Taiko artist and co-director of Unit Souzou Michelle Fujii’s “Constant State of Otherness” was set to tour the country and then was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. She talks with Douglas Detrick about “otherness” in American culture and what she learned by exploring this concept in a large-scale work for her taiko company. This episode was sponsored by Vanport Mosaic.
Featured image credit: Ed Schmidt
Douglas Detrick: Welcome to More Devotedly, a podcast for people who see the arts as a force for positive, progressive change. I’m Douglas Detrick. This is Volume III, episode 5.
My guest, Michelle Fujii, is a taiko artist and co-Director of Unit Souzou, a Portland-based performance ensemble that makes “creative, imaginative works while honoring the history and roots of the taiko art form.” She has a degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA, and was awarded a Bunkacho fellowship from the Japanese government to study with Japan’s foremost traditional folk dance troupe, Warabi-za.
I’ve found her to be an incredibly generous partner in conversation, helping me to understand how the forces she feels inside herself and those she sees working in our society pushed her to create Constant State of Otherness, her latest taiko piece that was set to tour the country and then was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. She made the piece to be a healing space for those who have been hurt by othering, especially Asian and Asian American people, and as Unit Souzou says, to “share the universality of those feelings with the ultimate goal of fostering empathy in increasingly divided communities.”
That goal puts Michelle’s work into a deep alignment with that of Vanport Mosaic, the sponsors of this episode. Vanport Mosaic is an interdisciplinary arts and humanities festival in Portland, Oregon whose mission is to “amplify, honor, present, and preserve the silenced histories that surround us in order to understand our present, and create a future where we all belong.” I’m incredibly honored to be a part of it, and I encourage you to learn more about this wonderful organization at vanportmosaic.org.
Vanport was a company town built to house World War II shipyard workers in 1942 north of Portland, Oregon. The town, like all of Oregon then and now, had a majority of white residents, but it was also home to Oregon’s largest population of black and brown people at the time. It was a place of refuge and opportunity especially for African Americans who came in search of better paying jobs and to escape Jim Crow oppression in the American South.
Despite its problems, Vanport was a place where the American dream had a toehold. But that came to an end when a dike broke and the Columbia River flooded the town on May 30, 1948, destroying it in a matter of minutes, leaving more than 17,000 people homeless. It was a terrible day for everyone at Vanport, but the crisis was especially acute for African Americans, who were barred from living in all of Portland except for a single North Portland neighborhood. They were seen as a nuisance, and rather than memorializing the event in Portland’s lore and identity, the story was largely forgotten, often actively suppressed.
I’m honored to be a part of Vanport Mosaic because it has created so many opportunities for a diverse group of Portlanders to reclaim that history. As we weather this pandemic together, I want the Portland of the future to be a more welcoming home for all of its residents. I hope this conversation will make a small contribution to that goal.
Who belongs, or “Who gets to be American,” is the question that inspired the 2020 Vanport Mosaic festival and this conversation as well. American-ness a lens through which we can measure otherness. For Michelle, as a Japanese American who makes and performs taiko, she says she often feels too Japanese for some, and too American for others. For her, otherness and othering has proven to be a profoundly negative force in her life and in the lives of people she interviewed for the project, but through that same process she also found strength in her uniqueness, and a way to connect with others.
Just like with all my guests this volume, we spoke via video chat. When we spoke, Michelle had come to terms with having to cancel an entire tour for this project, and other profound loss that this pandemic has caused for her and for all of us.
This conversation took place in the context of the growing realization that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting the poorest Americans who are overwhelmingly people of color, a notable increase in harassment of Asian Americans thanks to the president’s calling this the “chinese virus,” and an embarrassing failure of the federal government to provide coherent, proactive leadership that could save lives and speed our economic recovery.
Despite that, this was a satisfying, informative and encouraging conversation. So, grab your quarantine beverage of choice, keep on with your lockdown chore of the moment, or put in your earbuds as you walk your dog who just loves having you around so much, and enjoy.
Here’s the episode.
Douglas Detrick: let’s just first begin with a personal check in, about how you’re doing as the pandemic is going on.
