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Posts Tagged ‘Rishiri High School’

Keeping Up With Rishiri Students

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Last year – 2018 – was quite a year for Friends of MacDonald.  Not only did FOM as a committee of the Clatsop County Historical Society reach its 30th year of existence, the “Ranald MacDonald Short-term Study Abroad Program” at Rishiri high school also reached its sixth year in 2018.  Although times and members change, I think I can speak for everyone in wishing that both organizations remain healthy and continue to grow for many more decades.

            Due to the large number of brain cells that were devoted to organizing and then accomplishing the Friends of MacDonald 30th Anniversary Luncheon, Annual Meeting and Group Excursion to the northern reaches of Washington State to memorialize our organization with a visit to Ranald’s last resting place we realized that we postponed reporting another successful visitation by students from Rishiri high school to Astoria, Oregon, and to Spokane and Toroda, Washington in 2017.  We will remedy that omission in this, the first issue of the Friends of MacDonald Newsletter as it enters its 31st year of ‘publication’ – and will continue our report on the 2018 students in the next (to be published shortly, we hope and intend).

            We went into some detail in Gates Ajar Vol. 30, No. 1 that was published in March of 2018 about our visit to Rishiri High School in December of 2017, and briefly introduced Jin Hiranuma and Mako Sato, the two Rishiri students who visited Astoria and points beyond in the autumn of 2017, but regretfully overlooked the in-depth report that we have given other students from Rishiri. Jin and Mako will both graduate from high school in April 2019 and are planning on attending university in Japan. We have no doubt whatsoever that they will be successful in anything they try.

「光陰矢のごとし!」とは良く言ったもの、「矢のごとし」とまでは言わないまでも、年々時の経過が早まっているような錯覚を覚え、この名言に同感、感心している自分の存在に気付く機会が最近増えて居ります。思うに2018年はマクドナルド友の会(FOM)創立30周年記念行事とラナルド・マクドナルドの没後125周忌の墓参の準備や実行、事後処理に明け暮れてしまいました。 その影響で利尻高校生の短期留学プログラムの様子や、成果伝達の機会を失っていた事に気付き、この度、Gates Ajar の臨時号を発行、皆さんにお届けする次第です。

2017年秋には、利尻高校2年生の平沼 迅君と佐藤真恋さんの二人が選抜され、同校英語教諭、相澤沙織先生の付き添いでポートランド国際空港へやって参りました。

例年の事ですが、一行はラナルド・マクドナルドの出生地であるオレゴン州アストリア市内で米人生徒の家庭にホームステイしながらアストリア高校で授業に参加したり、ラナルドのゆかりの地ワシントン州東部では、FOMスポケン支部長の月森愛鶴美夫人の案内でコルビル高校を訪問したり、トロダのラナルドの墓地へ参拝、利尻島からの小石を捧げたり、貴重な体験をした後、シアトル空港経由、無時利尻島へお帰りになりました。

このお三方のレポートを掲載しますのでお楽しみ下さい。

Japanese students tour in the spirit of Ranald MacDonald

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
~Edward Stratton; Reprinted from The Daily Astorian, Oct. 17, 2014

The “MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund”, in honor of historical English teacher and former Astorian Ranald MacDonald, sent over, from left standing, English instructor Mayumi Nakanishi and students Ren Miyashita and Takeru Oshima. Hosting and touring them around are Astoria High School student Bryce Nurding, second from right, Masaru Yatabe, Chairman of FOM, right, and Kaheawai “KK” Kaonohi, founder of the high school’s Japanese club.

The educational exchange between Astoria and Japan, foisted on the Asian nation 166 years ago by a native Astorian bent on leaving his whaling vessel and joining its relatively closed society, restarted earlier this week.

Honoring the spirit of Ranald MacDonald, an Astoria native and Japan’s first English teacher, the ’MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund’ sent two students and their English teacher from Rishiri Island to Oregon this past week. The group has been sightseeing around Portland and shadowing their host students at Astoria High School.

“I like talking, speaking English,” said Ren Miyashita, one of the two students visiting Astoria. “I’ve never been abroad before this time.”  Miyashita, in his second to last year of school, and Takeru Oshima, a senior, both come from Rishiri Island, located 12 miles west of northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The island, reachable by ferry and one flight a day, boasts a population of about 5,100. Miyashita and Oshima attend Rishiri High School, which with a total of 93 kids is about 16 percent of Astoria High School’s enrollment. Rishiri Island also includes three elementary schools and two junior high schools.

“The whole objective is to internationalize the future generations of Rishiri Island by having a couple of students come over each year so they will be ready for life in a global world,” said Masaru Yatabe, chairman of the Friends of MacDonald.

MacDonald, who was born at Fort Astoria in 1824 to a Hudson’s Bay Co. fur trader, traded his wages on the whaler for a small boat and supplies and sailed toward Rishiri Island at age 24. Nearing some native Ainu fishermen, he pulled the plug, and in his sinking boat, he became a bona fide sailor in distress.  Originally imprisoned, MacDonald eventually started teaching Japanese scholars English. He became famous in Japan. Congressional reports note an interpreter asking incoming Commodore Matthew Perry, who forcibly opened Japan to trade with the U.S. in the mid-19th century, “Do you know Ranald MacDonald?”

Traveling Oregon

The 26-year-old Friends of MacDonald help guide the students and teacher on their trip. They started earlier this week in Portland with sightseeing trips to the International Test Rose Gardens and Multnomah Falls.  The group also met with the consulate-general of Japan in Portland, Hiroshi Furusawa. At the consulate, said Yatabe, Furusawa explained how Japan is trying to double the number of people in the Japan Exchange & Teaching Program, which sends young, college-educated English speakers to communities around Japan.

In Astoria for the past few days, Miyashita and Oshima have been attending sporting events, exploring the area and shadowing their host students, juniors Kaheawai “KK” Kaonohi and Bryce Nurding.  Kaonohi, who moved to Astoria from Bend, started a Japanese club at AHS, having traveled to Japan himself over the summer.  “I was part of the Japanese National Honor Society,” said Kaonohi, adding that his grandmother in Hawaii is originally from Japan.

Nurding, who’s hosted cyclists from Virginia and Sweden through hospitality exchange group Warm Showers, said he was contacted by Kaonohi and is always up for hosting and learning about different people and cultures.  Miyashita and Oshima take all the classes of their host students, including math, science, language arts and other classes as they expand their English skills. They describe their peers in Astoria as freer and more open to asking questions. Yatabe and Nakanishi said that students in Japan respect the teachers more and are much less likely to speak up, often to the detriment of their own social skills.

This is the second year of the exchange through the MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund. Last year, students Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuuki Komatsu arrived in Astoria with their principal, Hiroyuki Tsukamoto.  For 2016, said Yatabe, Kaonohi is trying to organize a similar trip to Rishiri Island, where he and Nurding can experience life there, although the effort will likely require raising the funds. “Then the exchange will be complete.”

On Friday, after attending the Astoria-Banks football game, the exchange group heads for a similar experience in Republic, Wash., where MacDonald died in 1894.