back to Japan because I wanted to get the working experience so what I have faced is that I have seen so many women cleaning the break room, so that’s like their chore, not the man’s job, and I was asked to bring coffee. My old boss, he goes, so my maiden name is Takahashi, so he goes “Takahashi-san, can you bring some coffee for the guest?” and in my head, because I had the first experience of working in U.S., in my head, I was like “I’m not your waitress,” but in reality, I smiled and said “yes, sir” and I, you know, I did that so yeah, I think that that, these are a lot. I mean, I can talk forever about what are the other experiences I’ve had but,...
NGUYEN: Oh yeah...
RASMUSSEN: These are the things that I literally have experienced and it [was wild to me.]
NGUYEN: Oh wow, no, you gave me really good experiences. I really appreciate the fact that you even do research, did research on this question. It means a lot, knowing that you did. It’s also very important, like to stress, how like it’s to stress researching really to answer these questions, because, especially if you’re speaking for a community, there’s this, I didn’t notice this, but there’s like this, a lot of pressure on you to make sure that whatever you’re saying is credible and it’s legitimate so I really appreciate that. You know, I’ve heard stories from my friends too, like from everyday small actions, like when they’re just walking in the streets, even if they’re foreigners and like because they’re women, they’re expected to walk like around, sort of expected to make way for the old Japanese businessman, who are like going down, walking down on the same sidewalk. Or, I know that Japan has been really proactive or they’re really or they tried making daycare reforms a big deal or they’re really trying to encourage women to settle down more and start families. And for that reason, as you know,with the increasing aging population too, it’s just like oh, such this huge pressure for them to encourage more women to settle down and start families, but the women don’t want to. They want to stay in the workforce so as a result, you know, the government tries to create more daycares, create more family-friendly daycares for them, but it turns out not to be as effective as they would like...
NGUYEN: So it’s got me to thinking like why is it always the women, like why do the Japanese women have to settle down? Why can’t Japanese men play a part? So it’s upsetting to realize that it’s still an expectation on the Japanese women to fulfill. Anyway, so moving on from that, I wanted to know, just curious, are there efforts being made by even the Japanese society or government to empower or elevate women to a higher degree?
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, so as you have mentioned, the government is really attempting to encourage more women to join the workforce through like all those initiatives and there’s a thing called, what I don’t even know how to pronounce it. It’s like oo-, in Japanese, I think they call it, like ‘womenomics’ so it’s like women and economic all combined together. So, I was actually reading an article about it and then, I’m just kind of air quoting but it says there is not much in it for women so it’s, there’s a significant problem with ‘womenomics’ and there’s not much in it for women. That’s what it says. So what it is, is pretty much what you had kind of mentioned, a childcare. They don’t have enough childcare and I was actually working. I’m sorry. When I went back to Japan and I was actually playing at the park with my daughter, and then, I met this lady, and you know, we’re kind of chatting and I asked “oh, I see, you know, your daughter is, looks like same age as mine. Doesn’t she go to school?” and the lady told me, and she said “No. Actually, I got kicked out because I’m pregnant with the second one so they expect that I will be taking another time off so the older one’s spot is taken by other family member who needs that spot.” Does that make sense to you? So yeah, it’s pretty much if you have a second one or if you pretty much had the baby, for the second baby, then you cannot keep the older one in daycare so I was like “Wow, that was crazy”. And my mother, actually, she really involved with community internships and she provides community for like moms to support and I wouldn’t call it a daycare, but it’s like people who used to work at those daycares, they are coming as a volunteer to watch their kids. So it’s just, I think it’s still challenging and you know, like I said, it’s the cultural value and I feel like women are pretty much told to go to this path, so I actually watched one of the YouTube videos and the guy is like asking questions to 20-something women like “So what would you like to do in the future? You’re almost graduating college.” and I was in shock when I heard so many of the women saying “Um, what I want to do is probably I’ll just get a job and work for a few years and then I’ll get married by 20-, age of 25 and I will...that’s like my dream blah blah blah and I will have kids.” So, it’s just like the idea is completely different.
NGUYEN: Oh wow! So just to clarify, so when women are pregnant and they find out that they’re having another child, they get replaced?
