Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayame Tsutakawa Interview II
Narrator: Ayame Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 5, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tayame-02-0011

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TL: And then you've mentioned that you went to school. Could you describe what that was like?

AT: Well, I was probably thinking of returning to Japan and so I wanted to keep up with my Japanese language so I went to Nihongo gakkou every day, and I was in the top of the class because, 'cause I was Kibei. And my classmates were all Kibei so we were in the very high class.

TL: Was this school different from -- I mean, was there a regular high school where you could have completed your work 'cause you, the war interrupted your completion.

AT: Yes. There was a high school going and I remember one of my teacher, Caucasian teacher named Mr. Pomeroy, and I have a video tape of Tule Lake with him in this picture. And he was a minister, Christian minister, in Japan so he was very sympathetic to Japanese people. And I think there were two, three other teachers in this high school class that were ministers in Japan.

TL: So you went to both schools or just --

AT: Uh-huh.

TL: Okay. And so were your able to complete your high school education there?

AT: Not quite, not quite. Besides I was going to my classical Japanese dance class and then tea ceremony class so I was busy all day.

TL: And was your teacher evacuated to the same place so you studied, you continued studying with the same teacher, or did you have another or different teacher for dance?

AT: No. From Sacramento this teacher, the same one that I was studying in Sacramento, and then my teacher's teacher from Los Angeles came to Tule Lake so she was there, too.

TL: Did you form any close friendships in camp?

AT: I was so busy from morning to night. There was no place to go with a friend anyway. [Laughs]

TL: You've shown me the curtains which your mother had made for the dance performances, and I'm wondering if you could tell me about why she had them made and what the occasion was?

AT: Well, the classical Japanese dance there was a Bando school, Bando Ryuu school, and this school is part of the kabuki theaters in Japan so every dance had a story to tell so we needed a background, yes. So, 'cause mother knew this artist and so she ordered the yards and yards of material from a catalog, and she had the block ladies sew this big curtain together and then this artist would paint on it.

TL: And was there a, were these used every time you danced or was it used for just a certain...

AT: For my performance, yes. I still have those curtains and I took it up to Alaska once.

TL: Yes.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.