Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

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Cherry Blossom=Rosalei ChinenRosalei Teruko Chinen

Parents: Sarah Chinen and the late Guy Chinen
High School: Kalani High School, 2008
College: Chapman University, bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management, and a minor in leadership and organizational studies, 2011.
Occupation: Real estate salesperson
Ambition: To develop and support a sustainable lifestyle and living culture for future generations of Hawai‘i residents.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
The Japanese values that are significant to me when building strong relationships are omoiyari, to consider and think of others, as well as wa, group harmony. The ideals of omoiyari and wa were instilled in me since I was a child. Some of which included respecting my elders, being appreciative, and being useful by helping others. I try my best to follow and include these values when meeting someone for the first time or seeing an old friend. The main purpose of applying these values is to transform a simple association into a personal connection that gives everyone involved a sense of trust, loyalty and respect. In my experience, omoiyari and wa have played an integrated role when developing and nurturing the bonds that can lead to lifetime friendships.


Cherry Blossom=Leslie ChingLeslie Tisha Ching

Parents: Stanley Ching and Jocelyn Nakashima
High School: Punahou School, 2007
College: Pitzer College, bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, 2011.
Occupation: Environmental Compliance program specialist.
Ambition: To get to know people from different countries and experience their values and cultures.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
The Japanese values of appreciation and group harmony have helped build relationships in my life. I base my decisions on personal values and how my actions can affect others. I’m always observant of others and adjust myself to harmonize with the group. I didn’t know anyone in the town when I moved to Japan, but I soon made friends. We were all from different cultures, but we each contributed our knowledge and interests to the group. We could all empathize with the joys and challenges of living in a foreign country. I couldn’t be where I am today without those surrounding me. I continue to cultivate the relationships with my family and friends. I can appreciate a special trait in each person and I’m continually inspired to be a better person.


Cherry Blossom=Casie FujihanaCasie Tomomi Fujihana

Parents: Darryl and Sandy Fujihana
High School: Roosevelt High School, 2011
College: University of Hawai’i at Mänoa, bachelor’s degree in molecular cell biology, expected in 2016.
Occupation: Assistant manager and student.
Ambition: To show gratitude for those who have helped me throughout my life and establish a career serving the geriatric community in Hawai’i.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Interdependence and acknowledging the presence of others are one of the many Japanese values that I use to build relationships. Working in a group requires self-control, but carries the rewards of pride in contributing, emotional security, and social identity. With every effort you put into the group, you build relationships with those involved. At a young age, my grandparents instilled into me the meaning of omoiyari (to notice and think of others). I carry this value with me whenever I work with others by acknowledging their hard work and showing gratitude for the opportunities they have given me. With the Cherry Blossom Festival, we are reminded that although this festival encompasses the enrichment of Japanese culture for us, we must also show gratitude towards those who have continued to dedicate their time to ensure its success.


Cherry Blossom=Emily GorisEmily Margreth Goris

Parents: Frank Goris and Rieko Goris
High School: Sacred Hearts Academy, 2009
College: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bachelor’s degree in music, 2013.
Occupation: Piano teacher
Ambition: My ambition is to help my students learn the joy of playing the piano to also enjoy and appreciate how the skill can help them grow into a better person mentally and artistically.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Building relationships can be very simple to some people, while it can be very difficult for others. No one is the same; therefore, the way one can build relationships is different. Growing up, I learned that being humble and funny was the best way to build up relationships. My mother, who was born in Ösaka, would always be watching manzai (a type of traditional stand-up comedy). Whenever I would see the same groups coming out to perform, I felt that I grew to know the people performing. Because it was so funny, I thought that being funny like them could help me bond with other people as well. Of course, being humble is most important. When you can be kind and think more of others, this will help me to be a better person, and build more friendships. I always remember to myself; treat others the way you want to be treated.


Cherry Blossom=Jessica KaneshiroJessica Naomi Kaleikaimana Kaneshiro

Parents: Johnny Kaneshiro and Jodi
Uehara
High School: Mililani High School, 2007
College: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bacherlor’s degree in communicology, 2012; master’s degree in communicology, 2014.
Occupation: College lecturer
Ambition: My ambition in life is to never stop learning, whether it is through furthering my education or experiencing new things, and to pass on what I learn to help others.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Chu–gi, loyalty, and sekinin, responsibility, are most important in building relationships in my life. Loyalty is significant because it demonstrates trust, commitment, and faithfulness. It means a lot, knowing that my family, friends, and colleagues can rely on me. Responsibility in building a relationship is equally important because it is essential to make sure those connections flourish by being accountable for them. Ever since I was a little girl, I went to my grandma’s almost every Sunday for family dinner. My parent’s taught me that it was our responsibility to go to Grandma’s so that we could spend time with her and she could see us grow. Today, we continue to go to Grandma’s on Sundays and the relationship I have with my grandma has grown to a place of respect and love. It is these values that my parents instilled in me that allow me to build meaningful relationships.


