Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Mitsu Ito Interview
Narrator: Mitsu Ito
Interviewer: Mary Ito
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: March 23, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-imitsu-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

Mary I: So what, what happened then after that? You got married, you continued to work for the military.

Mitsu I: Yes, and then Dick was born.

Mary I: Your first son.

Mitsu I: First son, was 1951, I think. And then we, I worked for the army 'til 1956, and I decided to come back to Canada. So I got my citizenship and booked on a boat to come back to Canada.

Mary I: Just you?

Mitsu I: Just myself first, 'cause I had a cousin in Toronto, Mr. Chuzaburo Ito, so I came to Toronto.

Mary I: How long did the boat trip take?

Mitsu I: The boat took about three weeks. We went to Hawaii, stayed a day there, and we got off and looked around the city, then we went to Seattle and to Vancouver. Then a friend in Vancouver met us, and then I got on the train and came to Toronto. I landed at Union Station, and in those days, you were only allowed to take one hundred dollar Canadian money out of Japan, and it was three-hundred sixty yen to one dollar. But they wouldn't let you take any more than one hundred dollar. So when I landed at Union Station, I told my cousin I was coming from Vancouver, that I was coming, so he met me and took me to his eldest son, Dufferin and St. Clair, so I stayed with my cousin.

Mary I: But you could bring Japanese money over, right?

Mitsu I: No, you couldn't bring any money over.

Mary I: Oh, you could only just, what equaled one hundred Canadian dollars? That's it?

Mitsu I: Yeah, that's it.

Mary I: So all the money that you had made stayed in Japan?

Mitsu I: Stayed in Japan. 'Cause I tried to change some Japanese yen into Canadian money. There was a man in Hikone that I was told might have Canadian money. I went to see him but he wouldn't change it for me.

Mary I: So what did you do after that? You were in Toronto.

Mitsu I: I came to Toronto and stayed, went to see my cousin, and then I, I needed a job because I have to bring my wife and boy over. So I went to Toronto Buddhist Church, because I knew Reverend Tsuji was the minister there, and when I went there, he was surprised to see me. He says, "When did you come here?" And I says, "I just arrived yesterday." And he was glad to see me, I said, "I'm looking for a job." So he got on the phone and phoned Mr. Takahashi, and he said, "Yeah, we'll give you a job. Come on over." So it was near, it was a place called Caledonia, not far from Dufferin and St. Clair. So I went there and he gave me a job delivering things from, it was a chrome plating company. It was a small van and I was going down Dufferin Street delivering things, and I got caught by police, there was a policeman at the bottom of the hill there, and he pulled me over and asked me for my driver's license. Well, I never had a driver's license because in Japan when I was working for the army, I didn't need a driver's license at all, but I was able to drive.

Mary I: Yeah. Were you speeding, is that why he stopped you?

Mitsu I: No, he just wanted to know if, well, it was a downhill, so maybe I was going a little too fast, and he pulled me over. I says, "No, I haven't got no license, not yet." I said, "I'm going for one." "Well, you better walk home." So I walked home from there, and I told Mr. Takahashi that I got caught. "Oh, don't worry," he says, "we're friends of the chief." So he went and got the...

Mary I: The car?

Mitsu I: and brought it home.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.