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Posts Tagged ‘Rishiri Island’

Seal on the Rocks

Monday, February 28th, 2011

ゴマフアザラシ

海岸の岩場で日向ぼっこするゴマフアザラシ。

近づいて行くと

「どうしたの、何かあったの?」と、聞かれた。

「シバレルね」と応えると

「そんなことないよ」と言って、岩場を降りていった。

I spied a spotted seal “sunbathing” on the rocks.

As I approached he asked, “Can I help you?”

“It’s really cold, isn’t it?” asked I.

“Not for me,” he answered as he slid into the icy sea.

2011-02-28-rishiri-seal-on-the-rocks

photo and 'poem' by Eiji Nishiya, FOM, Rishiri Island

Last Rishiri Sunset of the (old) Year

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

2011-02-03-rishiri-new-year-sunset

日の入り

二月三日は月暦正月朔。

一年の初めに紅く丸く、海に入る日の入り。

利尻山頂が紅く映えていた。

明日は立春。春の気立つ日。

今年は暖かく晴n日が続くのだろうか。

“The sun is entering the ocean.”

“The red and round sun goes in to the ocean for the last time this year” … Rishiri mountain in the alpenglow of sunset on the last day of the year [according to the old-style, Japanese lunar calendar.]  Tomorrow, February 3rd, is “risshun” [considered the first day of spring in Japan].  The “sense” of spring begins.  I wonder if we will be blessed with warm, sunny days?  ~Eiji Nishiya

Today is also the eve of Ranald MacDonald’s (187th) birthday.

2011-02-03-new-year-sunset

西谷榮治 『利尻の語り』 を読む

Monday, November 1st, 2010

文・写真:谷口雅春 / 2010年11月1日

なんと途方もない聞き書き本が僕たちにもたらされたことだろう。
前稿で露口啓二が紹介したように、このたび利尻町立博物館学芸課長の西谷榮治さんが著した「利尻の語り」は、1986年から23年もの長きにわたって北海 道利尻町の広報誌「広報りしり」に連載されてきた、島民やゆかりの人々の聞き書きを再編集したもの。B5版464ページの大部に、146人の語りと、内容 にちなむ写真がおさめられている(編集者西村淑子さんの丹念な仕事が偲ばれる)。

例えば伊勢から渡った海女たちの暮らし。ニシンの爆発的な大漁や、クジラが浜に寄り付 いた挿話。樺太との深い関わり。集落ごとの祭りや演芸会、相撲大会に血肉を踊らせた青年団の活動。盆や節句、あるいは学び舎の行事の数々。各地からの開拓 移住のあらましに、襞のように入り組んだ地名や地誌の言い伝え…。明治、大正、昭和にまたがるおびただしい主題が、欄外の注釈が欠かせないような独特の言 い回しで展開されていく。話し言葉をていねいになぞる筆致も魅力だ。

利尻に本格的に和人が移り住んだのは安政年間(1854〜1860)のことだという。 その前史として17世紀後半にはすでに松前藩の場所経営があり、時代を下れば今号のカイでもふれた、津軽や秋田藩士たちによるロシアへの備えがあった。北 海道本島と共通する水産資源と地政学的意味によって、利尻島の近代は急駆動される。内地とは比較にならない厳しく複雑な気候をまとった利尻山 (1721m)が海底から一気にそびえ、ごく限られた土地と海で繰り広げられてきた濃密な歴史は、この島の輪郭に北海道史の縮図や、「もしも世界が100 人の村だったら」といった思考モデルを誘うかもしれない。しかしそんな紋切り型のまなざしは、語りのディテールの強度の前に恥じ入るばかりだろう。本書に 満ちているのは、郷愁の下味がついた北方イメージの断片などではなく、記(しる)されることもなくひっそりと記憶に眠っていた、ひとりひとりの固有の身体 から編み上げた利尻島の風土であり、なまなましい人生そのものなのだ。

