Kumi Watanabe-Schock

Kumi Watanabe-Schock, Library Media Coordinator

What department do you work for, what do you do, and how long have you worked for HSU?

I work at the Library, as a Library Media Coordinator.  My focus is on our video collection, but I enjoy collaborating with faculty, staff, and students across campus to plan public programs, workshops and events.  One such event will be on January 30, 2017 – Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties. I’ve worked at HSU since 1987, but have worked as a student assistant in various departments since my freshman year in 1981.

Where are you from and what brought you to Humboldt?

I’m originally from Nagano, Japan, one hour west of Tokyo.  I came to HSU as an international student majoring in Journalism, then changed my major to Spanish after my first year.  In 1979, I had a chance to work in Yosemite National Park for 6 months and some of my good friends I made there thought that HSU would be a good fit for me and they were right!  Also, Pete Wilson, who was the chair of the Journalism Dept. at the time called me in Japan to tell me that it would be great to have a student from Japan majoring in Journalism.  That was pretty cool.

Where did you work before coming to HSU?

I worked at the Japan Times in Tokyo for a while. I also worked for my parents who had a market and a catering business in Nagano.  It was wonderful working with my parents - I particularly enjoyed learning how to cook from my mother who never stressed out about cooking for 15 or 200.

Tell us about your family…

My husband Jay Schock works at Financial Aid at HSU.  We met at HSU and have been married since 1982.  Our “children” are 3 dogs, Cranky Hank the unofficial Mayor of Myrtletown, Abbey the Snuggler, and Frida, and 1 cat, Lucy – all rescues.

What are you favorite TV shows?

“Walking Dead” is my #1 favorite show – I have been enjoying my journey through the zombie apocalypse since season 1.  I also like any Masterpiece Theater type shows like “Poldark”.  I also enjoy watching Food Channel, especially Ina Garten, and many PBS documentaries.  I really love movies though – watching movies in theaters is my ultimate favorite. 

What is your favorite music/song?

I love classical music, but I also like the music from the 70s/80s, bluegrass, movie soundtracks, world music and jazz.   My favorite song of all time is John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

What is your favorite food/local restaurant you have found?

I like Sushi Spot, Pho Hoang, La Costa, Brick & Fire, and sitting outside on the deck by the bay at Café Marina on a sunny day.  Many of my friends are amazing cooks though. We get together to cook all the time.  My favorite food is seafood. I’m excited about this crab season.

What kinds of books do you like? Do you have a favorite author?

I used to read fiction a lot until I started reading non-fiction books for various book circles on campus (Institute for Student Success, L4HSU and others).  I really love Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me.  I’ve read Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi’s  book Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California many times. 

What is your favorite place in Humboldt County?

Elk Head Trail and Mill Creek Trail are my favorites – any place between Moonstone Beach to Patrick’s Point and beyond where you can see the ocean.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?

I really enjoy visiting Japan – I go there once a year to visit my family.  It’s such a beautiful country with amazing food, people and incredible public transportation that makes traveling around so easy.  I love eating bento box on a bullet train.

What are your hobbies?

I like cooking, gardening, reading, watching movies, music (both playing and listening) and spending quality time with my pets.

Are you involved in any community groups/service projects?

I’ve worked with Lori Dengler, Amya Miller, and Amy Uyeki with their book An Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home, first book published by HSU Press.  I also like helping with projects that involves Japan/U.S. relationships from assisting with student exchange programs, sister city projects and welcoming Japanese visitors by serving as an interpreter.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

Cooking, gardening, going to movies, reading and visiting with friends.

What is your favorite place to go on campus during your lunchtime?

I like going to Reese Bullen Gallery and Gouidi’ni Gallery.  There have been amazing shows recently, including one with Tom Killion’s prints and George Blake’s retrospective.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?

I have been on a quiz show on TV in Japan – Super Dice Q.  I was trying to make quick money to attend HSU!  Also, I was lead guitarist for a Japanese all girl cover band named “BULB” in high school.