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Amya Miller: ‘What’s the difference between a duck?’

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

Name: Amya Miller
Age: Ageless
Nationality: American
Occupation: Global public relations director for Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
Likes: Bread, chocolate
Dislikes: Arrogant people


1. What first brought you to Japan? My parents. I was born here.

2. What’s keeping you here? My job. My commitment to stay in Rikuzentakata until I’m no longer needed.

3. Who in Japan do you most admire? Rikuzentakata Mayor Futoshi Toba. He personifies humanity, strength and dedication in ways I’ve never seen in an elected official in Japan.

4. Where do you go to escape Tokyo? The Yamanote Line. I ride it all the way around once and I’m all better. It’s my own personal heaven where I can be completely alone even in a crowd.

5. What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? Ramen, because everyone should have a bowl of this perfect comfort food.

6. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? Joie de vivre (joy of living). It sounds exactly like what it means.

7. If you could have share a bottle of shochu with anyone from history, who would it be? Nora Ephron. I want to hear her stories live.

8. What’s the most exciting/outrageous thing you have ever done? Getting married.

9. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? “How much are you?”

10. What song best describes your work ethic? The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” because it’s true and we need that reality check.

11. How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator? Chop it into pieces. (Sorry!)

12. Name three uses of a stapler without staples. Hammer, paper weight, ruler.

13. What superhero would you most like to be? Wonder Woman. She has blue hair.

14. What do you think about while standing on a train? I listen to books I downloaded and go into a zone.

15. If you won ¥1 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money? Tell my husband to take a year off and do whatever he wants. Then go buy shoes.

16. Tell us a quick joke. This is my husband’s. It’s terrible but it cracks me up every time he tells it. “What’s the difference between a duck?” I know. It’s so bad it’s hilarious.

17. How would you find a needle in a haystack? Burn it down.

18. Who would win a fight between a lion and tiger? The lion. I’d bribe him to win. I want the tiger’s fur.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up? Not a “what” but a “who” — Helen Mirren.

20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? Read. It makes you smarter.