Tomomi is part owner of 1Stop-Fitness, a gym she opened with her partner in 2013. She is specialized in corrective exercise, and she trains people who have chronic pain to reduce or manage their pain. But more importantly, she has a passion to guide her clients to love themselves no matter what. She is also a professional speaker and the author of Me and The Japanese Beauty Standards. She was born and raised in Japan, but she isn’t good at math and she doesn’t like sake, sushi, or raw fish. Her joke is, “I break the stereotype of Japanese.” She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her life partner, Larry, and a smart dog, Roscoe.
Tomomi was born and raised in Iwakuni Japan, where there is a Marine Corps Air Station. As a little girl, she was a tomboy who always followed her big brother. She and her brother are very fortunate to have very loving parents. They are supportive and understanding of anything that they want to try.
When Tomomi was 13 years old, she started feeling that she couldn’t breathe inside the culture that she loves. She felt the pressure to be a certain way to fit into Japanese society as a girl, a kid, and a human being. She sensed that there was an untold rule to live out, and there were very strict Japanese beauty standards, which she got from TV, magazines, and advertisements. One of the magazines she read had a chart that listed an individual’s perfect weight matched to height. To this day in Japan, people on TV make fun of female comedians who are curvy or unique. Because she did not fit into these Japanese beauty standards and being unique was looked at differently, she felt fat and ugly. This stuck with her for a long time. Even with the pain she was carrying as a young girl, she was very outgoing and tried to be independent. When she was 17 years old, she decided to deliver morning newspapers, and she had to ride her mom’s bicycle to get from one location to the next. She had to get up at 4:30 am and deliver newspapers every day, even if it was raining. That was a great experience and taught her how to be responsible. At the age of 19, she visited Australia so she could experience another country and culture. This visit was an eye-opening experience that left her feeling like she was accepted for who she is.
She moved to the United States in 2003 and became a personal trainer in 2006. She felt very insecure about her accent. To make up for that insecurity, she studied very hard to know her field as thoroughly as possible, and she attended every workshop. She wanted to surprise people with her knowledge despite her accent. That’s how she got her confidence as a trainer. She specialized in corrective exercise and now trains clients who have chronic pain to reduce and manage their pain. She continues to update her education and loves it.
At that time, she was still struggling to accept her beauty. But she finally started seeing that she was “enough.” Being a trainer was a big part of that, and exercising helped her to feel an accomplishment at every workout. She started seeing her own beauty, and she was OK with it–even if it didn’t fit into the Japanese beauty standards.
These were the reasons she developed the passion to be a public speaker, but she felt she wasn’t qualified yet. So, in 2008 she decided to enter a bachelor’s program at California University of Pennsylvania. She took Sports Management (Wellness and Fitness), thinking that it would help her as a speaker someday. She graduated, but she wasn’t ready to expose her past yet. It was still fresh, embarrassing, and painful.
In 2010, she became an independent trainer and started operating her own personal training business. That led to opening 1Stop-Fitness with her partner, Larry, in 2013. Running the gym was very stressful, but she learned a lot about herself, life, people, and business. That experience gave her the courage to speak about her past. She wrote short version of her life story and published it through a publisher in Japan. She published Me and The Japanese Beauty Standards in English. She is now speaking about her past and her life experiences in order to motivate people, especially teenagers and women.
Tomomi wonders if those who create TV programming, magazines articles, and advertisements know what kind of messages they are actually sending out. Their unintentional messages are putting pressure on people to be a certain way to fit into the untold beauty rules, which are often unattainable. She certainly believes that beauty is not all about looks. There are many kinds of beauty in this world: kindness, positive energy, compassion, and a contagious smile, etc. Those attributes should be represented more on TV, magazines, and social media. More importantly, being who we are should be presented as beautiful.
Tomomi wonders if she would have suffered through so many battles with insecurities while growing up if she had received more positive and affirming cultural messages about what is beautiful. That’s why she wants to spread her message about self-acceptance.
Tomomi is a funny and outgoing person with a big smile, and her personality breaks the stereotype of Japanese. She is a very tough individual. Her speech has love, passion, caring, kindness, understanding, strength, and connection–all of which makes you believe that you can do it if she can!