Russian students with Young Burnsians and piper
The second occasion was two days later in the Eastwood Theatre, Giffnock, where the Russian students were joined by clarsach players Clara Wheeler and Cheryl Turner from St Ninians High School, both members of the East Renfrewshire Symphony Orchestra which will be touring St Petersburg next June. On this occasion Veronica gave a very moving address on the Holocaust Memorial Garden in Pushkin, Victor displayed his virtuosity on the classical guitar and Liza performed a brilliant gypsy dance which had the audience clapping enthusiastically. The photograph shows the three St Petersburg students, me, and Councillor Alan Lafferty the Education Convenor for East Renfrewshire Council. On the wall behind are some of the paintings from the Forum’s art competition organised by May McMaster. Also taking part were Helen Morrison, Anne Fawbert, and Tom and Elizabeth Clark, all doing splendid work with the Forum.
Keeping up the international theme, I spent a very enjoyable day, on Wednesday 30 September, with a Japanese journalist, Yoichi Haruyama, a staff writer on the Saturday edition of Japan’s largest selling newspaper The Asahi Shimbun which has an 8 million daily circulation. He is researching the origin of Auld Lang Syne so Burns Chronicle Editor, Peter Westwood, and I took him, and his very accomplished translator Yuko Satoh to Ellisland Farm to show him the very room in which Burns wrote his great anthem which is so popular in Japan that many people there believe it is a Japanese song! The article is due out by the end of the year and we have been promised an advance copy. We also showed them the Globe Inn, where they enjoyed the superb Cullen Skink soup, and Jane Brown kindly gave them a conducted tour of Burns’ favourite howff before we rounded of the tour with a visit to Burns House and the Mausoleum at St Michael’s Church. The photograph shows from left to right: Yoichi Katuyama, me, Yuko Satoh, Les Byers Curator at Ellisland Farm, Peter Westwood and Ronnie Cairns, Chairman of The Friends of Ellisland
Continuing the Japanese theme, my wife Pat and I were invited to a private viewing of Japanese Art and Crafts in the Dovecot Studio, Edinburgh, organised by Kozo Yoshino on behalf of the Victor Murphy Memorial Trust and opened by the Consul General of Japan, Mr Masataka Tarahara. The invitation stemmed from a guided tour I had given Kozo, and some visiting guests, of Broughton House, the National Trust of Scotland property in Kirkcudbright, with its wonderful Burns Collection and Japanese paintings by Edward Atkinson Hornel. Mixing with other guests I became even more aware of the popularity of Burns in Japan, especially his songs, yet again reinforcing the impact of Burns’ international appeal.