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Gates Ajar June. 2020 Vol.32 No.1 ~ Following in the Footsteps of our Illustrious Ancestor: Ranald MacDonald by Emily Cole

Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Ranald MacDonald was the first son of Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Factor Archibald McDonald. Our mother, Jean Murray Cole, Archibald MacDonald’s great-great granddaughter, has written extensively about both Archibald and Ranald. My sister Catherine and I were raised on stories of their adventures.


Cole sisters at MacDonald Monument, Rishiri Island

On August 25, 2019, we travelled to Rishiri Island to see where Ranald landed in 1848.

Catherine lives in Edmonton, Alberta and works as a heritage consultant. I live in Toronto, Ontario and where I work as a lawyer. We flew from our respective homes in Canada and met at the Sapporo airport to board the plane to Rishiri Island.

Mr. Eiji Nishiya welcomed us at the Rishiri Island airport, and that evening we met with him and two teachers from Rishiri High SchView "Emily and Toshi at the peak 2019"ool, Mr. Toshi Kano and Ms. Mayumi Nakanishi, to discuss our itinerary for the next few days. The next day Mr. Nishiya and Catherine hiked Mount Pon (444M) and Mr. Kano and I climbed to the peak of Rishiri Fuji (1790 M). Catherine and I enjoyed the onsen in the hotel that evening. 

            Mr. Nishiya gave us a tour of the Island by car on our second day on Rishiri; we visited Ranald MacDonald’s landing place with the monument commemorating his arrival as well as the place where he was imprisoned. We were quite moved as we stood on the beach. It was a windy day and we could imagine how Ranald felt as he navigated his small boat towards the island. We each collected a stone from the landing place as a memento. Mr. Nishiya also introduced us to some local fisher-people who were preparing sea urchins they had harvested. They cracked one open and invited us to taste the fresh uni. Mr. Nishiya collected a glass float from near their cabin for each of us to take home as a souvenir. Little did we know this would not be our last fishing experience on Rishiri.  Later that afternoon, we visited Rishiri High School where we were greeted by the Principal and Vice Principal. We were surprised to learn that the school has 71 students and 24 teachers. This is a very high ratio of teachers to students compared to North America. We then went to Ms. Nakanishi’s classroom of students aged 15-16 years old. Catherine gave a PowerPoint presentation to the students about Ranald’s early life and his later years in North America. Several of the students gave presentations about Japanese culture and food and Rishiri Island flowers. They presented us with beautiful cream puffs and a local drink so that we could sample Japanese sweets. They then asked us questions about Canada. We gave the students tokens of our appreciation: Canadian flag pins and Hudson Bay Company bookmarks. That evening Mr. Nishiya, Mr. Kano and Ms. Nakanishi joined us for dinner at the Rishiri Island Inn. The next day, we visited the museum in the morning and went sea kayaking in the afternoon. To our surprise, we were not paddling, but fishing in the Sea of Japan!  Catherine caught a 14 kilogram hamachi fish. We took the hamachi to our hotel in hopes the chef would prepare it for us. The hotel declined so Mr. Nishiya took the fish to a sushi restaurant. That evening we talked about how fortunate we were to have started our first visit in Japan on Rishiri Island and experience the warm and generous hospitality of our host Mr. Nishiya, Mr. Kano and Ms. Nakanishi.  

We met at the hotel on the morning of our last day on the island. Mr. Nishiya and Mr. Kano took us out for ramen at the famous restaurant. It was a very stormy day and we wondered whether we, like Ranald, would remain on Rishiri but went to the airport and were able to fly to Sapporo, connect to Kyoto and, after a week of meetings, eventually Tokyo.  We met Ranald MacDonald scholars, Mr. Yuji Aisaka and Ms. Yuko Imanishi, for dinner at a restaurant on the Kamo River in Kyoto.  We also met Profs. Toshi Tanaka and Norie Yazu of the Japanese Association for Canadian Studies and enjoyed tori-suki at a restaurant in Tokyo.  

We look forward to a future visit when we’ll be able to go to Nagasaki to follow that chapter of Ranald’s story. On return to Canada, Catherine spoke to the Japanese-Canadian Seniors Group in Edmonton about our experience and they were very interested to learn about Ranald’s life. Next year is the 40th anniversary of the sister province relationship between Hokkaido and Alberta.

