Don MacLaren

Work History

​​Freelance Writer/Editor/Translator (Japanese, Spanish, English)
Writing, Editing and Translation at
November 1984 – Present
​San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Tokyo, Guatemala, Colombia, China
Has written and published numerous essays/pieces of memoir. Also has extensive experience as a translator, interpreter and teacher - working freelance for Japanese and Spanish speaking clients in New York City; Tokyo; the San Francisco Bay Area; Quetzaltenango, Guatemala; Medellin, Colombia and Jiangsu Province, China who need tutoring in English, need an interpreter, are seeking visas for work and study in the U.S., need resumes and other documents translated, are applying to colleges or enrolled in graduate programs at schools such as Columbia University and New York University. Work has been done meeting clients directly, by e-mail and by phone.

High School English Teacher
Ministry of Education, Jiangsu Province, China
August 2010 – 2014 Jiangsu Province, China
Prepared high school students for college studies overseas; administered and graded IELTS English proficiency tests (necessary for college entrance); taught writing, reading, speaking and listening skills; counseled students on Western culture and college life.

English Teacher
New York Language Center
February 2002 – July 2010
​New York City
Taught students of all levels writing, reading, speaking and listening skills as well as TOEFL classes. This took place in a multicultural environment - immigrant students came from over 75 different countries.

Writer and Translator
株式会社ユーエスシー(USC Ltd.)
September 1995 – September 2001
​Tokyo, Japan
Translated, interpreted (Japanese-English/English-Japanese), wrote and edited business letters and technical documents, participated in negotiations with clients and suppliers while employed by trading company that imported products from companies such as Unocal, Con-Agra and Prestone and marketed them to clients such as Toyota, Nissan and the Japanese government.

Interpreter, Construction Worker
株式会社カワモト(Kawamoto Kaisha/Company)
March 1995 – June 1995
​Nagano, Japan
Worked as interpreter for North American carpenters at work building Western-style houses in Japan. Worked as construction worker hammering, sawing, moving...but mostly installing insulation.

Mimasu Shoji/American Club English School
May 1994 – March 1995
​Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan
Made and served drinks at full bar, worked cash register, made change, cleaned and maintained spaces. Multicultural clientele - mostly Japanese, North American and European. Worked alone and also as member of team of three at parties.

English Teacher
American Club English School/International Business and Language Senmon Gakkou (two year college)
March 1991 – March 1995
​Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan
Taught English to students of all ages and levels, classes included TOEFL, writing, reading, listening, speaking, college-level courses.

Desk Clerk
Royal Motel
1987 – 1991
​Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
Worked graveyard shift at motel dubbed "The Bates Motel" by other desk clerks in motels on section of Lombard Street near Golden Gate Bridge ("Motel Row"), because of similarity in appearance to motel in Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Psycho." Checked guests from all over the world in and out, handled cash, worked phone switchboard, kept books, made nocturnal security rounds.

Caffe Trieste
February 1986 – July 1987
​Corner of Vallejo and Grant Streets, San Francisco, CA
Made and served espresso drinks, beer, wine, various sandwiches and other food items, worked cash register, made change, cleaned and maintained machinery and spaces - all work done in busy, crowded environment consisting of employees and customers from all over the world...conversed with clientele which included people such as Nancy Pelosi, Bill Cosby, Jack Hirschman (former Poet Laureate of San Francisco), Joe Rosenthal (man who took photo of two marines and sailor raising the American flag during Battle of Iwo Jima) and various writers, artists, bohemians, politicians, professors, poets, homeless and a vast collection of noirish characters too numerous to list.

Desk Clerk, Houseman
The Broadmoor Senior Citizens Residence Hotel
1984 – 1986
​Sutter St., San Francisco, CA
Senior Citizens' Residence. Began work as houseman, moving furniture, sweeping the grounds outside building, cleaning hallways, guests rooms and toilets. Graduated to desk clerk - answering and placing calls for guests on very busy pre-World War II switchboard, with many patches inoperable or extremely spotty, filed mail and made change for guests, directed guests, job applicants and various people coming in with queries to proper people/departments, conversed with guests - elderly people from all over the U.S., Europe and Asia, many in fading mental health.

Taxi Driver
Bay Area Cab
October 1984 – November 1984
​Oakland, CA
Drove taxi on night shift. Picked up fares in East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, etc.), destinations included East Bay, San Francisco and San Francisco Peninsula - these areas included some of the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods in the United States. Passengers reflected economic and ethnic diversity of San Francisco Bay Area.

Palladium Disco
October 1984 – October 1984
​Kearny St., San Francisco, CA
Waited tables, carrying drinks and food through vast crowds of gyrating people - to tables and dance floor - as disco music blared at extremely high decibels. Made change.

Wire Operator/Bookkeeper/Trading Assistant
Dean-Witter Reynolds Stock Brokerage
1984 – 1984
​Dallas, TX
Wired in trades, kept books, assisted Over The Counter (OTC)/Nasdaq traders in buys and sells of stock.

Security Guard
Pinkerton Security
1984 – 1984
​Dallas, TX
Worked as security guard on night shift at various factories, warehouses and offices. Inspected drivers and workers who entered and exited, made rounds, kept log of activity.

