Home News Bio Membership Gallery Tour
 


Posts Tagged ‘Totoro’

Rishiri Report – March 2018

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Alice and I visited Japan in December last year.  On the 11th we flew from Narita in Tokyo to the New Chitose Airport near Sapporo; the next day – Dec. 12th – we flew from Okadama Airport in Sapporo to Rishiri Airport … under the provision that, IF the weather around Rishiri Airport was not suitable for the plane to land, the plane would turn around and return to Okadama Airport.  Fortunately, when we arrived at Rishiri Airport, the weather had turned favorable for landing.  Our understanding is that there had been a blizzard prior to our plane’s arrival, and up until the last several minutes landing was not a guarantee.

We were met at the airport by Rev. Kyouji Furukawa, Chairman of the “MacDonald Scholarship Fund Support Group”, Mr. Eiji Nishiya, Deputy Manager of MSFSG, Mr. Motomura, Principal of Rishiri High School (who officially invited us to come to Rishiri) and Ms. Nakanishi and Ms. Suzuki, teachers and two of the familiar faces from Rishiri High School, who had each chaperoned students to America in recent years.

Snowy Hokkaido … in particular the “real middle-of-winter on Rishiri Island” – for several years now Alice and I have discussed going to see the deep snow on Hokkaido.  Out of nowhere, a request came from Rishiri High School Principal Motomura for me to go and give a lecture there in December.  It did not take any time at all for us to decide and to respond positively for going.  The Hokkaido Board of Education designated Rishiri High School to be an “Improving English Language Education” research school.  Also, for the past 5 years Rishiri High School has sent students to America as part of their “short-term overseas study program” to encourage learning English.  The lectures relating to the project at the high school and a review of the project were to be held at Rishiri High School on December 15th. It was Principal Motomura’s suggestion that we try to arrive a few days in advance since ‘bad weather’ could jeopardize our schedule – there is only ONE flight per day from Okadama in Sapporo to Rishiri (and vice versa) – so we arrived on the 12th.

As we were driven from the airport along the snowy road to where we were to stay – the Pension Green Wind – we saw frequent changes to the weather, and we looked at each other and nodded our heads, agreeing that Principal Motomura’s suggestion to try to get there early had been “a good one”.  We were greeted by Miyazaki’s “Totoro” on the way to the high school – “Drive Carefully on Rishiri !”

The lecture and presentation was held in the Rishiri High School Auditorium; the event started out with an official greeting by Principal Motomura in English. [Principal Motomura is a former English teacher – and his English was very good.]  His greetings were followed by a report entitled “Studying in Astoria (Oregon) and Spokane (Washington)” which was presented by two Rishiri High School Juniors, Jin Hiranuma and Mako Sato.  Jin and Mako came to America in the autumn of 2017 and were the 5th pair of students to come to Astoria/Spokane in the last 5 years.  They took turns giving their presentation, speaking about their valuable experiences in English.  Next the Chairman of Friends of MacDonald – me – presented the “real” Ranald MacDonald to the student body (as opposed to the Ronald McDonald, the mascot of hamburger fame).  I introduced MacDonald and his contributions by Power Point in English.  After that, based on my “50 plus years of life in America”, I gave “life advice” to the Rishiri High School students in Japanese.  My message was, “It’s good to hope and dream of the future, but the most important thing is to concentrate and work hard on what’s in front of you right now!”  That message has been my personal mantra/motto during my life in America.

Alice followed with her own message in English – “There is a big, wide world out there – – – get out of your comfort zone and follow the example of Ranald MacDonald, the Adventurer!”

The final lecture was presented by Dr. Hisashi Naito, Professor of Business Management at Hokkai Gakuen University, entitled “Look, Think and Act Globally” and explained the arrival of a new ”Glocal World” in fluent English [which he stressed that he had studied and mastered without going abroad.]

Local dignitaries who attended the presentation included Rev. Kyouji Furukawa, Mr. Ken’ichi Kurokawa, Mr. Eiji Nishiya of Ranald MacDonald Scholarship Fund Support Group and Mr. Kazuki Kosugi, Superintendent of the Rishiri School Dist. plus representatives from Hokkaido Department of Education, Wakkanai High School, Toyotomi High School, Edasachi High School, Rebun High School, Rishiri Junior High School, Senposhi Grade School, Kutsugata Grade School and some parents.  It was a well-attended event.