We really appreciated the generous hospitality extended to us by all of the people who hosted us on Rishiri Island, in Kyoto and in Tokyo. We hope to continue to build relationships with our friends in Japan through Ranald’s story and look forward to our next visit.   

     ~~ Emily Cole


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。



Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

The following reports (in Japanese) were written by two students from Rishiri High School, Yuto Shima and Haruno Tsutsumi,  and their foreign language teacher, Junichiro Miyamoto, after completing their visitation to Spokane and Toroda, Washington and Portland and Astoria, Oregon, spending 5 days in each State.  They visited the grave site of Ranald MacDonald near Toroda, Washington and attended classes at Colville High School in Republic, Washington with other local students. They were guided by a long- time member of FOM and the author of the book “Unsung Hero”, Atsumi Tsukimori McCauley of Spokane, WA.  Next the three flew to Portland where they were joined by Rishiri H.S. Principle, Mr. Tsubokawa, and the PTA President, Mr. Yoshida. The five were guided by FOM Chairman Mas Yatabe to meet with Council General of Japan in Portland, Kojiro Uchiyama, who gave the two students’ self-introduction speeches in English a high grade of “A” as if they were his students, which made Principal Tsubokawa, Foreign Language teacher, Mr. Miyamoto and Mr. Yoshida, the PTA President very happy.   The five from Rishiri were driven by Chairman Yatabe to Astoria where they visited the birth place monument of Ranald MacDonald and later they were taken to Astoria High School where the students met host families and the Principle of Astoria High School, Mr. Lynn Jackson.  Although their stays in Washington and Oregon were short, they, in particular the students, learned a great deal about the diverse nature of the people and the culture of US, and the independence of US students compared their Japanese counterparts.  Both students were very appreciative of the host students’ and their families’ kindness in Republic, Washington and in Astoria. Oregon.  

マクドナルド短期留学研修を終えて 北海道利尻高等学校 

2 年 A 組志摩祐斗 


私が感じた日本とアメリカの違いは、アメリカ人は日本人より自立しているということです。アメリカの高校生の多くは免許が16歳で取得できるため、自分で車を運転して登下校をしていました。その  他にもホームステイ先の5歳の子が自分の部屋を持っていて夜は1人で寝ていました。このように現地の人は日本人よりも自立していて、その分高校生になると自分で責任を取らないといけないことも増え  るので、日本人よりも大変になるのではないかと考えました。


ホームステイ先では多くのおもてなしや気遣いをしていただき ました。おやすみやおはようなどの日本語を覚えて使ってくれたり、お土産の箸を使ってくれたりしました。また、私が卓球部だと言うと、卓球場に連れて行ってくれました。このようにアメリカ人はサービス精神が日本人よりも多く、ホームステイではとても有意義な時間を過ごすことができました。


今回の短期留学では日本の良さを再確認することもできました。アメリカでは空港の椅子が食べ物で汚れていたり教室の  床に本がちらばっていたりしました。その他にもゴミの分別がなかったりコンビニが近くになかったりと、日本ではあまり考えられないようなことが普通に行われていました。このようなことを通して清潔で環境が良く、安全な日本はやはり良いところだと感じました。



マクドナルド短期留学研修を終えて北海道利尻高等学校 2 年 A 組堤春乃

中学生の頃からの目標だったこの短期留学。事前研修が進むにつれ、アメリカに行くという実感が湧いてきました。これまではただただ楽し みなことしか考えていませんでしたが、期待と同時に不安な気持ちにもなってしまいました。しかしいざ飛行機に乗ってアメリカの土地に足を踏み入れてみると、不思議なことに不安が一瞬で払拭されました。「たくさん学びたい。たくさん楽しみたい。いい思い出を作りたい。」あの頃からずっと憧れていたことがいまこの瞬間に叶っているんだ、と思うと自然と強い自分になれました。振り返ると、私の夢の時間はあっという間に終わってしまいました。


ってくれた子に、「日本人は文を書くときにひらがな・カタカナ・漢字の 3 つを使うんだよ」と私の名前を使いながらそれぞれ紹介しました。するとその子は「私の名前を漢字で書いて」と要求してきました。当然書くことはできなかったのですが、私たちが普段当たり前と思っていることがそうではないことを身をもって感じられた出来事でした。文化・言語の違い、人との出会いや新たな発見をできたからこそ、心から楽しむことができたのだと思います。


