In this episode Koji chats with his co-host M. Martin Mapoma about his best or worst day of his life.
Voice Over 0:02
This is the best or worst day of my life podcast where we talk to regular people about the best or the worst day of their lives. And now here are your hosts Koji Steven Sakai and M Martin Mapoma.
Koji Steven Sakai 0:27
Hi, welcome to the new episode of the new show that we have what is it called?
Martin Mapoma 0:33
It’s called the best or wort days of your life.
Koji Steven Sakai 0:37
Martin Mapoma 0:38
day of your life.
Koji Steven Sakai 0:39
man didn’t even know our title. It’s okay.
Martin Mapoma 0:43
Koji Steven Sakai 0:44
My name is Koji Stevens Sakai. I’m one of your hosts.
Martin Mapoma 0:46
Hey, I’m M Martin Mapoma. I’m also one of your hosts.
Koji Steven Sakai 0:49
And today we’re gonna do things a little bit differently. We’re not we don’t have a special guests. We wanted to get to have you guys get to know us a little bit. So I’m going to introduce or interview my partner.
Martin Mapoma 0:58
It’s gonna be scary.
Koji Steven Sakai 1:00
So tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?
Martin Mapoma 1:03
So I was born in Zambia, Africa, moved to the States, my parents did I just have to get along with them was about three. While my dad went to school here, we moved back to Zambia when I was almost eight, then came back when I was almost 18 a few days before my 18th birthday.
Koji Steven Sakai 1:22
So you were so you and you recently became an American citizen?
Martin Mapoma 1:25
I did about two months ago. Finally.
Koji Steven Sakai 1:28
Martin Mapoma 1:29
Koji Steven Sakai 1:30
And you have a child and a wife?
Martin Mapoma 1:32
Koji Steven Sakai 1:34
What do you what do you do for a living?
Martin Mapoma 1:36
Oh, let’s see. Well, I am an actor as well as a strength conditioning specialist.
Koji Steven Sakai 1:41
And what would your enemy say about you?
Martin Mapoma 1:44
My enemies? Geez, I never stopped talking.
Koji Steven Sakai 1:49
In a good way or bad way.
Martin Mapoma 1:51
Just in general period. Um, though, I mean, I don’t like to talk, you know, you know,
Koji Steven Sakai 1:58
it’s okay. You curse
Martin Mapoma 1:59
I don’t want to talk shit about people. That’s just never gonna be my thing. I
Koji Steven Sakai 2:03
I like to talk shit about people.
Martin Mapoma 2:05
I mean, I do, but you know, god this is a weird. I talk I tend to talk a lot. Okay, so and then the people who really care about me they they love it. You know people who don’t really like my personality tend to like bitch about that. But who knows
Koji Steven Sakai 2:21
you were an architect major in college.
Martin Mapoma 2:23
Koji Steven Sakai 2:24
what made you’re not going to architecture?
Martin Mapoma 2:27
architecture. No, I mean, I was in I love architecture. You know, after I finished school, I just, I don’t know, I really sort of fell in love with a whole acting thing. You know, it’s sort of a wouldn’t say it fell into my lap, but it came pretty easy. And I had been known one of those guys take the easy way out. But no, I really, I really loved the passion of acting. And so I became an actor, and it’s been a great journey. You know,
Koji Steven Sakai 2:52
what is it about acting that you like,
Martin Mapoma 2:54
just telling a story, man, I mean, I feel like I have so many stories to tell about my growing up in that may be able to use that and sort of channel that into my into my acting career
Koji Steven Sakai 3:05
maybe you should be a writer then
Martin Mapoma 3:06
Oh, man, that sounds like a lot of work.
Koji Steven Sakai 3:10
Martin Mapoma 3:10
I would I would I would write if I could because I I have a lot of stories I’d like to tell, you know, not just about you know, growing up here but growing up in Africa as well.
