Samurai-style, I want to share with you where I come from. My late father is Bruce Kawazoe, who use to be an electrician. My mother is Elaine Kawazoe, retired, worked for First Insurance as an Associate Underwriter. My sister Dena Kawazoe Kon is a special education teacher and was an excellent athlete in high school. My grandfather on my dad’s side was Buster Kawazoe, who was raised in Waipahu. My grandma on my father’s side was Grace Kawazoe and retired from Dole Canary. Both of my maternal grandparents-Hiroshi and Chiyoko Miyahara-passed away when my mother was very young and I only know of them through stories that my family shares. I was born and raised in Kapahulu, and not related to the orchid farmers on the Big Island, unfortunately.
The other day as I was working out, my coach asked, “Do you come from a Samurai family?” I just smiled and told him, “we had a lot of samurai swords at my grandparent’s home.” The coach and I talk about the most random things between sets. Perhaps the dialogue is aimed at overcoming the mundane ritual of repetition after repetition, testing my deprivation for more oxygen, or taking me down memory lane -the slap across the face, flying across the room for telling my dad, “I hate going to Jap language school.”
There’s something that happens to those of us who are raised by our grandparents at an early age. Belief perception is instilled in many of us. It is very difficult to change these viewpoints even if it no longer works for us as adults. Lots of times we do more, demand so much of ourselves, and in fact, if we think we no can, we can. This is the Samurai way. What you believe about yourself becomes truth.
Lots of times, we as Samurai people also settle for less. We demand less of ourselves, less of our lives. We dream small dreams or sometimes we don’t dream at all. It’s a trap. We can’t keep pace with the adherence to the Samurai Code. It is possible to accomplish anything you want to do. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. To do so, requires changing our old, belief perceptions.
I’ll tell you a story that has greatly affected me. I started my college education at Kapiolani Community College. I had incredibly poor study habits in high school, often playing down academics to fit in. After transferring to the University of Hawaii, on my way to school, I would be greeted by my high school friends on the bus after a long night of partying. “Let’s get off the bus and smoke a joint,” they would say. After declining, they would say, “what you think you hot shet now?”
This was the first opportunity at enhancing my own self-esteem, my own confidence and expression in who I was, who I was no longer, and believing in my own abilities in being a happier, better person. The shear fact is that what I thought was negative, small-minded people was actually my own negative beliefs and perceptions about loyalty, duty, care taking, and friendships. You should have heard the comments when I pursued an advanced degree. “I knew you were smart, you were just playing it down all these years.”
I’ve been captivated all these years with the Samurai Code. To answer your question coach, “just like a warrior…it is what it is.” The New Samurai Code, grandpa, would make you proud. It’s about being strong and listening to the voice in my heart to your highest calling –to be happy, grateful, tough, passionate, humble, loving–and being bold. I owe all of this to my family and loved ones, but most of all to myself.