Go Away With … Suzy Nakamura

Suzy Nakamura

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
February 14, 2017

Born and raised in Chicago, Suzy Nakamura credits her career at The Second City for honing her comedic chops. Her prolific film and television work includes “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Veep” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.” Nakamura, who stars opposite Ken Jeong in the ABC comedy series, “Dr. Ken,” will appear alongside Brooke Shields in the upcoming indie film, “Daisy Winters.”

Based out of West Hollywood, the actress says she enjoys living in an area where “I can walk everywhere. I’m not really an outdoorsy person, but I do love walking in cities.” Fans may stay connected with her on Twitter and via her website

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I really love Bali, Indonesia. I’ve been twice and it’s one of those magical places that you never forget. You are surrounded by art and nature everywhere you go. I stayed on the southwest side in Canggu and it was pretty easy to hop over to Ubud, or a beach in Kuta, or shopping in Seminyak, or dinner in Denpasar. I was in awe of the rice paddy fields. Who knew you could be moved by agriculture? I sure didn’t. But I was humbled or moved by something every day I was there.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what are some of your tips for a great trip?

A. Learn some greetings in Balinese (such as) terima kasih (thank you). Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud and the stunning temple Pura Tanah Lot in Bali. Take a walking tour of some rice paddies, get a massage and eat as much Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Gado-Gado (Indonesian salad) as you can, because it’s hard to find in the United States. If you can, plan a layover in Singapore and visit their Night Safari. It has all nocturnal animals!

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Years ago, a family friend was getting married in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. When I asked where it was, my brother answered, “It’s the place Red meets Andy at the end of “The Shawshank Redemption,” and that was good enough for me. He then suggested that we go a week early, make a vacation out of it and end it with the wedding. This is a great idea for any destination wedding. I did it when someone got married in Goa, India. I stayed after the wedding and bopped around Mumbai. Zihuatanejo is one of those small, fishing villages turned beach towns, but without being flashy and resorty like Acapulco or Ixtapa. I just looked it up on TripAdvisor.com and it looks like it hasn’t changed much.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. When we were little, my mom took me and my brother on a little boat trip up Lake Michigan, from Wisconsin to Michigan. Do you know how big Lake Michigan is? This little boat trip took three hours. It was freezing, my brother got motion sickness and mom said all the concessions were too expensive. It was awful. The crazy thing is, I would probably love this trip today. Mostly because I can buy my own M&M’s now.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Here in Southern California, you can’t beat Palm Springs or Santa Barbara. I’ve always wanted to visit the old missions that line the coast, especially San Juan Capistrano. Maybe that will be my next weekend getaway!

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Japan! Can you believe I’ve never been to Japan? I guess I assumed with my face, I would just automatically go at some point, but I guess I have to go buy a ticket like everyone else. My dad went once as a Fulbright Scholar and my mom went once on a vacation with her sister, but I’ve never gone.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. A scarf is a miracle travel gadget to me. If you roll it up, it’s a neck roll. If it’s big enough, it’s a light blanket. It’s also a sleep mask. It can also act as a barrier for dirty pillows. And you never know when you’re gonna need to cover your head, shoulders or arms in a sacred place. I have a documents wallet that I can’t live without. It holds itineraries, loose coins, boarding passes and it never leaves my sight, except once accidentally on a ferry in Greece. I got it back in Mykonos. The other thing I love is my little snap valet tray. I set it up in every hotel room so that I always know where my important things are.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I cannot say no to a chicken-fried steak. I used to tour all over the U.S. with The Second City and our options were always diners, truck stops or a Denny’s. I’ve never had a bad chicken-fried steak.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Learn the language, learn the language, learn the language. You are a guest. You are a representative of your country when you travel and if you’re an American, your country looks pretty ridiculous right now. Being kind, grateful and open-minded is an opportunity to show that Americans are kind, grateful and open-minded. I tried Spanish in Barcelona, French in Paris and Russian in Moscow, all to varying degrees of success, but each attempt was met with gratitude and delight.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I’ve been a fan of Kimpton Hotels for a long time. I used to stay with them in San Francisco and now they’re all over. They have beautiful hotels, they’re eco-conscious and pet-friendly and they have a wine hour every day. I just stayed at The Canary in Santa Barbara and The Eventi in New York. Their customer service is what keeps me coming back.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. The first thing I do is ask friends for recommendations. Someone inevitably has a restaurant, must-see place, or even a type of dessert that stood out to them. Then I continue researching on the internet. But my favorite resource is travel books. Always check the printing date, a travel book from 2010 might not help you much. Good ones include useful phrases, maps and traveler tips. This is something you can take with you and you don’t need wi-fi.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Paris, for the food; London, for the people; Rome, for the art and architecture; Chicago, for the food, people, art, and architecture; and Los Angeles, because so many of my friends are here!


© 2017 JAE-HA KIM

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  1. Suzy Nakamura says:

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