カイにも、まだ9回にすぎないが井上由美が連載している聞き書きシリーズ、「北海道の 物語」がある。聞き書きにおいて話し言葉から書き言葉への変換は、書き手をつねに正解のない問題の前に立ち止まらせる。本書からもその困難との折り合いの 軌跡が浮かび上がるが、464ページというボリュームは、口語と記述をめぐる日本語の成り立ちまでも意識させるだろう。読み進みながら想起したのは、水村 美苗の「日本語が亡びるとき」(筑摩書房.2008)だ。水村は、19世紀に「西洋の衝撃」を受けた日本の知識層が、その現実を語るために日本語の古層を 掘り返し、日本語のあらゆる可能性をさぐりながら「出版語」を作りだしたこと(その言葉によって日本の近代文学は立ち上がった)。言文一致とは、単に口語 を書き言葉に移した取り組みではなく、幕末から明治の東アジアの激動の中で考案され磨かれてきた壮大なプロジェクトだったこと。そうした史実に無頓着なま ま、緊張感をなくした日本語はインターネットの時代に英語に飲み込まれようとしていることをスリリングに論考する。同次元で「利尻の語り」には、亡びゆく 土地の記憶をなんとかつなぎ止めようとする、現代日本語の格闘が浮かび上がっているともいえる。

マネーやイメージは根を持たないが、人間は土地を離れて生きることができない。20年 以上の歳月をかけ、これからもなお続く聞き書きは、利尻で生まれ育ち東京で学び、利尻に根ざし続けることを選んだ西谷さんにしかできない仕事だろう。受け 止める僕たちは、亡びるものへの感傷などで視界を汚してしまう前に、語りのリアルな細部から、北海道がほんとうに守るべきものや受け継ぐべき価値をしっか りとまさぐっていきたい。

eiji-nishiya-book-of-rishiri_0

(自費出版。3,360円で実費発売。問い合わせは利尻町立博物館 tel:0163・85・1411へ)

Rishiri Island in the Autumn

Monday, October 18th, 2010

利尻昆布漁

今年は天候に恵まれず、昆布漁が少なかった。
7月中旬から始まった昆布漁。
海が凪ぎても、雨・霧。
晴れても時化る海。
晴天と凪の組み合わせが少なかった。
明日は昆布採りになるかも、で、朝3時頃から起きている漁師。
昆布かウニ漁かは、朝に決まる。
天気予報しながら、昆布の製品化で夜遅くまで作業。
夏は、体力と気合との勝負と、漁師が言っていた。

Collecting Konbu on RishiriHarvesting Konbu.   (Photo by E. Nishiya.)

Every autumn the strong winds and the ocean waves bring “Rishiri konbu” to the shores. The competition among the fishermen (and fisherwomen) is fierce.
You’ve got to gather better and more konbu than the others!
The hearty men and women of Rishiri go out to the ocean and to the beaches,
oblivious to the blustery fall weather.

Rishiri Island konbu

Rishiri Island konbu is reputed to be the best-tasting konbu in Japan!

Ezo nyuu (Angelica ursina – “bear’s angelica”) of Rishiri

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

リシリヒナゲシの咲く麓から
エゾニュウ群生 島を周回する道路際や海岸草原で見られるエゾニュウ。

背が高いことから、目立つ。

今年は6月末の暑さからだろうか、いつもより多くエゾニュウが咲いているようだ。

july-13-4-ezo-nyuu_0

Ezo-nyuu –  you see them in the grass fields and on roadside along the coastline of Rishiri Island.  Because of their height, they stand out and are quite noticeable. This year more Ezo-nyuu than usual can be seen.  I wonder if that is because of the hot  days we had on the island in late June ?  ~~~ Eiji Nishiya, FOM Rishiri, Japan  – Mt. Rishiri in the background

Towering above the surrounding lush summer herb growth stands the hollow-stemmed monster known locally as Ezo nyuu (and to botanists as Angelica ursina – “bear’s angelica”). These plants appear at the height of summer, a potent reminder that the longest days are past and that, despite the heat, autumn is not far around the corner.

The umbel (flower head) of Angelica ursina has many small white flowers on thin stems attached to a main stalk.  Their flowers fade in a matter of weeks, but their weathered, dried stems are strong and persist even into winter, when they rattle and buzz as the wind vibrates them, scattering their tiny seeds.

This tall perennial can be found in damp, cool places, along roadsides, around marshland edges and in sunny woodlands, wherever there is plenty of moisture. It grows in central and northern Japan, in China, and in areas of Russia surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk.

Whereas many members of the Angelica family may only grow to heights of between 50 cm and a meter, the bear’s angelica is a monster – the largest in the family – reaching a height of 3 to 3.5 meters!