Koji Steven Sakai 3:18
Do you remember Africa, I thought you said you came here when you were three
Martin Mapoma 3:21
yeah then move back when I was eight, and then came back here again when I was 18. Almost 18
Koji Steven Sakai 3:25
What’s the biggest misconception about Africa that people here in America don’t know?
Martin Mapoma 3:29
Ah, the biggest Geez, take your pick. Oh, cold Coca Cola. I’ll never forget I was in high school there. You know, we had a kid from the States who came to you know, parents worked for the embassy. And the first day of school. He’s like a he has a coke. We were like, Yeah. Is it cold? Really what the fuck are talking about? Yeah, they’re cold. So that’s just one of the biggest
Koji Steven Sakai 3:52
wait there’s no cold coke or there is cold coke
Martin Mapoma 3:55
Like we didn’t have refrigerators?
Koji Steven Sakai 3:56
Martin Mapoma 3:57
yeah. We have coke
Koji Steven Sakai 3:58
Oh they thought that you didn’t have
Martin Mapoma 3:59
yeah They everyone drink hot Coca Cola
Koji Steven Sakai 4:01
like you guys live in like huts or something.
Martin Mapoma 4:03
Yeah, that’s nothing to do you live in a grass hut and I’m like, No, I live in the grass hut, do you have any liones in your backyard. And I’m like most Africans, most people, Zambia, where I’m from, I’ll just see lions walking around all the time.
Koji Steven Sakai 4:14
Have you ever seen alion?
Martin Mapoma 4:16
Yeah. In a game Park, not like in my backyard. Not in my backyard.
Koji Steven Sakai 4:22
Have you been back as an adult.
Martin Mapoma 4:23
Yeah, I’ve been back after school. 92 then 96 I think, no no, 86 92. the last time was after my mom passed away, like a year later. That was 2011
Koji Steven Sakai 4:41
if you go back, can you take the Sakai family with you?
Martin Mapoma 4:44
You come if you want. Yeah. You want to go to Africa?
Koji Steven Sakai 4:48
Yeah, I would love to go to Africa.
Martin Mapoma 4:49
You know, you’d never been
Koji Steven Sakai 4:50
I’ve been to South Africa.
Martin Mapoma 4:52
Koji Steven Sakai 4:53
I’ve been to Egypt.
Martin Mapoma 4:54
Okay, that’s Africa.
Koji Steven Sakai 4:55
I’ve never been to other parts of Africa. I’ve always wanted to go
Martin Mapoma 4:58
so you went to the top.
Koji Steven Sakai 4:59
And the bottom
Martin Mapoma 5:00
and then to the bottom. So Africa like growing up in LA. I always tell people if you fell asleep on a plane going to Africa, and you landed in Johannesburg, you’d be like, Wait, do we just land in Brooklyn?
Koji Steven Sakai 5:15
Well, that’s like the joke I always make is I compare other cities to American cities. And I know people I travel with hate it like for example, when I went to Sydney, I said this is like a crappy New York and then we went to Melbourne and Australia.
Martin Mapoma 5:29
Crappy New York
Koji Steven Sakai 5:30
this is like a better San Francisco. it just ruins a vacation when you when you name it other place. So a couple more questions, and then we’ll get to kind of the the whole point of this. Where’s the last place you went on vacation?
Martin Mapoma 5:44
the last place I went on vacation? Uh, does Hawaii count?
Koji Steven Sakai 5:47
Martin Mapoma 5:48
Cool. Yeah, we’re in Hawaii.
Koji Steven Sakai 5:49
What do you do like Hawaii?
Martin Mapoma 5:51
I love Hawaii. I love Hawaii.
