ACHI KOCHI: HERE & THERE STORIES BY TOBEY ISHI-ANDERSON
While winter’s chill lingers, stories as colorful as the early blossoms of Japanese plum trees will painted through words, imagery, and humor of the featured teller t March 1st First Friday StoryNight. Tobey Ishi-Anderson of Olympia, will share stories gathered from diverse cultures on the 3 continents she has lived in, Asia, Europe, and North America. Tobey’s program “Achi Kochi: here and there stories” will draw from her childhood memories of aunties sharing stories of their life in WWII US internment camps,, her travels as a Peace Corps Volunteer and educator, and tall tales derived her passion for the art of casting flies and authoring stories for a Pacific NW fishing magazine. Hosted by the Quimper Storytelling Guild, the evening program also includes a set of shorts stories told by diverse range of tellers who sign-up upon arrival, and a closing story-song connected to the evening’s theme by MC Perry Spring. First Friday StoryNight is held monthly from 7 to 9 pm at Port Townsend Friends’ Meetinghouse, 1841 Sheridan Street.
Achi Kochi, a Japanese phrase meaning "here and there" AND “from place-to-place”, encapsulates the spectrum of experiences that Tobey Anderson stories convey. Personal stories and Japanese folktales told at family gatherings captivated a young Tobey. “Be careful what you say, this one has big ears” family members would exclaim; her love for listening to these tales was the fertile ground that sowed the seeds for her development into a master teller and allowed her to carry on her family’s tradition. Anderson is known as a “Third Culture Kid” primarily because her father’s work in the US State Department resulted in her spending significant portions of her childhood in Malaysia and Japan. This combined with her own work as an international school teacher and Peace Corps volunteer, allowed her to learn stories from many different cultures. Upon returning to United States, Anderson and her husband embraced the culture of Olympia, WA. In its own proper time, Tobey ventured into the mystic waters of PNW fly fishing. “Aiming, casting the line, and letting the damselfly land in the flow of the river is like the the movement and stream of events involved in a crafting good story” states Anderson. As an active participant in the South Sound Storytelling Guild for many years, Tobey has told at annual Tellabrations, been awarded for her performance in a Liar’s Contest, and featured at other regional storytelling venues. She writes for Northwest Sportsman, where she collects inspirations that enhance her talents as teller of tall tales.
Now in its 10th season, First Friday StoryNight is a communal exploration of the art and ritual of the oral tradition including the old myths, folktales, fairy tales, ballads, family, personal and modern stories. The Guild also holds a monthly Third Sunday StoryCrafting Story Swap for aspiring and experienced tellers to hone their craft from 2 to 4:30 pm at the Port Townsend Library Learning Center(1220 Lawrence Street). The guild’s mission is to enhance the craft of storytelling to foster the many benefits of continuing the oral tradition in communities of NE Olympic Peninsula. On Saturday March 2nd, Langley on Whidbey Island will be site of the first annual Village By The Sea Story Festival; www.wicaonline.org