Since he came ashore on or about July 1, 1848 – mid-summer – no doubt Ranald saw plenty of these giant Angelica ursina growing in the grass fields of Rishiri Island.

july-13-2-ezo-nyuu

Photos by Eiji Nishiya, FOM Japan

~~~~~

July 2010 ~ FOM Annual Meeting

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

The day was fair, the turn-out was gratifying and the conversation lively at the annual membership meeting of the Friends of MacDonald held in Astoria, OR over the weekend.  We greeted many old friends and welcomed several new members while enjoying a delicious lunch at the “Baked Alaska” restaurant (shameless plug) on the waterfront overlooking the wide mouth of the Columbia River and the blue-green hills of Cape Disappointment and Chief Comcomly’s Chinook territory in Washington — the same view eyed by the likes of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1805-06 as well as Ranald’s father, Archibald McDonald in November of 1821, the year he arrived at (then) Fort George.

img_0017-cropped_1

We were honored to welcome Consul General of Japan in Portland, Takamichi Okabe and his wife, Kozue.  According to Richard Read of the Oregonian newspaper, Mr. Okabe spent three months in Baghdad as an involuntary “guest” of Saddam Hussein during 1990, when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. [He had been serving as first secretary in Japan’s embassy in Kuwait.] During his next foreign assignment – in Kenya – Mr. Okabe and a colleague braved warfare in Somalia to investigate opportunities for humanitarian aid there. Later in Nepal, Mr. Okabe was posted in Kathmandu when members of the royal family were massacred at the palace.  Most recently Mr. Okabe served four years as Consul General of Japan in Auckland, New Zealand.  In Portland, he is joined by his wife, Kozue, and we all hope that Mr. and Mrs. Okabe will have the opportunity to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

FOM was happy that Mac Burns,scan0005 Executive Director of CCHS was able to take time away from his busy schedule to attend the meeting.  Mac, who was fresh off the “Goonies 25th Anniversary” celebration the week before, noted that over 100 Goonies fans showed up for the grand opening of the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria the previous Saturday, and mentioned that people had come from all over — France, Japan, and from across the United States.  Mac also passed out buttons and other information about the upcoming “Astoria 1811-2011 Bicentennial Celebration” happening next year.  A link to that website can be found here: http://www.astoria200.org/ .  If you have never visited Astoria, FOM encourages you to do so – it is a sleepy little coastal town with a lot of secrets and surprises, not to mention a rich history.

Mr. Tadakazu Kumashiro, Charter Member of the Friends of MacDonald, was also in attendance. After his retirement, Mr. Kumashiro, or “Kuma” (the Bear) as he likes to be called, joined the Peace Corps in 2001 and was stationed in Namibia for a couple of years working for the Namibian government where he promoted AIDS education by visiting schools.  Kuma-san gave talks to students, teachers and school principals about what they should be doing to prevent an AIDS pandemic.  Kuma-san reports that he had to be hospitalized himself four times while he was there – probably, he noted, because of the unfamiliar germs he encountered.  Mr. Kumashiro rather depreciatingly says he thinks he became ill because of his “old age” – he was 67-69 at the time – but having met him myself I have to say he is one of the most vigorous and energetic “seniors” I have ever met [both mentally and physically].

A big “thank you” to Jim Mockford for bringing his laptop so the group could access the new web page. It was the first time most of the FOM members had seen it (we hope it won’t be the last time!)  We all appreciated that the Baked Alaska staff worked so hard to make sure their wireless network was workable for us.  And we missed the presence of Bruce Berney, who was back in Portland celebrating his grandson’s birthday.

During the meeting an interesting, if not recurring, question was presented by Consul General Okabe, e.g., what was the status of Ranald MacDonald’s “citizenship” at the time of his landing on Rishiri Island in 1848?  A second comment [also in the form of a question] was presented by Mr. Okabe and was definitely food for thought – was Ranald MacDonald really the first teacher of English in Japan?

Will Adams, map of Japan circa 1600Map of Japan drawn by William Adams, circa 1600

