Season 7: Guest Bios
Tokio Takai (St. Marys International School 2017)
Bowdoin College Student
Tokio Takai graduated from St. Mary’s in 2017 as a 12-year veteran and currently studies Government & Legal Studies at Bowdoin College, where he is expected to graduate in May of 2021. Upon graduation, Tokio will return to Goldman Sachs as an Analyst in their Merchant Banking Division in Tokyo, where he interned over the past summer.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Tokio had worked both on the sell & buy-side. Tokio most recently worked at Jefferies (2020-2021) as a part-time Equity Research Associate covering TMT. He also sat on Jefferies’ Equity Sales desk as a Summer Analyst in 2019. At SOSV, Tokio was involved in Venture Capital, investing in and growing tech startups throughout Asia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CLSA introduced Tokio to the world of finance, where he worked in the Equity Research department covering Financials.
Prior to working in finance, Tokio founded a food-tech startup and had held various internship positions at Safdie Architects (most recently known for their development of the Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport), Trip.com, and Keidanren (US-Japan Business Council).
Up until college, Tokio alpine ski raced competitively, eventually representing Japan at the international level. During the summers, Tokio would ski race in New Zealand where he trained with the local Kiwi team. Tokio has been skiing since the age of 2 and continues to ski to this day. At St. Mary’s, Tokio was part of the Cross Country, Soccer, and Buccaneer Swim teams. He also sang for the Varsity Ensemble directed by Randy and Rachel Stenson.
Tokio was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and is native in both English and Japanese.
Raymond Strack (ASIJ 2005)
CEO - Shasta Grown
Ray was born in Queens, New York City, he attended elementary school there, middle school in Florida, and attended high school at the American School in Japan where he graduated in 2005.
Upon graduating from the University of Florida, he worked at Digital Domain as a studio operations coordinator. He spent several years as a medicinal cannibas farmer. He then started up Jigsaw Earth Consulting in 2015.
Today he is the CEO for Shasta Grown; a vertically integrated Cannabis supply chain company located on the slopes of Mount Shasta in the city of Weed, California.
Mayumi Daigo（Former ASIJ Staff)
School Administrative Assistant / Blogger
Mayumi was born in Tokyo and raised in Chiba, Japan. Even though none of her family members understood English, she was interested in studying the language and culture. In 1990, she joined an Intensive English Study Program at the University of California, Davis. She also studied comparative cultures and translation while attending the Japan College of Foreign Language.
In April 2001, she joined The American School In Japan as the Athletics/Activities Office Secretary. She assisted the athletic programs of the middle and high schools until 2007. In 2008, she learned that her mother had ovarian cancer a few weeks after her son’s birth. In October 2015, her mother passed away peacefully. In the process of recovering from her mother’s passing and her previous marriage, she started focusing on herself, and in 2020 during the Covid-19 State of Emergency, she began to prioritize her mental and physical wellbeing.
Mayumi still works as an Administrative Assistant of a Japanese educational institute, but she also writes on the Japanese platform, ‘Note.’ Using the pseudonym, Mami Ichihara(イチハラマミ), she utilizes her working experience at ASIJ and experiences studying in California to reflect on the differences of international schools/Japanese schools, her perception of cultural differences of Japanese/English-speaking countries, and parenting in Japanese.
Sam Shobeiri (St. Mary’s 2007)
Born and raised in Japan, Sam is a graduate of St. Mary’s Class of 2007. Unlike many of his peers who attended international school for most of their K-12 education, Sam attended Japanese elementary school until middle of 6th grade. After graduating high school, Sam attended University of Washington in Seattle, where he majored in marketing.
Missing the amazing food scene of Japan, Sam quickly returned to Tokyo to start his career at Expedia Group, one of the largest online travel agencies in the world. He spent 7+years at the company’s hotel sales division, where he became one of the youngest area managers in the organization, overseeing both new business development and account management.
In 2018, Sam took an offer from Skyscanner, one of the leading meta search sites in the world. As the commercial lead in charge of the Japan market, Sam manages relationships with local airlines and travel agencies.
Additional to his full time Job, Sam recently founded a small side company, focusing mainly on consulting and investing.
On the weekends, you can find him at Tokyo Verdy matches, taking photos around the city, or enjoying IPAs at the local breweries.
Frankie Sihi (Seisen 2006)
Born in 1988, Frankie is a half-Japanese half-American artist from Tokyo. After receiving her BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts NY in 2010, she returned to Tokyo where she currently resides.
