Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My teacher Natsume Soseki's granddaughter

"Wagahai wa nekodearu" Every Japanese growing up has heard this phrase, which means "I am a cat". It was written by a modern Japanese writer Natsume Soseki. It was one of the first modern literature written from an animal's point of view and this book and phrase
became a huge sensation. After moving to the U.S. I attended the University of Oregon where I met and studied under Mrs. Yoko McClain who turned out to be the granddaughter of Soseki. She was a gentle, small women, with a quick wit and small rimed glasses. She came to America as a Fulbright Scholar when she was young and ended up in Eugene, Oregon where she studied, taught, married and raised her family. Long after I graduated from the U of O we kept in touch and last year when I was in Eugene I went to visit her. We talked about many of my classmates she still kept in touch with and the lectures she had given. But of course she talked mostly about her grandson. I am so glad that I took the time to go see her then. Unfortunately she passed away in November of 2011. Mrs. McClain I will truly miss you....


  1. So sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in all the wonderful memories of this special lady.

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss, but it’s so wonderful that you could study under the guidance of such a special lady. I believe whenever you think of her, she will be always close to you. My name is also Yoko (child of ocean) and wear small rimmed glasses. I’d like to develop the art of wit like hers. It’s nice to see lovely photo of yourself, too.

    I read the next post about an adventure on the first snow. We are chilled to the bone these days, unfortunately no snow here in Nara so far.

    Thanks for your visit.


  3. I was also a student of Yoko McClain - sensei. I did not know she had passed away... so sad to hear this. She was an extremely influential person in my life.