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. Well, I think my answer has shifted through time. Right now I feel like I’m, I’m treading water and finally able to have some time to breathe. I wouldn’t have said that maybe two weeks ago where, it just felt, really just in crisis mode and leading to Halt or pause, postpone counsel. I wear many hats as I’m the director of Unit Souzou. And it wasn’t so easy to, have to make all of these changes. And so it took me, okay, about four weeks, four to five weeks to really kind of get everything a little bit settled and response. And, now I’m looking forward, Sort of like settling into this new normal. So that’s how I am right now.
Douglas Detrick: You had a tour booked, premiere performances were happening in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. a whole tour booked and all of it was canceled.
Michelle Fujii: Literally, I woke up today and I was like, Oh, I’m at home still. it’s May 4th right now, or three days ago. May 1st we were going to debut our whole, theatrical show. So it just sort of feels weird right now.
I’m living in a calendar of realizing another reality that could have been scheduled. but then now living in what I am. so it’s sometimes weird to have to vacillate between the two. Like when I woke up, I got confused. Like, why am I doing? Oh yes, here I am again.?
Constant State of Otherness
Douglas Detrick: constant state of otherness was, this larger project that you conceived of and have been working on for several years. Would you give an overview of what that project was about?
Michelle Fujii: So constant state of otherness, was a personal rumination. that hit me post 2016 election. it was a pretty, Tumultuous time. I think in our country, I think many people would understand what I speak of. And, a lot of, a lot of things were happening and especially a lot of things were being said.
And, from some of these words, specifically in our political Circles and realms . There was all this sort of rhetoric, and all, all this conversation surrounding race that was pretty disturbing and continues to be. But what started happening to me is that I, I personally got retriggered into remembering and, I was starting to retrigger into my childhood and remember, the first kind of moments in which I felt different or other or, kind of weird or strange just because of me standing and being who I was.
And, and that was really hard, of course, to grow up in, and then constantly be aware of. And of course, as you grow up, there are certain things that continue to, I guess, get normalized or you just get used to.
But, what happened in, 2016 was that the re triggering. Sort of had me see clearly that these are things that before I just said, it’s okay don’t worry about it. Oh, that just happens all the time. And here. How many times I may have said that out in my lifetime and realize that actually that didn’t need to be something that I just. Accepted that this doesn’t, and that not everyone has had to accept, right. That for my life and the way that I’m perceived, that was something that was it, a survival tactic, but to also realize that I wasn’t the only one.
Right. And that, that there are many stories and many others. I mean, my family included that just sort of is putting up with it. And I wanted to really investigate that because as I was getting retriggered, I was starting to feel very emotional and wanted to see where that was going. I ended up creatively, Going into my own art form and just started to like excavate these experiences and realize that there was so much more that was just continuing to get unpacked as well as, starting to hear stories, or I started to ask for stories, I should say. And as I was, Looking inside. I was also asking outside and realizing that there are so many people living with this otherness had their own mechanisms for survival, but that potentially we’re all living with it invisibly and to create a show that could actually represent it, tell these stories. And also, Potentially have other people realize what some of us have lived with, you know.
The show actually also illuminated upon universality. So regardless of who you were, what we also found out is that many people, almost all, everyone has lived with some sort of otherness in their life. what we also started to hear is that the frequency and depth of othering, exists in varied spectrums. And so, while we wanted to honor everyone’s otherness.
We also wanted there to be some reverence for those that had to deeply live and steep themselves in othering. And hopefully. Many of these are unheard stories or not as well mainstream stories that that would be the core. That people could maybe expand their awareness of, of the impact of what otherness has done to some,
Douglas Detrick: Yeah. and there are a few words that you use specifically that I thought might be helpful for somebody who maybe isn’t just familiar with that term otherness. I think that once they here this explain, they’ll understand, to whatever their own experience will allow them to .
one thing you said was that, you know, this, this, this idea of feeling different just because of who you are. No, you’re just, you’re just standing there and you are who you are and you’re being placed apart from everybody else made to feel very different. is there anything that you would add to that definition of othering or otherness?
And I suppose other ring is the idea of kind of turning that into a verb of like how we can, we can do that to somebody. We can kind of put them through that.
Michelle Fujii: And you’re right. So the other ring is sort of like the action of, and other ness is sort of the state of, this weird state of difference. That’s probably a word that was heard quite often.
We did a lot of work with youth in some of our Community engagement workshops in the five communities throughout the United States. And we actually asked them to define otherness for, for us. And it was pretty profound. I want to quote them, because their words are so important to me. I feel like through our work with community, it’s helped me even articulate and understand the depth of what otherness of what this word meant and is, for us.