Koji Steven Sakai 5:52
What is it about Hawaii, you like,
Martin Mapoma 5:53
you know, I love the people. Because they’re, you know, even your they treat you As a person of color really differently,
Koji Steven Sakai 6:02
in what way,
Martin Mapoma 6:03
treat you better
Koji Steven Sakai 6:04
Martin Mapoma 6:05
the locals do. because it’s just like, it’s it’s because they just don’t like the people that have moved over there and you know, bought everything up. And it’s kind of like an unwritten rule. So, you know, I had these guys were were staying Kauwi and I met these guys, these valet guys. And they knew that I liked to fish so they took me fishing. And while we were fishing, they were just ragging everyone else was there, you know, fucking tourists come here and they say all this shit. And I was like, really? Because where we’re staying. I thought it was pretty cool. Sorry. I thought it was you know, it was pretty cool. And they’re like, just tell me all these horror stories about the guests talking to them. And you know, I’m sitting I’m sitting there fishing with these guys again, Okay, they’re gonna bury me somewhere and take my shit. And I said, what about me they’re like Oh, man. You’re part of the struggle and I was like, really? Oh yeah. So and that’s Kind of in the running theme throughout my entire time you know in Maui Hawaii
Koji Steven Sakai 7:04
Maui is the most white of the
Martin Mapoma 7:06
Maui is like Orange County
Koji Steven Sakai 7:07
I hate Maui
Martin Mapoma 7:09
I don’t I don’t hate Maui because it’s still Hawaii but Dude, come on you get off the airplane and you go right and go down those kind of Pauli.
Koji Steven Sakai 7:20
Our families met in Hawaii. Our kids our kids arr friends they play Jiu Jitsu together they do Jiu Jitsu together
yeah they do.
We met in Maui and that’s definitely my least favorite Island. I’m probably never gone back there just I don’t like it. It’s
Martin Mapoma 7:33
really never going back. I can’t say I’m not going back
Koji Steven Sakai 7:35
back to other we’re probably gonna Big Island next year, but
Martin Mapoma 7:38
Have you been to Kaui
Koji Steven Sakai 7:39
Yeah, I’ve been I mean, my family is from Hawaii remember. I go to Hawaii, like twice a year.
Martin Mapoma 7:45
so you’ve never heard the story that I’m telling you about you know when they treated me differently.
Koji Steven Sakai 7:49
No, you told me.
Martin Mapoma 7:50
No, but I mean, but
Koji Steven Sakai 7:51
the audience hasn’t heard you
Martin Mapoma 7:52
no they haven’t.
Koji Steven Sakai 7:53
So there you go. That’s
Martin Mapoma 7:54
so if you’re going to Hawaii be nice to the locals because they will make you pay for it one way or the other.
Koji Steven Sakai 7:59
In general you should be nice to people that are helping you. I think I mean, that was always my that was always my test with people I was dating.
Martin Mapoma 8:06
Koji Steven Sakai 8:06
how they treated people, they didn’t need to be treated. Like
Martin Mapoma 8:08
it’s so true.
Koji Steven Sakai 8:09
It’s one thing to be like nice to your boss or somebody could give you money or do something for you because that’s everyone’s nice to that person. But it’s that that’s the how you treat the the waiter or the busboy, or though I agree the valet or any of these are people like the janitor, those are the people that you need to be nice to because those are the people that are you don’t have to be nice to that shows your true personality, you know,
Martin Mapoma 8:31
well, this is a great phrase and I don’t know who said it, but if you want to if you want to, if you want to know the content of someone’s character, and I’m paraphrasing a little bit, watch how they treat someone who can do absolutely nothing for them. You’ll see a person’s real character and you know, as as an actor, you know, starting off you know, you waiting tables, boy, did I see a lot of that it was you saw he saw the worst in people. And it was funny because you know, even Even co workers. And eventually, as you know, I started to get better and you start to, you know, do things really well. They tried to change your attitude. And I’m like not that I’ve seen you for who you are around. So yeah,
Koji Steven Sakai 9:11
it’s like when you’re in this business and entertainment business, if you’re like a intern, and people treat you like you’re an intern, and then later, you’re not an intern. And you’re just like, I remember I remember.
Martin Mapoma 9:21
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s so funny. Do they, they they always want you to forget. Oh, come on. It was back in the day. I’m like, no, it’s who you are. People don’t change. So yeah.
Koji Steven Sakai 9:30
All right. Well,
Martin Mapoma 9:31
go ahead. No, no, just a little bit about my story.