優しい家族の下でホームステイできたことをとても嬉しく思います。テレビで放送されているアメリカンフットボールの試合を全員で応援したり、ハロウィンのためにジャックオランタンを作ったり  と、初めての体験もさせていただけました。この短期間で多くの思い出を残すことができ、ホストファミリーの方々の気遣いや優しさ、心の温かさなど素敵な人間性を感じられる大切な時間となりました。

そして、現地で日本人のあやのという女の子に出逢えたことは、私の人生の強い支えになったと思い  ます。彼女は私の1軒目のホームステイ先に8月から交換留学生としてホームステイしていました。同い年にもかかわらず家族のもとを離れて1人で外国に飛び立ち、自らの力を使ってアメリカでの生活を送っている彼女のたくましさに圧倒されました。そんな彼女が大切にしている言葉を教えてくれました。

『YOLO(You Only Live Once)』。人生一度きり、という意

味があります。彼女はその言葉を支えに過ごしているそうです。たった 2、3 日しか一緒にいられませんでしたが、同じ日本人で同じ年齢で同じ性別の彼女の存在は、この人生で決して忘れることはないだろうと思います。滞在中は自分自身を客観視できる場面が多々ありました。自分の足りない部分や欠けている部分を見つめ直すことで、向上心をあげることに繋がり、自然と意欲的  になっていったように思います。なんとなく過ごしていた時間も視線を少し変えてみるだけで何か生ま れてくるものがある、とこの研修を通して気づかされました。アメリカでは月森さんと谷田部さんにとてもお世話になりました。街の紹介や車での移動だけでなく、知らない土地で右も左も分からない私たちの心の拠り所にもなっていただいたように思います。またマクドナルド友の会会長の古川さんや歴史研究家の西谷さんをはじめとするたくさんの方々や両町のご支援、そして温かく見送ってくれた家族に心から感謝しています。私がこうして目標を一つ達成できたのは、周りの支えがあったからだと実感しました。



マクドナルド短期留学研修を終えて北海道利尻高等学校       外国語科教諭          宮本順一郎


人生において経験しておくべきことが無数にあるが、海外へ行くこともその一つと言えよう。十代後半、しかもこの短期留学のために英検の勉強をしてきた二名にとってはベストタイミングである。私の ような四十代の者が想像するより遥かに多くのものを得ていることは、二人が語らずとも雰囲気から感じ取ることができる。この短期留学がかくも刺激に満ちたものであることに、帰国して初めて気付かされたのである。


二人の成長が垣間見えるエピソードをご紹介して、ご支援を頂いている皆さんの御恩に僅かでも報いる ことができれば幸甚である。

ワシントン州でのホームステイを終え、ポートラン ドに向かった。到着して昼食を取った後、在ポートランド領事事務所へ。そこで二人はそれぞれ、内山浩二郎総領事(写真中央)に英語でスピーチを行なったが、実に立派なスピーチであった。私なんぞ、日本 語でもあれほどのスピーチはできない。内山総領事からは「ABCの3段階で『A』」を頂戴した。大したものである。短期留学期間中、最も緊張を強いられた時間だったのではなかろうか。そして、これほど改まった場で外国語を話す機会は、極めて稀有なことである。二人の人生において、実に大きな財産になったと信じる。

そして、帰国後、在札幌米国総領事館へ行き、ハービー・ビーズリー広報・文化交流担当領事(写真左) と面会する機会を設けていただいた。言うべき内容を頭に入れ、ビーズリー領事に向かってスピーチをする二人だったが、領事は文ごとに合いの手をお入れになったり、質問をなさったりする。これは二人にとって想定外のことであった。無論、私にとっても想定外。内心、「これは厳しい」と思っていた。しかし、そこで展開されたのは、領事とのやり取りを楽しむ二人の姿であった。日本語も交える心配りをなさるビーズリー領事には、帰国間もない我々を労うかのように、心地よい時間を提供して頂いた。さて、この短期留学に並々ならぬご尽力をいただいているのが、コーディネーターのお二方である。最初に行ったスポケーンでお世話になったのが月森愛鶴美さん、その後、ポートランドでお世話になったのが谷田部勝さんである。お二方の善意がどれほどのものか語りつくすことができない。私のような人見知りをする人間には、意気投合する人がそう現れるものではない。しかしアメリカで出会うことになるとは予想だにしていなかった。それが月森さん(写真右)である。人見知りはするが図々しい私は「お母さん」と呼び、この上なく寛容な月森さんはそれを許してくれた(と解釈している)。人間観察眼があまりに鋭く、自分でも気づかない一面を指摘されたときは、ぐうの音も出なかった。メールの最後に、「アメリカンマザー」と書いてくださる月森さん。たった数日で、本当に多くのことを教えていただいた。谷田部さん(写真中央)とは、吉田PTA会長と本校校長も合わせた4人でご一緒させていただい た。道中いろいろと解説を交え、ありとあらゆるところにご案内いただいた。とにかく博識である。お陰でアメリカの自然を堪能することができ、その雄大さにただただ気圧されるばかりであった。レスリングをされていたタフガイとは言え、かなりご無理をお願いしたような気がしてならない。11月6日、ご子息が結婚式を挙げられたとの由。翌日、「息子の結婚式はお陰様で晴天に恵まれラッキーでした。」とのメールを頂戴した。慶賀に堪えない私は、記して谷田部さんとご子息のご多幸を皆さんとともに祈念したいと思う。

