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the ambassadorTHE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN JAPAN SPRING 2010

OLearys
egg
last

drop
6
contents
cover story
A Good Egg 6
As John OLeary prepares to leave ASIJ after 32 years of teaching,
we look back on his time here.

features
14 Headmasters Message 3
Headmaster Carr says Sayonara ASIJ.

Modern Master 14
Profiling alumnus architect Vladimir Ossipoff 26 who became a leading
exponent of the tropical modernist style.

A 20th Century Close Encounter 20


Scholar Karen Severns looks at the connection between
Frank Lloyd Wright and ASIJ.

30 Game On 24
Brian Nelson 85 on how his middle school sons and their friend
created a computer game.

Earth Child 28
A look at how middle schooler Mark McNeil helped launch
Earth Hour at ASIJ.

Easy Riders 30
Miles Bird 08 on his summer adventure working on a microfinance
project in Bangladesh.

SPRING 2010 the ambassador 1


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MESSAGE HEADMASTERS MESSAGE

Editor | Director of Communications


Matt Wilce

Art Director
Francine Flora

Headmaster
Timothy Carr
Q&A 34
Director, Center for
School-Community Partnership
An interview with Vikas Swarup, author of Q&A, the source of
Tim Thornton the smash hit movie Slumdog Millionaire.
Alumni Relations | Communications
Andrea Booth With Flying Colors 38
Data Officer
Kanako Sato
James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers, speaks to the High School.
Sayonara ASIJ
alumni section

W
hile cycling home from the Yokota track meet along things in the beginning of its second century of existence. ASIJ just
the ambassador the Tama River this past weekend, I had one of needed a clear vision for the foreseeable future.
is published by the Center for Imperial Honors 40
those moments when I wondered why we decided Gathering stakeholders from our entire community, including
School-Community Partnership, Bruce Brenn 53 receives the Order of the Rising Sun,
The American School in Japan. to leave Japan. A beautiful sunset seeped through the clouds students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and even local barbers
Gold Rays with Rosette. and illuminated the river. Cherry blossoms framed the panoramic and soba shop managers, we asked everyone about their dreams
ASIJ alumni, families, faculty and
picture with their delicate beauty. I was reminded by the scene in for ASIJ. These were duly recorded, synthesized and analyzed.
friends receive the ambassador.
We solicit your comments and Upcoming Class Reunions 42 The Last Samurai when the fallen warrior breathed his last and After many such communication loops and lots of hard work by
encourage you to submit ideas and A look at this summers upcoming reunions and events said, Perfect. Ill add this moment along the river to the trove of the Vision Committee, ASIJs dreams were sharply articulated and
articles for consideration.
wonderful memories of our time in Tokyo and at ASIJ. deadlines for their realization were identified. While building upon
Truthfully, I dont feel ready to reflect on the last seven years, as the many accomplishments of the past, we wrote a robust action
Letters and inquiries may Class Agent List 44
be addressed to: Ive been asked to do. Its only April, and weve got the crescendo plan which was designed to energize the entire school community
of events that mark the conclusion of the school year yet to go. and ensure ASIJs leadership among international schools in the
the editor, In Memoriam 46 However, Im reminded that the Head of School often has the job of future. The plan focuses all of our efforts on maximizing student
the ambassador,
The American School in Japan, chief story teller, so regardless of my readiness, it is time to begin learning, encourages bridge building with our host culture,
1-1-1 Nomizu, Chofu-shi , to tell the tale. More chapters will be forthcoming in various venues shifts ASIJs core instructional culture to one of collaboration and
Tokyo 182-0031, Japan.
and media, and the history may be written long after Ive gone. articulates a guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students.
Tel: 81-422-34-5300, ext.700
Fax: 81-422-34 5304 After accepting the ASIJ Headmaster job, my first formal Five years after launching the plan, we can declare victory on
Email: communications@asij.ac.jp introduction to ASIJ was at its last big birthday partythe virtually all fronts. While making many important improvements,
http://community.asij.ac.jp
final centennial celebration in San Francisco in June 2003. Ray weve preserved what was distinctive about ASIJ through its
Downs and Peter Cooper offered speeches and I gave my first first 100 years: living our mission of developing compassionate,
as Headmaster. Over 1,000 alumni from all over the world had inquisitive learners prepared for global responsibility by taking
gathered in Japan Town to reminisce with their old friends about extraordinary care of our students and by challenging them to
their days at ASIJ, and I felt privileged to be a part of it. Alumni from discover and pursue their potential.
the 1930s all the way to recent grads from the 2000s exchanged During the vision process the notion of community was
stories with one another and with me, and my ears were filled with often repeated. Alumni, faculty, parents and students wanted to
anecdotes about the profound impact of this special school. While feel more like a family. Our visions focus on becoming an
not all rosy, the overriding theme seemed to be that faculty and exemplary international learning community helped unify us with
staff had offered extraordinary care, and students had thrived as a a sense of purpose, focused on student learning. Everything that
result of their experiences at ASIJ and as residents of Japan. we do needs to link to creating conditions for student learning in
A month later, our family, including Barbara and our two line with our mission, vision, core values (another product of our
teenage boys, took up residence in the house that has since been vision work) and our powerful student learning outcomes. This
converted to a turfed middle school field, and I began interviewing clarity of purpose has helped unify us and has grown our sense of
faculty and staff to learn about their experiences with and hopes familyhood between both campuses and all constituents at ASIJ,
for ASIJ. The historical picture slowly came into focus, and the and it required significant cultural change.
Photograph and Cover Design current and future needs began to be defined. Clearly, this was For its first 100 years, ASIJ had experienced great success and
by Francine Flora a school of tremendous accomplishment, one poised to do great was known the world over as a very good school. The danger

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HEADMASTERS MESSAGE HEADMASTERS MESSAGE

with any such success is complacency, or as Jim Collins labels it in his Showing President Bush and his wife Crossing the finishing line at ASIJ Community Fun Run In costume for
Barbara around campus the ES Halloween
most recent book, hubris born of success. New ASIJ teachers at Parade
the beginning of my tenure encountered a sense of self satisfaction,
a reluctance to collaborate, and a general resistance to change.
Clearly, we needed to alter that core culture if we were to continue to
innovate and keep current with educational practice. Weve received
important guidance from educational research and literature in
the last seven years, much of it focused on professional learning
communities. DuFour and Eaker write, Substantive change that
transforms a culture will ultimately require more than an invitation.
We began by extending many invitations to share leadership, work
collaboratively, systematically analyze student learning data, write
curriculum and help us chart plans for continuous development and
renewal. Eventually, after building a supportive base of volunteers,
we acquired these elements.
As a result, weve transformed our culture. This year, we had
our WASC mid-term accreditation visit, and they were astounded
at the progress that we made since their full visit in 2007. Weve
written six years worth of curriculum in three; collaboration is now
the norm among all constituent groups; we have a hunger for new Welcoming cellist Yo Yo Ma
ideas; and student learning clearly informs decision-making school- to campus

wide. All this has had a leavening and energizing effect on our faculty
and students, which translates into more excitement about learning.
That, in a nutshell, is what a learning community is all about.
During this same period, weve enhanced the physical learning
environment enormously. Outstanding financial and strategic
planning work by our board, administration, and teacher leadership,
with substantial fundraising support, has enabled us to rebuild
almost our entire campus in the last ten years. A purpose-built
Early Learning Center, a field of dreams, and a state-of-the-art
theater are some of the highlights. We now have facilities which set
the standard in Japan and have tangibly augmented the learning
experience for our students.
Taken together, the last seven years have been a period of Celebrating Andrew 09s graduation with Tims Helping out at an
mother, wife Barbara and son Ben 07 ELC PTA event
tremendous growth and development of the quality of an already
good school. This has been a team effort, and it has been an honor
Reading to an ES class
to be a part of it. The proudest moments for me are those when in the library
I see our students shine. Kindergarten students, microphones in
hand, telling stories in the traditional Japanese kamishibai method;
elementary students leading our composting program; middle
schoolers performing poetry reading to robust applause from
their peers; and high school student teams claiming victory in an
international robotics competition in Japan.
Barbara and I will move on to Jakarta with tremendous
gratitude, treasuring the wonderful chapter that weve had
in Japan and at ASIJ. No doubt, this exemplary international
community will continue to thrive under the wise leadership of
Ed Ladd in future. Thank you for your support and for helping
ASIJ to become the great school that it now is. Family vacation with Barbara,
Warmly, Andrew 09 and Ben 07
With General Colin Powell
Tim Carr, Head of School

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A good egg
features
JOHN OLEARY

As we were preparing for Mr OLearys annual egg drop contest,


I was making last-minute adjustments to my design. The design
held the egg inside two interlocking pieces of styrofoam,
cradled in a nest of crumpled newspaper inside a plastic bag.
The contests goal was to find the smallest, fastest, lightest egg
vessel that would enable the egg to land intact on a target
when dropped from the schools water tower. I suspected that
my design was too broad and floppy, so I asked Mr OLeary if
After 32 years at ASIJ, high school he had any string I could use, thinking Id tie the string around
physics teacher John OLeary the contraption to compress it. Mr OLeary asked why I wanted
the string, and when I explained, he suggested doing away with
(1978 2010) is putting away his the outer layer and just going with the styrofoam alone. Why
not go for the gold? So I did and the contraption won the
box of eggs, water balloons and egg drop by a big margin. I think of that moment whenever I
find myself holding back from real-life opportunities. Sure, its
rowing machine to retire this summer. good to be prudent. But exercise too much caution, and you
After three decades of inspiring miss the gold-medal moments. Thank you, Mr OLearythat
lesson has really stayed with me over the years!
and amusing students with creative Jennifer Krouse 85

lessons, OLeary will return to the As a physics student, the best part of class was the crazy
demonstrations Mr OLeary used to do. For one large group
States to his home in Olympia, WA. in the Ricketson Theater, he was going to demonstrate how
force, or momentum, or some other complicated physics
As the school prepares concept works. Placing a red brick on the stage, he asked for
to say sayonara to one its a volunteer. My friend Mark Marking was more than happy to
help. Mr OLeary gave Mark a hammer and placing his own
longest serving faculty, hand under the brick, instructed Mark to hit it. Mark raised the
hammer slightly, and Mr OLeary said, Go for it, really swing at
we reflect on OLearys it! The hammer came down hard and tragically slipped off the
edge of the brick directly onto Mr OLearys exposed thumb.
time at ASIJ . We were all pretty sure that wasnt part of the demonstration.
Mr OLeary jumped up, grabbed his thumb and ran out of
the theater to the nearest bathroom. We were taught that
physics happens all around us, and coincidentally, wed just
studied acceleration and velocity the week before. As we
followed him to the bathroom, we were able to calculate
his actual acceleration and velocity by measuring the dots of
blood along the floor. His acceleration definitely increased
with each step, which we deduced was a result of his
realizing how bad the thumb injury was. Physics aside, he
came back into class about five minutes later with a paper
towel around his thumb and attempted to continue with
the lecture, which is a great testimony to his commitment
to teaching. Sure he was the authority figure, but based
on his pale face and wobbly stance we figured we could
overrule him and quickly got him to the nurse. Ill never
forget that and many other lessons I learned from one of
the greatest teachers in the universe.
Andrew Little 87