So one you said to us,
I think I literally just think of margins, like actual margins. And I think about like who’s inside and who’s outside. And I feel a lot of times people like us are outside of those margins and we’re not thought about where that other box, that’s other.
Another youth said otherness is,
I see it as an in between point, like of loneliness. And this kind of feeling of being alone because we’re not always alone, but it’s like in between point that hurts the most.
Another youth said,
I think it’s talking about when you think you’re different from everybody else and you think like your whole world’s falling apart because you don’t know if you’re something right or something wrong.
And two more.
Otherness to me is like when you get to the point where you can’t really know who you are because you changed so much because of the people you’re around.
And the last one I’ll quote is this.
I feel like otherness is pushing other people away and like putting them in their own spots and disassociating from them and just like acting like they’re not there.
Douglas Detrick: Did those resonate with you as you heard them?
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. You know, loneliness for me is a big one in, the work that I explore. And I think. Really broke my heart when I heard a youth say that I’m someone who I would hope, you know, is looking at this future. but they’re already feeling, a place of being alone. And, that one was pretty poignant to me just because it’s big place that I lived in my life of loneliness.
Douglas Detrick: There was another word that you used that I thought was really important. you said re triggered, several times as you were talking about this. tell me if, if you see this differently, but from what I’m hearing, it sounds like you’re being triggered into what’s more than just a, maybe a bad memory.
You know, you’re getting into something that that is traumatizing you. Is that how you see it?
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. I think, for me personally, reach triggering or being triggered, was a big catalyst for me. a big motivating factor into why, this work needed to happen in this world. would say re-triggering was sort of a remembrance, of this state of being, which I’m referring to as otherness. And it was sort of the catalyst for this. there’s a place that it does go hand in hand, and the retriggering is definitely, as you mentioned, like traumatic.
Douglas Detrick: Yeah.
Michelle Fujii: For sure. and one thing that we have explored within otherness is that all othering is not bad. So that’s why I don’t want to necessarily associate, For instance, Otherness equals bad experience or otherness equals trauma. because in, in our definition it doesn’t, otherness actually in and of itself is one’s uniqueness.
What, what is special about you? The thing that’s traumatic about it is how we deal with uniqueness in our communities, our society, our families, our neighbors. that’s the part that’s, the trauma. and if we can have more, Ability to embrace otherness, then we actually have a much more diverse ecosystem is the basis of our work.
So amplifying everyone’s stories, gives more expansion for people to actually think, Oh yeah, now this could be a part of my understanding of what the world could look like, what it could sound like. But if we keep providing narrow perspectives of what our society should be, then anything that feels different or looks different or sounds different is in of itself, not acceptable. But the thing is that it actually is okay. It’s just we don’t have the experience with it. we’re trying to encourage people to embrace otherness versus to continue to shame otherness.
Personal vs universal
Douglas Detrick: you’ve been through a long process with this personally,
Michelle Fujii: Yeah.
Douglas Detrick: is that the understatement of the interview so far?
Michelle Fujii: true. Yes. I laugh. I just giggle. Sorry. When you say that.
Douglas Detrick: That’s okay. so then continent, state of otherness, do you think it’s like kind of a distillation of that process for yourself where you’re taking them through that process with you perhaps?
Michelle Fujii: well, I will say yes in, the work itself and all of the work that I do has always, then represented from a very personal perspective. I have been in the belief system that I can represent myself. I don’t want to say what somebody else’s stories is and should be. so how can I authentically tell a story has been always sort of the, grounding for the work that we do at unit social and for myself as an artist.
Am I going to walk people through that process? That’s hard for me to answer because, I don’t feel that my journey is the answer. what I can do is authentically represent and hope that people who may be going through a similar feeling or experience might also get energized to discover their own way.
And what I can say is, this is how, I have navigated through it. This is how I, Or how each one of the artists that would be performing in our ensemble are navigating through it. But it’s important for us not to say that we are the answer or where we’re giving you the tips or the steps. On which to do that. Because our, our, again, our theme is really about how do we expand the viewpoint of process and how we can represent.
Douglas Detrick: Speaking of otherness and, and this idea of they’re being a healthy otherness, perhaps, maybe that’s a way we can think about it, let’s talk a bit about taiko.
