Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Atsumi Ozawa Interview
Narrator: Atsumi Ozawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 17, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-oatsumi-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So I want to now talk about your school. So describe your school in Huancayo, and like first, tell me how far away did you have to go to school?

AO: Like a mile. We'd walk there. We went home for lunch, one hour lunch, and then we started from nine o'clock in the morning to four-thirty in the afternoon, five days a week. And then Saturday, half a day Saturday.

TI: Okay, so that's much, much longer than what school is like in the United States. I think it's like maybe nine to three, five days a week. So you're going many, many more hours. How come your days were so much longer? You had so many more hours, why do you think you had to school so much longer?

AO: Oh, because we used to learn two languages, Japanese and Spanish. I guess there's much more to learn both language.

TI: And so explain your school. So your school was with all Japanese?

AO: All Japanese.

TI: And so this was a school that the Japanese, I guess, community put together for the Japanese students.

AO: Uh-huh.

TI: And so you learned... so it was like a combination of Japanese language school, Japanese school and Peruvian school all together.

AO: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: Okay. So tell me a typical day in terms of the subjects you would learn in your school.

AO: The subjects?

TI: Yeah, the topics, or what would you learn?

AO: Well, we learned like any other school. Math, reading, writing and geography, history, and Japanese. We even learned shuuji, writing with a brush.

TI: Oh, so like calligraphy?

AO: Calligraphy, yeah. And art, and then the Spanish lady, she used to teach us how to crochet and sew a little bit. So we used to have to have nine different pieces in one year. So at the end of the year they used to demonstrate and arrange everything that we made, so the parents used to come and kind of look at our work.

TI: Now when you would learn something like your arithmetic or mathematics, did they teach that in Japanese or in Spanish?

AO: I think most of it was in Japanese. In Spanish, less than, because Japanese math was much more advanced, so it was more in Japanese.

TI: And then when they teach history, what kind of history would you learn? Japanese history or Peruvian history?

AO: In Japanese class, Japanese history. And in Spanish class, Peruvian history.

TI: Now, would they also teach about, like, Japanese folktales? Like when I grew up, I learned about, like Momotaro and things like that. Would you learn that in school also?

AO: Yes, we did.

TI: So it sounds like you got a combination of both, like, a typical school in Japan, plus Spanish. It was like both. And tell me again, how large was this school? You said a hundred?

AO: Yeah about a hundred students.

TI: And this went from what grade to what grade?

AO: Kindergarten to seventh grade.

TI: And how many students were in your class?

AO: In my class? Seven.

TI: Okay, and all Japanese.

AO: Yes.

TI: Good. And so after seventh grade, what school did you go to?

AO: I went to Lima to a Japanese girls high school.

TI: And how far was Lima away?

AO: Taking the train it was, it took us seven and a half hours.

TI: So seven and a half hours by train.

AO: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: So this was a long, long ways.

AO: Long way.

TI: And how much larger was Lima than Huancayo?

AO: Gee, oh, much larger I think. I don't know if I brought it...

TI: But a much bigger city.

AO: Yeah, much bigger. It was the capital. Lima was the capital of Peru.

TI: That seems like it would be kind of scary for a young girl to go to a big city by yourself.

AO: I was with my sister. My sister was two years ahead of me in this girls school.

TI: Okay, Hiroko?

AO: Uh-huh.

TI: And how was school different in Lima than if you'd went to school in Huancayo?

AO: (Lima school was much larger. The girls and boys were separated.)

TI: Okay. And so why do you think your father and mother wanted you to go so far away to school?

AO: Probably my dad find out there was a special school in there. The oldest one, she stayed there and went to Catholic school and finished high school in the Catholic (school) but I don't know why my second sister and myself, Dad sent us to Lima.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.