NGUYEN: They get automatically replaced by another woman or another…
RASMUSSEN: Oh for that child care? So say, so for example, I would be the totally perfect example so I have two kids, right? So then my older one was in a daycare, and then as soon as the daycare find out that I am pregnant, that I am about to deliver a baby, my older daughter’s spot for daycare is taken by another family because the daycare expect that I will be taking the time off so they see it as “Oh, I don’t need to have a daycare because I will be staying home so I will be taking care of two kids.”
NGUYEN: Oh, I see. Got it, got it. Oh wow, mmmhm. That’s problematic like oh, you have no choice, you have no base to share your voices in something like this and we’re just going to quickly make a decision for you. It’s just like an automatic assumption.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, the society will make a decision for you, pretty much.
NGUYEN: Yeah, oh wow. Do you see any differences or similarities between the gender inequality issue in Japan and the U.S.?
RASMUSSEN: I definity think so. I mean, women in general, I know women in the U.S., the people face those inequalities, but women are expected to stay at home and 70% are gone for good So, like I said, it’s that, the wiki taisha earlier that I kind of explained and like I said the child care here in U.S., there are plenty of childcare here where I can just knock on the door and the next day, the spot is available, but that’s not the case in Japan and you kind of mention it earlier, the men’s mentality for the partnership as the wife and the husband is different. So I think, I don’t want to speak too much but so I believe that men expect the women to prepare meals everyday and women are the one to do the nurturing so that is, that is still the case and I think the idea of, have you heard of the term kawaii? It’s like a girly-ish or pretty?
NGUYEN: Oh yeah, kawaii, like cute!
RASMUSSEN: So yeah, okay, so like, yeah a girlish kawaii is more preferable than stylish like, so women who can do the job, who can earn money, those people are not really looked as preferable by men.
NGUYEN: Oh, oh okay. Good to know.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, so the term of women’s independence, there’s a term called joshiryoku so joshi means women and ryoku means power so women power or women’s independence. The term itself is completely different so when I was reading some article about the term joshiryoku that like people define as like oh, women, whenever people go out for dinner together, let’s say, you know, after work, and women are the one who is serving food for them, for the men or women who has a handkerchief, who are kind of seen as a perfect woman. I wouldn’t say perfect, but like, you know, more woman-like.
NGUYEN:Oh okay, yeah.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah so, it’s just the idea itself is completely different.
NGUYEN: So it’s like, it’s not just what you do, but it’s how your present yourself as well...
NGUYEN: In Japan. I mean, in general, like the U.S. is probably being a developed country too. There is a huge issue, gender inequality there, like you see, I mean, not just like men and women, but women, women of color too, like the disparities in wage earnings and also just treatment and like how, you know, women are expected to act. I mean, I think, like in the U.S., especially after hearing what you’re saying, you said about, like what Japanese women are expected to be like, like I don’t know whether the appearance of how we are as Americans play into effect on how like men perceive us and whether it affects how, you know, desirable we come off as. At the same time, like we have a lot of room for improvement, like there’s...
NGUYEN: ...still misogyny and sexism happening in the U.S. and just as much in Japan, and it’s like, it’s frustrating so you know, it’s like a worldwide issue.
NGUYEN: And like there’s still limited opportunities in terms of employment and education. Maybe, it’s the same. I know that you grew up in Japan and then you moved, you moved right over to the U.S. And like it’s the U.S., like the U.S. is now your home and it’s been for like many, many years, like you’ve lived in the U.S. for a longer time than in Japan now and so I’m curious to know, how was it like for you coming here to the U.S.?