幸運にも、お二方とは胸襟を開いて本短期留学事業について議論する場面があった。厳しいご意見を   頂いたのも確かである。しかし、そのいずれも、お二方が本事業に精力を傾注なさっているからこそ聞くことができるものであり、また生産的なものであった。ほかの誰よりも、本事業の発展を望んでおられるのである。それにお応えできるものにする義務を学校側は負っていると痛感している。

一生忘れることのできない機会を二人に与えていただいた。そこで得た経験を糧にして、周囲の人た    ちより一層研鑽を重ね、自らを育てていかなければならないと二人には伝えたい。そして皆さんには、二人を温かく見守り、お力添えをお願い申し上げる次第である。


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.

Students trace MacDonald back to Astoria

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Japanese teens learn about famous resident’s birthplace ~ By Edward Stratton, The DAILY ASTORIAN,  Oct. 9, 2013

Ranald MacDonald, an Astoria native born at Fort George, landed on the Japanese island of Rishiri 165 years ago, and became the first English teacher in Japan.  During October 2013, two students from Rishiri Public High School visited Astoria to improve their English skills and understanding of MacDonald’s birthplace. They departed for other locations in Washington before heading back to Japan.

Tatsuya Koujiya and Yuuki Komatsu, both 17, arrived in Astoria Oct. 6 with their principal, Hiroyuki Tsukamoto.

“The purpose of it is to encourage the students to learn English and nurture international-minded youth,” said Masaru Yatabe, chairman of the 25-year-old Friends of MacDonald and host and interpreter for the students during their visit to the U.S.

The Japanese newspaper Daily Souya reported Dec. 11 that the communities on Rishiri Island, namely Rishiri and Rishirifuji, established the MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund, encouraging students to learn English. One or two top students will be chosen each year from their English-language class and travel to Oregon and Washington to experience American life and encourage their English-language skills.

Tatsuya and Yuuki are the first recipients of the fund. They passed a standardized English test, wrote theses in Japanese about what their goals were during the visit and were interviewed by their principal, vice principal and English teacher.

Tatsuya, a senior at Rishiri, said he was hurt and unable to play for his school’s badminton team. So he looked into the study abroad fund and thought it would contribute to his future. Yuuki, who had never left Japan before, works part time at a restaurant and wants to improve his language skills for when he helps foreign customers.

Yuuki and Tatsuya moved in with the families of 15-year-old sophomores Clay Williams and Ben Williams, respectively (they are not related). They’ve been shadowing their hosts in class, visiting local tourist attractions and the MacDonald monument near Fort George. They also attended a 15-6 AHS junior varsity football victory in Tillamook.

Rishiri’s high school has 96 students compared with AHS’ more than 600. Yuuki said at first it was overwhelming, but that over time Ben and Clay have introduced him and Tatsuya to other students, and that they’ve been enjoying the last couple of days despite the language barrier.

“Anyone going to a new place would feel kind of … nervous and quiet,” said Ben Williams, who along with Clay Williams said their Japanese peers are particularly polite. “The language sometimes is a little bit of a problem.”

The relative freedom and individuality of AHS was something new to Tatsuya and Yuuki, who said their high school environment in Rishiri is much more controlled with a focus on group action.

“Sometimes we feel like we lack the structure, so it’s the meeting of the minds,” said AHS Principal Lynn Jackson about the differences.

