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Yoko McClain Transcript Part 4
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TitleYoko McClain Transcript Part 4
Date2008-03-22
Time Period2000-2009
IntervieweeMcClain, Yoko
InterviewerUhlig, Elizabeth
TranscriberRanseen, Susanne
SubjectJapanese Americans
Writing
Travel
Printmaking
Original CollectionJapanese-American Association of Lane Co., OR, Oral History Collection
RestrictionsPermission to use must be obtained from the Oregon Multicultural Archives, OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center.
File Nameyoko_mcclain_part4.pdf
LanguageEnglish
Full TextJapanese-American Association of Lane County, Oregon - Oral History Collection Yoko Matsuoka McClain – Part 4 Date: March 22, 2008 Place: Yoko Matsuoka McClain's home Eugene, OR Length: 00:15:59 Interviewee: Yoko Matsuoka McClain Interviewer: Elizabeth Uhlig Transcriber: Susanne Ranseen Note: (sp?) means that words prior, mostly names, may be spelled incorrectly [00:00] [EU] Okay, this is part 4 of the interview with Yoko McClain. Yoko when you retired did the university, what was your status where you an Emeritus professor? [YM] Correct. That's right. Of course you don't any money [laughs]. I get free parking, parking sticker that is all that you get [laughs]. [EU] And I believe that there is an endowed chair in your name at the university? [YM] Yes, yes that is the one that.. [EU] At the university can you tell us about… [YM] Japanese alumni students raised money. [EU] These where alumni from the university in Tokyo? In Japan? [YM] That is correct. In Japan. They raised $100,000 then the state matched that for $200,000. They accumulated of course. We can get a visiting professor or last year a Japanese journalist who had a very good experience, an interesting experience so he gave a talk - that kind of thing. [EU] What do they call that fund? [YM] That's the one that is a Yoko McClain professorship. [EU] Okay [YM] Then I have another one which I started long time ago. I put some money in then some people put some money in and that called the Japan America Friendship fund. That would be for mainly scholarship. [EU] Scholarships for Japanese students? 2 [YM] Students who studies Japanese [EU] Here at the university? [YM] Right. For the Japanese student I do keep it from time to time for international office, they had a scholarship and so. [EU] You, we talked some about the grammar handbook that you wrote. But you did many other, you wrote many other books and articles. [YM] Mainly Japanese books and all sorts of different things. After I retire, I enjoy retirement, so Joy of Retirement or Japan American cultural differences; I think that was called American Common Sense Japanese Common Sense. I had the three books about Sōseki and most recent one October 2007. [EU] That was the one about your grandmother and Sōseki? And all of these books where written in Japanese or in English? [YM] Actually I wrote American Common Sense Japanese Common Sense then Japanese textbook company asked me to translate a couple chapters so that was a tough time, I was still teaching, so my students translate it and two small books for Japanese textbooks for English class or cultural class. And so they have been used in Japan. That of course is in English; of course grammar book is all in English; I put the Japanese in of course. Rest made in Japanese. Tokyo. [EU] In Japanese, okay. [YM] Publishing in Tokyo. [EU] You said you travel back to Japan almost every year, once or twice? [YM] Yes, after I retired. When I was working, the only time I could do it was during the summer which is the worst time [laughs] In Japan, right? [EU] Because it's so hot? [YM] It hot. Now I usually go in the spring or fall. Last year I did go twice. This year I am going in May and I don't know about fall. Usually like to travel some other place too so we will see what happens. [4:45] [EU] When you go to Japan, you say you give lectures? [YM] Yes quite often. 3 [EU] Where do you give lectures and what do you talk about? [YM] This time is three universities in May, one is Takales (sp?) the other one is Waseda and other one is Niigata University, another city is Niigata, that's four of them. Last December was Tamakura (sp?) and Tamakura, society type of thing, so that is where I gave a talk. And also Toyota is a famous for your auto mobile; Toyota Cultural Center they asked me so than a nearby Toyota, in the city Toyota is a university so that is what I did. I gave three talks and this time is since right after I published the book so many people wanted me to talk about it. About Sōseki and at Waseda in May said half Sōseki and half English major, mainly English major will come, so something about English. So maybe giving half of cultural differences that in a sense I talk in English and Japanese, language itself sort of reflection of culture so that is what I am going to talk about. [EU] Have you received an award from the Japanese government? [YM] I did receive from foreign minister, ministry, to something like "to the betterment of relations between American and Japan" or some kind of