The Consul General’s second question referred to one William Adams, who, as the British pilot major of the Dutch trading ship Liefde (“Love” or “Charity”) landed off the island of Kyushu in April 1600.  [The true story of Will Adams was the basis of the romantic novel Shogun, written by James Clavell and published in 1975; Adams’ adventures were also documented in the historical novel Daishi-san written by Robert Lund in 1961.]  According to one source “ … soon after Adams’ arrival in Japan, he became a key advisor to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and built for him Japan’s first Western-style ships. Adams was later the key player in the establishment of trading factories (in Japan) by the Netherlands and England. He died in Japan at age 55, and has been recognized as one of the most influential foreigners in Japan during this period.

William Adams – known in Japan as Miura Anjin –  may have been the first Englishman [Briton] to set foot in Japan; from historical information [including writings from Adams’ own journal] it seems likely that it was the Anjin who needed an interpreter [the ever-present Portuguese Jesuits, in this case] to make himself understood. Prudence dictates that circumstances – and the Japanese people – taught their language to Will Adams, rather than the other way around.

Regarding Ranald MacDonald being the firsranald-ca-1853t American to “set foot in Japan” [the way Will Adams was the first Englishman to do so] we know this just isn’t so.  There were Americans who had visited Nagasaki while in the service of the Dutch during the late 1700’s.  In the mid-1800’s there were scores of American whaling ships in the Sea of Japan, and historical record tells of some crew members that had either been shipwrecked off the Japanese coast or had deserted their vessel to seek their fortunes ashore.  As far as is known, however, Ranald MacDonald was the first American to intentionally go to Japan for the express purpose of learning about the Japanese people and their language and to teach English to them, and to perhaps ‘work’ as an interpreter.  As to the question of Ranald’s citizenship, regardless of the fact that Fort George was under a British flag in 1824, it cannot be denied that half of Ranald’s DNA came from a Chinook Indian mother, a fact that made him a truer “American” than any geographical accident of birth.  Later in his life, through both choice and residence, MacDonald became sufficiently “American” enough to justify that we may say that Ranald MacDonald was the first American to leave his mark upon the people and the nation of Japan, and the first native-English-speaking individual to teach the English language there.

***

Rishiri Island Wildflowers

Monday, June 14th, 2010

朝の通勤途中で道路際に咲く紫のチシマフウロを見つけた。4月はじめの花は瀬の低い花たち。6月になると野の草の背丈が高くなるので花たちも背の高い花が咲く。チシマフウロの群落から、それを撮るかなどと、楽しみながらカメラを向ける。

Chishima Fuuro (geranium erianthum)

On my way to work I found clumps of purple Chishima Fuuro [Geranium erianthum] on the road side.  In early April they are relatively short plants, but by the time June comes the wild grasses are growing much taller, and the Chishima Fuuro, not to be outdone, grows taller as well. For several moments I concentrate on which flowers to photograph, forgetting that time is passing while I make up my mind.

~photo by Eiji Nishiya,Rishiri Island, FOM Japan

Rishiri Island Sunset

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

rishiri-island-sunset-april-2010

日の入り。

久しぶりにきれいに見えた。

気になるのが、水平線上にある雲への日の入り。

観天望気、晴かそれとも強風・雨・曇か。

気象台の天気予報は「西の風 やや強く 晴れ 朝晩 くもり」。

春来となっても、冷えを感じる強風が続く。

A beautiful sunset !
It’s been a while.
The strong West-wind keeps whipping, bringing shivers.
Though Spring has come (to the island)
A small patch of clouds above the water worries me.
Weather tomorrow will be sunny? cloudy? or rainy?

~poem & photo by Eiji Nishiya, April 2010

My Own Trip to Rishiri

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

by FOM Chairman Mas Yatabe

After visiting Nagasaki in January of 2009 – where Ranald MacDonald first taught English – I had a strong urge to make my own pilgrimage to Rishiri Island, to the spot where Ranald first set foot on the soil of Japan. When an opportunity presented itself during a business trip in July, I felt that I could afford to take a side-visit to Rishiri, though I knew the time I could spend there would be very limited.

I left my hometown of Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture around 7:30 in the morning and after a couple of transfers I got on the Tohoku Line of the Shinkansen [bullet train] in Tokyo – which rather quickly arrived at its northernmost stop in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. However, it was almost 7:30 pm by the time I finally arrived in Sapporo where I was met by my long-time friend, Katsu Yamazaki [one of the FOM’s charter members. Mr. Yamazaki became a member of the Friends of MacDonald when he was assigned to lead the Portland office of Itogumi Corporation of Hokkaido back in the 1980’s.] Even though the hour was late, because my time was short Mr. Yamazaki suggested that we drive north as far as we could that same night.