When you look at a taiko performance, there are drums on stage right there and there, big drums and small drums and, you know. This is not new technology, right? So we’re, we’re kind of looking at a very old form, but yet there was nothing that was called taiko until fairly recently. So could you, give the audience a bit of a, an overview of just taiko from a very zoomed out perspective, and then what kind of come back in and talk a bit about you and how you, you got connected with it.
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. So, taiko, just means drum. here in the United States, I will say it refers specifically to this Japanese style of drumming. and we’ve taken that word of just generic drum into referring to it as an art form, , and truly taiko as an instrument. Has existed for thousands of years in Japan and has an incredible history, rich experiences within so many different contexts between orchestral music, classical, folk.
As well as, you know, sort of being in temples and religious ceremonies. And so in all of that context, there’s so much richness to the actual drum. I think of that in many different drumming cultures, the drums exist in so many different ways. And so the form that we see here in the United States prolifically is called kumi daiko.
And that’s the name of the specific style of utilizing this drum and “Kumi,” ensemble, “daiko,” drumming. Another way of saying it, sometimes it’s wild. I cycle while meaning Japanese style drumming taiko but more academically could taiko has been adopted, if I could just say it simply like a group of people with a whole bunch of drums and that’s the primary instead of, for instance, like a band, you know, like it’s in the back holding down the rhythm and, you know, there’s other instruments there. This is putting the drum up front and center, and that’s what kumi daiko was all about.
But the drums themselves are not only the primary moving voice, but also potentially the entire orchestra of different variances of sound and tambours and so forth. And that’s what’s the most popular form that we all know of this particular use of the drum here in the United States. It’s powerful. It’s loud. Lots of times, very group oriented. So you’ll see large groups of people doing it.
It has a history, but it’s relatively modern. It started post world war two in the mid 1950s. And so that’s a very, very contemporary, sort of evolution.
So now when we are, a little less than 50 years old as an art form, it still has so much places for creativity and growth. which is why, when it came to the United States. In the 1960s which is just a decade into this new form. It didn’t have a lot of rules and restrictions or like expectations and with that, it gave a lot of empowerment for Asian-Americans to bring in that.
Identity of being oneself versus like, okay, here, let’s replicate this really a refined experience. There’s definitely art forms from Japan that I fully admire we should respect that because of all of the years of polishing hundreds and hundreds of years, but after being 10 years old, it’s like, no, Hey, this is like, there’s, there’s so many openings, so many opportunities. and so many Asian Americans in the late 1960s, early 1970s, which is like, Hey, let’s make some of our own rules too.
Douglas Detrick: Yeah. how did you get involved with taiko.
Michelle Fujii: so I was going through a moment of identity crisis, kind of a post high school and really confused about what my future was, going to be. really this loss of voice. And so I was really feeling this moment in my life that I didn’t know what to do. It just so happened that, I had known of San Jose Taiko.
I would say that I grew up in, San Jose J town. on Sundays. We would go there to temple and we would also see taiko, San Jose Taiko specifically at the festivals. And I always thought it was really cool. I had, done music pretty seriously. And when the opportunity to, Just take a workshop, came along I was like, okay, here I go.
And from just this little workshop, and they were like, you know, you should consider doing a little bit more, and here I am confused and now I’m getting encouraged. And I’m like, sure. Like I’m one of those really a milestone moments, I would say, of a door opening at a very opportune time.
they said, just go ahead and give it a try. Why don’t you audition? So I auditioned, and ended up really digging myself into it. And I just sort of knew this was something. And San Jose Taiko really gave me this journey and platform opportunity for me to just keep exploring the art form.
Little did I know that San Jose Taiko at that time was, you know, I’m a pioneer North American taiko group. They were one of three that started in the United States as well as at that time they were professional and so as I was auditioning, because I was a confused. Hi post high school child. I didn’t realize I was auditioning into a professional company. And so then, the opportunity then was like, great, you made it in and now you’re going to practice, to tour, to, perform to build the obstacle shows to do all these sorts of things. I remember in my first years that I was like, taiko was invited to perform at Carnegie hall, which is unbelievable.
That was my trajectory first year and almost I should retire. here I am in Carnegie hall. the minute that I hit the drum, the opportunities that were provided to me, the pathway was just go for it. So I did.
