Hi, my name is Kohaku Toran! Nice to meet you.

This is a simple personal blog where I showcase my writing pieces and express my thoughts on events pertaining to environmental sustainability, social justice, human rights, and related issues important to me. I post once every day at 6am PST! I’m relatively new to blogging, but I’ve been a writer and storyteller for at least eight years. My genres have included general fiction, science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, poetry, and zuihitsu. Most of my writing is part fact, part imagination – everything is ultimately grounded in reality.

If you want to contact me for questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you just need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at kohaku.toran@gmail.com! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A Self-Introduction

I’m an introverted minimalist and pescatarian who cares a lot about environmental sustainability, human rights, world peace, and minority representation.

I’m a musician and grew up in a musical household. I play piano and previously played the flute, and my current obsession is learning how to play guitar.

I am ethnically Taiwanese, and strongly influenced by a combination of Taiwanese, Japanese, and American cultures.

My favorite sport to watch is figure skating. I’m a fan of Yuzuru Hanyu, Jun-hwan Cha, Stephane Lambiel, Adam Rippon, and Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir.

I like Japanese comedy. Shows like 水曜日のダウンタウン and ガキの使い are among my favorites.

My favorite band is X Japan. I also like RADWIMPS, L’Arc~en~Ciel, exist†trace, and sukekiyo.

My favorite author is Haruki Murakami, and my favorite book is Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

My favorite contemporary pianists include Yiruma, YOSHIKI, and Sakamoto Ryuichi. I also like older music from the romantic era, such as Chopin and Brahms.

My favorite singer-songwriter is GACKT. I’m also a big fan of HYDE.

I love Studio Ghibli films. I grew up on Miyazaki’s masterpieces, not Disney!

Currently I identify as queer and non-binary. I love androgynous looks, and I don’t really care what pronouns are used to refer to me. I’m also not out to a lot of people and don’t feel the need to be.

I can speak and understand English, Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Japanese to varying degrees of fluency.

Depression runs in my family. I have thought about running away from home or killing myself before. Many of my friends are also struggling with mental illnesses, and several are or have been suicidal. As a result, I think about the nature of the world and life and death all the time, and much of my writing edges on the poetic and philosophical.

I believe that human life is fundamentally constructed out of two essential and inevitable ingredients: suffering and love. At heart, I’m a “realistic optimist” – I see the terrible things in the world and in humanity, but I believe that we can change ourselves for the better, that hatred is unnatural, and that love will always win in the end.

About My Name

In Japanese, my name is written like this: 陳琥珀.

The first character is read “toran” (toh-rahn) and is a surname.

The last two characters are read “kohaku” (koh-hah-koo), and this is a gender-neutral name. The shortened version is “haku” (hah-koo), and I’ll respond to that too! In whole or part, this name means “amber”, like the color.

Hidden within the characters for Kohaku are the characters 白虎, which mean “white tiger”. The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols in Chinese and Japanese mythology and Daoist philosophy. There are a lot of legends and meanings associated with it. For me personally, the white tiger is a symbol of resilience for the traditionally disempowered. When I’m feeling depressed, I need this kind of strength, so I like this name a lot!

That’s all for introductions. Once again, if you ever need to reach out, just shoot me an email. I hope you enjoy my writing!

Take care of yourself. Your life is worth it.