Kobe, Japan, May, 2009
Don MacLaren’s articles, commentary, letters, stories and poems have appeared in
and other publications.
This website contains a sampling of Don MacLaren's written work, which he hopes will enrich your life in some way. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don MacLaren lived in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan until he was 19, whereupon his wanderlust and breakup with a girlfriend led him to quit his job as a press operator in a factory and join the US Navy. In the Navy he made two seven-month long deployments to East Asia and the Indian Ocean/Gulf of Oman during the Iranian Hostage Crisis and Iran-Iraq War. In 1980 his ship, the USS Coral Sea, spent 102 consecutive days at sea without visiting a port - most of it off the coast of Iran. During this time the Coral Sea and ships in company participated in Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to rescue Americans being held hostage in Tehran.
In 1988 he graduated as valedictorian at City College of San Francisco with an AS in Film Production. Two years later he received a BA in English from UC Berkeley, where he was a member of the Honor Students’ Society.
In March 1991 he moved to Japan, where he initially taught English. In 1995 he began to work in Tokyo at a trading company as a writer and translator. His company imported products from companies such as Unocal, Prestone and
Con-Agra and marketed them to clients such as Toyota, Nissan and the Japanese government.
In 2001 he left his job at the trading company and after an 18 day trip through Europe returned to the United States. He spent most of 2001 to 2010 in New York City, where he worked as a teacher and freelance writer and translator. His students and clients consisted of people from over 60 different countries.
In 2003-04 he spent six months traveling in Latin America, where he studied Spanish and worked freelance as a writer and translator.
Between 2008 and 2013 he made numerous trips to Japan, totaling six months. Much of this time was spent writing his observations on Japan, as well as doing freelance translating and tutoring.
In addition to the jobs mentioned above, MacLaren has worked as a cab driver in Oakland, butcher in Michigan, construction worker and bartender in Japan, janitor and hotel desk clerk in San Francisco, security guard in Dallas, counterperson at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, wire operator/bookkeeper/trading assistant for the institutional trading desk at the stock brokerage firm Merrill Lynch in Dallas, and other jobs.
Since August 2010 MacLaren has lived in Jiangsu Province, China, where he teaches at a high school and writes in his free time.
© Don MacLaren