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JOHN OLEARY JOHN OLEARY

John OLeary was my physical science


Great memories of the Golden Years of teacher when I first arrived at ASIJ
ASIJ, as we like to call them However, in the early 80s and I loved his class.
all of your years were golden. What To this day I have vivid memories of
great times we had: long runs along the the sludge test we did in class where
river and through the park longer bike he gave us a large jar of goo and we
trips into the mountains great soccer had to use the methods taught us to
games and seasons and teams (what a figure out what was in it. We boiled,
coach you were, the best) trying to we precipitated, we cooled all to
teach me photography, failing miserably, see how the various materials behaved.
succeeding with Cami master science Mr OLeary was a fun and enthusiastic
teacher annual end-of-year faculty teacher, but fundamentally serious
parties, especially our sumo tournament, about the work. I also had John as a
bad ending for me at the hands of John photography teacher and he taught
Seevers and you. turkey hunts in the me everything I know about the art
bochi after graduations joining you and science of photography. To this day
and other old friends at the small bochi I employ his teaching as I take photos
Early morning arrivals at school
church on a visit back in early 90s. What around the world, especially his advice
(before 7am.) will find, at least for
a special group of faculty friends we had, on composition! Later in my high school John and I have been friends and colleagues since 1978. A talented photographer,
the remainder of this school year,
and you were one of the closest for Cami career I had physics with Mr OLeary, and always accommodating, patient and flexible, his photographs are now an important
John OLeary finished with a rowing
and me. Thanks for all you meant to us, it goes without saying that the way I look part of the ASIJ history found in many scrapbooks, albums and homes, documenting
workout and preparing lessons for his
to your colleagues, and to your students at the physical world was shaped by what life in Japan. Always energetic and ready to help, Johns departure will leave a hole that
beloved physics classes. This morning
and their parents. You were truly a he taught me Later in life I went on to will be difficult to fill. One of my favorite memories involves traveling in the summer of
ritual of exercise, study, sacrifice and
special teacher, and a special friend! be a public high school teacher myself, 1980, when the US decided to boycott the Olympics to be held in Russia. John OLeary,
determination accompanied by scores
Jim and Cami Juergensen (FF 1975-81) and there is no doubt in my mind that this John Seevers, Gene, Janet and Lisa Witt and I decided to travel by ship from Yokohama
of late night, after-practice sessions
passion for teaching came in large part to Russia and then boarded the trans-Siberian train. From Stalingrad, the Witts went to
has led him from a Kodak research
from his example. Thanks Mr OLeary! Germany and John, John and I backpacked through Scandinavia. What an amazing
scientist and rookie teacher and
Bryan Gibb 87 adventure that was. We watched tanks roll by going to Afghanistan, ate lots of borsch,
coach to husband and father, faculty
learned that money could be made selling jeans on the black market, the subways really
liaison to the administration, spiritual
do have chandeliers, certain icons are probably meant to stay in Russia, the train into
leader in his church, school sports
Finland really does come apart as the Russians searched for stowaways. And yes, those
photographer and master teacher. On
little opera glasses were trained on the three of us as we sat in the closest thing to
I want to thank you for all the support the surface, these accomplishments
the Czars box at the ballet in Stalingrad. The midnight sun was amazing, the fjords
you have given me over the years. I appear to come to John with relative
magnificent so many memories made it one of those trips of a lifetime.
had never been singled out as being ease, but in reality, they have been
John always has that easy smile, yet so sincere and thoughtful, an incredibly talented
an exceptional student before your won through hard work. No student
person who has a wonderful way of making you feel welcome in his life. I know John
astronomy class. When you would ever drank from still waters in Johns
is one of those rare individuals that will be a friend forever. He will be greatly missed.
involve me in class discussions as an class. His love of learning, continuing
Gail Lanier (current faculty, 1978present)
equal, and as someone with knowledge personal growth and his concern for all
to offer about astronomy (because of people have overflowed into the lives
my involvement with astronomy camps of all of us at ASIJ and our surrounding
over the summer), I felt so worthwhile communities. The formula for his
and special. Its difficult to feel confident success is simple Work hard and give
with your passion, which in my case it all you have! ASIJers follow his lead.
is science, when you are not the one Thank you for your friendship, support
getting top grades. But your support and guidance, and inspiration in
during my high school classes helped me shaping and defining the image of a
realize that I am capable of much more true professional teacher and coach at
than I had originally thought. Thank you the American School in Japan. You, my
for giving me that confidence and being friend, are and deserve to be known as
a role model for me. Sensei John OLeary.
Ellen Brown 06 Bill Jacobsson (FF 1975-2008)

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JOHN OLEARY JOHN OLEARY

John came to Tokyo and ASIJ one year after Janet and I moved I first met John in 1982 while teaching at Canadian Academy
to Japan. Ray Downs was the headmaster, Jim Juergensen HS in Kobe. He was the ASIJ boys soccer coach and I was the
Principal and Jack Collins ES Principal. Stu Cole and Jim Wiese coach in Kobe. Over a number of years in the early to mid
rounded out the admin team. This was a time that Dr. J, as we 80s, ASIJ, under Johns leadership, enjoyed a healthy rivalry
called Jim often refers to as the Golden Years of ASIJ. School with Canadian Academy as we scrapped for preeminence on
was a lot smaller, less than 1000 students, no Middle School, the soccer field. John was always full of energy and a great
far less complex and complicated. In this pre-internet time, with motivator of the students on his team. As Kobe and Tokyo
little access to English speaking TV and movies, where a phone swapped venues for the tournaments in those early years, John
call to the States was a big event, we seemed to spend a lot more and I got to know each other quite well and while our students
time developing our relationships with fellow faculty members were away on home stays, John and I were able to talk over
they truly were our extended family. With Mid Squier dinner, not just about the soccer of the day, but also about the
leading the way, John was part of many bicycle adventures. I science programs in our respective schools.
remember a weekend bike trip to Mashiko, where Janet and Fast forward to 1992 and ASIJ was looking for a science
Gail Lanier drove our car to collect purchased pottery, where teacher for the 1993 year. Those discussions over sticks of
somehow everyone forgot to take a map. Again in those pre- yakitori must have still been still fresh in Johns mind as he
cell phone days its amazing we all found each other in distant invited me to come and join him and the others in the science
Tochigi prefecture. John and I also joined Mid as he prepared for department at ASIJ. John was department chair at the time and
a cycling trip across the States as part of an upcoming sabbatical, his enthusiasm and energy for the department and specifically
cycling two days to the Nobeyama/Kiyosato area via Chichibu, for physics was evident from the word go. John had led the
then returning to ASIJ from Kiyosato on the third day. John, will department in the early 90s to move to a conceptual physics
we ever forget the long, narrow tunnel ride on the Koshu Kaido program starting in 9th grade. This was a relatively new idea at
through the Kofu pass? the time but has now become fairly standard in many schools.
Our time together included Sunday evening worship services The philosophy of a basis in physics being a foundation to build
at St. Pauls Lutheran held at the small Japanese church near on in chemistry and biology was a brilliant change and one that
ASIJ and frequent fellowship get-togethers. Close friends has worked very successfully at ASIJ. As a chemistry teacher, I
started noticing that Johns persona was different after meeting am constantly drawing on the 9th grade physics course as a
a special someone who became his wife. The marriage of John way for students to understand concepts in chemistry. Every
and Hiroko brought together two special people. It seemed like student at ASIJ now has to take physics and this is a great
all of ASIJ attended the wedding ceremony and reception. background for every student to take into life.
ASIJ has been at the Chofu campus since 1963-47 years. John is a source of energy and inspiration within the science
Josh Reckord and I often talk about the fabric of a school department who will be sadly missed but whose legacy to the
and community. John has been a part of that fabric for 32 school will live on.
of those 47 years. His presence and spirit are woven into the Roger Onions (HS science, 1993present)
history of this place.
Gene Witt (current faculty, 1977present)

I never had you as a teacher nor as


a coach in my four years in the high
school, and yet every time I passed you
in the halls you would greet me with a
smile and ask how I was doing, like you
had known me forever, or you would
congratulate me on some random
achievement I thought had gone
unnoticed. I thank you for that. You
were one of the kindest teachers I ever
had the pleasure of knowing. Take care!
Glyn Noguchi 09

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JOHN OLEARY JOHN OLEARY

John OLeary is part of the fabric of our lives here. John was also
the one who got us all into f-stops and aperture readings when
he gave us a class in photography... thank goodness for digital
cameras. We cannot imagine the countless hours he has spent
behind the lens with all the teams... hundreds over the years,
from my (Karens) swim team alone. He led us on bike trips,
and crewing down water ways. He taught us the wonder of the
stars and the beauty under the ocean. He is the person returning
students seek out, not to mention all of the athletes he coached
from swimming to soccer. He has a heart of gold and is friend
you can count on. He is part of what makes this place so special.
Karen and John Seevers (Current faculty 1977present)

There was the time when, while teaching, John heard a noise,
looked out the window and saw a paparazzi photographer
lurking in the garden hoping for a shot of Hikaru Utada 00. John
chased him to his car and reached in to grab the keys, but ended
up with the photographers glasses instead. We are still waiting
for the guy to collect his lost property.
John Salisbury (HS science, 1998present)

I continue to be inspired by the example John set. I took I remember Ray talking about John OLeary before he arrived
physics and AP physics, so I spent two years with him. More on campus. I knew to expect a dynamic science teacher
than science, I learned how to love ones job. His enthusiasm who also rowed, and who had wowed Ray. He was to fill a
for the classroom was infectious. The special events like very important role in the science department, and he could
the egg drop, bridge building, and astronomy field trips coach, though I have no idea what sport. However, I had not
were more effective for learning than most college courses expected someone with sideburns and mustache, and I was old
I later experienced. After all, what better way to grasp the enough then to realize he was young. He was also single,
concept of trajectory than using a giant bungee to launch and I thought that would be a good thing too, as there were
water balloons at unsuspecting elementary students! a number of single ladies on the staff. Johns dynamism and
Mike Frantz 87 determination to bring joy and fun to teaching was fun for
the rest of us to watch. I remember interviewing a graduate in
Australia about 12 years ago, and she said Mr OLearys physics
class gave her a whole new appreciation for what learning could
be. She remembers a goldfish, quick-frozen in nitrogen (I think)
which John then tossed to some of the kids. She said, That
would never happen in an Australian school, and she had a
hard time convincing her college professors in Melbourne that
learning could be serious and fun at the same time.
On a personal level, I cant imagine a more delightful and
supportive friend on the staff. He frequently took superb photos
for various events, and Ill always be grateful for his packing my
car for me when I was taking furniture and stuff up to Lake Nojiri
before retiring with Ray to the States.
I am happy beyond words to know the OLearys will soon
be living nearby in Olympia. I wish him well in his retirement
and send my love.
Vicky Downs (FF 1959-99)

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master
modern
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ALUMNI PROFILE

Pioneer of tropical modernism,


architect Vladimir Ossipoff 26
is renowned in Hawaii and the
West Coast for his unique style.
We celebrate his work and the
fascinating journey that took him
from Tsarist Russia to Tokyo and
Vladimir Ossipoff (1907-1998) at his Honolulu studio,

on to California and Hawaii. circa 1975. (Photography by Francis Haar 1975. Courtesy of Tom Haar).

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MESSAGE ALUMNI PROFILE

A
mong the illustrious alumni of
The American School in Japans
early years the name Vladimir
Ossipoff 26 may not ring a bell, but on
the West Coast and in Hawaii, as well as to
architecture and design professionals across
the Pacific region, he is a titan in the field.
Ossipoff, who attended the Tokyo Foreign
School (forerunner of ASIJ) from 1919-1923,
practiced architecture nearly his entire career
in Honolulu and is today widely recognized
as a pioneer in tropical modernism and as
the master of Hawaiian architecture.
His boyhood in Japan prepared him to
execute a style that married Japanese and
The Ossipoff House (1958), where the Ossipoff family lived for 30 years, is situated on the
Kuliouou Peninsula to the east of downtown Honolulu. Designed as an escape from the fast- Western influences, even down to Japanese
urbanizing city, this home catered to Ossipoffs interest in gourmet cooking, fine wine and carpentry and building techniques, and the
entertaining with a large kitchen, pantry, bar and outdoor barbeque. The bleached redwood board
idea that he might have absorbed the work
ceiling appears to merge into the eaves of the roof without support. This home was recognized by
the Hawaii Chapter AIA with a Grand Award in 1958 and by the publication Architectural Record in Japan of Frank Lloyd Wright is tantalizing.
in 1960 as one of the 20 best houses of the year. (Robert Wenkam) As a boy, in 1916, he saw Frank
Lloyd Wrights Imperial Hotel under
construction, and in 1922, had Sunday tea
there with his family on several occasions.
As a student and practitioner, surely he was
familiar with the architectural principals
that Wright advocated, including the
interplay of indoor and outdoor space
and the integration of buildings with their
sites, ideas that Ossipoff applied to his
own work in the Hawaiian Islands.
Who was Vladimir Ossipoff? How did
a White Russian family, in service to the
Czar, come to live in Japan and send their
eldest son to ASIJ? Why did he put down
roots in Oahu, which in the 1930s was
a territorial backwater, a remote tropical
paradise, relatively undeveloped except for
Ossipoff with his class, at Tokyo Foreign School a downtown area and a few resort hotels on
Waikiki beach, served only by steamship?
His daughter, Valerie Ossipoff, who resides
in Honolulu, shared something of her
fathers background and early life.
My grandmother, Glafira Bushueff
was from the Lake Baikal area of Russia.
My grandfather, Nicholas Vladimirovich
Ossipoff, was from Tiblisi, in the Caucasus
region. He was a colonel in the Imperial The Goodsill House (1952) was built
Army and was appointed as military attach for a young lawyer and his family in a
tract situated on the southeast side of
to the Russian Imperial Embassy in Japan. My
Diamond Head. All rooms open onto
father, Vladimir Nicholaevich Ossipoff, was the lanai, which provides a unifying and
born in Vladivostok, Russia on November connecting space and offers indoor-
outdoor living. Entry to the house is
through the backyard, a concession to
the small lot size and need for privacy.
16 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010
(2006 Victoria the ambassador
Sambunaris). 17
Blanche Hill House (1961), sited along a stretch of south-
features facing, prime ocean front property on Oahu, proved to be
features
ALUMNI PROFILE exactly what its California-base owner had asked fora ALUMNI PROFILE
casual vacation home, as open to the outdoors as possible.
Ossipoff designed three separate structures set parallel to
the shoreline, linked by a series of walkways and concrete
platforms. The central lanai, its flooring of terrazzo, had a
three-layer set of floor to ceiling sliding doors, including
shutters, sliding glass doors and screen panels which could
be adjusted depending on the weather. This home was also
25, 1907 but, because of his fathers appointment, was recognized by Architectural Record as a Record House in Hawaii at that time. He convinced my mother to
raised for the most part in Japan. 1963. (Robert Wenkam) join him (they were dating in Berkeley) and they
Ossipoffs family relocated to Japan in 1909, when were married in 1934. Shortly thereafter he opened
Vladimir was 2 years old, traveling back to St Petersburg his own office and the rest, as they say, is history.
periodically in the typical pattern that later became While Ossipoff designed or collaborated on the
home leave for many expatriates. On reaching school design of many commercial projects, it was in residential
age, he attended boarding school at St. Josephs College architecture that he got his start and where he first made
(later St. Josephs International School) in Yokohama, his mark. He opened his own practice in 1936 and with a
adding English to his portfolio of languages which single commission in hand, began the evolution towards
included Russian and Japanese. He entered the Tokyo his mature style of the 1950-70s. Ultimately, his homes
Foreign School as a sixth grader when the campus was were known for their clean lines, angular structures, close
in Tsukiji, making the move to the new ASIJ campus in attention to the site, utilization of local natural materials,
Shibaura in 1920. From childhood, he loved to draw the interplay between indoor and outdoor spaces with
and compiled his drawings, often complicated buildings, the use of glass walls and lanais, and an open floor plan.
into notebooks. His mother, says Valerie, reportedly Ossipoff houses took advantage of cooling breezes and
suggested that he become an architect. dramatic views, structures living in complete harmony
When the Japanese government refused to recognize with the unique island environment. He often hired
The Pauling House (1957), built for Dr. Linus Pauling, Jr. and family, perches 1,500 feet about
the revolutionary government in Russia, the Ossipoffs sea level in an area of Honolulu known as Round Top. The particular challenge of the site, with
Japanese carpenters and craftsmen, the best in the
remained in Tokyo, living in exile in the embassy its 180 panoramic view, was to preserve privacy while taking advantage of the outlook, as well IBM Building (1962), at six stories, was Islands, who could execute the details he required.
compound along with other diplomatic families. Then as to deal with a rainy, windy climate. Because Round Top was above the Honolulu municipal the first multi-story building in the Ward Vladimir Ossipoffs career in Hawaii spanned 67
water supply system, Ossipoff came up with an ingenious gable roof designed to channel Estate neighborhood between downtown
came the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and its years, from his arrival in Hawaii in 1931 until his death
rainwater into underground cisterns. (Robert Wenkam) Honolulu and Waikiki. The most striking
accompanying devastation, which marked the end of aspect of this rectangular, glass-walled at the age of 90 in 1998, but it was only recently
their stay in Japan and Vladimirs withdrawal from ASIJ. structure is the grille that Ossipoff designed that his life and work have been documented in an
Valerie recounts, The family was granted an emergency to ward off the hot tropical sun. According exhibition mounted by the Honolulu Academy of Arts
Vladimir Ossipoff,
architect Dean Sakamoto, the grille, made
emigration visa and my grandmother and the three circa 1955.
up of pre-cast concrete pieces, was set
and accompanied by a substantial catalogue, Hawaiian
children left for America, stopping briefly in Honolulu at an angle to allow washing by the rain Modern: The Architecture of Vladimir Ossipoff.
before continuing to California. There were some other and to discourage the nesting of birds. Proposed and curated by Hawaii native and now resident
Long a landmark in Honolulu, the IBM
Russians in the area who befriended them. My father Critic/Director of Exhibitions at Yale University Dean
building is in danger of being demolished
went to Berkeley High School and then the University by its owners but is clearly in the sights of Sakamoto, the exhibition ran for two months beginning
of California-Berkeley where he earned his degree in preservationists. (Robert Wenkam) at the end of November 2007 and subsequently traveled
architecture. My grandfather had died suddenly in an in 2008 to the Yale University School of Architecture
accident before he could leave Japan. Gallery, New Haven, CT and in 2009 to Deutsches
Ossipoff graduated from UC Berkeley in 1931 during Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, Germany. Today,
the darkest days of the Depression, but managed to find Ossipoffs work and principles offer useful lessons for
a job with an architectural firm in San Francisco. One the future of place-sensitive architecture, said exhibition
by one, his colleagues were laid off. He was the last curator Sakamoto. His vocal and early war on ugliness,
to go--he said because he was the lowest paid, says cultural critiques on unbridled development and the need
Valerie. A classmate of his from Berkeley had returned for energy efficient design were far ahead of their time
to his family in Hawaii and contacted my father telling and greatly influenced the Hawaiian landscape.
him that he had a place he could live. Their family
evidently had money and they sent my father a ticket. With thanks to Valerie Ossipoff and Lesa Griffith,
With few options in the Bay Area, he went to Hawaii in Director of Communications, Honolulu Academy of
1931. Hawaii was not as severely impacted by the Arts. Photos used by permission of Valerie Ossipoff and
Depression as most of the mainland was. He had the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
a job with a lumber company which offered design Further reading: Hawaiian Modern: The Architecture
services with the purchase of building materials. He of Vladimir Ossipoff, Dean Sakamoto, Karla Britton and
later went to work for one of the best architects in Diana Murphy, editors, Yale University Press, 2007.

18 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 19


features features
HISTORY A 1920 birds-eye view of the ASIJ, as it appeared in the HISTORY
schools fundraising pamphlet and 1920-21 Annual Report.

