Alexis Sayuri Okihara
64th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Looks Forward to Sharing Knowledge with Future Generations

Gwen Battad Ishikawa

It is fitting that kansha (gratitude) was the theme of the 64th Cherry Blossom Festival, because kansha is what Queen Alexis Okihara has felt for the past year.

“They [Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, who sponsors the festival] provided all of us with once in a lifetime experiences, not only as a contestant, but also as court members. I’m very thankful for everything we’ve learned and gained this year,” Okihara said.

The 26-year-old yonsei recently shared the highlights of her past year during an interview at Hawai‘i Hochi’s offices. On March 18, she will pass her crown and scepter on to her successor at the Festival Ball at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

Over the past 12 months, Okihara and the rest of the 64th Cherry Blossom Festival Court — First Princess Brittney Kawahara, Princess and Miss Popularity Asia Ayabe, Princesses Kristi Murakami and Ritsuko Tomari and Miss Congeniality Dylan Lau — have served as goodwill ambassadors, representing the HJJCC, at various events in Hawai‘i. They participated in Cherry Blossom festivals in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Japan, they met with local dignitaries and members of their sister Jaycee chapters. Their two-week long trip to Japan included Tökyö, Odowara, the “San JC chapters” of Tamashima, Kojima and Kurashiki, Hiroshima, Kyöto, Ösaka and Köbe.

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