Koji Steven Sakai 9:33
Great. Well, you know, we’re at the point where we would kind of figure out whether we wanted to hear the best day of your life or the worst day of your life. And since it’s only me, and there’s nobody else I will make the decision.
Martin Mapoma 9:45
Koji Steven Sakai 9:46
Martin Mapoma 9:47
can I weigh in on this at all?
Koji Steven Sakai 9:48
No. Yeah, well, we don’t want to hear to be clear. We don’t want to hear like the day you met your wife because I’m sure that’s your one of your happiest days or
Martin Mapoma 9:56
if you’re smart
Koji Steven Sakai 9:56
the day your child was born those two given great days of your life like, y’all know, those are great days of our lives.
Martin Mapoma 10:02
Koji Steven Sakai 10:03
But you know, or the worst day, you know, obviously like a parent dying is terrible, but if there’s something special around that, and we’d like to hear that, but um, you know, you’re such a happy person. You’re smiling all the time. You love kids way more than I love kids. Like, let me tell you a story. Martin sees a baby. He’s like, it’s like he’s like, never seen a baby before.
Martin Mapoma 10:24
Koji Steven Sakai 10:25
when I see a baby, I tend to walk the other way cuz I don’t want anything to do with the baby.
Martin Mapoma 10:30
I never saw that.
Koji Steven Sakai 10:30
I mean, I like children. Right? But I don’t want to take care of the baby. I don’t want to I don’t hold babies. I don’t I don’t. First of all, I’m scared of holding babies because I just don’t want other people’s children and I don’t want drop them.
Martin Mapoma 10:45
you know, I did that once. And just real quickly, so yeah, I love kids. I love kids, you know, working with kids and I love babies. And it’s it’s worked for me and it hasn’t worked for me because no matter what you end up once in a while been that creepy guy. It’s never been my intention. But yeah I’ve had to watch myself.
Koji Steven Sakai 11:01
that’s the other things as a father things or as a, as a man with children, it’s different. Like I remember situations where we were in like indoor playground and a little girl fell and she was crying and she looked for a mom and I like stopped to help. And I mean, like I’m there because my kids, they’re just randomly hanging out there. And then like before I could even like say three words to this little girl like five moms are like, surrounded the girl and like kind of not like being mean about it, but just like making it clear that I’m not the one that should be helping her and I’m like,
Martin Mapoma 11:30
Koji Steven Sakai 11:30
Yeah, cuz it but it makes sense. I mean, at the end of the day,
Martin Mapoma 11:33
like I but I mean, it’s okay.
Koji Steven Sakai 11:35
But I mean, it’s like, Well, you know what I told my son when he’s lost his he should go to a woman with a child or with a child, go to a mom with a child.
Martin Mapoma 11:42
See, I haven’t said that to him yet that’s a good idea.
Koji Steven Sakai 11:44
because because typically, first of all, you don’t know what kind of man it is. You can’t trust man a lot of times, right? You don’t know.
Martin Mapoma 11:50
Koji Steven Sakai 11:50
And then the second thing is you can’t you don’t know like, especially when they’re younger. They can’t tell the difference between like a person who’s a security guard and a police officer. And we know Sometimes security guards aren’t always the best. And so you know, like the thing about a mom with a kid minimally, they’ll find somebody that can help the child. But 99% of the moms would be like, fuck this, I’m gonna like, supermom mode you’re gonna save. I’m gonna like, get this child back to her mother.
Martin Mapoma 12:15
I’m never pick up another baby again. See, that’s the thing, you know, cuz my brother and even my wife always need to stop your the creepy guy and I’m like, No I’m not the creepy guy you just said it for you just
Koji Steven Sakai 12:27
But that’s why I mean, I but it makes sense because most I mean, we’re good fathers.
Martin Mapoma 12:31
Koji Steven Sakai 12:32
but most fathers are not as good as us
Martin Mapoma 12:33
No they’re not.
