Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayame Tsutakawa Interview I
Narrator: Ayame Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 29, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tayame-01-0014

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TL: Well, returning to your description of entering public school in Sacramento and having to immerse yourself in learning English, I'm wondering what you might remember about how you were feeling about that. Were you thinking at all about how... well, were you thinking at all about wanting to go to Japan when you became an adult because that felt more like home, or were you just thinking mostly about how to learn English and kind of fit into the new family that you were living with?

AT: I never thought of going back to Japan. But I was hoping that my older brother, who I grew up with, could come and visit. This school was in Sacramento, an international district sort of. And there were many Chinese Kibeis. So in my school there were Mexican children, small children in the school, and then there were quite a few big Chinese boys in the class too, so I was not the only big one.

TL: Did that make it a little bit easier then?

AT: I think so, yes. I became friend with these Chinese boys, and we could only speak few words, I think, but we got along fine. And then from second grade, I was put in fourth grade, then sixth grade, and junior high school. I finished the whole thing in about three years and then started Sacramento High School. And then the war started.

TL: Did your mother ever express any expectations that she had for you about your schooling or perhaps taking over the businesses that, or her business?

AT: Uh-uh. I think she just wanted to treat me like, what they call Ojousan in Japan, daughter from wealthy family who had the training of tea ceremony, classical dance, calligraphy, and all this training, to have her ready to be married to a nice family. I think that was about all she was thinking about. So I was sent to classical dance, odori, and had tea ceremony lessons and all that.

TL: Was that part of her experience as well? Did she have those kinds of lessons?

AT: No, that's probably why she wanted me to have all these lessons.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.