Douglas Detrick: you’ve done a lot of work. You’ve created a lot of pieces, and, you know, I think one thing is that as you, I kind of reached that level of, achievement in a practice like this, you can start to maybe think that you are the one that has everything to teach the other people and, and that, yeah,
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. Not really. Okay. Keep going.
Douglas Detrick: Yeah. See what you get what I’m saying? you talked about how you did the story collecting and, and you did that not just here in Portland where you and I both live, but you also did this in a lot of other communities that are, Somewhat similar or much bigger than Portland or much smaller. and, you know, one of the things that you said is that, you learned from all of these other people. Some of them were older than you, some of them were much younger. Is that true? You both, both older folks and young people.
Michelle Fujii: Correct. Yeah,
Douglas Detrick: That part of this experience with this piece, I thought is really interesting and I would love to kind of bring this conversation to a close by talking about, you know, what did you learn? cause after working on this piece for, for all of us for a long time, you can kind of get settled in what you think it is.
And then, and then you go and you talk to these other people and you learn, Oh, this is not what it is. Or maybe maybe this idea that I, that I thought I had is actually much bigger than I thought it was.
Michelle Fujii: I will say, one of the things that you just said is the project was bigger than I had imagined. You know, it started as a personal thing, and honestly, the first thing I said to myself. As I was doing the first creative explorations was this doesn’t really matter. Let me just do something.
Right. And let me just get this out of my system almost. So let me just try something. So I had applied to some residencies. I ended up getting, when it caldera, which is also one of our co commissioners in sisters, Oregon. And I got to spend a month deliciously exploring that.
And it also is a great pivotal time for me as an artist because I was sort of feeling a little confused in 2018. Just where, where am I going? What am I doing? And so I started exploring and I thought, okay, I’m going to do this. I’m going to get maybe a couple of creative works out. And, and that would be maybe the breadth of the experience.
When I started opening up the word, even before the formal community engagement work, already the word otherness attracted people to tell these stories, and that was unexpected. that had triggered them all of a sudden. Oh, here’s this word. And then I was like, wait a minute. Maybe it wasn’t just me getting something out of my
Douglas Detrick: Yeah.
Michelle Fujii: then things just kept expanding, expanding, and we were able to build this project into multiple communities. And at first I thought, yeah, it would just be about possibly othering, you know, like possibly some social, ousting, you know, awkwardness in social circles or something like that.
but how deep othering, has really embedded itself in people’s lives, I had no idea it How, devastating otherness has been.
So in, in lots of ways, the spectrum of stories that I was honored to, witness and hear. I feel like my story is of course something that I’m going to honor, but I also feel like the amount of stories that I heard was heartbreaking.
And, the responsibility of this project became heavier. And heavier. and there was a place at the end actually of this last year of 2019 that I was just like, I don’t know if I can take this responsibility on. I really hit a major emotional low because we had just done a huge series of, story collections and I just felt like.
I’m not worthy to be able to do this. I had to continue to process through and relearn, these people trusted me. Trusted Unit Souzou to carry their story. And so we’re going to do something. We’re going to do the best that we can, and, always keep our intentionality and also our practice in our of understanding how to honor story as we honor it in ourselves. So it’s one of the things that I’ve, I’ve learned through this process is, and I’m still learning, is How can I honor the stories and represent the stories that are being carried within me now, that are bigger than just my own personal.
So I’m, of course, I’m going to speak from personal, but also have that larger awareness to be what my vessel actually represents in the show and the content of the work.
Douglas Detrick: you know, one thing that you, mentioned is the importance of the stories and how they are inspiring to you, but they also were kind of a burden, that you were, you know, you kind of accepted that responsibility of holding those stories and, and trying to find a way to bring them forward through this piece in a way that felt respectful and felt, Maybe helpful.
I talked a bit about Vanport mosaic, in the introduction, but, didn’t mention it much in this interview, but, I kind of think back to when they started this festival, which was like, you know, this idea of Vanport being the center of this festival. You know, the reason why we’re here and we’re talking about it is because of the foot, because this, this community, it was a.
You know, a company town that was built in very quickly, and then it was destroyed really quickly by a, by a flood. The Columbia river flooded and destroyed the whole town within a matter of hours. And so for all those, all those people that lived there, this was the worst stay in their lives, by a long shot, you know.
and yet because that, that story was so terrible and that experience was so traumatic for all these people. even though it was so important and so formative for a huge group of people, people kind of wanted to set it aside and just kind of forget about it. I mean, Vanport is, is completely gone now.
