Nice to meet you!

My name, Riri has two meanings. It comes from lyrical, the harmonization of words and music. It also derives from the Japanese word, ririshii, defined as courageous, inspiring, and strong. I was born in Japan, grew up in New York City, studied in California, lived as an expat in Southeast Asia, and came back to the place I feel at home.

My earliest writing utensils were crayons, mom’s lipsticks, and if you’re Asian like me, chopstick and soy sauce. Eventually, this evolved into more sophisticated styles of writing such as blogging on Xanga, ROFL-ing on AOL Instant Messenger, and ranting about life in my Lisa Frank diaries (complete with a lock). Kidding, but not really. I got a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts/Humanities so I must’ve written a captivating statement to get accepted into college.

Currently, I am a UX writer at American Express where I design with words. I leverage my background in user research and strategy to make content decisions. I contextualize problems and think about its implications, which is the core of design. I take a holistic approach to understand what happened, how we got here, and what could we do.

As an Empathy Jam co-producer, I bring together passionate individuals to solve problems in a day-long hackathon setting. It’s a space for attendees to expand their design skills and learn to be more empathetic for others while making the city a better place to live. (Read about my experience as an attendee in 2016 and then what it was like co-producing it in 2017 and 2018.)

When I’m not working, I’m writing and sharing it on my blog. Writing challenges me to learn while exploring various topics through research. I write for myself and I write for fun. I’ve written about design, traveling, running, and life in general. Some of my favorites include:

I run a lot. How else can I justify my love for food and athletic apparel addiction? I train with the Dashing Whippets Running Team and race frequently. My moonshot goals are to qualify for and race the Boston Marathon, break 20 minutes in a 5K, and go sub-6 in the mile. Maybe one day I could break 90 minutes in a half marathon too, but I’ll start with a doable goal like sub-1:45 (I’m at 1:48!). Running is fun, I promise!

Thank you for visiting! Here’s a fun blog post to learn more about me. Take a look at projects I’ve worked on. We should definitely keep in touch. Drop me a note if you’re interested in working together and chatting about writing, design, running, or life. If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear from you. I’m always up for logging miles and carb loading, if you like that kind of stuff too.



[Last updated in November 2018. Epic header photo is courtesy of Larry Sillen, taken at the NYRR Team Championships 5-Miler race.]