A letter from Japan – from the man who met Titty Altounyan in Coniston

Yoichiro Yamada from Japan with Titty Altounyan and her husband in Coniston in 1985

Dear Ms. Neville,

I am writing to you for the first time, having found that you are the president of Arthur Ransome Society. Attached is a photo I took with Titty and her husband at their bungalow by the Coniston Water in 1985.

My name is Yoichiro Yamada. I have been with the foreign ministry of Japan since 1984. I am currently teaching at a university (and will return to the ministry next year). 

I have held this photo in my album for 36 years now. It looks glossy because it is a digital photo of the original one. 

I have cherished the memory of meeting Titty and her husband, but have never written to anyone about it before. When I was around 12-13 years old, I was fascinated by Arthur Ransome stories. I read all the volumes in the Japanese translation. Since then, I wanted to live in the U.K. some time in the future. My dream came true when I entered the foreign ministry and was sent to Beaconsfield (RAEC Center) for language training in Russian. 

Taking advantage of that opportunity, I went to the Lake District, and after some luck, met Titty and her husband in 1985. I believe I was the only Japanese to have done so.

By coincidence, I have recently come to know about your society. I saw some photos of Ms. Mavis Altounyan (including those of her wedding), and was immediately convinced that it’s the same two persons that I met in 1985. I thought that I should write to you.

The original photo is in my father’s house, which has become vacant because he recently began to live in a pensioners’ home. So I cannot make a better copy of the original photo unless I go to that house by myself (which I intend to do this summer). I believe that in the same album there still remains a sheet of paper on which Titty made an autograph “Titty A.B.” for me (or perhaps “Titi A.B”…I cannot remember which way she wrote). I remember she said as she wrote it, “this is how I used to sign my name when I was very young.”

I hope this story and the photo are of interest to you and your society. 
Yours, sincerely, 
 

Yoichiro (Giro) Yamada

 My family has a parrot – a Panama Amazon – and his name is, of course, Polly.

I am no longer President of The Arthur Ransome Society, but I thought that others who love the Swallows and Amazons series of books would like to read this letter and asked permission to publish it, along with his photos.

I never met Titty Altouyan and was too shy to contact her but did rescue family photos of her wedding in Aleppo, which you can see on an earlier post here.

Wedding Day in Aleppo

Here is another picture of her at her sister, Brigit’s wedding:

Titty Altounyan at her sister’s wedding

You can read a little more about her life and the origin of her name here.

Titty Altounyan on the Norfolk Broads

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

8 thoughts on “A letter from Japan – from the man who met Titty Altounyan in Coniston”

  1. This is magical! Please thank Yoichiro Yamada warmly from UK TARS for his wonderful photo and delightful letter, and tell him that we all envy him tremendously for having met Titty and Melkon – what a privilege! Lovely photo of Polly too.

  2. What a wonderful story. And what a lucky man Mr. Yamada is, and such wonderful memories. Thank you to you both for sharing them with us.

  3. Dear Sophie you have made so many people very happy ??

    Get Outlook for Android ________________________________

  4. Thankyou for this wonderful letter, Yoichiro Yamada, and to Sophie for sharing it. It is wonderful to be reminded of the Altounyan family’s ongoing support of Ransome enthusiasts and to meet another enthusiast from a different country at the same time. (I am in Australia, and live very close to Ransome’s grandfather’s old sheep station. Please feel free to get in touch via Sophie if you are visiting Australia.) I hope your father is comfortable in his new home. The photograph here of the Guzelians is clear enough, and I love the photograph of you and Polly. Swallows and Amazons forever!

  5. This is such a lovely letter and story, and I hope that Yoichiro Yamada is able to retrieve the originals from his father’s house – treasures that they are. This is yet another demonstration of the broad appeal of the world of AR – across cultures and continents!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: