Interview with Jun, who is studying architecture, outside the Davidson Music Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on April 8, 2019.
Mary Rose: Do you consider yourself religious?
Jun: No. I used to go to church when I lived in Hawaii, but it was really more about the community than the actual religion. My mom went to an all-girls Christian school and my dad went to a Christian university, but they’re not really religious. For sure spiritual, but not religious.
I’m spiritual, absolutely. I believe in something beyond the physical world. I took some chemistry and biology classes and the way that they look at people and nature in general is sort of like sacks of chemistry and everything stemming from this biological, scientific thing. I think that’s maybe an explanation for the physical world, but I feel like, you know when you listen to your favorite song and there’s some kind of really strong feeling, I feel like in that sense there’s something beyond scientific explanations. Something. I mean you look at flowers and it just feels right, or you look at a certain building and it feels right. I think in that sense there’s something. I can’t tell you exactly what it is.
I think everything has a little spirit in some way and I think everyone has a spirit. I think everything that’s alive for sure has a spirit and maybe even inanimate things have something. Who knows. Some people say, if you look at it, everything is kind of vibrating, and it might be that. In the end, I feel like just with everything, nobody knows. And life is hard and any kind of narratives you can tell yourself to make it more meaningful or get through it. Who knows. In the end I think it’s just who knows.
Where did you go to church in Hawaii?
Jun: United Church of Christ? I have no idea. Basically, one of the things I got out of it was: treat everyone like you want to be treated. Everyone there was so nice and kind. It was nice to have a community because our family had just moved from Japan. Actually the church was in the elementary school cafeteria on Sundays. I was still a baby, but we were looking at the school because that’s where they were going to send my brother. It happened to be Sunday and so they were like, “Come on in.” It was more about having a community then religion.
How did you develop your moral code?
Jun: That’s a good question. I think partly just me and then some influences from my friends and then some books that I read. I think whatever you can do to get through life, go ahead, as long as you’re not hurting yourself and the people around you.
All I’m really sure about is just to be kind to whoever’s around. How I developed that I think a big part is my parents, how they raised me, and then I went to a Waldorf school that was a very open-minded place. So I was able to develop my own thing, and my parents not really enforcing anything specific, and also my friends being very open. Sort of picking and choosing what I liked from different things and then creating my little collage is I think how I came about it. That’s a good question.
You say we should be kind to others – how does that influence your thoughts on abortion?
Jun: I know where people are coming from on both sides, but I feel like it’s the mother’s right to choose. Those decisions, I feel, aren’t done lightly on the mother’s part. More than any legislator telling someone what they can and can’t do, I feel like it’s between the doctor giving her his best advice and the mom, wherever she’s coming from, making her own decision.
We do have some legislation requiring kindness to others – prohibitions on driving drunk or killing born children – should there should be an exception for killing unborn children?
Jun: I think there should be, but it does come with some weight, especially with a child that’s not born. That’s something that the mother has to carry, but I think it is up to each parent in each situation. In that sense I’m more pro-choice, I guess.
California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.