Scholar and documentarian


A
mericas greatest 20th century architect, Frank Lloyd Wright,
made his first trip to Japan in 1905, drawn by his passion

a
Karen Severns explores for ukiyo-e prints, and declared it to be the most romantic,
most beautiful country on earth. Under its spell, he endured

20
ASIJs connection to repeated trans-Pacific crossings, first in search of prints and

th
later, in search of refuge. In 1914, when Wright faced personal
renowed architect tragedy and public condemnation at home, Japan intervened with
a commission that would eventually allow him to transcend his
Frank Lloyd Wright
century
anguish and redeem his career: the Imperial Hotel. It would take six
tumultuous years to complete and remain, as the many decades of
his career passed, Wrights largest and most complex design.

close encounter:
When he sailed away from Japan forever in 1922, Wright
left behind one masterpiece, at least a dozen other designs, and
another, equally significant, legacy: his transformative effect on the
men who had shared his struggle, many of whom went on to build
their own masterpieces, to alter Japans cityscapes and mentor a
new generation of architects. Against the backdrop of the most Frank Lloyd Wright and The American School in Japan

20 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 21


features
HISTORY

turbulent century in history, Wright had built not just a hotel, but Also discovered in The ASIJ archives was a letter on Sale & Frazar
an enduring bridge that spanned two great nations, two great Ltd. letterhead from a Mr. Hansen to Mr. RF Moss of Truscon
culturesand helped unite them in a shared future. Steel Co., which provided engineering support and supplied steel
But the extraordinary Imperial Hotel always overshadowed all to most of the buildings in Japan, including the Imperial Hotel.
else, surviving the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, thrusting the Dated April 13, 1920, the letter discussed the design of a two-
architect back into the limelight, and helping to keep him firmly story school building to be located just opposite Tamachi Station in
on the world stage. In the end, Japan was the only nation outside central Tokyo, and concluded: Mr. Frazar [chair of The ASIJ Board]
of America in which Wright lived and worked. Although five of would like very much to be able to report on this proposition at the
his other designs were builtthe Imperial Annex, the Jiyu Gakuen next meeting of the Board Would you in co-operation with your
School, the Aisaku Hayashi House, the Arinobu Fukuhara House friend Mr. Wright be able to do anything on this? Could you give
and the Tazaemon Yamamura Houseonly the school and an estimate, and perhaps have a better plan drawn up?
Yamamura House survive fully intact. The Imperial Hotels front At the time, RF Moss was on The ASIJ Board, and it is
lobby was reconstructed at the Meiji Mura architectural park possible that he pressed Frank Lloyd Wright into doing
near Nagoya after the Imperial was razed in 1967, an event that drawings for the proposed school. Wright was still in Tokyo
Edward Seidensticker, author of the definitive history of Tokyo, working on the Imperial Hotel in 1920, and it is unlikely that
called one of the tragedies of postwar Japan. Moss or anyone else would have affixed the great architects
Through the years, researchers have occasionally name to drawings that were not his. But because original
suggested that there are Frank Lloyd Wright designs in drawings have yet to be located, the Frank Lloyd Wright
Japan still unaccounted for, but leading Wright scholar Bruce Foundation has declined to authorize the designs as Wrights.
Brooks Pfeiffer, Director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives No other details have so far emerged regarding the fate of
at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, believes that all the the designs, despite efforts to track down new leads. But there
major designs have been identified. is another link between The ASIJ and Frank Lloyd Wright: new
Did the architect, whose prodigious output barely slowed drawings were done for the school three years later, in 1923, by
even when clients were scarce, really design only a handful of Antonin Raymond and a partner (these, too, went unrealized).
buildings in the six years that he lived on and off in Japan? The Raymond, a naturalized American of Czech birth, and his French-
country was his greatest inspiration, after all, and he had at his born wife Nomi had accompanied Wright to Tokyo in 1919 to
disposal a devoted staff of eager young Japanese draftsmen assist on the Imperial Hotel. They stayed on that project only a year,
and craftsmen, whom he had proclaimed the finest in the but lived in Japan for over forty years, developing an indigenous
world. For a creative genius who designed over 800 buildings modernist architecture that owed much to Wrights organic design
in seventy years, a dozen or so in six seems incomprehensible. principles. The Raymond office nurtured many leading lights,
Have all the Wright designs in Japan really been identified? including Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Yoshimura, Junzo Sakakura
Surely there are others, perhaps even extant? (who would join forces in 1955 to build the International House of
One recent discovery demonstrates the difficulty of Japan) and George Nakashima, the famed furniture designer. Their
identifying further Wright designs, despite what seems to be fusion of Japanese traditional architecture with contemporary
irrefutable proof. In 2007, when The ASIJs archives were being design, first pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright, enriched Japans
organized for digitizing, an intriguing file turned up. Inside was mid-century building boom and contributed greatly to the nations
a camera-ready copy on vellum, shrunk to fit a fundraising continued stature in the global architectural arena.
booklet entitled The American School in Japan: An Investment
in Americanism. The booklet included a birds-eye view and a Portions of this article first appeared in the Frank Lloyd Wright
site plan, with the caption Sketch of Plans for the American Foundation Quarterly Spring 2010 issue.
School in Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect.
The same drawings were also reproduced with attribution to About the writer:
Wright in Trans-Pacific magazine in 1920; and they appeared Filmmaker and Wright scholar Karen Severns is the writer-
again under Wrights name in the schools Annual Report for director of the acclaimed documentary Magnificent Obsession:
1920-21, published in August 1920. The report contained a long Frank Lloyd Wrights Buildings and Legacy in Japan. A
article about the bi-national efforts to raise funds for the new cofounder of the nonprofit Wrightian Architectural Archives
school building. Despite all the VIPs involved in the school, which Japan, for which she organized building tours, seminars and
already had 150 students from the leading foreign families, and special events from 2004-2008, she has spoken and written
the fact that the fundraising was being aggressively conducted widely on Wright, architecture and historic preservation, and
both in Japan and the US under the leadership of the Carnegies continues to lead unique architectural tours. Find out more at:
A 1920 site plan for the
ASIJ, as it appeared in
and the Rockefellers, the drive failed. www.kismetjapan.com
the schools fundraising
pamphlet and 1920-21
Annual Report.
22 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 23
features features
STUDENTS STUDENTS

Brian Nelson 85 tells

game
ON
the story of Frozen
Telescope, the team
his sons Sean 13
and Brad 15 and
friend Chris Marley15
put together to create
an exciting new
computer game.

M
y kids Sean 13 and Brad 15 are friends of the family that graduated worked on a PowerPoint presentation that
like to be creative and to from my university (USC), who the boys included an agenda for the first meeting.
come up with inventions and have known for about four or five years. While getting ready for the first meeting
business ideas. Maybe this comes in part A couple of years ago, Chi had created an or rather while we were waiting for Chi
from participating in the ASIJ science fair educational tour day for Sean and Brad at and Masa to show upI remember Brad
when they were in elementary school. One the Tokyo University of Technology so that saying to me, Dad, I would like to ask Chi
evening in February 2009, during what we they could learn about digital animation and Masa what they want to drink when
like to call Scientific Theory Time, my filmmaking. Brad remembered this. I agreed they get here, as I am organizing and
youngest son Brad (who was 10 years old to contact Chi and Masa as Brad suggested. running these meetings. I gladly said, Of
and in the 5th grade at the time) decided After talking with Brad and Sean about course, and was happy Brad was taking
that he wanted to make a video game for the video game project and hearing back initiative to run his own project meetings.
Nintendo DS. It was about three or four from Chi and Masa we decided to run the Meetings were very active with lots
years before this that Brad was working project meetings out of the apartment we of ideas and opinions about what kind
on a digital animation movie project about live in on weekends between other activities of game that the boys wanted to create.
Pluto being excluded from the planetary and before dinner. We ended up spending Chi and Masa were very good about
system, so ideas like this are pretty normal about two to three hours each weekend, setting direction for how the boys would
in our family, and I would suspect other from April to October of 2009roughly be able to go from early ideas to a final
parents of middle school kids hear the seventy-five hours to a hundred hours on product; helping with information about
same things. In wanting to support Brad the project. It didnt take long for Brad and components and functionality, art-work,
with his idea for making a video game, I Sean to start talking with friends about the sounds and music needed to complete a
suggested that we get a friend of mine video game project on the bus to and from video game. Meetings were so interesting
involved who was working on making school each day. Before long they were both that almost without fail we would run over
a video game of his own at the time. I asking me if their friends could join us in the the allotted time, and would scramble to
figured this could be something of interest project. Brads friend Chris Marley 15 ended get done in time for dinner.
to my friend as well. Brad immediately up sticking with the project and attending At one of the meetings it was decided
said, No, I would rather we work on this many of the meetings. that the boys needed a team name. Brad
project with Chi and Masa. Chi and Masa Before the first meeting, Brad and Sean was into anything using the word frozen

24 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 25


features features
STUDENTS STUDENTS

and Chris looked around the apartment and the momentum going to finish on time. Chi and Masa were very
noticed the telescope in the living room. The helpful in making this possible by communicating with the team in
team name Frozen Telescopewas born. Seattle. Along with the boys project team name Frozen Telescope,
Chi asked the boys to make a logo for the when you download Super Smash at iTunes, you will also see Chi,
team name, and Brad whipped one up on Masa, and the Brethren Entertainment developers names in the
the computer using Photoshop. credits; as without them we would not have been able to get the
Along the way, we ran into logistics project done in the time frame that we did.
problems, as the boys, and/or Chi and Masa After the game was completed, including changes made by
were not able to be in Tokyo at the same Brad, Sean, and Chris, the game was ready for release with under the
time for project meetings mainly during name Super Smash. The first price for the Super Smash game was
the summer months during vacation. On $2.99, which was decided by the kids, but in hindsight we probably
at least two weekends the meetings were should have started at 99 cents. Again, it was a good learning
carried out using email and Skype. While experience to find out that you can always lower the price, but it is
the video game project was the main focus much more difficult to raise the price. In fact, this year the price was
the communications process was also very lowered to 99 cents and sales are not bad.
educational. Almost every meeting had One of the unexpected results from the boys making their
minutes, so that the boys could follow up first video game was the invitation to speak at the Apple Store
with project work that needed to be done in Shibuya in December 2009. The boys did a great presentation
between meetings. and performed very well with many ASIJ classmates and friends
During the project we were lucky and their parents showing up. We had T-shirts made to promote
enough to have a guest participant from the game, which we handed out at the Apple Store and it was
Seattle, WA, named Scott Wong of Brethren a lot of fun. Thanks to Andrew Shuttleworth, the store manager
Entertainment. It was in the meeting with and everyone at the Apple Store in Shibuya for giving us the
Scott that we learned it would be better chance to participate in such a great opportunity.
to just move forward and get the game(s) Once the game was launched the plaudits were quick to roll
out in the market and test them out, versus inmuch to our delight. One of the customer reviews on iTunes
conducting surveys and market research read, Awesome game! Program is fun and graphics are cool
like we had planned. It was a fortuitous keep up the great work! FIVE STARS. We also received support
meeting, as we would end up going from baseball coach Bobby Valentine, who was good enough to
back to Scott at the end of the project to offer the Frozen Telescope Team a tie-up with a game company
complete the coding of the game, and to that he has invested in. We took lots of videos of family and friends
help us with the application process with saying congratulations to the boys for completing their first game,
Apples iTunes in the United States. In order including a nice message from John Woods (the Founder of Room-
to complete the actual coding of the video to-Read Charity) who put a comment about Super Smash on his
game, we outsourced the development to Twitter account that has nearly 200,000 followers, as well as a really
a company in Vietnam, late in the summer nice comment from the US Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos.
of 2009, sending them the project specs Roger Christiansen, the director of Hana Montana, Friends, and
and development plans that the boys had iCarly also sent a message, Congratulations to Brad, Sean, and Chris
put together. We learned fairly quickly that for their successful iPhone video game Super Smash. I wish them
the project had hit some bumps and the every success in the future! As we were working on the game,
team in Vietnam was not going to be able we received interest from other parents whose kids had heard about
to complete the coding. The decision was the game or know Brad and Sean from school. If we get another
made to pull the development and move project up and running in 2010, we plan to expand the group to
it to Seattle and Scotts team at Brethren include more kids. I think the fact that more kids are interested
Entertainment in order to finish on schedule. in participating in such a project is testament to the way ASIJ
In the early weeks of the project it was has encouraged them to be self-motivated and to pursue their
decided by the kids that they wanted to interests. The whole project has been a wonderful experience
have the game finished and ready by the for all of us involved and the boys are already planning their
end of October 2009 in order to make the next big ideas. From the proceeds of the game sales the boys
Christmas rush for shoppers online. So it have already donated $500 to help people in Haiti, which, yet
was with this timeline in mind that we kept again, was an idea they came up with!