RASMUSSEN: Oh yeah, so I came here as an exchange student for three weeks, a three weeks program when I was sixteen. So that was just like a three weeks, like one time only and ever since then, I’ve pretty much, like all the experience wowed me, and I just really wanted to expand my world and know what else is out there. I felt that you know, I mean it’s very cliche, you know, like the U.S., like freedom and all that stuff, and I definitely felt that for some reasons and I really liked the idea of being able to learn different languages and culture, and being able to meet people from different countries while you’re in U.S. that I thought was really cool. So, that’s when I decided that I’m gonna come to U.S. to complete my bachelor’s degree and I ended up getting my master’s degree as well. The very first time when I came here, I definitely struggled with my identity, especially you know English is my second language, and I was pretty much trying to blend with American. It’s kind of weird to say American people, but people from, you know, local people because I thought that that’s the way to make friends and I didn’t know who I was because I didn’t want to talk because my English, I have a Japanese accent and my grammar is horrible and, you know, everything I pretty much created my own wall and I just, I completely lost myself. But at the same time, I wanted to make my parents proud and I pretty much, I worked really hard but I guess me, basically, I have a personality where I like to talk to people and I like to make friends so there was one time an “a-ha moment” where I saw a, there are two people who was giving a presentation and I think it was like a Chinese student and his English wasn’t that strong and you know he had a very strong accent but everybody, it was, it was like a standing ovation. I was like “Oh, this is it? Like it is okay to show who I am..”. So that’s when I started realizing, you know, how I started identifying myself as Japanese and how proud I am to be Japanese and all that, so I had a lot of struggles here and there, but then, still then when after I graduated from college and working in the American corporate because I didn’t know how to adjust my Japanese cultural value versus the American cultural value so there are so many times that I had. So being reserved is very, seen as a very beautiful thing in Japan, like it’s a virtue. So even if somebody said “Oh you did a great job”, like “No, no no, that was like nothing,” or “Oh no,” even if you can do something, like you’re supposed to say you can’t say pretty much. So, because I was following that I had missed so many opportunities for promotion and it’s just, it was very hard so pretty much I, what I had to do was learn, and you know, learn, fail, learn a lesson and move forward. Yeah, so because of those experiences, I overcame all those things and I feel like I became stronger and stronger and yeah, haha.
NGUYEN: Yeah, I remember when we first talked, we quickly bonded over the fact that we grew up struggling with the English language. Even though I was born and raised in the U.S. like I still have trouble with my grammar sometimes and like I sometimes slip over or trip over my words and it can be frustrating and you know, like knowing so many other Americans who are born and raised here...
NGUYEN: ...and who can speak the language well and it’s, I used to not be like this. I used to not, like I wouldn’t have expected myself being a podcaster because of my experiences, my struggles with speaking the language and it’s just interesting that both of us, despite having this challenge, having this language challenge that, we were able to overcome it and…
NGUYEN: ...even use it as a tool to empower other women.
NGUYEN: Yeah, that brings me to my next question. Can you describe to me your journey as a coach and a podcaster? What got you into coaching and what got you into podcasting?
RASMUSSEN: Mhm. Yeah, that question. So I have been in management position for six years and I have been doing the coaching so I was leading a team and you know, I’ve coached for over 30 team members and I took a, Gall-, it’s not the Gallup, the StrengthsFinder, it’s from, oh wow, I forgot which company. But yeah, StrengthsFinder and my number one strength is called individualization, so pretty much I’m really good at looking at somebody and finding, like seeing or discovering unique quality, like what is special? What is unique about this person? Like I don’t necessarily put, you know, I don’t necessarily see people and say “Oh, they’re like this”, like I don’t like to group, grouping themselves…
RASMUSSEN: So, I always like to find, like, you know, “What is unique about this person?”. So, I think that really, that strength really helped me to coach my team and helped them developing their talent and I was, but back then, I didn’t really realize that was my strength, although the StrengthsFinder told me that was my strength and I was, you know like I feel like because as a woman, you know, we face those like, imposter syndromes and self-doubt and all that, so I was like I’m not sure and my mentor, the one who helped me realize that that is your talent, that is your gift and you’ve got to use that and I was like oh yeah and I, I actually did really enjoy listening and helping them to grow their talents. So that was my, my beginning in coaching so, and then, after I stepped down my managing position because I needed more flexibility, so I negotiated with my boss and got a specialized, yes, specialized position so I’m currently working as an individual contributor and ever since that happened, I missed that coaching part. So then I started thinking about “Okay, what is my mission? Like what can I do? Like why am I here? How can I use my gifted talent?”. And that’s how I quickly realized like wait a minute, there’s so many people. There must be a lot of people out there who struggle like I did, you know, while they’re coming to U.S. and going through the study abroad or whatever and, or even people get married and people stay here and maybe those people need some help for how to get a job and how to. So I thought about those things, but then I realized what was missing that prevented me to really do what I really wanted to do and then I realized that was the self-confidence so then I, I, then started to kind of like coaching and, and wow, there’s so many people who are feeling the same thing, you know, feeling like “I’m not good enough” and there is “No way, who am I to do these things” and know whenever I try to do these things, I’m always telling myself that I can’t and all that so this was my a-ha moment. Like okay, I went through this, and I overcame and I’m, I’m not perfect and I’m still learning, but all these experiences, something that I can teach others, not necessarily teach but I can coach other people, so that’s how I started my coaching. And for podcasting, ever since I moved to a new house, my commute was actually one hour, one way for one hour and one way back for another one hour, so it’s like two hours right, so I started to listen to podcasts. I quickly fall in love with podcasts and the very first podcast that I was listening was this thing called “Working Mom, Working Motherhood”, so that was a podcast. So all of those working moms, who is doing, you know, just pretty much, being the leadership position or studying their job as an entrepreneur and all that stuff. So that’s how I got inspired by, you know, becoming an entrepreneur as well and so then I decided, okay maybe there is some podcast out there about the Japanese women. So I was looking, looking and there was nothing and I was like hm, maybe I’m just going to go ahead and do it. So, that was, that was really my start. But at the same time, you know, like I said, I do struggle with my own self-doubt, so I wanted to do it like a year before but then I was like thinking like “No, I can’t do this, I can’t do that”, so I was telling myself, I cannot so I dragged almost a year to start, but now I have my podcast, so yup!