Her work ranges from painting on canvas to darumas to large scale murals — blending her multicultural roots and social commentary through a synthesis of freehanded patterns and lively palette.
She is widely experienced in corporate collaborations including projects with Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, Adobe and Instagram, and is also known for her role in the hit Japanese reality tv series Terrace House.
Elliot Waldman is the senior editor of World Politics Review.
Prior to joining WPR, he spent five years as a news producer at the Washington, DC bureau of Tokyo Broadcasting System, Japan’s oldest and largest commercial television and radio network. In that capacity, he was responsible for facilitating TBS’s coverage of U.S. politics and foreign policy, and he reported from over 15 different countries and 25 U.S. states.
He has a master’s degree in international relations and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor's degree in international affairs from the George Washington University. He speaks fluent Japanese and is conversant in Vietnamese.
Podcast host for World Podcast Review
Articles written by Elliot Waldman
Jason Chung (Zama 2005)
Jason was born in 1986 and is originally from Honolulu, HI. Due to being an Army family, his family moved around stateside and to Korea before landing a long-term residency in Japan. Camp Zama to be exact. Jason attended John O’ Arnn Elementary School located in Sagamihara Family Housing Area (housing for military families) and eventually transitioned over to Zama American High School to complete his secondary years, graduating in 2005. During his time with the Zama Trojans, he participated in varsity football and the JROTC program.
Upon graduating, he relocated to California to pursue his post-secondary education and eventually enlisting in the United States Army Reserves. Following his graduation from Solano College in 2008 with an associate in Liberal Arts, he transferred to the neighboring college, California State University – Sacramento to work on his bachelor’s in Psychology. Through the Army Reserves, he was selected to participate in the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) where he would eventually contract as a ROTC cadet to work towards in becoming an Army officer.
As many have experienced the hardships at the time, Jason decided to withdraw from both the college and the ROTC program to take what became a long-term “break” in 2011.
Upon completion of his contract with the Reserves, he relocated to Texas to start a new chapter. The Lonestar State opened up new friendships, career experiences, and eventually meeting the love of his life who is now his wife, and the mother to their toddler son. In late 2016, his wife gave him the motivation to go back to school to complete his degree; and so, he did Spring of 2017.
Jason is now pursuing a career as a secondary English Language Arts Reading teacher. If timing and life allows it, he’d love to head back to Japan to contribute as a DoDDS educator to his alma mater Zama High School or even a neighboring DoDDEA school.
John Hong (KISJ 2016)
Korea Air Force Interpreting Officer
John was born in Seoul and raised in Jeju Island,. He graduated from Korea International School Jeju as a valedictorian in 2016. He then received B.A. in political science at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he was the first-ever Korean national to be appointed to the NUS Student Union Executive Committee, the highest student governing body at NUS.
With his deep interest in public service, global security, and international relations, John decided to go into the Republic of Korea Air Force Officer Training School (OTS) upon graduation and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 2020.
Today, John Hong is fulfilling his military service obligation working as an interpreter/intelligence officer at the Republic of Korea Air Force. Prior to joining the Air Force, John Hong held internship positions at CNN Seoul Bureau and at Yoon & Yang, a Big Six law firm in Korea. At KISJ, John Hong was part of the Cross Country, Swimming, and Varsity Soccer teams. As a cross country runner, he won a gold medal at every KISAC cross country competition he participated in (2014-15 & 2015-16). Outside of work, he loves traveling, playing/watching soccer, and spending time with his golden retriever.
University Student (George Washington University)
Ellen Richards graduated from the International School of the Sacred Heart in 2018, where she spent the last two years of high school. Prior to that, Ellen lived in the UK and the US for a combined 15 years. Ellen will graduate from the George Washington University with a BA in Political Science in 2022.
Influenced by her parents, who hail from the US and Japan, Ellen has always had a deep interest in international relations and politics, particularly in the individual success of and the relationship between the two countries.
Experiencing the societal differences of both the US and Japan, Ellen discovered another passion of hers: promoting the status of and advocating for professional women, especially in Japan. Although only at the beginning of what she hopes is a fruitful journey, Ellen has been working with fellow alumnae to develop the first professional alumnae network for her all-girls alma mater. In developing this, she hopes to make pre-professional development part of her former high school’s education as well as bring professional alumnae together to exchange opportunities and advice for navigating the business world as a woman.