Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Easterseals Employee Finds Balance in Her Adopted Country

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Easterseals Employee Finds Balance in Her Adopted Country

In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Easterseals employee Eriko Yamagashi, Regional Vice President of Autism Service’s Behavior Provider Network, shares her experience as a Japanese American.

Growing up in Japan, I was surrounded by a culture of respect, hard work, and the kind of innovation that touches every aspect of daily life. Values were ingrained in me from an early age, serving as my guiding principles even to this day.

The vibrant cities, lush landscapes, and the profound sense of community found in my homeland laid the foundation for who I am today. Japan taught me “Wa,” the art of balance—the delicate harmony between personal drive and collective responsibility.

When I moved to the United States, it felt like stepping onto a stage set for the grandest adventure of my life. It was overwhelming at first; here, amidst the vast landscapes and expansive horizons, I discovered a complementary set of values and an infectious optimism.

The American ethos of ambition and the belief that one can achieve anything with enough determination resonated with me. It was inspiring to find that my Japanese upbringing had unknowingly prepared me to appreciate and navigate the spirited American way of life.

My life in the United States has been a beautiful expansion of my identity, not a replacement. I’ve been able to build bridges between my Japanese roots and the American culture I’ve grown to love. California rolls, anyone?

In this fusion, I’ve found a greater sense of self and a deeper appreciation for the diverse experiences that shape our worldviews. Both countries have offered me incredible opportunities to learn, grow, and contribute in ways I never thought possible.

Moreover, being here at Easterseals Southern California, every day I have the privilege to touch the lives of so many people, cultures, and communities. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and will continue to be an ambassador of building bridges by sharing stories about my heritage.




About the Author:

Eriko Yamagishi is the Regional Vice President for the Behavioral Provider Network at Easterseals Southern California, where she supports participants and Network Providers throughout Southern California. She has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis for almost 20 years and is passionate about every human reaching their maximum potential.

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