After driving several hours in the rain along a dark two-lane road, it must have been around midnight that we arrived at a little town called Teshio, and we were on the road again by 6:00 am the next morning, heading toward our destination of Wakkanai. [An interesting side note is that Wakkanai and Portland are on the same latitude.] We arrived early enough that we actually had to wait for the ferry, which was to leave the Port of Wakkanai at 7:50 am for Oshidomari, the only Port on Rishiri Island. We arrived at Oshidomari around 9:30 am, which gave us just about an hour and a half to explore before we had to catch our return ferry at 11 am. A very tight schedule, indeed!

rishiri-map

Map of Rishiri Island. Looks like a cartoon but it’s not.

Fortunately, Mr. Eiji Nishiya, Curator of the Rishiri Museum and Secretary of FOM Japan, would be waiting for us at the Port of Oshidomari, and was ready to take us to the monument commemorating the spot where MacDonald first landed on Rishiri Island. As we were approaching the island I was thrilled to see Mt. Rishiri appearing and disappearing in the clouds – the very same mountain peak that MacDonald saw almost exactly 171 years ago as he made his approach to Rishiri Island in July of 1848. I have heard it said that MacDonald had perhaps set his course for Rishiri Island [rather than the closer mainland] after sighting Mt. Rishiri, because its appearance reminded him of Mt. Hood – the mountain of his childhood when he was schooled at Fort Vancouver, WA. After viewing both peaks with my own eyes I could certainly understand his nostalgia.

mt-rishiri-july-2009

Mt. Rishiri, July 2009 ~~~  photo taken by Eiji Nishiya

I would have loved to have been able to stay for a few hours and explore before returning on the afternoon ferry, but since my schedule was so tight – and in order to return to Sapporo that same evening – we had no choice but to catch the 11:00 am ferry back to Wakkanai. It was a good thing that MacDonald’s monument stood only a few miles from the Port, so Mr. Nishiya was able to get us back to the ferry in short order.

nishiya-and-mas-at-monumentWith Mr. Nishiya at the MacDonald “landing site” monument

After taking a couple of photos at the stone monument, Mr. Nishiya drove us a few minutes down the road to a rocky cove where a couple of small boats were beached. It is Mr. Nishiya’s belief that this beach was actually the spot where MacDonald first set foot on Rishiri Island [as opposed to where the monument sits.] Though we were pressed for time, I wanted to put my feet on the rocks where MacDonald stood, so while Mr. Nishiya and Mr. Yamazaki watched and waited up on the hill, I clambered down to the beach, and, like MacDonald, I slipped and fell [and dislocated a finger, incidentally.] As I was climbing back up the hill, I remembered how Ranald had a problem “ascending the steep, rocky bank” in his ‘new’ zori sandals.

the-beach-where-macdonald-landed

The beach where MacDonald landed?

I can now say that I have stood in many of the key places that MacDonald himself stood – Astoria, Oregon, Ft. Vancouver, WA, Lahaina, Maui and now Rishiri and Nagasaki, Japan. I can better understand and realize what a significant impact this man had on US-Japan relations. If it were happening today, Ronald MacDonald would be a celebrity/hero and perhaps his photo would be on the cover of TIME magazine. Sadly, though, more people equate the name ‘Ranald MacDonald’ with hamburgers than History. Collectively, we at “Friends of MacDonald” must continue to work hard to educate people about the important historical significance of the Fearless Adventurer known as Ranald MacDonald.

rishiri-beach-rock-2009

**

Gates Ajar – March 1998

Friday, March 20th, 1998

150th ANNIVERSARY RANALD MacDONALD TOUR OF JAPAN

Friends of MacDonald in Japan are organizing to host an unforgettable tour of Japan to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Ranald’s arrival in 1848.  Unlike commercial travel packages, this event avoids luxury hotels and full-course dining.  We can only promise that you’ll see more than MacDonald did in his travels in Japan, and know that the friendly faces you meet will keep their heads.  FOM member Ken Nakano had built the following two-week itinerary which accommodates you if one week is all the time you can allow.

9/10     Leave Seattle on NWA.  Cross International Dateline.

9/11     Fly from Kansai Airport on ANA to Sapporo

9/12     Free day in Sapporo to pamper your jet lag.

9/13     Sapporo bus tour.  Party with local FOM members.  All night train ride (sleeper available at additional cost) to Wakkanai (NW tip of Hokkaido).

9/14     Boat trip from Wakkanai to Rishiri Island, where MacDonald first made contact with Japanese people.  Tour the island and party with local FOM group.

9/15     Return to Sapporo by boat and train.

9/16     1-week option travelers return to Seattle; 2-week travelers take train to Hakodate.

9/17     Ride bus or rental car for trip to Matsumae where MacDonald was kept for several weeks.  Return to Hakodate.