26 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 27


features features
GREEN INITIATIVES GREEN INITIATIVES

A
t 8:30pm on March 27 skylines around the globe went
dark. Iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Acropolis,
Sydney Opera House, Golden Gate Bridge, Forbidden
City, Houses of Parliament and the skyscrapers of Shanghais
Pudong district all disappeared into shadow as the world
experienced Earth Hour. In Japan, Tokyo Tower and the
Hiroshima Peace Memorial joined the list and thanks to the
efforts of an ASIJ eight grader, the school and other companies
and institutions were encouraged to participate this year.
When middle schooler Mark McNeill came across the World
Wide Fund for Natures Earth Hour website last year, he was
inspired to participate in the event with his family. Earth Hour
started small in 2007 with only one city, Sydney, taking part with
about two million people contributing. With global promotion,
participation in 2008 mushroomed to 35 countries and over 400
cities, growing to 88 countries and 4088 cities in 2009.
This year Earth Hour saw 126 countries, all 50 US states and
over a billion people participatecreating increased awareness of
energy consumption worldwide. Earth Hour is both a warning and
a beacon of hope. By switching off non-essential lights for an hour,
people will join a symbolic display that can inspire the change we so
urgently need, noted Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General.
Curious as to what action would be taken in Japan, Mark
began to investigate. We were shocked at how little publicity
this event was given in Tokyo, he says. Of 10 major cities in
the world, he found, only Tokyo did not participate in the 2009
Earth Hour. That was enough to make him take action and so
this year, as the event drew near, Mark was on a mission to get
Middle schooler Mark Earth Hour recognized more widely in Japan.
Enlisting the help of his dad, Jeffrey McNeill, Mark approached
McNeill continues our school several well-known organizations and asked for their support for
the 2010 Earth Hour. Overall more than 30 companies in Japan
envrionmental initiatives by participated this year and as people like Mark continue to raise
awareness for Earth Hour, that is sure to grow again next year.
bringing Earth Hour to ASIJ

earth
Tokyo American Club, the American Chamber of Commerce Japan,
McDonalds Corporation and Coca Cola agreed to participate in
Earth Hour. Coke went even further, emailing their 8 million strong
membership about Earth Hour, urging them to observe low light or
no light and use as little energy use as possible for the hour.
At Marks instigation, ASIJ held its own Earth Hour on March

child
19 from 9-10 am, with every division of the school, including the
ELC, participating. Teachers and students adapted by focusing on
interpersonal communication and foregoing technology for the
hour. At Chofu alone, ASIJs electrician measured a day-to-day
differential of a 408 kwh power savings, which translated into a
150 kgs reduction in CO2 emission for the day. I hope to make
this an annual ASIJ green event to continually raise awareness of
awareness of our energy consumption, says Mark.

Further information on Earth Hour can be found at: <http://www.


panda.org/how_you_can_help/earth_hour/>

28 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 29


features
ALUMNI PROFILE

riders
easy

Miles Bird 08 on his summer adventure working on a microfinance


project in Bangledesh and surfing trains with street kids

Asalaam alaykum.
Alaykum asalaam. Kamoon Aachen?
Bhaalo aahi, dhanyabaad. See you later today, Mr. Miles.

I
was practicing my Bengali phrases with Amin, owner of the
Grand Prince Hotel, before heading downstairs. I descended
three flights of dusty steps and walked past hotel security; the
guards leapt up and took turns animatedly pumping my hand.
Just like yesterday and the day before I bid them a smiling
goodbye and stepped outside into downtown Mirpur. Exactly
two seconds later three laughing, barefoot, brown tornadoes in
muddy Gap Kids clothes mobbed me. I tussled Rabias hair and
slipped her a 10 taka note. She looked up and thanked me with
big eyes and then was gone, running towards the bakery with her
two younger sisters in tow. Chuckling, I checked both directions
before beginning my real-life Frogger sessioncrossing the
street. Several close calls later, in one piece and safely across
the busy thoroughfare, I hailed a furiously pedaling scrawny,
mustachioed manmy chauffeur for the morning. I climbed
aboard his colorful rickshaw and began my bumpy ride towards
the tallest building in Mirpur. And so began a typical day of work
in Dhakas Grameen headquarters this past summer.
I applied to intern with Grameen on a whim. A previous

SPRING 2010 the ambassador 31


features features
MESSAGE ALUMNI PROFILE

mph may not be the safest mode of transport


(at least according to my mom), Ill remember
the experience forever. Laughing with the
slum kids, lying flat to duck branches and low
bridges, running up and down the length of
the train, the wind whistling the theme song
from Slumdog Millionaire in my ears Ive
never done anything like it.
I will never forget my adventures in
Bangladesh or be able to undo their impact
on my life view. Taking a risk, like spending a
summer in Bangladesh or riding on top of a
train with slum kids, is good business going
to the edge and coming back will change you
for the better.

Miles is currently at Claremont McKenna


College. You can view his train riding video
on youtube.com. Search Bangladesh train
riding and it is the first hit.

left: Miles and Grameen bank founder Muhammad Yunus. | Right: the muddy GAP-wearing train riders

internship had fallen through at the last minute and, desperate Bank) in speechwriting, assisted employees with English, and
for something to do over the summer, I followed a friends developed the Grameen Healthcare website from scratch with
recommendation and applied for Grameens internship the help of another intern.
program. I committed to the program in May, and before I Inspired by the entrepreneurial borrowers I read about
knew it, my homecoming with family in Tokyo was over and I everyday, I decided to take action both in and outside of my
was flying Thai Air to Dhaka. internship. I approached the board of directors of the Grand
Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus have Prince Hotel with fellow intern John Prager 08 and proposed to
proven that poverty stricken borrowers can be relied on to pay redesign their website and rewrite all of their English language
back loans despite lack of collateral. This revelation to banks, material. In return, we would receive a heavily discounted rate
governments, and development organizations around the world in one of the hotels nicer rooms and have permission to hold
has changed the face of poverty alleviation; lending to the poor is events for other interns using hotel facilities. The board accepted
a feasible, sustainable, and a powerful tool for combating poverty. our proposal, and soon after, our room was upgraded. Our room
The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Grameen Bank is was much nicer; however, it is important to point out that nicer
the original microfinance organization. Over the summer I is a relative term when living in Dhaka.
worked within Grameen Trust, which is Grameen Banks sister When not at the hotel or working at Grameen Trust, my friends
organization. Grameen Trust applies Grameen methodology to and I traveled around the country and even took a trip to Nepal.
budding microfinance organizations all over the world. While at However, my most memorable experience all summer was riding
Grameen Trust I wrote articles for their newsletter, aided Professor on top of a train with two fellow interns and a posse of slum kids.
Latifee (Director of Grameen Trust and co-founder of Grameen Although hurtling through the Bangladeshi countryside at 60

32 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 33


features features
VISITORS VISITORS


I
want people to read more. Reading allows people to discover
more about themselves than playing video games. This is
Julian Watanabe 10 the ultimate goal of Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup, author of
the best-selling novel. Q&A. Swarups book was the basis for
questions author the Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire, the story of an
uneducated Indian waiter who triumphs to win the quiz show
Vikas Swarup about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Swarup is currently in Japan
as the Indian Consul General in Osaka, and took time during a
his novel, the source visit to Tokyo to talk to the high school about his novel and how
he came to write it.
material for the smash
You are a diplomat from India and you mentioned earlier that
hit movie Slumdog you never expected to be a novelist. What exactly made you
write?
Millionaire.

Q
Ive always been a reader, but never a writer. However, Ive also
always wanted to tell a story to the whole world. When I had
some time in England, I decided to put this desire into action.

What inspired you to write Q&A?


Well, there were two events that inspired me to write this. The
first one was the Hole in the Wall Project in which a high-tech
computer was installed in the middle of a slum in India. Even
though they had had no education, the young children in the slum
taught themselves to use the computer without any intervention
from experimenters. Similarly in Q&A, the main character, Ram
Mohammed Thomas (Jamaal Malik in Slumdog Millionaire),

&
wins the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with
almost no educational experiences. I wanted to prove to people
that education is not the only factor in life that will determine
how successful you become in your future.
The second was the incident in the UK when Major Charles
Ingram was accused of cheating after winning the British version
of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? If a British army major
could be accused of cheating, then an ignorant tiffin boy from
the worlds biggest slum would definitely be accused of cheating!

What did you think of the movie adaptation of the book? Were
you satisfied?
Yes, I was satisfied. Much of the plot was the same and the

A
theme I was trying to express became a lot clearer as it was a
Hollywood movie. However, I was very annoyed when the
Hollywood producers decided to change the title of my book
without my consent! In addition, I was a little annoyed when they
changed the name of the characters such as Ram Mohammed
Thomas to Jamaal Malik. Ram Mohammed Thomas was a name
that demonstrated Hindu, Muslim and Christian aspect where as
Jamaal Malik is a Muslim name. The movie is quite controversial
in India for this reason.

Are the characters in this novel real?


No, this novel is entirely fictional. But some of the events that

34 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 35


features features
VISITORS VISITORS

took place in the novel are events that


actually happen in the slums. This novel
is something of an integration of my
experiences as well as my knowledge of
those who live in the slums of India.

The young kids in the film, were they


actual kids that live in the slum?
Yes they are. We actually had to arrange
to get passports for them so they could
travel to Los Angeles for the Oscars.
They had no birth certificates, or for that
matter, any legal documents. The head
of the our passport office told me that
these two kids, acting in a Hollywood
movie, travelling in a plane for the first
time, and standing on the stage with
Steven Spielberg, really moved him. The
message of that night was simple: Even if
youre from the slums or a rich family, it
doesnt matter, you can still be successful.
That was the point of the book.

Youve described that having your own


book made into a film is just like giving
away ones daughter in marriage. Did you
have a major input on the movie itself?
Not really. I only made a few suggestions.
The Hollywood staff pretty much had all
of it covered since they had a $20 million
budget on this film. I decided to trust them
to remain faithful to the soul of the book.

What was your intention in writing


this novel?
As I said before, I wanted to tell a story. In
addition though, I am also trying to increase
the number of readers in this digitalized
world. I am simply writing a novel to tell a
story, to increase the choices of stories that
people can read. My ultimate goal as an
author is to increase the number of these
readers because reading allows people to
discover their inner potential.

Left: Author Vikas Swarup authographs his books


at ASIJ. | Center: The HS students enjoy an Indian-
themed party at the HS Library. | Right: After
the party, with ASIJ faculty and HS Principal Rick
Weinland.

