who, what, why

Update 2017


Jiro’s mom passed away in 2012 and since then we’ve decided to stick around here. I’m teaching English part-time at a small, private university in Oita and Jiro has built a workshop and is doing art full-time. We may end up back in the Pacific Northwest eventually, but we’re here for the time being and take frequent trips back.  I still think of home as the US, but I’ve got a pretty nice second home here.

Everything seems to revolve around teaching and learning and global connections.
Grew up in a beach town in Southern California, catholic school through 12th grade, girl scouts just as long…. UC Santa Cruz in the 70’s introduced me to earth science, old growth forests, close friendships, vegetarianism and the Grateful Dead. After graduation I fell in love with persimmons during a short stint at Twin Lakes Market, selling fruits and vegetables. In December of 1978 I went to Japan to teach English and came back to the States in 1989, no longer a vegetarian and with a husband (Jiro) and two kids in tow. During those 10 years I taught English, farmed (rice, shiitake, chickens, and vegetables), started our family, and learned a lot. Back in the States, I talked myself into a teaching job and Jiro returned to bamboo craftsmanship which he had trained for several years before. I taught Japanese language at a state college and then taught for 14 years at an independent school in Portland, Oregon. I am sure I learned much more than my students did.
In 2006 I completed my MLS and left teaching for librarianship. From January 2007 to March 2008, I worked as the Undergraduate Services Coordinator at the Valley Library at Oregon State University, a job I loved and for me, the perfect balance of structure and autonomy.
Now Jiro and I are returning to his hometown in Japan to help out his mom and start a new adventure. He’ll continue with his bamboo art and I’ll be an Assistant Language Teacher for elementary schools in the Saiki School District.
This blog is an attempt to bridge the worlds of the Pacific Northwest and Japan, libraries and education, books and bamboo.


7 thoughts on “who, what, why

  1. Judy Miller June 5, 2008 / 6:05 am

    Hi Kate,
    How wonderful to see your blog! It’s fun to see the circuitous routes (roots?) since (from?)UCSC… Mine is still in (through) Alaska, though health issues are forcing us to start on the path of giving up the gold mine, bush part of our lives and continue more with the “city” approach (population ~3500 in Valdez). But I can still ride my bike to work – at least when it’s not snowing, so life is good… I look for ward to more blog entries.

  2. Sara J December 19, 2008 / 6:30 pm

    Just sending sympathy and thoughts on the recent loss of your brother-in-law.

  3. Tom Huang January 6, 2009 / 4:07 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that we are all thinking of you on a consistent basis and especially now during this tragedy.

    I’m so glad I found your Blog. It’s beautifully written, I hope to continue getting updates. On a side note, I got a chance to see Dane and Suya at the Bamboo Society Conference in SF their kids are adorable.


  4. Stephen Jensen May 9, 2009 / 8:31 am

    Hi! Nice to get a comment from you on my blog. I was actually introduced to your husband by Hajime Nakatomi a few months ago at a bamboo informational meeting in Beppu, although I thought his/your last name was Yonezawa, not Katezawa. Is that how you read the characters (米沢)? I was encouraged to hear that you were living in the US for a while ’cause it meant there’s a possibility I could work with takezaiku after we go back. Anyway, Caitlyn and I would love to meet you and your family sometime. Are you ever in the Oita City/Beppu area? Caitlyn and I could always drive down to Saiki too–it’s a nice area. (Feel free to send me an email!)

    I’ll take a look at your blog from time to time. I’m sure there’s much we can learn from both of you as you’ve been strattling the Pacific much longer than we have.

    Enjoy the weather! It’ll be bearably warm for only a little longer.


  5. Sally Anne Syberg April 29, 2011 / 8:58 pm

    Hi Kate! Just found an old postcard from you and decided to google. I’m in Brooklyn … and you’re in Japan. The postcard is from 1996, so I guess it has been awhile. How are you?

  6. Namiko Yokoyama February 2, 2012 / 9:20 am

    Hello Kate,
    Do you remember me?
    I’m so excited to find your blog! So great you and your family are all well.
    Are you in Oita now? I’m living in the same place as when you stayed with us, althoug my mom passed away six years ago and I quit my job as an English teacher. Oh, I have a lot to talk with you… I hope to see you some day soon.


    • katezawa February 2, 2012 / 12:27 pm

      Great to hear from you! Of course, I remember you. I sent you an email, I look forward to hearing from you.

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