9/18     Take train to Tokyo.  Party with local FOM group.

9/19     Free morning.  See Moriyama’s gravestone.  If lucky, meet briefly with Ambassador Tom Foley.  Stay second night in Tokyo.

9/20     Short train trip to Mihama, home port of the three Kichi sailors who were rescued by Hudson’s Bay Company and learned English at Ft. Vancouver.  Spend night in Japanese style inn.

9/21     Take train to Nagasaki.  Party with local FOM group.

9/22     Tour Nagasaki and stay second night.

9/23     Take train to Kansai airport and return to Seattle.  Those who wish may stay in Japan longer and return by themselves.

HIGHLIGHTS:

~ Parties with local FOM groups.  If you’ve never been a VIP before, here’s your chance!

~ Sapporo is sister-city with Portland, OR.  It is Rishiri Island’s “county seat”.

~ Rishiri Island is a jewel.  Two fishing villages share their pride in MacDonald’s story.  You’ll see an impressive stone monument near Ranald’s landing place, and displays in the local museum, whose director, Eiji Nishiya, edits an FOM newsletter in Japan.

~ Matsumae;  another fishing village.  If you don’t see it now, chances are slim that you ever will, for, like Rishiri Island, it is off the beaten path.

~ Tokyo.  Seeing the gravestone of Ranald’s favorite student, Moriyama, is a thrill.  The hoped-for greetings from Ambassador Foley is an important symbolic event.  Thanks to our Spokane members for the idea!

~  Mihama is well-known to our tour-organizer, Ken Nakano.  He has worked closely with them in his projects of placing the monument to the three Kichi’s as Ft. Vancouver and establishing a relationship with the Washington cost Indians.

~ Nagasaki, where Ranald taught English, is well aware of his story.  The original documents are in the Prefectural Library.  The Nagasaki South Rotary Club recently erected a monument on the street in front of the house where Ranald’s hermitage was.  You will see it.

As for cost, Ken says this is a low-budget tour.  Round trip air to Japan is about $800.  Utilize Japanese rail pass.  Stay in business hotels near rail stations for $60 to $80 per day, avoid expensive Japanese meals.  It is too soon to know the fare for air travel within Japan because of fluctuating exchange rates.

At present we think the group will be an intimate seven to twelve people.  If you are the least bit interested in going, please contact Ken Nakano for more details.  He will tell you when and how to register.

*****

AKIRA YOSHIMURA

Of authors who write historical fiction, James Michener may be the first to come to mind.  Ask a reader of Japanese, and Akira Yoshimura may be ichiban.  About a dozen years ago Yoshimura wrote a novel, Umi no Sairei (Festival of the Sea) based on the life of Ranald MacDonald.  It was in a magazine that FOM co-founder Mas Tomita read a serialized version which inspired Tomita’s interest in Ranald.  It refers to MacDonald’s birthplace correctly as Ft. George.  Mas Tomita had no idea that Ft. George was another name for Ft. Astoria until Bruce Berney asked the Japanese businessman’s organization, Shokookai of Portland, to pay half the cost of the birthplace monument.  not only did Tomita give support to the project, he telephoned Berney to say, “Let’s start a Friends of MacDonald organization.”

Now, you’ll be glad to learn that former FOM chairman, Dr. Stephen Kohl who teaches Japanese language and literature at the University of Oregon, has agreed with Yoshimura to translate Umi no Sairei.  Some of us non-kanji readers are very eager for its publication.

A letter from our Kyoto correspondent, Yuji Aisaka, reports that Yoshimura has an article on MacDonald in the February 1998 issue of Captain [ カペタン ].

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MEMBERSHIP REPORT

Unpaid former members names have been purged from our database.  Instead of 150 members – which we once claimed – we now can boast of about forty [many include spouses].  From Oregon, there are about 20; Washington, 14; and one each from Canada, Japan, Michigan, Georgia, California, and Indiana.  Strangely, none are named MacDonald.

We need you, our members, to help recruit new members — others who are interested in Japanese friendship activities.  Please ask for new membership packets (pamphlet, return envelope, a newsletter back copy, and two post cards).  Write to Friends of MacDonald, c/o Clatsop County Historical Society, 1618 Exchange Street, Astoria, OR  97103.

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BIRTHDAY PARTY

Fifteen Clatsop County FOM members and friends met for lunch at Golden Star Chinese restaurant in Astoria on MacDonald’s birthday, February 3rd.  Sharing the Happy Birthday song with Ranald, Bruce Berney was served a ball of sticky rice topped with a birthday candle.  FOM secretary Mike Seaman spoke about his year as a student of Waseda University in the 1970’s and his former job of property manager for several Japanese corporations in Los Angeles.  He now is commercial properties specialist for AREA Properties real estate firm in Astoria.  Following lunch, they reconvened at the Birthplace Monument to leave floral offerings.

