#30 - Mỹ Thị Bùi

The Vietnamese Boat People

Jun 29 2021 • 25 mins

Naoko Tsunoda was born in Los Angeles in 1976 and adopted by Japanese expats the following year. Despite knowing she was adopted, it was not until she turned 18 that Naoko’s parents revealed that she is ethnically Vietnamese. Thus began a decades-long search for the missing pieces of her history, culminating in the discovery of her birth name: Mỹ Thị Bùi. Now in her forties, Naoko is learning to embrace her dual identities via her love of tea. The events of 2020 propelled her to start her own online tea boutique, Key To Teas, where she offers tea sourced directly from Japan and Vietnam. 2020 also sparked a search for her birth mother and an older half-sister. She hopes that by sharing her story, this serves as a beacon to help reunite them.