私と家内、アリスは昨年12月初旬に訪日、11日に成田空港から新千歳空港へ飛び、翌12日に北海道札幌市内の丘珠(おかだま)空港から利尻島の利尻空港へと飛び立った。それも「若し、利尻空港周辺の天候が着陸に不適当な場合は丘珠空港へ舞い戻る可能性有り」という事を予め御了承の上でご搭乗を・・・という条件付きの離陸であった。幸い到着時にはその直前まで吹雪いていた・・・らしい天候が好転、無事着出来た!

マクドナルド奨学基金支援の会の古川恭司会長や同会事務局次長の西谷榮治さん、それに今回お招き下さった利尻高校の元村治郎校長、近年利尻高校からの米国短期留学生を引率してアメリカへ来られた“顔馴染み”の中西、鈴木両教諭の温かい歓迎を受けた。

雪の北海道、特にラナルド・マクドナルドが1848年に上陸した利尻島の“真冬”は何時か是非体験してみたいと兼ねがね家内と話して居た矢先、「利尻高校での講演を・・・」という打診が舞い込んだのだった。よって私達の『行きます!やります!』という決断・回答に時間を要さなかった。それは、利尻高校が北海道教育委員会より「英語力向上事業研究指定校」に選抜され、更に過去5年間、アメリカ短期留学プログラムを実施してきた事もあり、同校に於いて「高等学校英語力向上事業」講演会・成果発表会が開催される事となった為だった。実際、そのイベント開催日は12月15日であったが、札幌から利尻に日に一便しか飛ばない飛行機が天候不順により飛べない又は着陸不可能となった場合等を鑑み、「2~3日間余裕を持ってご来島を・・・」と元村校長からご提言頂いていたので12日着島を計画、順調に着島出来たのだった。空港から宿泊先ペンション“群林風”への雪道を走る車の中から頻繁に変化する利尻の気象を観察しながら「元村校長のご提言は適当であった!」と頷いていた私達であった。

当日の講演会・成果発表会は、元英語教師であった元村校長が流ちょうな英語で先ず挨拶、続いてマクドナルド奨学資金支援の会により第5回米国短期留学生として米国アストリア市(オレゴン州)とスポケン市(ワシントン州)へ派遣された利尻高校2年生の平沼 迅君と佐藤真恋さんが交互に留学研修報告を英語で行った。次に私は世界中で知られているハンバーガーチェーンの道化者、ロナルド・マクドナルドと異なる「Real MacDonald」と題して、ラナルド・マクドナルドの紹介と彼の功績をパワーポイントを使って英語で紹介、続いて、在米50余年の体験に基ずく・・・利尻高校生達へのアドバイス的メッセージとして、「将来の夢も希望も良いが、最も大事なのは“現在”に熱中・目の前の事に集中する事!という自己の座右の銘を日本語で説き、家内アリスが「世界は広い、時には、マクドナルドの冒険心を見習い、自分のComfort Zoneから脱出を!」と英語でフォローした。講演の最後は、北海学園大学経営学部教授の内藤 永(ひさし)博士が「グローバルに見て、考えて、行動しよう」と題して、新たな“グローカル時代”到来の説明と生徒達への指針を「日本国内で学び、マスターした!」という見事な英語で解説、進言した。

当日、利尻高校講堂を埋めたのは同校全生徒以外にも、来賓としてご臨席なされたラナルド・マクドナルド奨学基金支援の会の古川恭司会長、黒川健一事務局長、西谷榮治事務局次長、利尻町教育委員会の小杉和樹教育長等であった。その他にも、北海道教育庁教育支援課高等学校指導班指導主事の方々や仙法志小学校の船木校長や沓形小学校の高橋教頭を含む、稚内高校、豊富高校、枝幸高校、礼文高校、利尻町立利尻中学校等諸校の先生方、及びご父兄の方たちであり、盛況であった。