36 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 37


features
VISITORS

flying
S with
ix men. One Flag. In the midst of war in the Pacific, the Stars and
Stripes is raised on Mt Suribachi on Iwo-jima, a single moment
among many during a series of battles, but the click of a camera
shutter marks the capture of one of World War IIs most iconic moments and
marks the creation of probably the worlds most reproduced photograph.
Author Jamese Bradleys father John was one of the six young men that

colors
raised the flag that day, yet for the rest of his life the moment remained a
private one, a story untold to even family. Over time, that silence prompted
Bradley to begin researching what happened that day and to try and piece
together the story of the flag raisers leading to his first book Flags of our
Father. During his visit to ASIJ Bradley relayed to highschoolers the process
that led to the New York Times best-seller and his subsequent work.
Faced with silence from his father, Bradley told the High School how
he turned to his own research to try to discover what had happened on
February 23, 1945. The more he began to dig, the more the events on Iwo-
jima began to fascinate him and he came to believe that the story behind
such a widely reproduced image needed to be publicly told. I had the
James Bradley, author of Flags of our
advantage of dealing with a very famous photo taken during World War II,
one of the biggest events in history. There were so many superlatives I just
Fathers and The Imperial Cruise, visited
thought that if I put them all together, it would make an interesting book.
A number of veterans didnt talk to me, Bradley said. One said, Im
campus to talk about his writing and the
80 years old, Im on Prozac and Im trying to get a good nights sleep. I
cant talk to you about this, I can hardly think about it. I wish I hadnt gone
story behind his most famous work.
through it. But I would appeal to them and say, you know, you guys are
going to die soon, youre in your 70s, and the reason youre not talking is
probably because you saw one of your friends die, but youll die and then
that friends memories are just gone. Why dont you talk to me and maybe
we can bring that memory of that guy back alive and some of them did.
Bradley was confident that he was onto a great story and those around
him seemed to agree. I would test my material; Id say to people, My dad
was one of the guys who raised the flag on Iwo-jima and Im going to write
a book about the six guys in the famous picture. and theyd say, Oh, Id
buy that book. It just sounded interesting, it sounded exciting. When he
sent out the manuscript though, the response was less enthusiastic. The
first publisher rejected the book. So did the second. Then a third, fourth,
fifth it seemed like Bradley was wrong. Maybe people werent
interested in what had happened 50 years ago in the Pacific. Bradley
never lost confidence though and after 27 rejection letters he found
a publisher and Flags of Our Fathers hit the shelves and the best-
seller lists. The book was later filmed by Clint Eastwood, who told
Bradley a similar tale of rejection when he struggled to get Oscar-
winning Million Dollar Baby producedapparently Hollywood
didnt think anyone wanted to see a boxing movie about a girl.
Following his successful debut, Bradley turned to writing full time and
published Flyboys: a True Story of Courage and The Imperial Cruise which
both also focus on the Asia-Pacific area. Long before I was an author, Id
read biographies of great leaders of World War II, Mao, Roosevelt and
European royalty, he said Reading about people is a great way to get
into different worlds.

Bottom Image: James Bradley and Preston15 and Clorisa Gagnon 14.
Their great uncle, Ren Gagnon, was one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers.

38 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 39


features features
ALUMNI PROFILE ALUMNI PROFILE

Imperial
Honors
Bruce Brenn 53 Recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun,
Gold Rays with Rosette

O
n November 3, 2009, I was leggings, and workmans split toed, Stanford Interuniversity Center in Tokyo. Butler of the Interuniversity Center
honored by the Emperor of rubber-soled jika-tabi. My brother saw In 1966, I joined First National City to Govenor Goldschmidt to promote
Japan with the Order of the this and whispered to me, My god, Bank of New York (it became Citibank) the concept. The immersion program
Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette theyve only got two toes! Fortunately in its Far Eastern division and was shortly continues today.
for outstanding contributions to the this revelation was rapidly dispelled as sent to Hong Kong. This was followed Returning to the States in 1993, I have
promotion of education for the study of the second porter came up the ramp by management assignments in Madras remained closely involved in Japanese
Japan, the deepening of understanding in bare feet and rice straw sandals. My and Calcutta in India. In 1973 I was business, cultural and educational
between Japan and the United States international education had begun. transferred to Tokyo as Vice President activities. I have served or continue to
and the development of the realm I attended junior high and part of high and senior credit officer in charge of the serve on the boards of the Japan America
of sports in Japan. Consul General of school at the Tokyo American School in corporate bank. Except for three years Society of Oregon, the Portland Japanese
Japan Takamichi Okabe presented Naka-Meguro. My involvement with managing Citibank in Taiwan, I spent Garden and the College of Liberal Arts
the decoration to me on November what became ASIJ subsequently extended the next 20 years in Japan. Leaving and Sciences at Portland State University.
30 at his residence in Portland, OR. over more than forty years. In the spring Citibank, my work in Japan continued, In the late 1990s I promoted the
Friends and colleagues from Portland 2009 Ambassador commemorating my setting up and running Nike Japan; establishment of the Center for Japanese
State University, the Portland Japanese good friend Ray Downs 50, there was supervising Continental Banks Asian Studies at Portland State University in
Garden, the Japan America Society of a picture of the 1950 student council branches, subsidiaries and affiliates; and order to capitalize upon the outstanding
Oregon and Nike, as well as previous on which both my brother and I were managing Smith New Court Japan, a academic talent in Japanese language,
Imperial award recipients, attended. members with Ray. Years later, in 1984, newly established securities company of history and arts the university has. I have
I first arrived in Japan by ship the I was fortunate to Chair ASIJs Board of the English Rothschild group. chaired the Center for Japanese Studies
morning of January 7, 1947. My brother Directors while Ray was Headmaster. As vice chairman and CEO of Advisory Board for 10 years. I also chair
and I watched as the gangway was While studying Japanese history at Nike Japan I was able to promote the the Portland Japanese Garden Culture
hoisted into place. Once it was attached the University of Oregon under Dr Paul organization of events and workshops and Education Committee.
we encountered our first, real Japanese Dull, my interest in learning Japanese to teach Japanese coaches safe and Exposure to Japan and the complexities
as several porters came up the gangway gave rise to encouraging him to start a effective track and field training of Japanese language and culture have
onto the ship. Up until this time our Japanese language course. After the U of techniques using coaches such as Tom been a foundation for my emphasizing
total exposure to things Japanese was O, I studied in the Center for Japanese Tellez who coached world record holder that need for cross-cultural education
watching World War II newsreel clips studies and department of economics Carl Lewis. In the 1980s I encouraged and understanding. I firmly believe that
in the local movie theater and seeing at the University of Michigan earning former Nike colleague, Neil Goldschmidt, by studying a different language and
buck-toothed, bespectacled cartoon masters degrees in both Far Eastern after he became governor of Oregon, culture a person can, hopefully, become
caricatures of Japanese leaders. studies and in economics. In 1962- to establish a Japanese language sensitive to listening, questioning, and
The first porter to board the ship was 63 I did postgraduate work in Tokyo immersion program in the Portland, OR, understanding other peoples perspectives
dressed in a Japanese army military hat, with Professor Tsuru of Hitotsubashi public schools. I introduced a friend and and motivations in this increasingly small Lucinda and Bruce Brenn 53
blue jacket, loose pants with wrapped University and studied Japanese at the Japanese language scholar Dr Kenneth world in which we live.

40 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 41


features features
REUNIONS REUNIONS

upcoming
Class Reunions This summer sees everything from decade get-togethers to a 50 year reunion
and an all ASIJ bash in DC. Get ready to reminice and have a good time!

25
50s
decade
September 10-12, 2010
Los Gatos, CA
class of
85
August 21-22, 2010
New York City years
Wine and dine with 50s chums, tour the Hakone Garden in The Class of 1985 paints the town red in New York for its
Saratoga and tuck into barbeque catered by the areas top BBQ milestone 25th reunion. Planning is now underway with details
specialty house. Accommodations at the Garden Inn Hotel. to be available shortly.
Contact Charlie Wu 57 <wucc@earthlink.net> Contact Jennifer Krouse <jkrouse@att.net>

class of September 24-26, 2010 50 class of September 17-19, 2010 20


years
60 Portland, ME
Portland is known for its fresh seafood, local beers, artisanal
90 San Francisco, CA years
The Class of 1990 meets in the City by the Bay, for their 20th
reunion. Friday evening, plan to see old friends; on Saturday, rock
bakeries and the best breakfasts in the country. Museum
visits, a ferry cruise to House Island for a traditional New at the main event, then stay around for Sunday family fun.
England lobster bake will make this a reunion to remember. Contact: Kentaro Relnick <krelnick@me.com> or Patty Sharp
Contact Marsha Bassford Miller <mmiller21@maine.rr.com> <pattyvajda@yahoo.com>

10
60s Former
August 15-20, 2010
Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT
class of
00
September 3-6, 2010
New York City years
Gary Fish is organizing this gathering for late 60s faculty and The Class of 2000 celebrates their 10-year reunion in the
Faculty and alumni from 65-69 in the Montana Big Sky country where he was Big Apple. Finalized plans will be posted to the class website
Alumni born and raised. Fish reunions are known for their special character (http://asijco2000.webs.com/reunion2010.htm) and
Reunion and down-home fun, and this one is not to be missed. ASIJ Class of 2000 Facebook page.
Contact Gary Fish <grizzfishes@wispwest.net> Contact Gary Yamada <gtyamada@gmail.com>

70s June 2 -4, 2010


Orlando, FL all June 19 - 20, 2010
Washington, DC
decade Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa offers full amenities and
close proximity to all the Orlando theme parks. Japanese food, ASIJ Calling all ASIJ Graduates! Scott Trickey 89 is planning a reunion for
the weekend of June 19, 2010 open to anyone who attended ASIJ
disco dancing and karaoke will put 70s classmates in the mood to reunion from any year. This event will be family-friendly, so bring the kids
remember school days in Japan. and meet old friends and new.
Contact Cheryl Wise <cwise@atlanticone.net> Contact Scott Trickey <scott.trickey3@gmail.com>

