Nate Gyotoku

Reflection from Nate Gyotoku (ELP ’13)

Aloha kākou!! Spring is here, and nothing better signals the Spring season than the blossoming of the sakura. In the Japanese culture, sakura (cherry blossoms) represent the fragility and fleeting beauty of life. The intensely brilliant blossoms bloom for a short period, then begin to fall a couple of weeks later. The sakura reminds us that such intense beauty is temporary, much like our lives, and that we should also bloom brilliantly during our lives.

For me, the cherry blossom season brings with it our Cherry Blossom Festival, the signature project of the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC). For 62 years, the Cherry Blossom Festival has selected a handful of women of Japanese descent to represent the Japanese-American community in Hawaii. The Cherry Blossom Festival also provides young leaders the opportunity to learn leadership and project management skills by participating in the planning and execution of the festival’s events. All activities are planned and executed by HJJCC members, ranging in ages 21 to 40. The Cherry Blossom Festival consists of many events that require careful planning and execution, and provides a platform for our future leaders to grow and learn.

As my involvement in the Japanese-American community evolves with the ELP program and the U.S.-Japan Council, I am reminded that our time is limited and we should capitalize on every opportunity to grow. As planning for the 2014 USJC Annual Conference in Hawaii intensifies, the excitement and anticipation builds.  I cannot express how excited I am to reconnect with my fellow ELP alumni, growing and cultivating our lifetime friendships. Our committee looks forward to showcasing our Hawaiian hospitality, and we sincerely hope that you can join us.

I hope that where ever you are in the world, you are able to view and enjoy the blooming of the sakura. Let the sakura remind all of us to seize the moment and take every opportunity to grow, learn and evolve.

Mahalo nui loa, a hiki I kā kākou hui hou ma ‘Okakopa! Thank you very much, and until we meet again in October!

– Nate Gyotoku