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YIS ALUMNI QUARTERLY Vol. 3 / October 2009 In this Issue 1

80’s Alums Celebrate Reunions at YIS and in Amsterdam


From the Editor


Featured Alumni & Former Staff Rob Ruts Grant Mikasa Charles Hunter


New Feature Enhances Links Between YIS Online Alumni Community and Facebook


Recent Campus Visitors


Paul Neary - Elementary Principal


Sylvie Maeda - French Teacher


Author, Author!


80’s Reunion at YIS


80’s Reunion in Amsterdam

10 Upcoming Events at YIS 11 Class Notes 12 The Quarterly Quiz The YIS Alumni Quarterly is published electronically by Yokohama International School for the enjoyment of former students, parents and staff as well as the current school community. We welcome your comments and suggestions (contact Editorial Team: Bob Pomeroy YIS Director of Advancement, Admissions and Communications Leslie (Harrington) Lorimer (Class of 1980) President, International Academic Consultants Inc. Shohei Nishihara (Class of 2004) YIS Communications and Advancement Coordinator © Yokohama International School


Alums Celebrate Reunions at YIS and in Amsterdam

Coincidently, there were two YIS class of 1980s reunions held on the same day, September 12th. One was at YIS, gathering more than 20 local alumni. The other was hosted 9,000 kilometers away in Amsterdam, gathering YIS alumni from all around Europe. See articles on pages 8 and 9 for details.

From the Editor Dear Alumni, The 2009-10 academic year got underway on August 20 with a record 725 students, representing nearly 50 nationalities. This includes more than 130 new students overall and the largest High School (242 students) in YIS history. Speaking of history, this month marks the 85th anniversary of the school’s establishment, a milestone commemorated by a new YIS flag that flies proudly in front of the school, a gift of the class of 2009. Here on the Bluff, amidst the cooler, October weather, the school is busier than ever, with a plethora of activities, sports matches, fine arts events and performances almost every week. Alumni are always warmly welcome at school events; please check the school calendar ( to see what’s on tap. We would especially appreciate some alumni Dragons’ spirit at home athletic events. There has been a lot of alumni activity recently, including reunions in Amsterdam and Yokohama for YIS alums of the 1980s. See the articles in this issue for a recap of those events. Also in this issue, we’ve caught up with former YIS science teacher Charles Hunter (YIS 1995-2000), and feature interviews with alums Rob Ruts (YIS 1965-1967) and Grant Mikasa (YIS 1970-1977), as well as current YIS faculty members Sylvie Maeda and Paul Neary. The Class Notes section includes updates from a number of you and this issue’s Quarterly Quiz (see back page) has a musical twist. Finally, I am pleased to note that membership in the YIS online alumni community on the alumni website has grown significantly in recent months and now numbers almost 900 registered members. To make it even easier to be part of this online community, we are introducing a new feature that ties in with Facebook. Please see the article in this issue for details. Best regards, Bob Pomeroy Editor

Featured Alumni & Former Staff Rob Ruts (YIS 1965 - 1966) AQ: When were you at YIS and what were those years like?

had asked me to assist him with his senior class production. I was to provide for the sound, meaning that I had to operate a tape recorder. I was excited and honored, and the responsibility given was the start of a passion for the theatre. In my twenties and thirties I acted, directed, produced plays and had my own gem of a little theatre where exciting things happened.

RR: I was ten years old when I arrived in Yokohama. I had taken off in a DC 8 from then tiny Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, stopping over in Anchorage. It was June 1965. I was brought to the cockpit and the captain pointed out the coastline of Japan. It was distinctly a distant shore then. A lot of schoolmates did not believe me when I told them I was to travel to Japan. I did not speak a word of English. While we spent our first week in Yokohama at the Prince Hotel, my mother tried her best to teach me a few words, but the swimming pool was too great a distraction. No worry, somehow in the first YIS weeks in Middle A, I think it was called, I learned the language, which is the first YIS wonder. I skipped a grade and ended my two-year YIS career in Middle C, which was presided over by a young woman who made such an impression on me as an eleven year old that I, for the first time in my life, sounded a distinct masculine whistle when I saw her for the first time. Twenty three I think she was then, riding a motorcycle in a mini skirt. She provided for the happiest school year I had. She taught me a lot in class, but what made a great impression on me outside is how she quarreled with older YIS staff about her approach. She seemed to stand for something, even if this was her first teaching job.