NGUYEN: I totally understand where you’re coming from in terms of finding the confidence to start something new, start your own podcast, like I, too, started out after listening to so many podcasts. One of them, funny enough, it was “The Tao of Self Confidence”, and both of us were interviewed by the host, Sheena Yap Chan, so that was really cool and it was just such a honor to be on her show, for us to be one of the women who are inspiring in our own ways, who are trying to make a difference in our own ways and to create an impact on other people’s lives, more specifically, like I think, within Asian women’s lives. And like for me, at least, when I started podcasting, I noticed there was a lot of total justice oriented series and I would follow them and just like, you know, amazing women of color starting out these conversations that I always had when I was at Smith College, you know all about identity politics and social injustices so, but the speakers, not many of them were Asian/Asian American women and often times when they were, Asian/Asian American women podcasters, they weren’t focusing on what I wanted to focus on. It was really, the questions we asked about ourselves, like who we are as Asian women, like where do we stand in society and what are the issues that we’re facing and how do we approach these issues. And so, that’s how I started my podcast but it’s just, it’s interesting to hear your start, because you focused more on, you started on focusing on Japanese/Japanese American women, like that’s very specific and I want to know what were your experiences with the Japanese/Japanese American women you have interviewed.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, so it’s interesting because I really focus on Japanese women and that can be either Japanese women who are originally from Japan or people who are, actually, no, I’ve never interviewed a Japanese American, but some people they consider as Japanese American. I mean, you know, people consider themselves completely different and here is the reason why. So many of the guests that I interview, they have, they’re, they have been spending time here in U.S. for over five years, and so of them, are over 20 years and 30 years, right? So when that happens, I noticed that there are, we all had a common struggle which is to, like who, I guess like I didn’t seem lost again, so those people who have been living in the U.S. for over 30 years, that means, maybe half of their lives that they spent are here or majority of their adult life that they spent is here in the U.S. So they don’t necessarily, so when they go back to Japan, they don’t necessarily associate with the people in Japan because they, they feel like they’re not Japanese. But then once they come back to here in U,S., they kind of struggle like “Well, I’m not like really fully American, but I can relate more with American,” so they actually do struggle with that identity a little bit...
RASMUSSEN: ...so I thought that was very interesting. And then some of the guests even said this and I thought it was really great is that you know, she said “I see myself as a human being and not to classify as a Japanese or American,” And I thought that that is very smart, because sometimes, you know, even for my kids, for example, I want my daughters to be proud of being American, but I also, I want them to remember that they’re part of Japanese so, it’s hard and you know, it’s a balancing there, but um, yeah, that I didn’t see is something that they all struggle.
NGUYEN: Yeah, like having an identity crisis and you feel like you’re in the middle and you’re never fully belonging to one group, one culture. It’s like, you know, it’s great, like, growing up as a woman of color, as an Asian women, Asian/Asian American women of color. It’s just like another culture because...
NGUYEN: ... you can have two different or experience different perspectives. And it is tricky and that’s why, you know, that’s why I have Project Voice.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah and I love it.
