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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。



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.




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。