thing [laughs] Promote it. [EU] You travel other places? You have gone to Poland? [YM] Yeah. I have a gone for seven continents, age of course. North America, South America, Antarctica I went, and Africa, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. [EU] Where these travels related to your books and lecturing or for pleasure? [YM] Some places I did, like Australia. But lots of times I go just when I feel like it; I don't even take, I don't even have laptop because my eye is so bad - [unclear]. When I go on vacation, it's kind of nice to forget everything for couple weeks, right? [laughs] Week or two and enjoy it. But like Poland I was invited to speak, Australia, and Singapore. Thailand I gave a talk. Antarctica of course you meet the penguins, seals, [laughs] no, that was fun. [EU] But Eugene obviously is your home? [YM] Correct [EU] And you talk before your grandfather wasn't particularly happy when he was sin England but your experience has been the opposite? [YM] You're right, very good. [8:55] [YM] I really enjoy being here. And I said I did make friends from the beginning which makes lots of difference I think. 4 [EU] And your son, of course, is here. [YM] That is right. [YM] Where does he live now? [YM] He lives almost ten minutes from here, less than ten minutes by car, actually. He now in university position there. [EU] What is his name? [YM] His name is Ken. We decided Ken not Kenneth because "Ken" in Japanese mean "sane - healthy and sane." That you can us here and Japan both way so it is easy. So we just named him. [EU] Do you have grandchildren? [YM] Just one. He, Ken's wife, is Maria and she is also a doctor; she is originally from El Salvador. Their son's name is Alejandro. His name is Alejandro Sōseki (sp?) McClain [laughs]. All my friends, all my Japanese friends always can him Sōseki-Ken (sp?). {EU] Do you see him often? [YM] Maybe once or twice a week, I suppose. [EU] Could you talk a little but about your husband and his interest in the Japanese art? [YM] That's right. It is interesting that must be I always think it is innate because some of my students I ask in olden days. Now so many people just taking Chinese, Japanese, and Chinese. But in olden days it such a special language so I ask the students why are you taking Japanese? They said most of them, some of them had been in Japan, that's why they interested or something; they have some innate interest. My husband is like that. My in-laws where such nice people but they were never particularly interested in Japan. He said ever since he was a child he was always interested in Japan. Isn't that interesting? So he was always interested in printmaking. High school and when he was child he always tried to so he took a class from a Japanese printmaker. That was his hobby. Then he starting selling all the Japanese printing tools to the different universities and art schools that was after he based away that was sold. Now that they have a new owner they still have McClain's print making supplies or something like that. They are doing very well actually. [EU] So your husband imported the tools from Japan? [YM] That's right. We were the only ones that could import because we had good friends in the printmaking in Japan; they said they didn't want to deal with anyone else but they said they 5 would do that. Century old tool company, a small one, but excellent tools they have. That is reason they can sell so well. [EU] Did he also collected Japanese prints? [YM] That's right. [13:08] [EU] So what kind of prints was he interested in? [YM] Japanese woodblock. [EU] Contemporary, 20th century? [YM] Contemporary more. What they call "sôsaku hanga." That means "creative hanga" – "hanga" means "print." Creative that means; olden days like Hiroshige (sp?) - he just draw and then cut, then print it. They do whole process all by himself, themselves. That is what he was interested in. [EU] So he collected the hanga, the prints for himself or did he also sell them? [YM] Yeah. He sold he was selling. [EU] I notice when we go to the art museum you've donated many of the prints to the university? [YM] I don't know where you found that. [EU] On some of the prints hanging on the wall it will say "Gift of Yoko" [YM] That's right. And so when he died, I had this one contemporary, he died too, this modern Japanese print maker, was a top Japanese print maker, who was here in Oregon, he took class from him and we became very good friend. We bought his whole city, so Tokaido 53 stations; gradually we collected. When he died, I thought, I don't want to sell and so I in memory of him give to the museum. So that is what I did. [EU] Do you continue to collect prints yourself? [YM] No more, no more collecting anything; I try to get rid of it. Look at all those that I had to get rid of. That is one thing, so rest, lots of the prints are now in museum. I haven't really given yet but I did not want to keep them here to be theft and those kind of thing too. So they having it in their basement. One day I will give all the things. No more collecting. Just one second. [end 15:59]
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