Koji Steven Sakai 12:34
Let’s be honest. They’re not like involved. They don’t take care of their children. They don’t know how to take other children and they can’t cook they can’t even they can’t. I mean, they just they don’t know how to do anything. They’re just father in name.
Martin Mapoma 12:43
Koji Steven Sakai 12:44
So that makes that’s why like, that’s why you know, for the most part, yeah, don’t talk to them and talk to the moms most of the time the moms are going to be more going to be better anyway. So I want to hear the worst day of your life. Because you’re happy. Like I said, You’re happy person. It seems like a lot of the stories I’m hearing are happy. So I want to Hear the worst, worst, worst, worst day of your life?
Martin Mapoma 13:03
Okay, the worst day of my life.
Koji Steven Sakai 13:07
It’s okay, nobody’s listening don’t worry
Martin Mapoma 13:08
This is long before I met my wife, who I love very, very, very much. I had done a play in Wisconsin, and I had met someone there, who was just amazing. She was the way we met was really cool. You know, she treated everybody with respect. You know, she was she, you know, gave everybody a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance. She’s had a really kind heart. But you know, she had her own demons anyway. I moved out here to my own my part of my as part of my acting career,
Koji Steven Sakai 13:41
out her being Los Angeles,
Martin Mapoma 13:49
Los Angeles, and with my manager and my agent at the time. And I tried. Oh, god, this is gonna be hard. I try. I was trying to get her to come I’m out here. And you know, we’re kind of going back and forth. He’s driving me crazy. But you know, I had gone away for a few weeks. So gone away for a week maybe. And then I was coming back from the airport. And I was driving into Corona. So I was staying with my parents best friends who are awesome. And I’ll never forget, I was getting them 94 90 94 and I got a phone call from one of my good friends and she said, Hey, what’s going on? Not much. Everything good, what’s going on? She goes. I have some bad news. And I said, What? And she goes, you know, my girl at the time, was raped and murdered.
Koji Steven Sakai 14:46
That was totally unexpected.
Martin Mapoma 14:48
Yeah. And so you know, I’ve never you know, I you know, I’ve had girlfriends in the past. I’ve had girlfriends in the past
Koji Steven Sakai 14:58
that haven’t been murdered and raped, right?
Martin Mapoma 14:59
Yeah, exactly. And, you know, it wasn’t that I didn’t care for them. But, you know, I was never one of those guys. I was never one of those people that sort of, you know, I never pinned away for a girlfriend. If we broke up, you know, the only kind of pining that I did was based on ego. Like, you didn’t want me but I’m, you know, I’m the best. I’m awesome. It was never about you broke my heart. You broke my spirit. you broke my soul when she was murdered, you know, and raped and murdered. It just, it just broke me. And it was the first time in my life that I really felt lost. Because I I had to pull over and I just burst into tears. And I cried all the way home. And I probably didn’t stop crying for like three days.
Koji Steven Sakai 15:00
Who do you mind if I ask who did it did they catch him?