Wire Operator/Bookkeeper/Trading Assistant
Merrill Lynch
1983 – 1984, Dallas, TX
Merrill Lynch Block Trading. Wired in trades of blocks (2,000 or more shares) of stock for traders whose clients were mostly institutional investors. Kept books, investigated and rectified trade problems, assisted traders.

US Navy
November 1978 – December 1982, U.S. Navy/USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
Active duty, US Navy, November 1978 - December 1982. Basic Training/Boot Camp: November 1978 - January 1979, Great Lakes, IL; Radioman "A" School: January - April 1979, San Diego, CA; USS Coral Sea (CV-43), May 1979 - December 1982, home port: Alameda, CA. Worked as Radioman. Extensive sea periods aboard aircraft carrier, living and working in extremely crowded conditions directly below flight deck while aircraft such as F-4 and A-6 jets took off and landed. Shipmates reflected ethnic diversity of low-income and middle class sectors of U.S. society. Patrolled in Pacific and Indian Oceans and Arabian Sea - including several months off coast of Iran during Iranian Hostage Crisis and Iran-Iraq War. Top Secret security clearance. RM2/E-5 (Second Class Petty Officer) at time of separation from active duty.

Press Operator
Advance Packaging
June 1977 – October 1978
​Grand Rapids, MI
Worked in cardboard factory. Began work as "catcher" and "puncher" - catching and stacking cardboard as it was run through presses, punching holes in various cardboard products for customer orders. Graduated to die-cut press operator - operating heavy machinery consisting of two large metal plates, placing cardboard product on movable lower plate which would strike die fastened to stationary top plate and make impression in cardboard...Filled rush orders for numerous customers in a timely manner.

D'Amico's Market
April 1976 – January 1978
​South Division St., Grand Rapids, MI
Worked as butcher in small market/grocery store in low-income African-American neighborhood. Took orders from customers while behind meat counter, then chopped, cut and sliced various meat, poultry and seafood products to customers' satisfaction using various knives, cleavers, slicers and a band saw. Weighed, wrapped and wrote prices of products on packages before handing them to customers. Fetched items such as quarters of beef; beef tripe; mountain oysters; pig heads, feet, ears, snouts, tails, brains; five and ten pound pails of chitterlings from cooler and freezer. Prepared items for customer perusal in display case. Ground beef and pork items. Cleaned and maintained work areas. Work done in a confined space, often under extremely busy conditions. Multicultural clientele - 80%-90% African-American, the remainder mostly ethnic Mexican, Puerto Rican and East Asian.

Paper Boy
Grand Rapids Press
1974 – 1976
​Grand Rapids, MI
Delivered evening newspapers and collected money from subscribers.

Paper Boy
Detroit Free Press
1972 – 1974
​Grand Rapids, Mi
Delivered morning newspapers, rising every day at 5:00 to do so. Collected from subscribers. Got bitten by a dog once while collecting.

Foreign Languages

Professional working proficiency

Professional working proficiency

Publications (partial listing)

​​"70 Years ago in Neighborhood History: TL Morality Crusade draws Prostitutes' Wrath"
The Tenderloin Times
February 1988
​1917, San Francisco, CA. Prostitutes organize and battle morality crusaders.

"U.S. Navy Literary Life"
The Write Place At the Write Time Literary Journal
September 2009
​On a quest for literary transcendence - in the U.S. Navy.
"Slumming in Osaka/Mother's Day, 11:30 PM, Ashiya, Hyogo-ken, Japan"
Danse Macabre Literary Journal
September 2009​
A Sunday afternoon stroll - through Japan's largest slum.

"My Life in Corporate Japan"
Wilderness House Literary Review
April 2010
A whistleblower is confronted with more than he bargained for.​​

"Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)"
The Write Place At the Write Time Literary Journal
April 2010
Love. Death. Rebirth. Japan.​​

"The American Club and the Vermin of the Wilderness"
Wilderness House Literary Review
July 2010
Months in delinquent wages lead to numerous trials, tribulations and adult situations in Japan and the Philippines.

"Interview with Robert Whiting, author of Tokyo Underworld"
Wilderness House Literary Review
October 2012
Interview with Robert Whiting - a critically acclaimed writer and an authority on Japanese baseball, gangsters operating in Japan and U.S.-Japanese relations.


UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
BA, English
1988 – 1990
Honor Students' Society

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Associate of Science (A.S.), Film Production
1986 – 1988
Valedictorian, Class of 1988

El Centro College, Dallas, TX, USA
1983 – 1984
Took two semesters each of English, History and Spanish. Received straight A's.

Catholic Central High School, Grand Rapids, Mich., USA
High School Diploma
1975 – 1977
Attended 11th and 12th grades.
Michigan State scholarship eligibility, State of Michigan scholarship eligibility.

East Grand Rapids High School, East Grand Rapids, Mich., USA
1973 – 1975
Attended 9th and 10th grades.

East Grand Rapids Junior High School, East Grand Rapids, Mich., USA
1971 – 1973
Attended 7th and 8th grades.

St. Stephen Catholic School, Grand Rapids, Mich., USA
1966 – 1971
Attended 2nd through 6th grades.

Eastover Elementary School, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., USA
1964 – 1966
Attended kindergarten and 1st grade.

Gotham Writers' Workshop, New York City
Attended writers' workshop, autumn 2005.