I am 54 now, so it would take many pages to describe what else happened after leaving Japan. I must mention the son who was born four years ago. I am telling him about Japan, and that we are going to take him there. He, however, has Egypt as a priority. He is going into the pyramids to fight the mummy ghosts first. Also, I am working hard on a video documentary on those years in Yokohama. I am exploring the adventures of an eleven-year-old Dutch boy there and Yokohama as it was in the sixties. There was not just the Japanese wonder world but also the American presence, including the Navy Exchange with all the goodies new to me. There was Vietnam also. I had a friend whose father was stationed there. The friend feared for his father’s life and told me about his dreams vividly. And there were people like Valerie Mance, taking to Yokohama flower power and

“...the YIS atmosphere is something I carry with me; if anything it is an encouragement.”

We sang, acted, tried to learn French, went skating, learned and recited our weekly poem. Memorable also was what did not happen. Miss Valerie Mance, that was her name, wanted to take the whole class on a skiing trip to Hokkaido. I think we all knew that this was too farfetched, but we thought: “Hey, let her give it a try; with Miss Mance you never know....” We did not go to Hokkaido, but I admired Miss Mance for giving it a go. AQ: Can you share with us a little of what you’ve been doing since YIS? RR: One thing I took home from Yokohama, and from YIS in particular, was the theatre. I do not remember exactly what their names were but I think they were Mr. and Mrs. Barker, both YIS teachers, who both put a lot of effort in their class theatre productions. I was in Mrs. Barker’s Middle A class, where we did a play centerd around the story of the Trojan Horse. More importantly Mr. Barker 2

Joan Baez, amongst many other things I could barely understand. I do now. This exciting Yokohama mix is what I want to capture. AQ: What does YIS mean to you? RR: YIS obviously is important to me. Apart from the people there it was –perhaps a cliché—the atmosphere in which school provided for the extras that makes learning an experience rather than a chore. That atmosphere cannot be dissected and explained. Another cliché: YIS was unique. Answering the question “What YIS means, or meant to me,” is very hard to answer. YIS was not instrumental to anything particular, but the YIS atmosphere is something I carry with me; if anything it is an encouragement. AQ: Who were some of your memorable friends and teachers at YIS? RR: I mentioned Miss Mance. Memorable was also

Headmaster Theo de Haan. He was Dutch, as we were. He was also our neighbor. While at school he was the Headmaster, but I also knew him as a somewhat eccentric gentleman. He was famous for his Christmas cards, featuring himself in an exotic environment. I found it hard at times to take him seriously, either as a neighbor or as a headmaster. There was this small band of eleven year olds I was part of. Not the types who sought a fight. Nor the types for whom high grades were all that important. Somewhere in the middle, we needed serious fun. My frustration is that I cannot remember my friends’ names. There was this tall Swede. There were two rather well rounded American boys with Japanese mothers. I would love to talk with them. One reason why I am working on that documentary is that I cannot grab hold of the details of our Yokohama story to fully understand why Yokohama and YIS were paradise for eleven-year-old boys. Talking to others helps. Talking to what then were my friends would mean a serious enlightenment. AQ: Were there other particularly memorable occasions at YIS? RR: There were many memorable occasions, some of which were mentioned above. Memorable was the skiing trip not happening. Memorable were the plays we staged. But memorable were also the menko competitions in the playground and joining seniors on the roof of the building in their ball game. There was another event that as I remember it did not fully transpire. It is one of the many rather hazy memories I have. As a class we often sang. Miss Mance proud of our vocal qualities, somehow organised us performing in an enormous Yokohama concert hall in a varied programme. I know we were waiting to go on stage, but I cannot remember us actually singing. If anyone reading this could enlighten me on this item of my Yokohama stay, that would be greatly appreciated.

New Feature Enhances Links Between YIS Online Alumni Community and Facebook As many of you already know, the YIS online alumni community ( is a full-fledged social networking site in its own right, offering features such as blogs, photo galleries, event registrations, messaging with other members and more. At the same time, many YIS alums are staying in touch with one another via Facebook, and other networks. At last count there were over 25 different YIS groups on Facebook alone. To enhance the experience at alums registered in the YIS online community who are also Facebook users, we are implementing a new feature on our alumni website that will enable registered members to sign in to the YIS online alumni community using their Facebook credentials (username/password). Once signed in, members have the option to post updates automatically to their personal Facebook walls when they conduct many actions within the YIS online alumni community.
This could include blog postings, photo uploads, events, member profile updates, media uploads, forum posts and more. While this new feature will enable members to more easily share items with fellow alums with whom they regularly communicate via Facebook, access to any private content is controlled by the website’s security settings so individuals seeking to access private content must be an approved member of the YIS online alumni community. So we hope this new feature will provide greater convenience and more options for YIS alums to stay in touch with each other digitally while maintaining the privacy of the alumni community.

Recent Campus Visitors Class of 2007 Alums Daigo Takahashi (Left) Shenel Cooray (Right)

Nicholas Kallechy ‘08

Class of 2008 Alums Haruhisa Yanagi (Left) Shunta Nomura (Right)

Class of 2006 Alums Cemile Marsan (Left) and Sara Talmadge (Right)


Grant Mikasa (YIS 1970 - 1977) AQ: How many years were you at YIS? GM: I attended YIS from kindergarten to 6th grade. I hold precious memories of the time spent there during my childhood. At that time I could not realize the importance of all my experiences but now I know how unique the environment was and how it helped to develop the foundation of who I am today. AQ: What have you been doing since YIS? GM: I graduated from St. Mary’s International School (1983) and Teikyo University School of Medicine (1991). My postgraduate studies were focused on Primary Care. I studied General Outpatient Medicine and Diagnostic Medicine at Chiba University under a US-trained Family Practitioner. I specifically decided to take this path, receiving strong influence from my father, who practiced medicine in Yokohama for over 30 years (he is now a retired couch potato). Presently I work in Minato-ku, Tokyo at the International Clinic (established in 1953) and Tokyo Midtown Medical Center affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International (established in 2007), mainly to see the foreign community. I enjoy the diversity and excitement of old and new medicine working in Tokyo but at the end of the day I love coming back to my peaceful hometown Yokohama. AQ: What impact has YIS had on your life? GM: My personality and values were all built from here with friends, teachers and family. I am thankful to the school and to all the people who have supported me throughout the years I have spent at YIS. I have

noticed that the same excellence and the comfortable atmosphere have been passed down even after decades. I am overjoyed knowing that YIS is now known as one of the best international schools not only in Japan but also worldwide. AQ: Who were some of your most memorable teachers and friends?

Grant and his father

GM: Stelarc, with all respect (who preferred to be called this way), was my art teacher with extraordinary influence. He was and still is an active contemporary Australian performance artist whose works focus heavily on futurism and extending the capabilities of the human body. Seeing a schoolteacher hanging naked in mid-air with strings and hooks was quite shocking but gave me the opportunity to extend my understanding of true art. Mr. Scrase, a long fuzzy haired nontraditional science teacher kept me actively involved with the beauty of science. Mrs. Tsugawa provided the love and care making my grammar school experience comfortable. I still recall hanging around her homeroom whenever I had the chance. Last but not least, my friends. Thanks to modern technology, Facebook recently brought us all back together although we live scattered all over the world. The reunion online is just amazing. AQ: Could you share some of your special memories of YIS?

GM: We studied Greek mythology, architecture and philosophy in 6th grade, if my memory is correct. Now this was fascinating to me. There was so much depth and valuable knowledge. The field trip to a local Greek restaurant called Sparta was unforgettable. It made the Greek experience complete. By pure coincidence, I recently discovered that the restaurant still exists near Kannai Station. It was truly an honor to be at YIS and now I am more than excited to be a father sending my son to the very same school. 4

Charles Hunter - Faculty 1995 - 2000 genuine love of learning, more than anywhere else that I’ve taught around the world. I came to truly love my students. It was they who made YIS such an outstanding school and I hope that the inclination towards learning will always be a source of strength for the school.

Charles Hunter and his wife Cheryl

AQ: When did you teach at YIS, and which subjects? CH: I taught there during the years 1995-2000. I taught IB Biology, AP Biology, IGCSE Biology, General Biology, Environmental Science, 7th Grade Science and 8th Grade Science. I also often worked with elementary students on impromptu mini-lessons, launched the “Bio Club” and served in the leadership of Phi Delta Kappa. AQ: What have you been doing since leaving YIS?

There is a response which I call the “recognition reflex” that can be seen in the eyes of students that tells me whether or not they understand the ideas that are being taught. I remember the ongoing gift of joy that I received by looking into the learning eyes of my students. Teaching students how to learn was as valuable as teaching them the concepts of the syllabi. I recall how students earned the trust of teachers and administrators because of their personal integrity. After I learned that students predictably made good judgments, even Field Studies became a relaxed form of intense learning. I didn’t understand why the lockers were called lockers. Students earned trust and locks were not needed. During Spring Break of 1996, I went to the Bio Lab to water the plants and decided to check to make sure all was well in the building. Three groups of students were working in different parts of the school—totally unsupervised—I was the only adult in the school and the doors were all unlocked with the grade books on the teachers’ desks. Trust. One of my favorite tranquility pastimes at school was to comb through the outdoor plants and put together my version of Ikebana, which I would put in an Erlenmeyer flask for Ishii-san’s desk. Something was always blooming even during the coldest part of winter.

CH: Since leaving YIS, I have taught at the American School of Doha, Qatar and at Taejeon Christian International School in the scientific and engineering capital of South Korea, Daejeon. Then back to Qatar to work as an educational consultant for the Supreme Education Agency of the “I had so many YIS students who had of learning, more than anywhere else State of Qatar.

around the world.”

Several years ago, while still working overseas, I bought an historic Italianate Victorian home in America for my wife as a Valentine’s Day present. We are in the long and arduous process of constructing a Japanese garden. We have enjoyed hosting a large number of international college students from around the world whom I taught in various countries. We continue to keep in touch with many students as well as faculty and parents. We particularly enjoy sending “Care Packages” to college students several times a year.

I have become increasingly involved in urban forestry issues, which gives me an outlet for interests which stem from research that I did at Harvard. We launched an Urban Forestry Research Station during the Spring of 2009, which keeps us pretty busy. AQ: What memories do you have of YIS? CH: YIS will always have a special place in my heart because of the amazing students whom I had the joy of teaching. I had so many YIS students who had a

a genuine love that I’ve taught

AQ: You mentioned founding the Bio Club. What was that? CH: Our “Bio Club” was composed of students from grades 2 through 12 who showed an extra bright spark of interest in science. We met after school in the Bio Lab and entered into a series of loosely coordinated investigations using all sorts of lab equipment, biologicals and computers. Students would bound into the lab after school full of questions and the excitement of impending learning. Some of those students are now biology teachers. The youngest are just now starting their IB programme at YIS. In two years I’ll send them care packages when they are in college. I have more stories to tell about life at YIS than can be told here. If I write a book of memoirs about my life as an international educator, I’m certain that the chapters on my life in Japan will comprise the major part of the work. How often does one have the opportunity to teach and learn from the best students in the world? 5

Paul Neary – Elementary Principal AQ: How long have you been at YIS and where were you before coming to Yokohama? PN: This is my fourth year at YIS. I came to YIS from Berlin International School. I have been lucky to work in many parts of the world, but I still know that Australia is my home. AQ: Which ages does the Elementary principal oversee and how do you like working with the children? PN: As Principal, I am responsible for the children in the Early Learning Center, 3- and 4-year olds, and the Elementary School, children up to about age 11. I really like the kids here and each one of them is special in some way. I enjoy discovering interesting things about them; where they have come from, about their pets, how many teeth have fallen out, the languages they speak, their favorite foods, the visiting grandparents, aunites, uncles cousins…small things that make up their personalities and their world. I feel a small sense of sorrow when the children move on to other schools in other countries or back to their home countries. I always hope that the friendships they made at YIS will sustain them until they adjust to their new schools or lifestyles. AQ: What is special about YIS? PN: I enjoy working here and have a great group of colleagues and wonderful children to work with. I wish the children could understand how lucky they are to go to YIS. Quite often parents say something like “I wish I had been to a school like YIS”. One thing that continues to intrigue me is the shift that many parents experience when they are introduced to our curriculum, the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Initially 6

Paul Neary and members of Mutiny, his Irish band

some are skeptical, because we don’t have lots of testing and there is a lot of student interaction and built-in reflective practices. After one semester the parents generally become very supportive of the philosophy and practices of the PYP and wonder how their children will fit in to more traditional systems that they may have to return to. AQ: Are there any particularly memorable events that stand out in the time you’ve been at YIS? PN: I love the concerts and performances at YIS. I think that my first Koto concert was the most moving for me. It gave me goose bumps. The students looked so good in their hakatas and kimonos; the stage was simple, the lighting subtle. I really enjoyed the total experience. I had heard a lot about the YIS Food Fair, the reality of it really surprised me. It was such a big event. My first Food fair was a rainy day yet the school was packed with people, all of whom seemed to be having a wonderful time. Seeing so many school families together reminded me of the importance of the school to the community and the ex-pat community in particular. It is a unifying focus point for many families living in Yokohama. AQ: When not busy at school, what do you like to do in your free time? PN: In my past life, not in Japan, I was very involved in training competitive working dogs, Rottweilers and German Shepherds, and in the martial art of Taekwondo. I also love surfing and water sports, but since living abroad I have had to modify my interests. Now, in Yokohama, I like to work out at a gym regularly; it is an outlet for the occasional stresses of the job. I also play the flute and concertina in an Irish music band “Mutiny”. We play regularly at an Irish pub called The Clann in Jiyugaoka, and we are having a first-time gig at The Green Sheep in Yokohama. (Check us out on Facebook: I’d be happy to see some YIS alums at our gigs.

Sylvie Maeda – French Teacher authors that some of my avid readers, such as Paul Miles, were going through at a fast pace! AQ: Are there any particularly memorable students and classes that spring to mind? SM: I have fond memories of all my students. They have taught me a lot in terms of being understanding of others and open to everyone regardless of one’s origin and culture. I’ve been impressed by the hard work that some of them displayed in my classes and been pleased to see that French helped them enhance their careers. At the same time it was sweet to hear that some of my “Junior High” students regretted not pursuing French later on as they realized it would have helped them advance in their professions. I know that sometimes French was hard to take on the last period of the day on a Friday afternoon!

AQ: When did you first start teaching at YIS and what were those early years like? SM: I came to YIS in 1981. It was quite a coincidence and if it had not been for Veronique Marmillot, whom I met at a language school where we were both teaching and who told me of a possible vacancy in the French department, I probably would not have been hired by then Headmaster John Tanner. I first came as a substitute to teach an A level French class in a small room that was located inside the library. I was hired as a part-time teacher for the next academic year and worked closely with Veronique, who became my mentor at YIS. It was a little after she left that I became a full-time teacher in 2000. By then the school had changed a lot and after teaching in almost every room available at YIS I had my own classroom, which I shared with Lutgard Cunningham in the Pauli Building. This was how I got to know the AV room in the library, which I always knew as the “ivy room,” thanks to Stelarc who had impressed me thanks to his talent and his accent!

Some of my most “endearing” moments were the reading of “Petit Nicolas” with a grade 8 class on those Friday afternoons. The boys, who were the majority of the class, did not seem to find any affinity with French and it was a real challenge to manage the students. Another memorable moment was when I was teaching in the home economics classroom and I almost lost my temper with the TV we had to share on that floor. After giving up showing a video to my students and complaining to Ishii-san in the office that the sound was uncontrollable and urging her to have the TV fixed, years later Laj Lal (YIS class of 2002) confessed to me that there had been nothing wrong with the TV. He had simply used his watch to remotely control the sound to the pleasure of his classmates! No wonder he is now a computer expert for a big firm in Tokyo; he could practice his early skills in my French class. AQ: Any other memorable occasions?

AQ: Which subjects have you taught?

SM: Besides teaching, I have also enjoyed the volunteer activities I have led, which have allowed me to know the students better and appreciate their dedication. One memorable event was when I went to Niigata during the spring of 2005 with six 11th grade girls to provide assistance to the victims of the powerful earthquake. Thanks to the PTSA, which sponsored our trip, we were able to provide company to the people who were living in temporary housing and helped shovel the snow that had fallen abundantly that year. I was grateful for that experience as it taught us not to take our comfortable lives for granted and to be humble towards others who faced hardships with such dignity. The welcome we received was moving and our experience marked every one of us. I was happy to know that one of my students embarked on a psychology major at university after she realized she could make a difference in people’s lives.

SM: I have remained a teacher of French all the while and at one point in the early 80s had also a brief stint as a teacher of an English reading class at a time when the enrolment in French was low and a second class had to be created for students to improve their reading skills. It was an interesting experience, which made me discover several

Overall, I have really enjoyed being part of the YIS community and contributing to expand the talents of our students. It has been a great pleasure and honour to be part of this internationally minded community. It has certainly been a learning experience for me and I am far from graduating yet!

Besides moving from science labs to a room that was next to the art room, I also taught in the old home economics classroom, later on I moved next to the elementary classrooms where I could hear a young prodigy in grade 2, Chris Gibson, play the cello before his classmates. Such itinerant life gave me the opportunity to meet a number of teachers across the school and left me with pleasant memories as the school was gradually being renovated over the 29 years I have now spent at YIS.


80’s Reunion at

Class of 80’s alums and Dennis Stanworth (far right) celebrate reunion at YIS


hat a wonderful evening! On Saturday, September 12th, over 20 alumni from various YIS classes of the 1980’s gathered for an informal reunion at YIS. Thanks to Eliza Kumamoto (Class of 1983) for initiating the idea. Over drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the Loft, many were filling in the missing years by sharing their recent news and flipping through old Chowa yearbooks. After a while, Mr. Stanworth joined us as a surprise guest, recalling memories of old YIS math classes and other adventures. At the end of the event, there was a school tour to see the changes that have been made on campus in the intervening years. A number of attendees were back for the first time in over 20 years and were excited to see such “new” facilities as the cafeteria and the artificial turf, which they never had a chance to use. However, there were still things that drew back memories from the 80’s, like the Kanto Plain Soccer Championship banner of 1989 at the gym. Thanks so much to everyone who came. We look forward to similar events for alums from other years. Shohei Nishihara (Class of 2004)

Author, Author! YIS High School English teacher Trevor Kew has recently published his first novel, Trading Goals, with Lorimer and Co. Publishers in Toronto. The novel is targeted at children aged 7-13, especially those who love sports. While it will only be distributed to stores in the USA and Canada, the novel is also available in other regions via Amazon. 8

Vicky looked up and frantically backpedalled,her feet slipping like tires stuck in mud. The ball was dropping fast. Falling, falling, falling...

When Vicky and her mother pack up and move across the city to a new neighborhood, it means switching schools and leaving behind her best friend and her soccer team. Now she’ll have to try out with her former rivals, deal with bullying at her new school, and struggle to maintain loyalty to her old friends while making new ones. Vicky is an incredible goalkeeper and tries to keep focused on the game she loves, but it’s not easy to pursue her goals without the support of her friends and family.

YIS and in Amsterdam

L to R: Michael Ackers, Gert Jan Pauli, and Fred Sorensen

Class of 80’s alums gather in Amsterdam


ifteen or so YIS alumni met under a tree in front of Amsterdam Central Station on a Friday evening in early September. Everyone was a bit nervous, not knowing if they would recognize their old classmates and friends from 30 years ago. “Are you xxx????? It’s so great to see you!!!” Although we weren’t exactly sure who was who at first, a quick look through the yearbook soon solved all the mysteries. Alumni flew in from countries as far away as Argentina, Australia, Japan, and the US, as well as several European countries, to be with old friends over the weekend. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in 30 years, but it was just like we were teenagers again, and it took no time at all to get to know each other again, as can be seen from some of the photos! Our first event was having dinner on a restaurant ship called Pollux, a ferry ride away from Central Station. Excellent food, great company, and most definitely plenty of wine! Some of the more sensible of us went straight back to our hotels and apartments, but several more younger-at-heart continued to explore Amsterdam at night. MOST of them actually made it to our rendezvous point in the morning! Saturday morning started with a wonderful visit to a little museum with a Catholic church in the attic, followed by another delicious meal at a quaint little castle (?) in the square. We then had the pleasure of being taken on a walking tour around the city by

L to R: Elena Dil and Leslie (Harrington) Lorimer

a gentleman named Jan, who shared his memories as a young boy during the war. It seemed there was nothing about Amsterdam he didn’t know, and it was a pleasure having him share this knowledge with us. The greatest adventure of the day was perhaps the trip down the canal, when our boat got stuck! No worries. Again there was plenty of wine, stories to share, and lives to catch up on. We were eventually picked up by another boat, and off we went to finish our journey. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join everyone on the Sunday morning for the bike trip to the countryside, but the pictures I’ve seen prove that again everyone had a great day, and fun was had by all. Keep checking the YIS website and Facebook for more information on where you’ll be able to see more photos of the reunion, and to start planning for the next one! We all promised not to let it be another 30 years before we see each other again, so if anyone has any great ideas for the next reunion, let us know! Lastly, I’d like to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to Elena and Harriet Dil, who did a fabulous job in organizing the Amsterdam reunion. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into it, and we really appreciate everything you did to get us all together for the weekend! Leslie Lorimer (Class of 1980) 9