Martin Mapoma 15:21
Oh, yeah, they caught the guy. They caught me. So yeah, they caught him. You know, the police called me when I was out here from Wisconsin, you know, because I was a known, you know, associate of hers. And I said, hey, I’ve been out here for you know, almost two months. But okay, okay. You know, did you know Do you know anybody that might have had a reason to want to do this? And I was like, No, I don’t know anybody. And so they went back and forth. And, you know, they’re back and forth, me. I’ll try to help them as much as I could, but they’re like, you know, you know, thank you for checking in, but you’re in California. So we, you know, try to stick with here. And they ended up catching the guy who did it. He was a serial, he was a serial rapist. But you know, he was a real shit of a guy, real little guy. His name was Kimani ward. And he was little guy him and my girl was six feet tall, blond hair, and she’s always so she was a bartender, and she’d always get off work and she’d go down to the store, liquor store and buy cigarettes. And we always, we always laughed about that, you know, she was buying cigarettes and condoms as a joke. And I said, You can’t leave the house. At you know, midnight or one in the morning. You stick out like a sore thumb. I used to tell her that all the time. And you know, thinking that she’d be okay and everything he would actually happen. And sure enough of the Superbowl weekend 2002. And she, you know, walked to the corner. And this guy followed her back to her house. And, you know, anyway, so he, you know, he attacked her outside her house, you know, threw her in his truck, and then ended up leaving her in a back alley in Wisconsin, freezing winter and to fourth graders, founder of the hospital, she passed away there. So it was just horrible. And it was one of those things that just really stuck with me. And it was the first time that I realized that, you know, that I really care for someone and it sucked because it broke me. It broke me like, my mom passed away. It was horrible. And don’t get me wrong. I felt the same way. But this was the first time that you know, I felt that kind of that kind of pain and it messed me up. I you know, I didn’t know what to do for the longest time. I had a couple of you know, you know a Couple girlfriends after that I was just I was just a shell, you know, until I finally you know, got help and you know, started sort of getting the mend. But I was you know, and I never was one to really care maybe on the outside but I kind of really didn’t. And with her passing away, that just sort of reinforced how I felt like okay, I’m never going to feel this way again. You know?
Koji Steven Sakai 18:23
How did it change your life?
Martin Mapoma 18:25
I mean, it changed my life. It changed my life because I just, you know, I realized how fleeting Our lives are here. You know it? I don’t really I don’t know, really, I don’t really know how it changed my life changed my life. It is it opened my eyes to what was like to truly care about something and then lose it. You know? It changed my life in the sense that I became a lot more empathetic to people’s to people’s loss. And you said what if someone lost someone that’s horrible, and I’m really sorry about it, but after what happened to her I, I really understood what it’s like to Truly lose someone that you care about, you know, and it helped me when my mom passed away, you know, eight years later in dealing with that, you know, it wasn’t sudden, because she had been sick for a while, but I was able to deal with that. But it gave me It gave me a lot more empathy, if that makes any sense. But that was definitely, you know, the worst day of my life because I thought about other times, other bad things that have happened, but whenever I think about that, in that moment, on the highway when I first found out I hadn’t had that, that that feeling repeated. Thank God, you know, since then, so
Koji Steven Sakai 19:38
Wow, that was totally totally, totally unexpected, but thank you. Uncomfortable Laughter But thank you so much for sharing that was really, really
Martin Mapoma 19:48
Koji Steven Sakai 19:48
it’s good to you know, even though we’ve known each other for a while to hear these stories. I think that’s what’s that’s what’s really
Martin Mapoma 19:54
that really stumped you
Koji Steven Sakai 19:56
No I mean, there’s just I mean, I didn’t know I mean, we I never heard that story from you
Martin Mapoma 19:58
Koji Steven Sakai 19:59
I think it’s it’s good. It’s good to hear that because it
Martin Mapoma 20:01
Yeah, I, you know, I’ve told to a few people that I kind of stopped. Because, you know, I felt like some of them were like me like, why’s he telling me a story?
Koji Steven Sakai 20:11
No, I mean, but but it makes sense. I mean, it’s, you know, people always say that when when people like my father was sick all my life and they say like, it was, you know, it’s it’s easier when you know that the person is sick and they die.
Martin Mapoma 20:25
That was my mom,
Koji Steven Sakai 20:25
but, and I also I was like, That’s not true. You know, it doesn’t matter. But but it’s true.
Martin Mapoma 20:30
Koji Steven Sakai 20:30
definitely true. And so hearing your story definitely puts into perspective, you know, every day that we have to, we have to be careful and
Martin Mapoma 20:38
Koji Steven Sakai 20:39
well, I think that’s that’s good for episode for us. So thank you guys for listening. We really appreciate it. I should have mentioned this in the beginning, but please rate subscribe, tell a friend about it. Let people know about this podcast podcast this is definitely a labor of love. Thank you very much for listening.
Martin Mapoma 20:56
Thanks a lot, guys. Have a great day guys. Bye bye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai