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Ernest K. Nishizaki: executive vice president and chief operating officer, Kyo-ya Co. Ltd., Kokusai Kogyo group.

Ernest Nishizaki's double pane window is an ever changing, wish-you-were-here postcard of paradise. "I can see hikers on Diamond Head with my telescope," says Nishizaki, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kyo-ya Co. Ltd., owner of Waikiki properties such as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Sheraton Waikiki. The view just below his window is just as relaxing-the beach, peppered with catamarans and sun bathers, the kid-filled pool of the Sheraton Waikiki and the occasional sea turtle or seal that comes ashore. The irony of it all? "I rarely look out," he says, gesturing to his phone and computer, which face the opposite wall.

When visitors' "oohs" and "aahs" over the scenery have subsided, their line of vision will most likely fall on Nishizaki's collection of sports memorabilia. As sponsor of the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, he's no stranger to football--neither is his family. "Ryan hardly misses a game," Nishizaki says of his 4-year-old son's love of University of Hawaii sports. "He knows all the players by name and number." Spoken like a true family man, Nishizaki says the only items more precious than his autographed footballs and helmets are the photos of his three sons and wife, Naomi.

Against the wall, housed in a lit glass cabinet, is Nishizaki's colorful collection of plates. He has accumulated plates from almost every hotel he's worked for, from Houston to Los Angeles to San Francisco, and a handful of local hotels. People just started giving them to him, after he displayed his first one. Nishizaki's first plate in the series is the gold-rimmed plate from Houston, centered in the cabinet, the only remaining part of a 500-piece gold service set.

Although his job has taken him away from the Islands for many years, "There's something nice about every area," he contends. "There's never been a place I have not liked. You've just gotta make the best of where you are and who you're with."

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Title Annotation:ROOM at the TOP
Publication:Hawaii Business
Date:Oct 1, 2005
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