Voices from the Amsterdam Reunion Eduardo Macchi (YIS 1977-1981) After 28 years we still look the same, except in the yearbook! Neil Roberts Class of 1982 Hello to all! Alison Young Class of 1983 Wonderful to see old friends again in this beautiful city. Lots of laughs and memories – thanks Harriet and Elena! Katrina Heijkoop (YIS 1975-1982) What a blast. Old friendships restored and renewed. New friendships made. Unique life memories shared with the only people who can understand. Elena Dil (YIS 1979-1981) Moved around, settled in Bath. 4 kids (1 husband) a dog, and enjoying life!

Gert Jan Pauli (YIS 1972-1974, 1976-1980, 1984-1986) Great to get together with old friends. Time seems to have stood still when you remember anecdotes from 25+ years ago. Fantastic. Dirk Dil (YIS 1979-1981) Wow. We all met and didn’t lose a step. A whole bunch of teenagers in Amsterdam. Michael Ackers (YIS 1972-1980) Married and now divorced. So now young, free, wrinkly and single. Many thanks to Harriet and Elena for organising the European reunion. You did us proud. Olivier Hubert Kindergarten Class of 1969 If you were a member of YC&AC then you might remember me. If not, too bad. Ha, ha, ha.

Martanne Stark (Bruun) (YIS 1981-1986) Living in Denmark, 2 kids, boy 18, girl 17. Working for JTI International. Vashti Turner (Gardner) (YIS 1984) Hung out (too much too often) for a few years around the pool, Breezeway. Popped into YIS for a short period in 1984. Now in London. Yukio Iwata Class of 1986 Living in Helsinki, following stints in Istanbul, Tokyo and Berlin. Amazed that 23 years have passed since graduation and glad that friendships endure. Jens Velsboe (YIS 1979-1982 + 1) Married. 5 kids. Living in Denmark.

Upcoming Events at YIS YIS Annual General Meeting on November 17 The Annual General Meeting of Yokohama International School will be held Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 7:30 pm at the Tanner Auditorium. Besides electing the Board of Directors, the AGM provides an opportunity for the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the administration to update the community on the status of the school. The AGM may be attended by members of the boards of directors and trustees, parents or legal guardians of students, faculty members, and YIS alumni of age 25 or more who have registered with the school. Please join us if you are able to.

‘Bridging the Gap’ Coming Up November 19-21 How do schools of the present become schools for the future? How can we communicate and connect effectively with our children? How well do parents and teachers understand each other? These are some of the issues that we deal with at ‘Bridging the Gap,’ our celebrated annual conference for the YIS community. Now in its seventh year, BTG has brought inspirational speakers from different parts of the world to help us develop our curriculum, ethos and community spirit.

A scene from Bridging the Gap 2008


The theme of BTG 2009, which will take place November 19 – 21, 2009, is “What is 21st Century Education?” Befitting the theme, this year we will experiment with new models of 21st Century learning, using an open, participatory, workshop-style approach to the event. Alumni are warmly welcome to participate. See the BTG section of the website ( for details.

Class Notes 1960s 1968

Frank Hall (YIS 1961-1962) I fondly remember my days at YIS and Japan. My family and I lived in the Helm House Apts in downtown Yokohama. I remember taking a taxi back and forth to school. Being an American, the challenging part of school was that the currency used in math was the British Pound and that was before it was converted to a decimal system. So, I learned a lot about pounds, schillings and pences. Unfortunately, when I visited England, they had already converted to decimal system and I could not use that knowledge. One time, I misspelled Tchaikovsky and my teacher made me write it 100 times. My family and I returned to the US in 1962 and later that year moved to Spain where we lived for 2 years. I graduated from High School in 1968 and college in 1973. Now, I live in Essex, CT. I retired in 2003 from the State of Connecticut.

