My Bio, in Paragraph Form
My full name is Keith Katsuo Higa. My Japanese name, "Katsuo," means "a man who wins," and although it has not always held true, on the whole I think it fits and is something I try to strive for in everyday life. In formal writing I tend to tack on my middle initial to make my short first and last names look a little longer.
On census forms I declare my race as Japanese, but strictly speaking I'm half-Japanese, half-Okinawan. My paternal heritage comes from Nakagusuku in Okinawa prefecture in Japan, while my mom traces her heritage back to Hiroshima. At the risk of dredging up ethnic stereotypes, my mixed heritage probably means I should only have 50% of the body hair that a full Okinawan has. Or so I would like to believe.
I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 29, 1972, during a very turbulent period in American history, and was raised in the Enchanted Lake area of Kailua, Hawaii, which has been my permanent home for all but the first six months of my life.
I attended Enchanted Lake Elementary School and Punahou School, and graduated from the latter in 1990. In 1994, I received my B.A. in mathematics from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, then came home to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, getting my basic teaching certification in secondary math in 1996.
I first intended to pursue a career in teaching, but my first real teaching assignment would soon disabuse me of that notion. Over the following years, my career followed a gradual progression from education to information technology. Today, I am a technical support representative in the Information Systems department of the local Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate in Hawaii.
My life, professional and personal, tends to revolve around one of three centers:
- Computers. I got my first computer, a Commodore VIC-20, when I was in third grade, and have been enamored by them ever since. I enjoyed programming in college, and to this day Web design has been a hobby of mine. Professionally, I have CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications.
- Music. I was first introduced to choral music when a dorm-mate heard me singing to myself in my room in freshman year. The following year, I joined L&C's Concert Choir, and the rest is history. I have been involved in various choirs for almost 15 years, the last seven of which have been as the director of my church's choir.
- Running. I was never a real athlete and still don't consider myself one, but something changed in 1998 when I decided to start working out regularly. Weight training led to cardio, which started from walking to walk-running...to finishing my first Great Aloha Run in 1999...to finishing my first Honolulu Marathon in December 1999. I've done every GAR and Honolulu Marathon ever since.
More recently, though, I've added two more centers:
- Digital photography. I got my first digital camera in 2000, a Casio QV-2000UX, and I've had the interest, off and on, every since. Two digital point-and-shoots later, I've since upgraded myself to the world of digital SLRs with a Nikon D40. I post most of my pictures to Flickr and have made quite a few new friends on it. View my photos here.
- Amateur radio. After reading about one of my co-workers, who is a ham himself, I studied for and passed the exam for a ham radio license. I have the call sign WH7GG, and I've joined a local ham radio club.