Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Takashi Matsui Interview I
Narrator: Takashi Matsui
Interviewer: Elmer Good
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 29, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mtakashi-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

EG: And then you went back to school. Here you had finished.

TM: And then I started school here.

EG: Uh-huh. You had finished school in Japan, but you what kind of school then did you go to here?

TM: In Seattle, then there was school by the name of Jefferson Elementary School. That's at Twelfth and Jefferson Street. And they had two or three foreign students' classes and that's where people like me went. And so I reported there. And I forgot just how that happened, but I believe I reported to the principal and I think he said you go to a certain class. And so I went to one of the foreign students' classes.

EG: Who were the other students in the class? Where were they from?

TM: Well, they were, more than half of them were Japanese, like me. There were Chinese, Filipinos and two or three Europeans, white boys. I thought that was kind of funny. But one of them, I still remember, was a big boy, and he was from Norway. He couldn't speak English so well either. So we all were foreigners.

EG: From all around the world. And you were all there to learn English.

TM: Yes.

EG: That was the only subject that you were dealing with?

TM: How to speak. Not so much of a composition, but reading and writing. And then the teacher used to correct our pronunciation. And then I think we had a little bit of American history, early American history. And that was the hardest subject because first time I was exposed to American history.

EG: But you could have told them about Japanese history. [Laughs]

TM: Um, no. [Laughs] She wasn't interested.

EG: How long were you in school there?

TM: I (was), I (was) there, I started in September and came February the following year, and Miss Thomas, our teacher, said I should go to high school. I thought I wasn't quite ready but she said, "No, you're all right. You can start, you might struggle a little bit but you're ready." So I started Broadway High School.

EG: How did you find things there?

TM: Pretty tough. [Laughs]

EG: How, what was tough?

TM: Well, I couldn't converse. Although by then I understood English better. I was able to tell what the people were saying, I was able to read. I knew the grammar, but my composition wasn't so good. And of all the subjects, as I said again, history was the hardest. And we had to read books, and I took my time reading the book, I never could catch up. I was always behind in the history class. Otherwise, arithmetic -- well, later on science, and the bookkeeping and things like that -- mechanical things were easy for me. In fact, the high school that I went (in Japan) emphasized business subjects, business courses. So bookkeeping was natural. It was easy. A little bit of economics was easy. Science, physics was easy. I learned it in Japanese, but over here I had to learn it in English, but the principles were there.

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