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WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE

In September we received a letter from Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro stating: “I do want you to know that we are actively pursuing the preservation of the cabin where Ranald MacDonald spent the closing days of his life.  As you may know, it is located across the valley from the grave site in Northeastern Washington State.  Our historic preservation people and our heritage resources people are now collaborating as to how we can best preserve this cabin.  Although the building is pretty far gone, I believe we will be able to put together a program that will gain the support of the legislature.”

We wrote a letter of support, but as yet have not heard of any outcome.  Washington members may wish to inquire.  Munro’s phone number is 360-902-4151; his address is PO Box 40220, Olympia, WA  98504-0220.

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BOOK REVEALS STORY OF NORTHWEST ADVENTURER

Such was the headline of the review of Jo Ann Roe’s new book about Ranald MacDonald as featured in North American Post, the Seattle Japanese/English newspaper.  its editor, Kamilla Kuroda McClellend attended the September FOM membership meeting at Portland where Jo Ann Roe was presented a framed copy of the cover of the book Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer by Washington State University Press publicist Beth DeWeese.    Jo Ann Roe reports the book is selling well.  It is reviewed in the Fall 1997 issue of Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, pages 375-377.  It notes that the author is a member of Friends of MacDonald.  The book and the review together give our organization long-lasting, valuable publicity.

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HISTORICAL SOCIETY HONORS BERNEY

Clatsop County Historical Society presented a framed expression of esteem to Bruce Berney at its annual membership luncheon in January at Astoria Country Club.  The Daily Astorian reported that :  “Jeff Smith, executive director of the society said the award marked Berney’s work as a librarian, his efforts on historic preservation and his service on the society’s Friends of Ranald MacDonald committee, which promotes international understanding.”

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JIM MOCKFORD IS NEW FOM CHAIRMAN

Members attending the meeting in September selected Bruce Berney, chairman; Michael Seaman, secretary; and Barbara Peeples, publicist/recruitment.  Unfortunately, two months later Bruce suffered sudden hearing loss.  Unable to use the telephone, re resigned as chairman, but volunteered to continue being active as FOM archivist and membership clerk.  Jim Mockford has agreed to be chairman during this meaningful 150th anniversary year.  Formerly Japanese language teacher at Camas High School, he now is a Japanese affairs consultant working with high technology businesses.  He and Mas Tomita were good friends and worked closely on many projects.

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>.>.>.>.>  CHAIRMAN’S CORNER <.<.<.<.<

It was on June 27, 1848, as the whaling ship PLYMOUTH lay off the coast of Hokkaido, about five miles away from the nearest island, that Captain Edwards received the request from Ranald MacDonald to leave the ship.  The had prepared for this adventure by rigging a small boat for sailing and stowing in it provisions for about thirty days:  a quadrant for observations, a box of books, stationary, and a few clothes.  Then into the launch stepped young Ranald, and while the crew shouted “God bless you Mac,” he dipped a small white flag in salute to the Stars and Stripes and parted ways from his friends for Japan.

This summer, on Saturday, June 27, exactly 150 years from the date that MacDonald’s adventure began, I would like to invite FOM members and friends to join in a reenactment of this historic passage on board the brig LADY WASHINGTON during its interbay sailing from Aberdeen to Westport, Washington.  As the new chairman of FOM and a member of the Advisory Council of Grays Harbor Historic Seaport, I propose a cooperative project between these two historical societies with important ties to maritime history and early US-Japan relations.  Further information will be forthcoming as we get closer to the date of our commemorative launching of MacDonald’s boat and salute to Ranald’s “Japan story of adventure!”  To make an early reservation on the passenger list for the June 27 sailing, contact the Gray’s Harbor Historic Seaport office at 1-800-532-LADY.

~~ Jim Mockford, FOM Chairman

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