42 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 43


alumni alumni
Class Agents 1983
Mr. Jiro Okochi
148 Christopher St.
1990
Mr. Kentaro K. Relnick
1-15-10-901 Nishi Azabu
1997
Ms. Amy M. McIntire
amymariemc@yahoo.com
2003
Ms. Aileen N. Kurobe
2230 Ruhland Ave.
Montclair, NJ 07042 USA Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031 Redondo Beach CA 90278 USA
1945 1958 1967 1975 jiro_okochi@reval.com Japan Ms. Alyssa K. Murphy ank2118@columbia.edu
Mrs. Martha Kipp Barber Mr. Andrew W. Blum Mrs. Grenda F. Penhollow Moss Ms. Reiko E. Niimi krelnick@me.com 2714 Kahoaloha Lane
11369 Berwick St. 110 E. Center St., # 947 2300 NW 58th St. 3301 Shirley Ln. 1984 Honolulu HI 96826 USA Mr. J. Chesley Burruss
Los Angeles CA 90049-3413 USA Madison SD 57042 USA OK City OK 73112 USA Chevy Chase MD 20815 USA Mrs. Yuriko Takahashi Young 1991 alyssam@gmail.com 2938-A Laukoa Pl.
martedbar@yahoo.com innofthe5thwheel@gmail.com grendamoss@yahoo.com rniimi@gmail.com 88 Appleton Street Mrs. Nicola M.Watkin Britton Honolulu HI 96813 USA
Cambridge MA 2138 USA 4106 Ridgelea Drive 1998 chesley.burruss@gmail.com
1950 1959 1968 1976 yuri@fiveonthehill.com Austin TX 78731 USA Ms. Rose E. Hastings
Col. Eugene A. Fox Mr. Knight D. Farwell Dr. Masahiro Marty Honda Ms. Elizabeth Yanagihara Horwitz nicola.britton@gmail.com rosehastings@yahoo.com 2004
1450 Emerson Avenue, Apt. #105 PO Box 1074 665 Greenview Place 18 Durant St. 1985 Mr. Jason C. Mothersill
McLean VA 22101-5747 USA Morehead KY 40351-5074 USA Los Altos CA 94024-5335 USA Newton MA 2458 USA Ms. Jennifer A. Krouse 1992 1999 2133 Stockton St. Apt. B308
gene.fox@verizon.net hondam@pacbell.net liz@lizhorwitz.com 71 High Street, 2nd Floor Mrs. Jikja Chun Frank Ms. Naomi D. Hayase San Francisco CA 94133-2040 USA
1960 North Adams MA 1247 USA 1592 Santa Ana Ave. 300 E. Providencia Ave. #103 jasonmothersill@gmail.com
1951Class agent required Mr. David E. Bergt 1969 Class agent required 1977 jkrouse@att.net Costa Mesa CA 92627-3752 USA Burbank CA 91502 USA
6732 Vanderbilt St. Mr. Carl E. Sundberg jikchun@gmail.com naomidhayase@gmail.com Ms. Arisa M. T. Goldstone
1952 Houston TX 77005-3827 USA 1970 Komaba Park Homes #106 1986 220 Beverley St.
Mr. William L. Brunckhorst dbergt@comcast.net Mr. Daniel Garnitz Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0041 Mrs. Diane E. Stewart Wack Ms. Beth J. McGregor Vergidis Ms. Tamina M. Plum Toronto Ontario M5T 1Z3 Canada
1224 W Melrose St. 3121 Lady Cheryl Dr. Japan 19 N. Rolling Rd. 8915 Heather Ann Dr. Upper Flat arisa.goldstone@gmail.com
Whitewater WI 53190 USA 1961 Fayetteville NC 28301 USA carl_sundberg_ja@yahoo.com Catonsville MD 21228-4849 USA West Chester OH 45069 USA London N70BX UK
brunckhorst@gmail.com Mr. C. Stuart Bennett dangar46@yahoo.com diwack@msn.com beth@devstudios.com tamina_plum@yahoo.com 2005
7683 SE 27th St. #128 1978 Mr. Tatsuya Izumi
1953 Mercer Island WA 98040-2804 1971 Mrs. Deanna Adams Smith 1987 1993 2000 2-5-12 Miyamae
Col. William B. Seely USA Ms. Kathy K. Kobata 8009 Abbot Ct. Mr. Robert L. Sharp III Mr. M. Thomas Homer Reid Mr. Gary T. Yamada Suginami-ku, Tokyo 168-0081 Japan
1219 Georgetown Circle angus-coyle@hotmail.com 4085 Sunridge Road McKinney TX 75070-6947 USA 2413 Mimosa Place 208A WA Street 174 27th Ave tatsizumi@gmail.com
Carlisle PA 17013-3549 USA Pebble Beach CA 93953-3033 smithgangV@att.net Wilmington NC 28403 USA Somerville MA 02143-3127 USA San Francisco CA 94121 USA
pbseely@earthlink.net 1962 USA robert@digieffects.com homer@homerreid.com gtyamada@gmail.com 2006
Mrs. Katherine K.C. asij1971@redshift.com 1979 Ms. Mana Sasaki
1954 Bauernschmidt Clarke Mr. L. Dean Kistler 1988 1994 Ms. Aimee F. Singer 511 124th St.
Mr. William H. Curtis 7306 Riverhill Road 1972 663 Sharon Drive Mr. Sergei P. Hasegawa Mrs. Margaret McCallum Hartley 440 Wainee Street S Tacoma WA 98444 USA
840 Hawk Hill Trail Oxon Hill MD 20745-1031 USA Mrs. Karin Jaegel Flynn Rochester NY 14626 USA 85 Russell Street 2550 Luanda Pl. Lahaina HI 96761 USA mana.sasaki@gmail.com
Palm Desert CA 92211-7492 USA kcbclarke@gmail.com 5643 S. Thurlow St. skierdean1@aol.com Brooklyn NY 11222 USA Dulles VA 21089 USA aimeefrancine@gmail.com
captskayc@aol.com Hinsdale IL 60521 USA sergei@purekitchen.com hartleymr@gmail.com Mr. Andrew Tai Dirkse
1963 kflynn@vedderprice.com 1980 2001 vaio2006@gmail.com
1955 Rev. Anne E. Weld-Martin Mrs. Julie L. Froude Ms. Kathrine L. Schmitt Simon Ms. Midori Mimi Kano Ms. N. Joy Mita
Rev. William L. Cryderman 19907 SW Joann Ct. 1973 401 Emerald Woods Dr. 17100 28th Ave. N , 224 Easth 85th St. Apt 5A 2-5-34 Tamacho Fuchu-shi, 2007
111 Blenheim Dr. Aloha OR 97006-2575 USA Mr. J. Chris Reid Oxford OH 45056 USA Minneapolis MN New York, NY 10028-3014 USA Tokyo 183-0002 Japan Ms. Rosalind E. Onions
Spring Arbor MI 49283-9706 USA weldma@comcast.net 30 Chatham Rd. froude14@gmail.com 55447-1752 USA mxkano@hotmail.com nagarekawa@hotmail.com rosalindonions@hotmail.com
wcryderman@comcast.net New Rochelle NY 10804-2514 schm0495@gold.tc.umn.edu
1964 USA 1981 1995 Ms. K. Kimble Lyons Ms. Carly N. Baird
1956 Ms. Angela C. Grant chrisreid@iname.com Mrs. Sherry Davis Tighe 1989 Ms. Sarah M. Suzuki 168 Eastern Promenade Apt. 1R baird.carly@gmail.com
Mrs. Sandra McIver Thompson acollinsgrant@hotmail.com 5347 West Mill Dr. Ms. Linnea M. Hasegawa 55 Phoenix Ave. Portland, ME 4101 USA
83 Church St., Unit 10 Mrs. Pamela Backer Channell Highland Heights OH 44143- 19 Kenmuir Ave. Morristown NJ 07960-5015 USA kathrynlyons@gmail.com 2008
Winchester MA 01890-2545 USA 1965 PO Box 338 3144 USA Morristown NJ 7960 USA sarahmeg@optonline.net Ms. Mariko C. Funai
sandra.thompson3@comcast.net Mrs. Myong S. Kellar Georgetown MA 1833 USA tighezoo@sbcglobal.net tamagomeshi@yahoo.com 2002 funai.mariko@gmail.com
4613 W Seldon Lane pchannell@mindspring.com Ms. Y. Pearl Maddox Vos Ms. Anna L. Tuttle
Ms. Mei Sun Li Glendale AZ 85302 USA 1982 Mrs. Diana K. Chang Stuhrenberg 4461 Stuart Hall Blvd. 500C Russell St. Ms. Jemil M. Satterfield
971 Hawthorn Dr, bobandmyong@yahoo.com 1974 Ms. Lisa Bastick Friedrich-vom-Spee-Strasse Lexington KY 40509-4504 USA Nashville TN 37206-4114 USA jemil_55@hotmail.com
Lafayette CA 94549 USA Mrs. Mirja Karikoski Hanson 2167A Turk Blvd. 17 Duesseldorf 40489 Germany pearlvos@hotmail.com annalynnosu@gmail.com
meisunli@comcast.net 1966 5510 Edgewater Blvd. San Francisco CA 94115-4328 dcheng1@hotmail.com 2009
Mrs. Annie Nichols Campbell Minneapolis MN 55417-2605 USA 1996 Mr. Mitsuhiko Tsukimoto Ms. Caitlin E. McHose
1957 150 E Barcelona Rd. USA omalasq@mac.com Mrs. Samantha Samm Fritz Hurd Mr. H. Sunny Shimizu moonbook@gmail.com greenbubble2307@hotmail.com
Mr. Charles C. Wu Santa Fe NM 87505 USA mirjah@aol.com 8533 Calera Drive Pacific Livew Jiyugaoka Room 701
75 Whitney Avenue campbell.annie@gmail.com Austin TX 78735 USA Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0031 Ms. Elicia M. Cousins
Los Gatos CA 95030 USA samf@austin.rr.com sunny_shimizu@hotmail.com elicia_cousins@hotmail.com
wucc@earthlink.net