Cherry Blossom=Kylie LuceroKylie Breanne Lucero

Parents: Terilyn and Homero “Jay” Lucero Jr.
High School: Kapolei High School, 2009
College: University of Hawai‘i at West O‘ahu, bachelor’s degree in psychology, 2014.
Occupation: Recent graduate
Ambition: To educate, empower, and rehabilitate children in need with my future degree in occupational therapy.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Omoiyari is a Japanese value that teaches individuals to notice and think of others. It is a conscious way to examine other’s views of life without judgment. All individuals are unique in their own way and omoiyari is a concept in which each individual is noticed for their differences and accepted for them. Omoiyari also allows individuals to self evaluate themselves as one possible way of life. Omoiyari is a way to allow interdependence and acceptance of individuals and themselves to learn from each other’s strengths and limitations. As a community, we grow and develop from each other’s character without criticism and are free to be innovative, unique individuals who can gain a sense of self-value. Through interdependence and acceptance, the strong sense of respect in the community helps build the bond that holds them together.


Cherry Blossom=Joy MasudaJoy Mari Masuda

Parents: Shane and Julie Kuwaye
High School: Kalani High School, 2010
College: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bacherlor’s degree in communications and an associate’s degree in art, 2014.
Occupation: Managing assistant at Eden in Love.
Ambition: To bridge the cultures of Hawai‘i and Japan, focusing on community practices and self-sustainability.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Growing up in a Japanese household, honor and empathy were values taught on a daily basis. Although never said outright, these were important traits exchanged by my family and friends through the care and love shown by one another. Honor is the delicate balance between pride and humility. Our culture interprets it as striving to be the best, but knowing that you will never truly get there. As individuals, we are constantly persevering and are never meant to settle. Empathy is the harmony between these individuals — working together and understanding one another in order to contribute to the group and family. I take these values with me everyday in order to better not only myself, but to inspire those around me and to bring together a community that can build, grow, and learn together.


Cherry Blossom=Heather MiuraHeather Rie Miura

Parents: Matthew Miura and Charlene Miura
High School: Punahou School, 2010
College: Wesleyan University, bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and behavior; bachelor’s degree in psychology with Departmental Honors, 2014.
Occupation: Student (currently looking for a position).
Ambition: To attend medical school with a specialization in psychiatry and lead mental health care reform with intervention programs in the homeless and adolescent population as a practicing physician in Hawai‘i.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Gaman — an emic that is perhaps the quintessence of Japanese culture — encompasses patience, perseverance and forbearance. I was indoctrinated with this uniquely Japanese concept through the sacrifices my parents made for me during my childhood. My father worked abroad in order to support my private education while my mother, a first-generation immigrant, raised my older sister and me. They taught me to practice patience in my interpersonal relationships to resolve conflict and remember gratitude during times of tension. In the pursuit of truth, Shinto — stresses magokoro, an ethic to strive towards embodying in life. Growing up, my grandmother would amaze me with her sincerity and earnest. As a major influence in my life, she showed me the importance of magokoro in each of my endeavors and relationships. While having the ability to gaman is integral to compromising and maintaining my relationships, magokoro is essential to every interaction in my life.


Cherry Blossom=Kristen NakamotoKristen Mayumi Nakamoto

Parents: Patsy Nakamoto and Wesley Nakamoto
High School: Punahou School, 2009
College: Creighton University, bachelor’s degree in biology, and a minor in medical anthropology, 2013.
Occupation: Graduate student
Ambition: To pursue a masters of science in physician assistant studies, and to continue serving others through my life involvement with community service and public health.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
The source of my strength is family. Oyakoko (filial piety), kenkyo (humility), nintai (patience), sonkei (respect), and ai (love) are a few of the principles practiced by my family. These ideologies constitute the foundational values of relationships within my life. I have been blessed with amazing mentors who have generously shared their principles by opening their hearts to build a bonding relationship with me. They, along with my family and friends, have taught me so much about life; without their guidance and nurturing I wouldn’t be the individual I am today. A famous author, Deepak Chopra once stated, “our minds influence the activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, and personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” I look forward to continue building future relationships by sharing these familial values that I hold dear to my heart.