This section offers a chance to update fellow alums on what you’ve been doing since school days at YIS, share recent news, noteworthy accomplishments, or send a message to classmates. Entries are listed by class year, that is, the year of graduation from High School, whether at YIS or elsewhere. To submit a Class Notes entry for the next issue of the YIS Alumni Quarterly, please go to Don’t forget to include your name, class year (i.e., the year you graduated from high school at YIS or elsewhere), and the years that you attended YIS. Please feel free to send a recent photo too. 1989

Graham Cruikshanks (YIS 1985 – 1989) I am currently in Cape Town. Have been married for nearly 3 years and have a one-year old son. Working in advertising at Saatchi & Saatchi, Cape Town.


1970s 1974

Rena Denham (YIS 1970 -1972) In August, I became Associate Dean of Instruction at Rogue Community College in southern Oregon. Moving to Oregon after living in Reno, NV for 14 years was difficult, but Oregon is a beautiful place with friendly people.


Ron Deckera (YIS 1972 - 1975) Hi fellow classmates; I hope that we are all doing well and life has been kind. I am currently living in Australia, have a good job and a great family. I hope that the next time we have a reunion I am able to attend and meet up with those that I have not seen in quite a few years. Take care everyone and maybe I’ll see some of you in the near future.


Hideki Onda (YIS 1975 – 1979) Hi all. I am doing fine. I have a public blog about my life so you can read all about what I am doing etc here: or search for me in Google and I should show up on the top page. I hope to see you all one day in a reunion somewhere. Best regards to all.

1980s 1988

Rodney Nojek (YIS 1982 – 1983) Trying to find friends that attended YIS during 1982 and 1983.


Luke Knowles (YIS 1975 - 1983) Hi to all my old friends at YIS. I am now living in Sydney Australia with my wife Nicole and 4 kids! Would be great to see some old faces here!

2005 Noah Kristula-Green (YIS 2000 – 2005) I graduated from the University of Chicago in June of 2009 with a degree in Political Science. When I am not blogging at (and I don’t have time to blog these days due to work) I am working as a Web Intern at The New Republic magazine in Washington DC.

Eugene Saburi ‘90 at an IT Press Conference

1990s 1990

Eugene Saburi (YIS 1976 – 1985) Hey everyone, after spending almost 7 years back in Tokyo, I’ve relocated back to Seattle, Washington. I am still with Microsoft. I still go back to Japan quite often (about 4 times/year) and other geos, too. For those of you interested in working the IT field, feel free to reach out to me via email. Stay well!

Hee Jung Lee (YIS 2005 – 2009) I got married =) ... just kidding. So it is a bit weird because it has been only three months since I left YIS, but it feels like ages. And I miss it, and Japan, very much. Not that I don’t like it here. I am at UC Berkeley, majoring BioEngineering, and the weather is nice, and the people are nice and all that. I am also finding out that whatever your YIS teacher tells you is all true (all that nagging about deadlines, the workloads, how important it is to be international and open-minded and all that). Surprised? I hope that everyone in YIS is feeling the love I am sending (hahahhahaha) because now I am realizing how much I owe that place and people there. Thank you teachers (so so so much), friends, obaasans and good luck to Sen10RS! Go Dragons!

Faculty Wyn Williams (YIS 1991 – 2004) I was the Head of Art and IB Coordinator. After 5 years of being in Wales I have just started working at The British International School Of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I am the Head of Secondary (High School) and my wife Jayne is teaching in the Elementary School. My two daughters Sian (12) and Sarah (11) are with us. Please pass on our regards to anyone that might still remember us.

1991 Miya Bradley (YIS 1987 – 1991) G’day - I’ve been living in Sydney for 9 years now, working in the Design industry ever since I left University. Currently at; if you are heading down under feel free to contact me, would be cool to catch up. Per Zetterlund has just moved around the corner from me!

2000s 2004 Marie Buda (YIS 1991 - 2004) I am currently living in the UK doing a PhD in experimental psychology/cognitive neuroscience, looking at the neural basis of false memories. Marie Buda ‘04 in Kimono 11

The Quarterly Quiz Look familiar? This is the music score of the YIS school song (yes, we actually have one). The first person to correctly identify the year in which it was written will win a YIS souvenir. Send responses to with the words “Quarterly Quiz” in the subject line.





The correct answer from the previous Quarterly Quiz was “1) Dennis Stanworth, 2) Sylvie Maeda 3) Daniel Riley all taken in 1981.“ The winner is Jeff Zaveloff ‘85. Congratulations! © Yokohama International School

YIS Alumni Quarterly Autumn 2009  

YIS Alumni Quarterly Autumn 2009

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