44 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 45


alumni alumni
Kyle Kohnke 11, who attended ASIJ from and chronicle of more than 30 years of work
Vivienne Kenrick 1920-1999 In Memoriam 2005-08, passed away on January 11, 2010 in the Canada-Japan field as a government
Miranda Kenrick 65 reflects on her mothers eclectic life. in Twinsburg, OH. He was the beloved son official, industry representative, consultant
Neva Corl (AP 1968 81), of Lebanon, OH, of Wendy and Keith Kohnke and brother of and volunteer, culminating in the imperial
In July 1946 my mother and 10-month-old sister Linden 64 sailed out died peacefully on October 17, 2009. Born Rachel 09. Kyle was a junior at Twinsburg honor, was featured in The Ambassador (fall/
of England to their new life in Hong Kong. My father had preceded July 2, 1927 in WI, she and her late husband High School where he also played football. winter 09).
them by air. Until that moment Mama had been out of England only Jovan worked for the General Board of Global
once, on a brief school trip to France. Nothing in her London birth or Ministries as missionaries in Japan. She leaves
upbringing had prepared her for what would come during the next behind family that include ASIJ alumni Daniel
63 years in the Far East. The war had disrupted plans for university Corl 71, Jaylene Corl Mory 72, Nevin Corl
and she became a billeting and re-housing officer for bombed-out 77 and Shana Corl 81.
Londoners. In 1942 she married my father. He was from New Zealand 2 1
and his war work led to a position in the Hong Kong government in Leona Hill (AP 1965-69) of Peoria, IL,
4
Tokyo, after a couple of years in Hong Kong. Eventually in Tokyo he mother of Dannette Hill Lanke 69, passed
left government work and established a small trading company. away March 15, 2010 in Milwaukee, WI.
I was born in Hong Kong and was 5 months old when we arrived in
Japan, in a snowstorm, on February 29, 1948. We believe that Mama
was the first Western wife given permission to enter Japan after the war
and to establish a household independently of the Occupation Forces.
Although life was certainly hard, she always said that she felt at home
right away. Quiet and modest by nature, she was also highly effective and 6
John Powles 66 Yone Riber
within months of arriving in Tokyo she helped create the Jefferson Heights
3
nursery-kindergarten and taught there for a year. John Powles 66 passed away at Lions Gate Former home arts teacher Yone Riber (FF
1. Vivienne Kenrick, c.1993. 2 to 5. Scenes
My memories of childhood center on horses. Mama began riding as a Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia on 1957-64) passed away at the age of 95 on
from Viviennes life as a horsewoman in Japan,
hobby and in 1950 opened a riding school in what had been paddy fields 1950s. She was often the only woman and March 14, 2010. He fought a long battle July 4, 2009 in New York City. Her daughters,
behind our house. She quickly became a prominent show jumper. Crown the only foreigner. | 6. Vivienne was invited to with cancer with grace and courage and Marianne Riber Hurd 63 and Agneta Riber
participate in Crown Prince Akihitos coming of
Prince (now Emperor) Akihito was, in his youth, an excellent horseman. age horse show in 1952.
was an inspiration to all. He leaves behind 66 were by her side. Yone was born on
To commemorate his coming of age in 1952, he invited a dozen riders to his wife Michelle, parents Cyril and Marjorie October 7, 1913, the fourth of nine children
compete with him at a special event at the Imperial Palace. Mama was, as 5 Powles (AP 1957-70), his brother Peter 70, of a prominent and wealthy Wakayama
so often, the only woman and the only foreigner in the show. his step-daughter Marie Anick Brazeau and family. Her father, Isaku Nishimura, studied
Bill Jackson 67
The Japan Equestrian Federation wanted Mamas superb show-jumper his beloved grandchildren Katherine and Erik architecture in the United States and on his
to represent Japan in the Olympic Games. She hated to lose him, but also William H. (Bill) Jackson III 67, of Dallas, Vinson. John was brought up in Japan where return to Japan in 1914, built his family a
rejoiced that he should have the chance of an international career. Re-named TX, passed away surrounded by family and he lived and worked half of his life. His career Western-style house in which Yone grew up.
Fuji, he had the distinction in 1956 of being the first horse to go out of Japan friends on January 2, 2010. Born May 21, started at Expo 70 in Osaka, work which led In 1935, Yone sailed by ocean liner to the
after the war as an Olympic entry. He was also the first New Zealand-bred 1948 in Abilene, TX, to Doris and Dr WH to a management position with the Canadian States for studies at the New York School of
horse ever to compete in the Olympic Games and was in Japans teams (Dub) Jackson, he was the oldest of five governments Department of Expositions, Interior Design. After further studies at the
twice, in 1956 and 1960. A friend wrote to me after Mama died Apart from children and moved to Japan when he was 3 where he eventually became responsible for Sorbonne in Paris, Yone returned to Japan
the big stab of grief, my first thoughts, though I never knew her in her riding years old. His parents were Southern Baptist all international expositions in which Canada and began teaching French at Bunka Gakuin,
days, were of her galloping off on her beloved horse. missionaries. By the time he graduated participated. In 1987, he joined the Council the co-educational and liberal arts college in
For the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, the British team appointed for from ASIJ in 1967, he had lifelong friends of Forest Industries as director of Asia and Tokyo founded by her father and for which
each sport a local liaison officer, referred to as the uncle in Tokyo. Mama from all over the world and a fluent grasp Japan operations, based in Tokyo. He was he was renowned. During the early days of
was the equestrian liaison officer, the only woman on the team, and of the Japanese language. Bill worked as a the first non-Japanese to receive the Ministry World War II, she married a Swedish man,
amused to be Uncle Vivienne. She also covered the equestrian events television sportscaster at KTXS in Abilene, of Construction Award. He also served Curt Riber at her fathers Gotanda home and
in the field for The Japan Times and Associated Press. Four years later, in Correspondents Club of Japan. She belonged to a number of organizations TX, until he graduated from Hardin Simmons as president of the Canadian Chamber of lived out the war years with him in Hakone.
Mexico, she again covered the equestrian events for AP. in Tokyo, including the community theatre group Tokyo International University. He spent his life working in a Commerce in Japan. Back in Vancouver, he In 1957, preferring to return to professional
Mama began writing in the 1950s. For many years she broadcast for Players. For her faithful attendance in the audience for 50 years, TIP also variety of churches and ministries including founded an international trade consulting life after her divorce, Yone visited The
Radio Japan, the overseas service of NHK. In 1963 she wrote her first acknowledged her with life membership. First Baptist church of Dallas, TX, the World company, and became the president of the American School in Japan in Naka-Meguro
Personality Profile, a weekly interview column for The Japan Times, never Mama was a wonderful travel companion and together we made many Evangelism Foundation, Highland Park Canada Japan Society for eight of the past to inquire about a teaching position there.
dreaming she would continue it, without a break, for 44 years. I dont a long journey including what was long ago known as the overland hippie Baptist Church, Highland Park, TX, and the 11 years. In 2005, the Premier of British She was offered the opportunity to teach
know how she did it, all those years before fax, the internet and digital route from Kathmandu to London. She was in her early 80s when we Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization. He Columbia appointed John head of the Japan either French, which she had taught at her
photography. Each year she spent time in our home in England. She also camped in Bhutan, tiptoed into North Korea, and sailed to remote St. Helena. was married to Susan Flood, who became an Market Advisory Group under the aegis of fathers college, or Home Arts. Because she
traveled extensively and was sometimes overseas for months on end. She She wore the same dress size all her adult life, rode a bicycle in Tokyo, indispensible partner in his life of ministry. the Asia Pacific Trade Council. In 2008, the felt that making a lovely home was among
carried a portable typewriter with her and never missed a deadline. Not and into her 80s swam regularly in the local pool. She was 85 when she was He is survived by his wife, his parents, Japanese Government announced that he the most important things that one could
once, not even during the years of caregiving after my father had a stroke, hit with severe anemia. She then endured without complaint four years of four children, five grandchildren and four would receive the Order of the Rising Sun do, she chose to teach Home Arts. What
nor even immediately after his death. illness that included a minor stroke and a major blood clot. Until the end her siblings: Shirley Jackson Sloan 70, Lynda Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in recognition many students of that era would remember
She was for many years area editor of Fodors Guide to Japan and memory and personality remained intact. Jackson Hughes 71, David 72, and Juanita of his lifelong work in improving relations most was the aroma of cookies and cakes
also wrote nine books. She was an honorary life member of The Foreign I miss her every day. She is irreplaceable. Jackson Hayden 73. between Canada and Japan. Johns life story baking in the Home Arts room. Yone always

46 the ambassador SPRING 2010 SPRING 2010 the ambassador 47


alumni
knew how to create a homey atmosphere to California to teach French and Spanish to
which her daughters enjoyed at home and
her students also enjoyed at school. Her
Japanese-American internees at Manzanar
High School. During the military occupation Alumni News
daughter Agneta remembered her gifts to
her and Marianne of dolls dressed in identical
of Japan, he became a teacher there
and stayed in Japan from 1946 to 2009.
goes online!
navy coats with matching caps and lavender Immediately after he arrived, he went to
evening gowns for each one, made by Yone Sendai to teach illiterate American soldiers Its easy to post your news on
after the children were in bed. At bedtime, to read and write English; he later worked ASIJs NetCommunity.
she and her sister would drift off to sleep as in Fukuoka and Tokyo, where he taught Heres how:
Yone played the piano for them. Her choice French, Spanish, and occasionally Latin at
of teaching profession, says Agneta, was also various Department of Defense Dependents
to stay close to her children and their world. Schools. In connection with this, he taught at 1. First, you must be registered
After leaving ASIJ in 1964, she made a home ASIJ, which had been temporarily taken over for NetCommunity. If you are
in New York, as Marianne was attending by the US military. There, he had Ray Downs not, please go to the alumni
college in the US, and lived there for much 50 as his student. Mr. Rogerss friends and login page, scroll down and
of the remainder of her life. Each summer, relatives remember his storytelling, poetry
follow the instructions for new
she would return to the family compound in recitals, sarcasm, and jokes. He is survived by
user registration. Please allow
Karuizawa, and kept the mid-century modern his wife Sophie Fumie; brother George and
ranch-style home in Yokohama on the Bluff daughter Paula 86. several days for your registration
that her architect brother had designed and request to be processed.
built. Agneta writes, Many people called her Mihoko Sato (FS 1984 -88), former secretary
Mom. She was a natural mother and was to HS Principal Robert Winer passed away 2. Go to the alumni welcome
affectionately adopted by many whose lives at the beginning of January. Robert Winer
page and click on Class Notes
she touched. Young people always found her writes, She was always very dear to
easy to talk to at ASIJ and throughout her life. me, always loyal and understanding and on the left hand side menu.
Her thoughtful advice was often sought and supportive and friendly. I dont have much
valued. A teacher, an adviser and a mother biographical information on her, but I do 3. Click on Edit My Class Notes
perhaps they are all the same. She taught me know that she was working in a factory in and type in your entry. Please
much. She will be greatly missed. Hiroshima when the atomic bomb dropped.
include your name.
A small knoll separating her factory from
ground zero saved her life. All the young
women who ran out to see what had 4. When you submit your entry,
happened died of radiation poisoning. it will take a couple of days to
approve. Your update will then
Frances (Frannie) L. Schroth (FF 1968-70, appear on your class year page.
1972-75) of Chestnut, IL, passed away
It belongs to you, and you can
on Thursday October 29, 2009. She was
born February 23, 1943 in Brenham, TX, update or edit it at any time.
the daughter of Don Jamie and Elsie Shade
Langston. Frannie and her husband, Larry, a 5. Any photographs you send
junior high counselor, joined the ASIJ faculty in by mail or to <alumni@asij.
1968, where she taught English to high school
ac.jp> will be included in alumni
and later to middle school students. After the
photo gallery sent each month
1969-70 school year, they relocated to the US
Harold Rogers
but returned to ASIJ for three more years in in the e-news and archived on
Harold Rogers (FF 1947-51, AP 1974-1986) 1972. Frannie was beloved by her students and the alumni site. At this time,
passed away on July 12, 2009, in Tokyo. respected by her peers. She is survived by her NetCommunity does not have
Born in New York City, he received his BA husband, Larry Schroth, her children Sara and the capability to post a photo
from Columbia University in 1941 and an Lincoln and two grandchildren. A memorial
with the note.
MA from Columbia Teachers College in reunion in her honor of is planned for the
1942. After the outbreak of World War II, afternoon of June 19, 2010 in Woodland, CA.
he entered the US Navy Japanese Language For information, please contact Brenda Gabrych
School at the University of Colorado with Andersen (andersenb@sbcglobal.net or 530-
students who were to later become pioneers 521-7892) or Larry Schroth (lk.schroth@juno.com
in the field of Japanese studies, including or 217-792-5827).
Donald Keene, Helen Craig McCullough, and
Edward Seidensticker. After being honorably Gerald Sherman 74 passed away in Las
discharged from the navy, Mr Rogers went Vegas, NV, on October 13, 2008.

48 the ambassador SPRING 2010


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THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN JAPAN SPRING 2010