NGUYEN: Thank you, how do you like, yeah, how do you like compromise yourself or how do you make these comprises or do you have to make these compromises pertaining to two cultures? Like it’s , it’s a tricky question and there’s never really the right answer. Like everyone has their own valid, either Japanese, Japanese American, Asian, Asian American experience and it’s, it’s an experience of your own and therefore, it’s something that should be acknowledged and it’s like, it’s good enough, like you don’t really, like at the end of the day, you don’t have to prove yourself really. It is what it is and that’s something, that for me, is something that’s very comforting to know. It’s not just a comfort, it’s a relief really. It’s an “Oh, I don’t really have to prove to anyone like why I am”, why I am Japanese or why I am Japanese or like you know, Asian/Asian American. It’s just whatever you choose to identify yourself as, it’s, there’s a valid reason for it and your experience is enough to back it up.
RASMUSSEN: Yeah, definitely.
NGUYEN: Yeah, so my next question is what were some of the challenges you experienced working as a coach for Japanese/Asian women? Like how did you overcome that?
RASMUSSEN: Yeah so, the challenges that I have experienced, so once again, I’m gonna, kind of going back to, specific to Japanese women. The concept of coaching is so new for Japanese women, for some reasons, and this is something I had to learn in a hard way because like I said it, majority of my professional working experience, I have worked in an American corporation where mentoring and coaching is, it’s pretty much, that’s, I’m gonna say common and it’s expected from the leadership position, versus not very many people understand the concept of coaching, so I had to help them to understand what is coaching first, so that was my first step. And, um, it’s kind of funny to say this but, so because all the things that I have learned about the self-development and professional, all the experiences are all in English and I don’t necessarily translate, translate that to Japanese in my head. So when I tried to speak to them in Japanese, I get so nervous and I actually don’t know how to, I, sometimes I just can’t even explain it. So that is actually one of the reason why, although I am talking, I’m Japanese, and my original alma mater language is Japanese, but I don’t necessarily only do Japanese podcasting. My podcast is completely bilingual where I don’t do translation, I just use the language whenever I feel like it so, majority of them are all English and when I do the Japanese interview, I ask the guest like, “do you want to do this interview in Japanese or in English?” and the guest will decide whichever language that they feel comfortable speaking. And so I was, my struggle was to really “Can I, can I speak good Japanese?” and explain what I have learned and “How I could coach them?,” so that was like another challenge that I have experienced. And also, as a Japanese women, I experienced with low self-esteem and I wasn’t just confident enough to do what I really wanted to do so yeah, those are all of the challenge, challenges that I have.
NGUYEN: Yeah, I think it is a really good point that you made there about vocabulary or sometimes, it’s challenging to find the right vocabulary to even figure out whether or not there is vocabulary in another language about the issues...
NGUYEN: ...you’ve experienced, about foreign concepts that may be considered too progressive or too liberal or just like not, really, you don’t hear it that often growing up in that certain cultures, so yeah, you’ve made a really good point there and...
RASMUSSEN: Thank you.
NGUYEN: ...And yeah, I’ve listen to your podcast and it’s amazing and I would definitely encourage others to go and check it out. And, um, we’re coming near the end here and I have a couple of questions left. Um, yeah, like what are some key takeaways that you would like our listeners to take away from listening to this episode?
RASMUSSEN: Sure, so as a confidence building coach, I would like everyone to know that we all have a gifted talent that no one can copy and it is our job to discover and serve your gift to people who need your gifted talent so I hope that makes sense to you. So we all have a talent, and so many people think that “Oh, I’m good at this, but I think everybody can do this”. But then what people don’t realize is because it comes easy to you, so you feel like that’s normal, but actually, it’s not. So that’s an important, one, for you to really realize it and then, then it is your job to really serve that gift and the skills and the experience to people who need it, who need those, who need your gift or the skills or the experience, so that’s one. And, in terms of gender inequality, I believe the first step is to really learn and understand the situation, and realize that there is a gap and there is an inequality and we’re not asking, as a woman, we’re not asking to be treated differently or special, we’re asking to be treated the same.
