Michelle Yokoyama, 34

The trials of being half Japanese, semi-narcoleptic and engaged to a cheap man.
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki Michelle Yokoyama, 34
By Jake Malooley |

Ogden Plaza

What’s the origin of Yokoyama? Japanese. My dad’s Japanese and my mom’s white. No one thinks I’m Asian. When I’m at the Mexican grocery store, they talk to me in Spanish. I answer them in English, but they’re like, You’re here, you’re kinda brown, we’re going with it.

You’re pan-ethnic. Right. Japanese people especially don’t think I’m Japanese. I lived in Japan for a while and the people were usually like, “Let me explain something: Japanese genes—very strong! If your dad was Japanese, you’d look Japanese.” So I’d show them the photo I carry of my dad and me with our heads next to each other.

So, what are you up to? I’m going to one of those things in Millennium Park. It’s, like, music or something.

One of those…concert things? Yeah. We’re just chillin’. I think it’s, like, Broadway songs or something.

What’s your favorite Broadway musical? Mostly, I don’t like them very much. But I did stay awake through Billy Elliot and Wicked. I have, like, ADD! I don’t really, but I kinda do.

And staying awake through a whole show is a nod of support? Yeah. When I go to a movie, same thing: I always fall asleep.

Are you sure narcolepsy isn’t your problem? Maybe. Like, my fiancé won’t take me to movies anymore because he doesn’t want to spend the money just so I can sleep. He’s really cheap! Which is great. I like a cheap man. You want to go out with someone who’s not cheap. But you want to marry someone who’s cheap, because once you tie the knot it’s your money, too.