This article ran in the digital issue of Pacific Business News on Nov. 3.
Rechung Fujihara Photo courtesy: Michelle Mishina
Hawaii business owner speaks on experience with dyslexia
By Sophia Compton. - Reporter
Assets School is the only private K-12 school in the state that specializes in educating children with dyslexia, who are gifted, or who have language-based differences, and it’s where Rechung Fujihira, the co-founder and CEO of coworking space BoxJelly, attended school.
“When I was young, like in every school I went to, I always had trouble reading and writing, and no one really could figure it out,” Fujihira said. “I would do after-school programs, and I’d always be behind. … I got tested and it turned out I had dyslexia.”
Last month, Assets School held an event to educate community members about dyslexia, a learning condition that involves difficulty reading. Head of School Ryan Masa, Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions Sandi Tadaki, Clinical Director Dr. Elsa Lee, and Professional Development and Community Outreach Director Darlene Robertson shared techniques with the public on how to accommodate and support a child with the condition, in honor of October being Dyslexia Awareness Month.
Fujihira said Assets taught him different methods and “ways of doing things,” adding that “they kind of understood what my needs were and how I learned.”
Fujihira founded BoxJelly in 2011, and it provides coworking, event, and private office space for rent. The company’s primary location is in Ward Village, and offers an open-air balcony event space that can accommodate up to 50 people. It also has reservable rooms, including team meeting rooms, a boardroom, a brainstorm room and privacy lounge, as well as a booth for “private calls, Zoom meetings, or test taking,” according to the company’s website.
“We aim to help people have a balanced lifestyle,” Fujihira told PBN. “We feel that we can impact someone's well-being and happiness by creating a good environment.”
BoxJelly also has a coffee shop called TRY Coffee at its Ward location, and the company manages Entrepreneurs Sandbox, another coworking and event space in Kakaako.
As a business owner, Fujihira said dyslexia posed challenges for him at first.
“Especially in the beginning, it was really tough and I’d always get other people to check my emails before I sent them out,” Fujihira said. “I don’t do that as much anymore… It’s been like this my whole life, so I’m just kind of used to it, but there are certain things I have to be careful or aware of, and I’ll allocate enough time to do them. Luckily I have staff now that can help me to have strength where my weaknesses are, and that's very helpful.”
Fujihira added that entrepreneurship has come “pretty naturally” to him.
“For what I do, a lot of it is very creative, and it seems like there is a disproportionate amount of entrepreneurs and creatives who are dyslexic," he said. "You know, I don't think that's a coincidence."