RASMUSSEN: So, I think it’s very important to, to first really see it and face it and that’s first. I feel like so many people think that, you know, well, this is what it is and this is how the society works and people give up, but that’s where the empowerment comes in and, you know, we just have to help each other. Yeah, so that is that. Let me see what else. I wrote it. This is something that I have learned from “Lean In,” but “Lean In” as a woman, we need to help each other, not to hate each other. I think there’s like a term, cat fight, and that some people, because we like to compare ourselves, which we need to stop that, and so many people are kind of like envy of the other person whose doing something really well. Like, “Oh, she’s whatever”, and but I think it’s important as a woman, like we really help each other and promote each other, that’s how, yeah. We, that’s, I just, I see this all the time so, so it’s kind of like very sad to see, and like “Why? Why do you have to fight or why do you have to hate?”. Just recognize how great she’s doing and I think that’s one of the ways to really build your self-confidence as well, like you’re giving somebody to boost their confidence, and that’s that’s, if you’re confident, then you can do that. So it’s very important to recognize that if somebody does something amazing, just tell them, tell her she did a great job, so I think that’s important.
NGUYEN: Mm, yes. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said there.
RASMUSSEN: Thank you.
NGUYEN: What are some research or opportunities you think that our listeners should look into if they are looking to improve themselves to be more confident, to be the strong, independent woman we want all Asian women to be?
RASMUSSEN: Yeah so confidence, this is something that I have been telling all of my clients. That confidence is like a muscle and we all have one, but we really need to start building one and using it. So as a woman, we face so many challenges and like I said, I know I have been repeatedly saying but self-limiting beliefs,and imposter syndromes and fear of failure and all that stuff, especially for, you know Asian culture, I think we are all taught to make someone proud and, you know, make somebody happy and you know, you have to make sure that your parents, you have to make your parents proud/ But, you know, it’s just the beautiful value and it is a beautiful value to really put somebody first, but I think we need to put ourself first and really understand what is our success, like what is our mission, really understand that, and if you’re chasing like someone else’s success, you’re just going to feel miserable. So as a resources, I think the first thing is the book I mentioned, “Lean In.” That was a game changer for me, so if you haven’t read that book, I highly recommend it. And I also, I like to learn from someone else’s experience so listening to podcast, like your podcast or TED Talks. It’s all free. And the important thing is not just to listen, but don’t stop there. Once you learn something, make sure you take some action, so write it down and make it as a priority. I know so many people make excuses like “Oh, I don’t have the time,” but I think you make time. We all have 24 hours so there’s no excuses there. So I think it is so important to put, whatever you told yourself like “This is something I’m gonna do it.” Make it as a priority and find that accountability partner so that way, you are not doing it on your own. You have somebody who is cheering, cheering for you and helping you to get through and achieve your goal.
NGUYEN: Alright. Well, thank you so much Emiko. I really appreciate you taking the time out today to talk to me and share your perspective and your experiences. It means a lot. Where can we follow you on social media or online?
RASMUSSEN: Sure, so I have a website. It is called, so, I, it, so my name is Emiko so it’s spelt E-M-I-K-O and there’s three words, that I, that I love, which is empower, motivate and inspire, that happens to be representing my name so my website is called www.theemistyle.com so it’s the, t-h-e and emi, e-m-i s-t-y-l-e-.com, so that’s my website where you can find all of the guests where I interviewed/ And also, I have all the testimonials for coaching and all that so um, I definitely encourage you to go there where you can sign up for free monthly letters and I actually do everything all in English. So even if you’re not a Japanese woman, if you like what I was talking today, and it’s something you can relate, I definitely recommend you to sign up for my newsletter. There is a worksheet, once you sign up for newsletter, you can actually get a free worksheet to discover your gifted talent. This is something that I’m really passionate about so you can get that worksheet. And I’m, I’m not really all over the social media. I’m most active in Facebook and I do my podcast. My podcast name is “Her Confidence, Her Way.” And I have recently discovered that there were so many people following me, that they don’t also, they don’t use Facebook so I have recently created a YouTube channel so I’ll send all of the links to you, Jess, so that way, you can put it somewhere else on your website, or Facebook page or whatever.
NGUYEN: Oh yeah. I’ll definitely link them in the show notes and when, you know, so you can even check her, your link or so the listeners, for the listeners out there, you can check out her links and just like all her social media accounts in the description box or like, if you’re on social media, you’re probably seeing it already in the captions. Yeah, so once again, thank you so much Emiko and thank you too to all the listeners out there, who are still tuning in. I hope that this episode brought a lot of value for you. If you have any questions, let us know. Please follow Project Voice if you want, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram at projectvoiceaaw. I have email email@example.com and a website www.projectvoiceaaw.com. Looking forward to share more episodes with you. Tune in soon. Bye!
RASMUSSEN: Bye, bye!