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Title: Sue Takimoto Okabe Interview
Narrator: Sue Takimoto Okabe
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 3, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-osue-01

<Begin Segment 3>

AI: Tell me, what were some of the other activities you had as a child? You mentioned the Buddhist Church. Were, was your family members at the church?

SO: My father and mother were active in Tacoma. And I don't know if it was the business or what, but they stopped attending church here in Seattle. And my sisters -- gee, I don't recall their going to any church except the neighborhood. I think it was Presbyterian. I'm the only one that wanted to go to a Buddhist Church, and I wanted to go to Japanese school. I wanted to be with other Japanese. So I chose to go to Japanese school. And I chose to go to Bukkyoukai.

AI: Why was that?

SO: I have no idea.

AI: There were so many kids who complained about having to go to Japanese school. But for you it sounded like it was --

SO: I begged.

AI: You really wanted to.

SO: I begged. Uh-huh. I enjoyed it, too.

AI: What did you enjoy about it?

SO: Being the among the Japanese kids. That's why I loved camp.

AI: Was it, was that in comparison with being with hakujin kids? Was that --

SO: I guess. I don't -- we weren't isolated. We had Japanese neighbors. There weren't -- there were a few my age, not a whole lot. But we were not isolated. But I really don't know. My sisters thought I was odd.

AI: Well, and speaking of Japanese language school, how did you communicate with your mother and father? Was it mostly in Japanese or --

SO: In English. All English.

AI: And they both spoke English?

SO: Yes.

AI: Well --

SO: My dad had studied, he had gone to high school, night school. And my mom had had some. And he was, he was very, totally, until the day he died, he spoke English to us.

AI: So that was really the everyday language for you was English?

SO: Definitely.

AI: And the Japanese was something secondary that you picked up in Japanese school.

SO: No. Mom would speak a little Japanese, but we would respond in English.

AI: Well, I was wondering, were there any particular values that your parents emphasized to you? I know you mentioned that you were raised to do as you were told and to follow directions of your parents and your elders. Can you recall anything else that you learned or that was taught to you or emphasized?

SO: Education. Decidedly education. For instance, even the singing, you don't perform without studying. And although we were all girls, we were expected to go to college.

AI: Is that right?

SO: Uh-huh.

AI: Well, that sounds like it was a little bit out of the average for families at that time.

SO: Well, my sister, Michi, was only sixteen, but she was already attending University of Washington when the war came. And my oldest sister was in Los Angeles to attend college. And she was brought back before evacuation.

AI: Oh my. So it, it was clearly expected that you would all go, and even as a child you --

SO: Oh, yes. My dad said you weren't finished until you're out of college.

AI: I see.

SO: Not high school, college.

AI: Anything else that you recall that they emphasized?

SO: Not really.

AI: Not really?

SO: No. Nothing that stands out.

AI: Well, could you tell me a little bit as you're leading up to 1940, 1941, you were about age eleven, twelve?

SO: Uh-huh.

AI: What would a typical day in your life be like?

SO: Gee.

AI: You were in junior high school?

SO: Yeah. Well, we -- I started Broadway High School right after the war. So we were at Washington Junior High. And it was just a routine, attending school. After school would be Japanese school. We went to Japanese school every day. And then walking home. And then practicing and studying, doing our homework. Saturdays was, the entire day was taking lessons. Sundays was pretty much do what you want kind of a day.

AI: Your day off.

SO: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.