The two students and their principal left for Spokane, Wash., this morning, bound ultimately for Republic, Wash., where MacDonald died in 1894. Yatabe said they’ll shadow more students at Curlew High School in northeastern Washington, pay respects at MacDonald’s graveside and visit Mukogawa Women’s University in Spokane, Wash.  Then they will spend two days getting back to Rishiri, traveling through Spokane, Seattle, Tokyo, Sapporo, Japan, and finally home.


Happy 2014 A Little Bit Late

Friday, January 31st, 2014

2014 is already approaching February! I sincerely hope the beginning of everyone’s year has been smooth and that you all are in good health and that the year ahead will be everything you want it to be.


At 3:00 p.m. on October 6th, 2013 three Japanese – along with several Americans – were at Fort Astoria (Ft. George) National Historic Site. The three were gazing at the stone monument entitled “The Birth Place of Ranald MacDonald”. The scene was not unusual, but it was quite historic! 時は2013年10月6日午後3時、数人のアメリカ人に混ざって3人の日本人がFort Astoria 史跡公園を訪れていた。3人はその一遇に建つ「マクドナルド生誕の地」と刻まれた石碑に見入っていた。それ自体珍しい光景ではなかったが、それは大変歴史的な出来事であった。

Ranald MacDonald was born at Fort Astoria (Fort George) on February 3, 1824 the son of Archibald McDonald and Princess Sunday, a daughter of Chinook Indian Chief. In 1848, Ranald – a grown to be a strong 24 year-old sailor – succeeded in landing on an a small island in the Sea of Japan off northern- most Hokkaido. At that time it was generally regarded as an unattainable venture to enter Japan; however, with the careful planning of a “faked shipwreck”, Ranald was saved by Ainu people and the result was a successful landing onto Japanese soil. Soon after that, Ranald was arrested as an unlawful intruder and was transported to Nagasaki under “house arrest” at Daihian, where the translators of Dejima were taught English by Ranald. That is why Ranald is regarded as the first Native English Teacher in Japan. ラナルド・マクドナルドは、スコットランド人アーチボルド・マクドナルドを父に、チヌーク族族長の娘、プリンセス・サンデーを母とし、ここFort Astoria (Fort George) で1824年2月3日に産声をあげた。そして1848年、24歳のたくましい船員に成長したラナルドは北海道北端の日本海に浮かぶ利尻島への単独上陸に成功した。当時鎖国令を敷いていた日本への入国は無謀・・・と思われていたが、ラナルドは緻密な計画に従い遭難を偽装、かけつけたアイヌに救助され、結果的に目的を果たしたのだった。しかし、その後不法入国者・・・として幕府に捕えられ長崎へ護送された後、座敷牢大悲庵に幽閉されたが、そこで出島の通詞達に英語を教えた事が今日マクドナルドを「日本で最初のネイティブ英語教師」と位置付けている所以である。

The three Japanese at Fort Astoria were two students, Yuuki Komatsu and Tatsuya Koujiya of Rishiri High School and their principle, Mr. Hiroyuki Tsukamoto. The three had arrived at Portland International Airport a day earlier, October 5, 2013. So it was that 165 years since Ranald landed on Rishiri Island, three people from Rishiri came to visit Astoria, the birth place of Ranald MacDonald. There are only two towns on Rishiri Island: Rishiri-cho and Rishirifuji-cho. In December 2012 the citizens, the businesses and other groups in both towns got together and established “A Support Group for MacDonald Scholarship Funds” in order to support the only high school on the Island, Rishiri Senior High School. The objective is to send a few students annually to the US, in particular, to Oregon and Washington states, where Ranald had close ties – and thus encourage students to study English and assist students to acquire an International mind and etiquette”. The next few pages are copies of newspaper articles, photos and the comments by Yuuki-kun and Tatsuya-kun from Rishiri Senior High School:

Fort Astoria に居た3人の日本人は北海道利尻高校から前日(10月5日)ポートランド国際空港に到着した留学生の小松祐希君及び糀屋達也君と付添いの塚本宏之校長先生であった。オレゴニアン、ラナルド・マクドナルドが利尻島に上陸して以来、実に165年間を経た2013年に利尻島からの3人はラナルドの生誕地、アストリアへやって来たのであった。利尻島内には利尻町及び利尻富士町という2つの町が在るが両町の町民や企業、団体が島の将来の為協力し同島内唯一の利尻高校を支援し元気付けようと2012年12月に「マクドナルド奨学基金支援の会」を立ち上げた。その趣旨は毎年何人かの利尻高校生を米国(特にマクドナルドゆかりの地、オレゴンとワシントン州)へ短期留学させ、生徒達の英語学習欲を促し、同時に国際感覚養成に役立てるというものだった。 以下、小松君及び糀屋君のオレゴン及びワシントン州への第1回留学に関する新聞記事や写真、両君の感想等を掲載させて頂く:

