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Queen Melanie Carríe at the Jan. 13 opening ceremonies of the 2019-2020 Cherry Blossom Festival, which was held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. (Photos courtesy Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce)

67th Cherry Blossom Festival – Queen Interview, Queen Melanie Carríe: Time Now to “Give...

Departing Cherry Blossom Queen Melanie Carríe Looks Ahead to a New Chapter Jodie Chiemi Ching In the 2018 Cherry Blossom Festival souvenir booklet published by the festival’s sponsor, the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce, queen contestant Melanie Camille Michiko Carríe wrote: “I am inspired by the idea that obstacles are stepping stones towards the....

Sarah Kiyomi Kamida

Gwen Battad Ishikawa Every year, the Herald interviews the outgoing Cherry Blossom Festival queen as she prepares to pass on her crown to her successor. What are some of the changes that have taken place...
67th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants: Jaimee Sambrano (top left), Ariel Lee (bottom left), Reeann Minatoya (top right), and Kalei Kagawa (bottom right)

67th Cherry Blossom Festival – Queen Contestants (part II)

ARIEL KWAI YING KIYOMI LEE Parents: David and Gail Lee High School: Lutheran High School of Hawaii College/Degree: Hawaii Pacific University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Occupation: Behavioral Health Outpatient Program Coordinator and Therapist What or who drives you to keep moving forward? “My mom has....
The 66th Cherry Blossom Festival Court, from left: Miss Congeniality Karly Kanehiro, Princess Kylie Hisatake, Princess Kaydi Hashima, Queen Melanie Carrié, First Princess Mika Nakashige, Princess Chelsea Briggs and Miss Popularity Sheby Meador. (Hawaii Hochi photos by Noriyoshi Kanaizumi)

Spotlight – Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Melanie Carrie

66th CBF Queen Brings an International Perspective to Her New Role Gwen Battad Ishikawa Melanie Camille Michiko Carrié, the newly crowned Cherry Blossom Festival queen, has lived in places others have only dreamed of — and in less than a quarter of a century! Carrié was born in Antwerp, Belgium, to her Japanese American mother....

Win a free trip to Japan!

To everyone out there in cyberspace, allow me to wish you all a Happy February! In honor of this new month, I bring you a gift: the chance to win a free trip to...
Chrysanthemum Festival Contestants: (starting from top left) Sokah Furumoto, Kristi Echiverri, Makaylen Tadeo, Jaelynn Nobriga, and Paige Maki Nagahama

Community Focus – Chrysanthemum Festival Set for Dec. 2 in Wailuku

The 65th Chrysanthemum Festival, a Maui Japanese tradition that raises funds for scholarships and the historical preservation programs of its sponsor, Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans, will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku. Teens from five Maui high schools are vying for the Chrysanthemum....
Photo of the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants

Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (p. 1 of 4)

Jennifer Keiko Ezaki Parents: Bruce and Laura Ezaki High School: Our Redeemer Lutheran, 2009 College/Degree/Year: Biola University, bachelor’s degree in communication, 2013; University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, post baccalaureate certification in special education, 2016. “What does kokoro mean to you?” “Kokoro is a reminder for me to remain present and connected in a constantly changing....
MariCAR adventure through the streets of Tokyo. Heather is third from right, front row. (Photos courtesy Heather Omori)

Queen Interview – “I Know Who I Am”

65th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Heather Omori Reflects on the Past Year Gwen Battad Ishikawa As any Cherry Blossom Festival queen will tell you, their year as queen was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a whirlwind one at that. It’s been nearly a year since Heather Kiyomi Omori was crowned the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival queen.....
Group photo of the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival Court

Spotlight – Heather Omori Chosen as the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen

SPOTLIGHT BY Gwen Battad Ishikawa Gwen Battad Ishikawa Kansha (gratitude) and Kokoro (heart) were the themes, respectively, of the 64th and 65th Cherry Blossom festivals, sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. Heather Kiyomi Omori, who was chosen queen of the 65th Cherry Blossom Festival on March 18 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel,....
Graphic for the 66th Cherry Blossom Festival Contestants

66th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Contestants (part II)

CINDY SHINAE NAKAGAWA Parents: Ivan and Joyce Nakagawa High School: Waiakea High School (Big Island), 2009 College/Degree: University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, education, 2014. Occupation: Elementary school teacher at President Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. What or Who Inspires You? “A teacher is someone who inspires and motivates children. But as a teacher, my students inspire....

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