Miki Fukai, an SFSU business marketing major, had the opportunity of a lifetime a few weeks ago. She was selected as one of the top five women to be in the running for Japan Town’s Cherry Blossom Queen.
As I sat in Japan Town’s Kabuki Theater eagerly awaiting her appearance, I couldn’t help but notice how many people came from all over the world (traveling from places as far as Japan) to see the five talented women. Fukai was introduced to the crowd as she strolled out in a kimono worth over $15,000.
“I wore a beautiful kimono which is donated to the committee by Fujiyasu Kimono (all the way from Japan),” Fukai said.
The girls danced, performed their own special pieces and did a Q&A.
When asked to explain how they were judged, Fukai answered, “First of all, the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen program is not a pageant because we are judged by essays, personal interviews with the judges, public speaking skills, questions and answers, performances and talent segments. We do a lot of community service. Therefore, it is a leadership program.”
Fukai is very much a leader. She is the president of SFSU’s Japanese Student Association (JSA) and was able to raise over $20,000 to help Japanese tsunami victims last year. Consequently, it was no surprise when Fukai was announced as the recipient of the Tomodachi Award.
“I received the award called ‘Tomodachi Award’. In Japanese, Tomodachi means ‘Friends.’ Every year, this award is gifted to the most congenial candidate who is selected by other candidates. I am very honored that I have received such an amazing award selected by sweet ladies in the court 2012.”
Fukai is a great friend to many on campus as well as a great representative and community advocate to her country. During the talent section of the program, she wore a dress that she had designed and sewn herself while playing a jazzy song on her trumpet that the crowd very much enjoyed.
“This program is very important for me because I honestly feel like I have learned so much through the experiences being a part of the court. I learned a lot about manners, how to share my opinion/thoughts on current issues, academic topics and even learned more about myself. I had a privilege to improve my public speaking skills and I feel more confident about myself as well.”
Aside from receiving the Tomodachi award, Fukai was crowned as a Princess for the Cherry Blossom Queen Program. Fukai has a busy schedule keeping on top of her responsibilities as a crowned princess and working hard as a college student.
Fukai indicated, “To me, education is extremely important. I think that my personality, the way I think, and how I want to move forward in my career and life are formed based on what kind of knowledge I have. “
Fukai’s journey is not over yet. As princess, she and the rest of the court will have to remain active members in their community. She will hold her title until next year’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
“The Cherry Blossom festival is held every year in Japan Town for people in the community to enjoy Japanese culture, tradition, food, art, and so on. For the festival, there are performers and cooking specialists coming all the way from Japan so that everyone enjoys the festival as if they are in Japan!”
If you would like to go to the festival next year or try out for the royal court, Fukai says, “Give yourself a try! I think this program is a great opportunity for young Japanese American women to learn how to be a strong leader for the community. More importantly, through this program, you will get to learn more deeply about yourself!”
*Photo: Miki Fukai