It’s not that filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi didn’t like Japan. When growing up, she was even okay with school. But from her early teens, she had an urge to leave.

“I think I have some kind of nomadic DNA,” laughs Hirayanagi during an interview on a recent visit to Tokyo. “I sent off my saliva sample to a company that analyzes your DNA and I was told that my pattern was a very common one in Chile. Maybe I have some kind of native South American blood. Maybe I’ve always had a hankering to go back to my roots. Either way, I left Japan when I was 17 to stay with a Japanese host family in LA.”

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