ご報告: 2013年5月11日のFOM年次総会席上ご承認頂きました「FOMよりマクドナルド奨学基金    支援の会への寄付10口分として¥50,000」を実行致しました。

Report: We have donated 50,000 yen to The MacDonald Scholarship Fund in Rishiri Island from FOM General Funds per approval during the annual luncheon meeting in Astoria on May 11, 2013.

FOM Chairman 谷田部 勝/Masaru “Mas” Yatabe

* * * * *

朝日新聞 Asahi Shimbun

Asahi Shimbun

Our Overall Impressions

3年 小松 祐希/Yuuki Komatsu, Senior

僕は今回、アメリカ研修留学に行って本当によかったと思っています。 それは、たくさんの人に出会い、たくさんの事を学び、広く視野を広げることが出来たからです。ですが、1つ後悔をした事が在ります。それは「もっと英語の勉強をしておけばよかった」ということです。 アメリカでの生活の中で1番困ったのが「英会話」でした。あまり英語が話せなくても楽しく8日間をすごすことができましたが、ちゃんと英語が話せればもっともっと楽しく充実した8日間になったのかな。と思うととても悔しく思いました。来年度からもこの事業が続いて行くという事なので、次回の留学生には僕のように後悔をせず心からアメリカでの生活を楽しんできてもらいたいです。なので、学校での英語勉強の徹底をした方がいいと思いました。このような体験ができたのもマクドナルド奨学金支援の会の方々や利尻町、利尻富士町両町のご支援ご協力があったからです。今回学んだことを残りの高校生活、そして卒業後の学生生活に活かしていこうと思います。この度は、本当にありがとうございました。

I am truly glad that I went to America to study this time. It enabled me to meet many people, learn many things and gave me a broader perspective. However, I do have one regret: I should have studied English harder. The most troublesome thing for me was English conversation. It made me feel sorry when I realized the 8 days would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had had better command of English – even though those 8 days were fun days. I understand that this program will continue on to next year and beyond; I hope future participants will enjoy the experience fully and without regret. Therefore, it will be a good idea to make sure the student(s) study English seriously and with diligence. I was able to have this valuable experience because of the assistance and cooperation of the people of ‘MacDonald Scholarship Fund Support Group’ and the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji. I intend to apply and utilize what I learned to the rest of my High School life and my life after graduation. Thank you very much.

2年 糀屋 達也/Tatsuya Koujiya, Junior


Studying abroad was a very good experience for me and visiting America for the first time gave me many surprises. I will always remember going to school in America and exchanging ideas with the students I met. The most enjoyable thing was to go to class together (with American students) even though we had language difficulty and had to depend on our hands and body gestures a lot for communication. I was alone among foreigners for a few days during the home stay, and I gained confidence in myself when I was able to work out a problem by myself. In the future I hope I can apply the worldwide perspective which I gained through experiencing the cultural differences between Japan and America during the study tour, experiences I could not have enjoyed had I stayed in Japan. Last, but not least, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the people of the Towns of Rishiri and Rishirifuji and the members of ‘MacDonald Scholarship’ funds. If I could go again next year, I would love to.

MacDonald Scholarship Established on Rishiri

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

The “Daily Souya” newspaper, dated Dec. 11, 2012, reports that a scholarship fund named “MacDonald’s Encouragement  Study Fund” has been established on Rishiri Island.  A committee to support and manage the Fund has also been formed with Mr. Kyoji Furukawa as its first President.  Since the beginning of 2012 the leaders of Rishiri Island held a series of meetings intended to get the ground work done for devising a scholarship fund which would benefit the students of the only public high school on the island and in particular to encourage them to study English.  One or two top students will be chosen from the  English-language class and will be sent to America – to Oregon and/or Washington – to experience American life and to further encourage their English language skills.  The program hopes to nurture the type of “internationally-minded person” who will become a human asset to Rishiri Island and will help to sustain the prosperous and happy life-style of Rishiri Island.  Committee members hope that this program will encourage more students to attend Rishiri Public High School [whose student body is in decline].  We at Friends of MacDonald happily and enthusiastically go “on record” in fully supporting the “MacDonald’s Encouragement Study Fund” and it’s exchange program.

