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SUMMER OF 2015 INTERN REFLECTIONS - Mari Erdman, Landon Sur, Naomi Natori

First, I would like to thank all the JASH (Japan-America Society of Hawaii) staff members for welcoming me with open arms. On the first day I started my internship with JASH, I felt right at home with everyone’s kind words and warm smiles. I really appreciated all the help and leadership everyone brought to the table at JASH; they really work as one team which inspired me to also take part in their projects. Being an outsider and having the advantage of taking a step-back and seeing JASH thrive as a unit, really allowed me to value the vigorous and passionate effort they put into creating and organizing events for our local community. Although I was only able to attend one event during my internship, Beer Garden Event at Buho Cocina y Cantina, I could see how JASH was able to reach out to a variety of public audiences to shine light on the U.S. – Japan Relationship.

Secondly, I would like to personally thank Lenny Yajima for taking me under her wing and showing me the ins-and-outs of running an amazing non-profit organization in Hawaii. Working as an intern to many others may be tedious and sometimes “boring” but for me, I gained so much experience and knowledge I did not have time to be bored. Lenny kept me on my toes, and always shared her deep and extensive knowledge about JASH. It was an honor working directly under her, and I really appreciate the knowledge and connections I gained through this internship.

Lastly, I wanted to reach out to other students who are looking for an internship in Hawaii. If you have some type of interest or are curious about non-profit organizations and how much determination and passion it takes, then please reach out to JASH. They are an amazing group of individuals and you will not only learn incredible things, but also create amazing connections with various people on Oahu. If you’re passionate, hardworking, and have a thirst for learning… then JASH is the place for you.

Thank you to the board of directors, the staff members, and everyone who continues their amazing support of JASH and its efforts in “promoting understanding and friendship between the peoples of Japan and the United States through the special and unique perspective of Hawaii.” That’s the JASH mission statement.

Iolani Senior Landon Sur served as our JASH Intern during the month of August 2015. He helped Educational Program Director Liz Barrera to prepare for the educational programs that will take place throughout the school year 2015-2016.

Working at JASH during the summer as an intern has been an amazing experience. I was not only able to see how a non-profit organization is run, but also how strong the relations between Japan and Hawaii are.

Mainly working with the Educational Programs Director, I was able to see first-hand how JASH is able to connect with students of all ages with programs such as Japan in a Suitcase, Japan Day, the TOMODACHI- Aloha Leadership Program and the Japan Wizards Academic Team Competition. I also was able to get a glimpse of JASH’s contribution to the community when I continued my sister’s work of the digital documentation of the photo archive. My favorite part of the day though was being able to meet and greet the visitors who stopped by the office. It was incredible being able to meet all of them and learn how they contributed to Hawaii-Japan relations. One of the most memorable experiences I had during my work with JASH was being able to visit the Ehime Memorial to meet navy and marine officers from the Japan Self-Defense Force. Such an event reminded me of not only how extensive JASH’s ties were, but the importance of JASH to continue to build bridges between Japan and Hawaii.

As a former Japan Wizards Competition winner; I am forever grateful to JASH and everybody who made the competition and trip possible. I’d like to thank the wonderful staff for giving me this opportunity to give back to JASH and continue to learn more about Japan-America relations.


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