It doesn’t exist anymore, but, I feel so glad that we have this festival now, where the stories are, are held and they’re preserved and they are, brought to life. and so that, you know, the folks that actually lived there, there are just a few of them that are still with us today and, but I’m really glad that they’ve done all this work.
I’ve gotten the impression from the folks who I’ve met through the festival, that it has helped, that it has helped them. And, and so I wanted to ask you as the last small question that’s a part of the big question, is do you think that this piece helped you and do you think that it helped audiences, whether it will, I
suppose, cause you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t gotten to perform it for
Michelle Fujii: I was like, is that a trick question?
Douglas Detrick: This, this is, this is what’s happening in the pandemic. Cause like we, we just, nothing means anything anymore. The language is, is, is, you know, anyway. You know what I mean.
Michelle Fujii: Okay. Yes. What do I hope for? the answer is for me. It’s a little bit complex because as one door opens, another one also open as one gets resolved. And I find it a detour. this work has, And in one sense, it has opened up a new sense of relevance for the work that I want to do as an artist and also as the director of Unit Souzou.
It’s given opportunities, for us as an ensemble, to really dig, so, deeply that, it’s quite special and remarkable because we got to work on this project for three years in development. And yes, it’s a long time to not be able to come to combination yet. but I’ve never been able to delve this long in process. and. Now that I’ve been able to get that kind of timeline, I also am like, wow, I need actually five or seven years. because there were so many other stories that we didn’t have time to hear and include. And those are some of the places now that we’re actually revisiting and currently, even put out in our social media as well as our, He knew his community and anywhere, even here, that, we’re asking anyone if, if otherness or this word resonates with you. Um, if you wanted to share a story with us and that not only are we. And they’re sheltering at home moments, sort of like going to amplify people’s sharings by doing our own, sort of, the translation of it into our art form on a weekly basis.
But, that it also in the longer opportunity for this project is giving us that space to do, even more hearing. So in that sense, I, I realize, through this project. How much, all of this research depth work has meant to really develop our voice, refine it, almost make, Oh, allow us to even give more permissions to think outside of a box.
yeah. And so, and, and our hope is through our exploration and also giving ourselves this permission in and of itself. So this. stage work could give other people even the representation to practice. How can I authentically represent myself in my full complexity?
that could be a part that I would hope that someone mindful spark to do.
And it is hard work. It’s not like I just. felt this way. It wasn’t an epiphany. It was through a lot of exploration. But sometimes again, you need a catalyst. You need to reach your grain. You need something that could motivate, and potentially, I feel like this show could, provide an opening for somebody. So in that sense, I hope so.
Douglas Detrick: I’m sure that it will. I mean, I think that, you know, from what I’ve seen so far in what you’ve told me, I think it will, and I, I, I wish you the best as you go out there and do it. what a world we live in right now. Hopefully you’ll still get the opportunity to go out there and share this. Yeah.
You know, with these audiences, so, so I wish you the best and keep in touch and let me know how it goes,
Michelle Fujii: Thank you.
Douglas Detrick: cause it’ll be good. Maybe we’ll do another interview, but we’ll, we’ll see.
Michelle Fujii: I know what happened.
Douglas Detrick: right. Where are
Michelle Fujii: know. I know. How did it come out? Right now we’re, I mean, honestly, we are, we’re even taking this time to possibly reconfigure, so the show that would have been done now may never be done. Yeah. It will be a different show. Yeah. It’s kind of weird to think that that just won’t be in a tangible form. So, and we didn’t document.
Douglas Detrick: Wow. It’s amazing. Yeah. And after three years, well, you said, I mean, three years wasn’t enough. You could do five, you
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. Well, just keep going.
Douglas Detrick: yeah, it just never stopped. All right. Well, thank you so much, Michelle. It’s been really fun to get to know you and to have this conversation and thanks so much for sharing all of these, stories about yourself and this community and this art form and sharing all that with us, I really appreciate it. So thank you so much.
Michelle Fujii: Yeah. Thank you.
Douglas Detrick: Thanks so much to Michelle Fujii and the members of Unit Souzou. Also a great big thanks to the folks of Vanport Mosaic, Laura, Damaris and all the rest, I’m honored to have taken part.
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I produced this episode and composed the music here in Portland, Oregon.
What you’re doing is beautiful. Can you do it more devotedly?