Cherry Blossom=Celina QuachCelina Kiyomi Quach

Parents: Calvin and Kiyoko Quach
High School: Kalani High School, 2008
College: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, bachelor’s degree in Travel Industry Management, 2012.
Occupation: Administrative assistant
Ambition: To inspire healthy habits in others and promote sustainable practices

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
Sitting in the cramped living room of my great-grandmother’s home in Ösaka, my grandmother is meeting with an insurance agent. Watching my mother prepare tea and light senbei for our visitor was my first lesson in Omotenashi; a noun that most nearly means, “To entertain wholeheartedly.” Though this visitor to my grandmother was neither royalty nor a celebrity, I witnessed the value in treating others with no expectations. The Japanese are well known for their gracious, selfless hospitality. What is the difference between a guest and a customer? Many would say, a guest is invited, while payment is expected from a customer. In the Japanese language, the word guest and customer are the same, okyakusama. Relationships remain non-dominant, with both host and guest expecting nothing in return or in reward. This gentle demeanor of treating others in the highest regard is the most important Japanese value in building relationships.


Cherry Blossom=Jody ShimabukuroJody Mahealani Shimabukuro

Parents: Bert and Vinnie Shimabukuro
High School: Hanalani Schools, 2011
College: Hawaii Pacific University, anticipated graduation in 2015.
Occupation: Student, research assistant.
Ambition: To be a servant leader in my community and inspire other to achieve more than they thought possible.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
A Japanese value that may be misunderstood is the importance of silence. Silence can be seen as a sign of weakness or indifference, yet in Japanese culture it is actually seen with reverence in social settings. I feel that silence can actually represent strength. Those who are silent while others are boisterous gain more information from the situation, are more observant, and have a better grasp of (kibun) and
(kimochi). Sometimes the most important thing for one to do for others is to simply listen. Some things cannot be expressed in words, but through feeling. We can connect with others through more than just verbal communication, which could yield even more value. Therefore, when you are able to comfortably sit with a friend in silence, that is when you truly know what you have with that person is special.


Cherry Blossom=Kimberly TakataKimberly Kimiko Takata

Parents: Garret Takata and Ann Takata
High School: Punahou School, 2007
College: Oregon State University, bachelor’s degree in public health and a certificate in medical humanities, 2012; University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, master’s degree in public health, with specialization in social and behavioral health sciences, 2014.
Occupation: Business analyst
Ambition: To be an innovative and compassionate leader, promoting successful aging among Hawai‘i’s communities.
Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
When I was a child, I would accompany my grandmother during her neighborhood walks to run errands. Whether it was the store clerk, the postman, her doctors, or neighbors, she would always bow her head, smile and give a sincere “thank you” to everyone who helped her. Like my grandmother, I try to express gratitude to those in my life because I know that my happiness, success and growth would not be possible without them. The Japanese value of arigatai, to be thankful and grateful, is deeper than a verbal expression of appreciation; it is a mindset essential to relationships and community building. The Cherry Blossom Festival has provided me with a deeper awareness and appreciation for the Japanese values that have influenced my upbringing. In perpetuating the Japanese culture, I also hope to emphasize the importance of arigatai among future generations.


Cherry Blossom=Kyla TeramotoKyla Miyuki Teramoto

Parents: Ron and Laurie Teramoto
High School: ’Iolani School, 2008
College: Santa Clara University, bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in biology, 2011; Doctor of Medicine, anticipated in 2015.
Occupation: Medical student
Ambition: I aspire to provide the best care for my patients while serving the people of Hawai‘i.

Which Japanese values do you feel are most important in building relationships in your life?
The Japanese values of family, respect and gratitude comprise the foundation of my relationships with others. My family relationships are the cornerstone. My parents have always been there to support me and I strive to live with the integrity and compassion they have taught me. All four of my grandparents are inspiring role models for living constructive, caring lives, and I’ve learned profound life lessons at their knees. Respect is an integral part of my relationships. Each person we encounter in daily life deserves respect; the utmost consideration for others is fundamental to the Japanese culture. Finally, I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and the people who have guided me on my journey, and this gratitude fuels my desire to serve individuals and the community. It is important to cherish every moment and invest in each relationship because these are the bonds that endure.

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