Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview I
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Matt Emery
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 17, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

ME: What was that school like? Where was it located?

AK: It was on Main Street. And it was, and people, some of them would call it boro gakko, meaning it's a trashy school, or it's a poor persons', you know. Boro means rags. So, "raggy school" I guess you would say. But it was very interesting. So, our family never went to the traditional Japanese school. I don't know if it was because it was cheaper, I don't know. We just didn't. And it didn't require us to go to Japanese school every day like the, many of the other people. My husband's mother was a Japanese school teacher, and that school is the regular, well, the main Japanese language school that still exists, where Densho is now. And students went to school every single day after school. I didn't do that. I just went on Saturdays.

ME: So just one day a week?

AK: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ME: What was the building on the other days?

AK: I don't think it was anything.

ME: It was just open one day a week?

AK: Uh-huh.

ME: Wasn't it... didn't you, I thought you told me...

AK: It was an old building.

ME: Was it a judo school or something?

AK: No, this other one was... well, I went to two different schools. And this other one was just an old house, and they had desks there and whatever. Then the other one was in a storefront. And the teacher that taught at the storefront was a judo teacher that lived in the apartment, in my mom and dad's apartment. So that's the school we went on Saturdays. With Japanese judo teachers who taught the Japanese language.

ME: So you actually ended up going to two different Japanese schools?

AK: Uh-huh.

ME: Oh, okay. How many students were enrolled in the first one, where the...?

AK: Very few, maybe a dozen and this other one in the storefront, maybe fifteen, sixteen. You can't hold very many people in that little crowded quarters. What we meant by storefront was a real, I don't think it was any larger than this room.

ME: I'd imagine you'd get a pretty good education with just a few students, though?

AK: Oh, well yeah. But I wasn't a very serious student. [Laughs] Yes, uh-huh. I think -- my sister, who was conscientious, became very fluent in Japanese, she still is, and writes very well in Japanese. Suma and I... and Suma's worse than me. [Laughs] You know, we didn't take it that seriously.

ME: Did it hurt your feelings knowing that people were calling it a "raggedy school," or whatever?

AK: No. We thought it was kind of funny. I suppose maybe. But we weren't that serious about the school, so it didn't really... I just felt fortunate we didn't have to go every single day.

ME: That's the thing. Boy, "At least I don't have to go to school every day," huh?

AK: I know, after school. After they put in their whole day at school, then they'd take off and go to the Japanese language school, I think from 3:30, or for a couple of hours.

ME: When other students would do that...

AK: Well, we were playing, just in the neighborhood. We played volleyball in the streets. We played baseball in the streets. We roller skated in the streets. Traffic was not that heavy. And the corner, street corner, was the perfect baseball diamond. One corner was the base and across the street was the first base, second base, and third base. That was what we did, and we broke people's windows doing that. [Laughs]

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.