For those of you who are interested in assisting this fledgling program by either donating funds or hosting a student from Rishiri – or both – please contact Friends of MacDonald at amm@friendsofmacdonald.com .

Spring Wildflowers of Rishiri Island

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
2012-05-06-kijimushirophotos by Eiji Nishiya

‘ kijimushiro ‘

Potentilla fragarioides is a member of the Rosaceae family that is native to China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia.  The stem is boiled for use as a hemostatic in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  D-Catechin has been isolated as the agent of action, being used to stem bleeding after childbirth.


‘ ezo-engosaku ‘  

Corydalis ambigua This plant is a perennial herb from the poppy family that grows in the deciduous broad-leaved forest. It blooms from April to May before other taller plants and trees start to bud. An array of colored flowers cover the forest floor in blue, purple, maroon and white. The flowers can be seen from the Maruyama Path leading towards Sapporo city mountain-climbing area, Asahikawa City, Niseko Town, Rishiri Town and many other places in Hokkaido. Chemicals present in Corydalis ambigua have been studied as potential ways to increase pain tolerance and for treating drug addiction.  It is one of the 50 traditional herbs used in Chinese medicine.


‘ hime-ichige ‘

Anemone debilis or Anemonoides debilis, sometimes called the European Thimbleweed, probably due to the shape of the seed cluster.  These flowers can be really small:

2012-05-06-himeichige-2this is tiny!

A pilgrimage …

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

RISHIRI: A Pilgrimage … I want to say right now that I love Rishiri Island.  A few FOM members have already written about their visits to various ‘Ranald-related places’ in Japan, and I was thrilled that, late in 2011, I got to go, too. This was a trip nearly two years in the making in part because of the sheer number of people and places we wanted to see while in Japan, but thankfully everything came together more or less as planned, and in late October we arrived at Wakkanai on the north-western tip of Hokkaido where we were met by our friend and long-time FOM member, Yamazaki-san, who, though he lives in Ebetsu, a suburb of Sapporo and a good 6-hour drive from Wakkanai, insisted on driving up to join us on the first leg of our journey – a two-day stay on Rishiri Island. It was our intent to spend time exploring Rishiri Island before catching the ferry back to Wakkanai and returning to Sapporo via Yamazaki-san’s car.  [More about this later…]


Our passage from Hokkaido to Rishiri was uneventful – just the way most people like their ocean travel to be.  The Sea of Japan was calm as we stood out on the narrow, windy deck and watched the silhouette of Rishiri-Fuji grow larger and more detailed as we approached, commenting to each other that this was the same mountain peak Ranald set his sights upon as he struggled to maneuver his small, unwieldy boat closer to land on that long-ago July morning.  There are, in fact, real similarities between the appearance of Rishiri-Fuji and Mt. Hood – the mountain of Ranald’s childhood – although whether this had any effect on Ranald  [e.g., did he also see the resemblance between the two peaks?] only he himself could say.  In my own humble opinion, by the time he got close enough to Rishiri Island to make out the details, I would venture that Ranald really didn’t care what Mt. Rishiri looked like – he simply wanted to find a place to safely “castaway”.

Mr. Eiji Nishiya, the dedicated and enthusiastic curator of the Rishiri Town Museum, met us when we docked – camera in hand, of course.  [We know many good photographers, but I have to say that Mr. Nishiya takes his photography seriously, and I am always excited to open his newest emails to see what treasures he has sent us.]  Mr. Nishiya took us on a brief drive along the ocean before delivering us to our initial destination – a modest western-style, “beachside” hotel that served breakfast and dinner and had its own in-house ‘onsen’.  I’ve put the word “beachside” in quotation marks because, as far as I saw, there are no beaches on Rishiri Island, at least not the sandy kind; in fact, the shoreline reminded me very much of the Oregon Coast between the Sea Lion Caves and Seal Rock, where barely-eroded basalt flows meet the Pacific Ocean. Consequently, Rishiri felt very much like home to me [I grew up on the Oregon coast] and I spent much of the following days trying to convince Mr. Y. that it might be nice to immigrate to Rishiri sometime in the future.  Even the storm that moved in overnight could not change my mind . . .

We were awakened the next morning by the sound of wind and rain against our window, but we are Oregonians and a little wind and rain is nothing to us.  Mr. Nishiya was ready for us and by mid-morning we were happily rummaging through the Ranald MacDonald exhibit at the Rishiri Town Museum.  All three of us were impressed by the number and quality of the exhibits, ranging from artifacts of the Ainu First Peoples to the subsequent influence of the Japanese who eventually displaced them, a creditable natural history exhibit of common and indigenous flora and [stuffed] fauna, a section devoted to the local industry of fishing and sea-farming and – of course – a well-placed and very well organized area devoted to none other than Ranald MacDonald.  We could have easily and quite happily spent a few days examining Mr. Nishiya’s own private stash of MacDonald treasures, but arrangements had been made for Mr. Nishiya and Mr. Yatabe to give a brief presentation about Friends of MacDonald to the student body of one of the two island junior high schools – and we were all pleased and gratified that, once they had heard the incredible true story of Ranald MacDonald the First English Teacher in Japan, the kids were genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about “their” local hero.

Next we loaded into Mr. Nishiya’s car and drove around the whole, rocky island.  Except for the difference in temperature [and the lack of palm trees!] I could have almost imagined myself on Maui, again because of the abundance of basalt and ancient lava flows.  In fact, more than a few of the rocks had names – “Neguma no Iwa” [Sleeping Bear Rock] and “Jimmen Iwa” [The Rock Face] are just two examples. Mt. Rishiri is extinct – its last eruption is estimated to have been in 5830 BC – give or take 300 years – and erosion has produced an extremely rugged topography, but the wind and the waves have not yet been able to break all that basalt down into sand.  This includes Notsuka Cove, where it is believed that Ranald first set foot on Rishiri; marginally protected from the elements, it is still used today by local fishermen.  Like every other Pilgrim to that place, we stood and gazed out over the Sea of Japan and tried to imagine how it had been for him.  And then, again like the others before me, I bent down to pick up a rock – to bring back to Toroda as an offering, perhaps?  I found several, and even pocketed a couple, but something made me keep looking.  I was soon rewarded by a flash of turquoise between the wet stones – a piece of glass float, broken and tumbled by the waves.  Of course, Ranald never saw any glass floats while he was in Japan – Japan didn’t start using the glass floats until 1910.


Before visiting Notsuka Cove we went to see the monuments memorializing Ranald’s exploits.  The first has Ranald’s likeness and calligraphy of an excerpt from the novel “Umi no Sairei (海の祭礼)” (pub. 1986) by Akira Yoshimura (吉村 昭). The book became a sensation in Japan.  There has been some confusion about the larger of the two monuments: in photos it looks as though there are two separate stones, but it is an illusion created by the way the granite is polished.  This is, in fact, a single monument.  The second monument on the left in the photo has the following inscription by Professor Emeritus of University of Hokkaido, Jyukichi Suzuki (鈴木重吉名誉教授) [Prof. Suzuki was born on Rishiri Island]:

In 1848 ‘Kaei 1’ Ranald MacDonald born in Oregon reached ‘Notsuka’ pretending to be a shipwrecked sailar (sic). He felt deep racial connections with Japan across the Pacific although he knew of her total seclusion from the outside world.  Inevitable he was arrested and sent to Nagasaki via Soya and Matsumae.  During his imprisonment in Japan he did his best for mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples transcending the language barrier.  Five years later when Comm. Perry came to force open the closed doors of Japan, MacDonald’s former students at Nagasaki Einosuke Moriyama and others played an important role as interpreters. Thus Ranald enjoys the honor of being the first formal teacher of English and indirectly a father of modernizing Japan.

rishiri-lion-danceLater that evening we were treated to a very private practice session of  a Kirin Shishi-Mai (麒麟獅子舞) conducted by some local residents, including Mr. Nishiya – who plays the Japanese bamboo flute.  During a short break in the practice one of the men looked at us and grinned broadly. “No ferry tomorrow, too stormy!” he said with a laugh.  “100% no ferry!”  We all looked at each other in disbelief – would they actually cancel the only ferry back to Wakkanai?  We had a plane to catch in Sapporo, and a tight itinerary to follow!  Luckily we managed to get the last two seats in the very rear of the daily prop-jet flight from Rishiri Island to Sapporo [which, we later found out, is also frequently cancelled due to weather]. Sadly, we had to leave Mr. Yamazaki behind, promising that we would indeed drive down the western coast of Hokkaido with him on another day. . .