For over thirty years Tomoko has resided in San Rafael, California, the county seat of Marin County just north of San Francisco. Tomoko enjoys driving into the City for her teaching time, but she also appreciates returning to the lush scenery near home.
The town itself has a much longer history. Originally inhabited by the Coast Miwok, Spaniards built a mission here in 1817. Now the town boasts more than 70,000 residents, and has a strong entertainment industry and technology presence: LucasArts, Comcast, Autodesk, and several electronic gaming companies. Tomoko recorded her piano performances at the Lucas studio.
Geographically, San Rafael resembles a microcosm of habitats: marshland and estuary to forests and hills, the latter feature separating the more industrial southern part of town from the more suburban-looking northern part where Tomoko lives. Several parks dot the town. Climate-wise, San Rafael enjoys Mediterranean weather. Tomoko enjoys gardening in this climate, especially as she has a special affinity to nature.
Tomoko also used to drive through San Rafael west to San Domenico School where she taught piano for several years, and would drive north from San Rafael to Sonoma’s Redwood Empire Ice Arena (owned by cartoonist Charles Schulz) to take her daughter for ice skating lessons. Her husband Desy also used to work as a medical doctor in San Rafael as well.
Saint Rafael was named after the Catholic saint, patron of good health and travelers. He is an appropriate figure for Tomoko who has certainly traveled many roads in her life and continues to have a healthy life.