AN AMERICAN EDUCATION I grew up in Nagasaki, in Japan. I had an unusual education because I went to an international school that primarily served children from the local American military base, even though both my parents were Japanese. My parents were progressive, hippy-philosopher types, and they wanted their children to learn English because they believed it would be the global language of the future. At school I spoke English, the currency was American dollars and everyone watched American TV shows and listened to American music. In the evenings, I was homeschooled by my parents, in Japanese, and I completed the Japanese high school curriculum, as well as the American one.

My mother spoke no English. When I was in her car with my school friends, she would feel curious to know what we were talking about, so I would act as interpreter. That's how I started to build my communication skills, and everything I do now is based on skilful communication.

IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH As a child, I suffered from a heart defect and spent a lot of time in hospital. There was another young girl there and she and I became very friendly. She did not sleep on the ward but instead had her own room. There were hundreds of origami cranes hanging on the walls, so it looked very colourful. After I was discharged I went back to visit her and the doctor told me she had passed away. I found out that she had had leukaemia, and that origami cranes are a traditional symbol to protect against death.

I also lost my younger sister, who died when I was two years old, and because of these experiences, I came to understand the frailty of life at a very young age. I learned that we can't take anything for granted. This has inspired me to always ask myself what battles other people are fighting. When you meet people and see only what they project on the surface, you don't always realise what they've been through. I also try my best to appreciate and live life to the fullest on behalf of those who didn't get the chance.

SPECIAL POWERS I've never had any formal training (in fortune telling). My mother has a good friend who is a very well-known fortune teller and therapist. She started reading my palm when I was eight years old and I gradually learned my skills from her. She could see in my palm that I have what it takes, and she was very encouraging. If I have a special power it's to be attentive, compassionate and empathetic. I'm good at connecting with people and putting myself in their shoes, which is why they open their hearts and minds to me. I call my personal philosophy "Neonique". I believe everyone has a light inside. If people aren't quite happy, it's because their light isn't fully switched on. When you meet people who have turned on that power, you really feel it. They have a kind of glow about them which is very attractive to other people.

TALK TO THE HAND I use a crystal ball and I read tarot cards and standard playing cards, but my favourite technique is palm reading. I like it because it involves touching my clients' hands, and that helps me connect with them. I believe that everyone has one hand that represents what they were born with and one that reflects the efforts they have made to change their lives. By observing the colour of the palm and creases in the skin, I can immediately tell if people are sick. I can see if people are eating or drinking too much; if they're not sleeping enough; and if they're very stressed. I can also detect what skills a person is using and what lies dormant. Often people can't see their own potential. I advise clients that if those sleeping forces were awakened, they would feel more fulfilled. I try to leave them feeling enlightened and empowered.

OPENING THE FLOODGATES Sometimes when I tell people what I see in their palms, it opens them up like a breaking dam. Their emotions come rushing out like a huge flood of water. I had one client who had clearly been through a terrible time. I could read in his palm that he had made a life-altering decision that was driven by moral righteousness. Later I found out that he had shot and killed his abusive father, in order to protect himself and his family. I think I helped him to feel released from his guilt. Sometimes people feel more convinced when it's a total stranger who tells them that they did the right thing. I had another client who was married, but could not get over a man she had loved before she met her husband. I read her palm and could see that she and this man could never be together. It turned out that he had died as a soldier in the Vietnam war. I told her that he was always supportive of whatever she was doing and was living his life through her. She cried and cried and said it had really helped, and she could now find the strength to go on.

I'M A CELEBRITY … I'm a trained Japanese-English simultaneous interpreter, and I often work on live television broadcasts. I've interpreted for many famous studio guests including Richard Carpenter (brother of American singer Karen), Dennis Rodman, Gary Lineker and Miyuki Hatoyama, the former first lady of Japan. I often end up reading celebrities' palms behind the scenes.

I gave considerable help to a famous basketball player - one who is often in the news for his odd ways. I could see straight away that he is a very troubled person, but that he is different to his public image. He is an incredibly sensitive person, with a very pure, sweet, giving heart. A bit like a child. He wasn't much of a talker but my understanding of him made him feel appreciated, so he was comfortable opening up to me. Many celebrities live in their own little worlds and they don't let other people in, because they don't want to be judged.

COMMUNAL LIVING My vision is to start a commune in Japan one day. I want it to be a place where people can develop their minds and their hearts. I'd like to build a place where children living in situations of hardship, and old people who don't have family but want to belong to a community, can co-exist. My role will be to help people, through palm reading and other forms of communication, to assist them on their path to enlightenment.

Annika Neon (an anagram of her real name, Nanae Kinno) was in Hong Kong to read palms at the Charbon Art Space, in Aberdeen.