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Grace Takayama

Episode 151

Journey from bookkeeping legacy to California dreams

Grace Takayama was born to a Korean mother and a Japanese Father. Nearly all her friends and family had traditional roles installed in them, the husband worked and the wife took charge of the household. Most of the men in her family were Bookkeepers, which inspired her to do the same.

Right after graduating with a degree in Accounting she wasn’t sure what her next step should be and found work keeping books at different companies in South Korea.

Her parents constantly urged her to make the move to San Gabriel, where her father’s side of the family were already long standing residents, eventually her paternal grandfather convinced her to make the move to San Gabriel.

San Gabriel was full of opportunities and cheery residences that warmed her heart and thus her decision to stay in the SGV has remained true.

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Grace Takayama Quotes

“I just kept getting promoted and it didn’t stop.”

“It’s just less than like a 30-minute drive. I’m Koreatown. Everything I need there, as a Korean, I could get.”

“I could walk somewhere and I’ll pass and I’ll be treated as if I was one of them.”

“I’m from Jeju-do Island. Wow. So when I was growing up, it wasn’t the touristy place it is now.”

“I felt safe, I had my friends, I had everything in Korea. And then I thought, you know what? It’s a family house, I shouldn’t let it due to my own selfishness.”

“I would have had amazing quality of life. I would be able to raise children, rent or buy a modest house, live a good old white picket fence life, have food, eat good stuff. But I knew I’d never be rich because that’s just how it’s built.”

“I can read, I can write, I can bargain, I can curse, I can complain, I could whine, I can brag, all in Korean.”

“I ended up with Grace Takayama. And technically speaking, whatever your mother’s culture is, that’s your culture.”

“I’m excited to hear this story of you and your unique journey.”

“There’s no need for nostalgia. I don’t feel nostalgic.”

Unexpected Career Advancement

Grace started working at Paris Baguette as a side job to escape the loneliness of her full-time online bookkeeping position. Unexpectedly, she kept receiving promotions until she filled the role of general manager, demonstrating that sometimes opportunities arise in unexpected places.


Cultural Roots and Diversity

Grace’s family has a deep history in the San Gabriel Valley, with her Japanese side involved in building railroads and seeking opportunities during the Gold Rush. Her story highlights the diverse cultural roots that contribute to the rich tapestry of the SGV community.


Overcoming Ethnic Tensions

Grace faced challenges due to her mixed Korean and Japanese heritage, particularly in Korea, where she wasn’t fully accepted because of her Japanese last name. Her experience underscores the complexities of ethnic identity in different cultural contexts.


Transitioning to Life in SGV

Grace moved to the San Gabriel Valley to take care of a family house and found the community to be welcoming and diverse. Unlike her experiences in Korea, she felt embraced in SGV, illustrating the valley’s inclusive nature.


Importance of Sleep and Patience

Reflecting on her journey, Grace wishes she had prioritized sleep and patience more. She believes these are crucial for problem-solving and critical thinking skills essential for personal and professional growth.


Music Credits

Like it Loud, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Scarlet Fire (Sting), Otis McDonald, YouTube Audio Library

Indecision, Dyalla, YouTube Audio Library

Picture of Grace Takayama

Grace Takayama


Katsu Sando