I lured Tomomi Kikuchi ’11 into an abandoned Paresky office with some trepidation, having learned my role in this interview moments before and being armed only with a short list of things Tomomi reportedly “loved.” I admit to a pulsing fear, but her warm expression and subtle clothing tones soothed my tetchy nerves. Besides, I realized that I had once seen her in one of my classes – she had been asleep at the time – which made us practically the same person.
Things you love. I hear they are Disney, the color pink and theater. How do you feel about that?
Yes, totally right. Three things that I love most in my life. Disney World, I love Disney World. My dream for my life is to have a wedding at Disney World, and I was actually at Disney World over Dead Week, and I was on the bus and I saw they had these Disney promotional videos on the bus. I was looking at one of the Disney cruise lines and it looks so amazing. Of course they had Mickey Mouse on board, too.
Who’s your favorite Disney character, in that case?
I have a lot. My pencil case is the Cheshire Cat, I’ll show you. [Pulls out an attractive pencil case.] Well, you can’t really record this, but –
It’s beautiful. I’ll write that down.
The Cheshire Cat and Thumper from Bambi are favorites, and I like all the Winnie the Pooh characters.
How many times have you been to Disney World?
What about Disney Land?
Okay, so I’ve been to Disney World like 10 to 15 times and been to Disney Land in California like five times. There’s also one in Tokyo, and I’ve been there probably three or four times. There’s also one in Paris, which I’ve been to two times.
So would you say you’re a world traveler for Disney?
I’m a world traveler in general because my parents love traveling. It’s actually really lucky for me, because it’s not like we’re from a super-rich family but we’re one that wants to spend money on it. I used to live in London when I was about nine years old and that’s where I developed my –
Wait, what happened to the accent?
That’s a good question. [Tomomi assumes an accent befitting a duchess] I could talk in a British accent if I wanted to, but because I stand out so much if I do that I don’t. And now I’m back to an American accent. [This is true] It was funny because I was in London this summer, and I was staying at my best friend’s dorm, and I was talking in this American accent, and she said, “You don’t sound like you. What happened to you?” [Chuckles.]
Let’s talk a little bit about the color pink. What about pink speaks to you personally?
[Ponderous sigh.] I’ve always just liked the color pink. It’s such a bubbly, cute color – I don’t necessarily wear a lot of pink, but I have a lot of pink stuff like my iPod, the Cheshire Cat [I eye the realistically smiling pencil case] and bags and my room is pink.
Well it’s actually pink and different colors because I like to be, I dunno, diverse. There are hints of different colors. I live in Greylock Quad with my best friends, and I love them!
So you were at Model U.N.
We went to Boston, and we went to this M.U.N. conference at Harvard. It was all held in this really posh hotel in the middle of Boston, so it was pretty nice.
You were away until -?
Did you have a chance to have a happy Valentine’s Day?
[Pauses, somewhat concerned] No – I didn’t.
[I nod sympathetically, repressing my own dismal experience of both the 14th and the morning after.]
It was, I guess- well, no, I don’t even remember what I was doing on the 14th. Huh. Just conferences, I think – oh yes, we went shopping that evening.
Buy anything pink?
No, it was orange.
[Sensing that the subject of pink was soon to be defunct, I scuttled on to a new idea.]
Could you think of an ideal Valentine’s Day that would link together all those things you love?
I think any valentine in Disney World would be perfect to start with. [Laughs] Linking pink is the hard part – hmm. There’s this favorite show at Disney World called “Fantasmic!,” which is at night. It’s really amazing. Mickey Mouse actually shoots out fireworks from the tips of his fingers. [She demonstrates this to the best of her ability.] Like, fshew! It’s really, really amazing, and it’s my most favorite show ever. We can go to Disney World, then spend the day together – maybe buy some pink candy floss – and watch that show.
Speaking abstractly of shows, I hear you do theater.
I do do theater. I was in a show last semester, and I was playing a little baby stuffed toy named “Impossible, the Baby of Death.” [Chortles]
It was a really good experience. I hadn’t been in a show on campus before, and it was a happy time. I was playing this stuffed toy that looked like a baby, but unfortunately it was in blue. I was a baby boy, but it was really enjoyable. I like acting like a cute little kid.
What does “Tomomi” mean?
“Friends and beauty.” I like my name. I didn’t really like it when I was little, but now I think I do. People like my name, because people like names with three syllables. Well, some people do.
Last question: Were you in [our mutual class] in the fall?
Ooooh, yes! Yes – [dawning comprehension] yes.
I, uh, found it hard to stay awake myself.
It’s possible, I was also not awake. It was a pretty big class.
Big enough to nap.
I was in the front.