Apr 17

Toby Weymiller (ALT Hokkaido, 1997-2000)

I was shocked and saddened today to see a post to the Pacific Northwest JETAA email group letting everyone know that JET alum Toby Weymiller (Hokkaido, 1997-2000) had lost his life in an avalanche. Toby had sent me anecdotes for the JETAA NY Newsletter over the years and also shared how he was building his eco-friendly kissaten in Hokkaido. I also just learned that he had been involved with efforts to rescue animals in Tohoku after the tsunami through AngelsWithFurJapan. According to Toby’s Facebook page and Lynn’s email below, there is a memorial service for him on Saturday, April 20 in Tacoma, WA.

Below is the email sent to the PNW JETAA group:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the sad new of the passing of Toby Weymiller (Hokkaido ALT, 1997-2000) on March 29th from injuries sustained in an avalanche. Though originally interviewed in LA, he departed from Seattle and lived in Seattle for a few years after participating on the JET Program (2004 – 2007), before returning to Hokkaido with his wife Maiko; therefore, in my book, Toby will forever be a member of our Seattle JETs/PNWJETAA family.

For those of you who frequented Kinokuniya around 2005, you may have run into Maiko, as she used to work there. Toby loved being outdoors, and had an a great appreciation for nature and the environment. I never knew what kind of adventure he & was going to embark upon at any given time or what stories he was going tell about Bomber the cat. One of the more memorable ventures was a couple of years after moving back to Japan, when he and Maiko built “Square One” – their straw bale eco-hybrid house in Higashikawa. I remember being fascinated by the whole process, as they shared video updates on YouTube. The project later evolved in to a book that he published in 2011 called “The Building of Square One”.

I just recently learned of this news – thanks to Jeff Huffman for spotting the obituary & passing it on. For any of you who knew Toby, a celebration of his life will be held at the Harmon Brewing Company in Tacoma, WA, this Saturday, April 20 at 4 pm.

Toby, for those of us lucky to have been touched by your friendship, you will be remembered and missed.

Lynn Miyauchi
Membership Committee


For more information about Toby you can go to the Angels With Fur Japan website: http://angelswithfurjapan.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/toby-weymiller/

There’s also a very nice tribute by a friend with more information about Toby here: http://www.seanmisen.com/?p=941

one comment so far...

  • Lara Petitclerc-Stokes Said on April 20th, 2013 at 12:29 am:

    Old friend – thank you SO much for posting this message of our dearest mountain snow loving master, Toby Weymiller. Perry-san and I were both so very, very blessed (and I use that word infrequently) to have had the grandest of adventures in Hokkaido with him throughout 1998-2000. Climbing, skiing, wild freedom. Our friendship continued into Ichinomiya-machi, Aso-gun, Kyushu where I was placed as a JET in 2000-2002 and then upon our return to Seattle, WA in 2002-2007. Toby was there waiting for us and in love, finally, with beautiful Maiko. I returned home early from a trip in Thailand to see he and Maiko wed on Anacordes Island. Sea kayaking with Grace Sato (former JET) and living life to full tilt. Toby and I used to ride the “Ride of Silence” in Seattle in Grace’s honor. She was killed by a motorist while bicycling in Los Angeles in 2004. We were all devastated. But, together united in our sadness.

    Now, Toby & Grace are both gone – doing what they loved, wild and free and my sadness at their loss haunts me at every turn. My heart hurts and I cannot stop my tears; in public, at home, in the yard quietly gardening, there is no escape. We’ve lost someone who was treasured as a brother, a family member, our lovely, wild friend. We were planning to visit Maiko, Bomber and Toby at Square One in Hokkaido, visit the Shinto shrine where we were married in Minamami Hiragishi, Sapporo and enjoy the world we’d loved again.

    Now, we have a memorial to Toby on our mantel, micro-brew offered and hopes there is an afterlife where we can all, once again, meet, ski the wicked hills, eat noodles, drink to excess and soak in onsen until the end of time.

    Love & mountains & true friendship beyond realm,
    Lara Petitclerc-Stokes
    Private ALT 1998-2000, Sapproro, Hokkaido, Japan
    JET 2000-2002, Ichinomiya-machi, Aso-gun, Kyushu, Japan

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