Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Bill Hashizume Interview
Narrator: Bill Hashizume
Interviewer: Norm Ibuki
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: October 29, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-hbill_2-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

NI: You had two Japanese schools in Mission?

BH: Yeah, uh-huh.

NI: Did you enjoy going to Japanese school?

BH: Hated it like hell. Hated it like hell. But nevertheless, it caught up to me. When I went to Japan, had I studied more and been more diligent, probably I wouldn't have suffered as much. But once I got to Japan and entered the high school equivalent there, which they called middle school or chugakko, I was enrolled in the third year. I was, probably my age, I should have been enrolled in the fifth year, but since my Japanese thing was, you know, not up to par, and of course, the Japanese education system, they thought theirs was superior in this and that, says, well, American high schools, their educational level is probably, grade level would be about equivalent to grade 3 in middle school there. Well, that was fine. So I, but once I got into middle school, most of the textbooks are written in Japanese, and how to read that? How to, you know, elementary, elementary kanjis I could thing, but some of the kanjis that were thing were far more difficult and complex than what I was learning. Heck, you had to learn how to read that, and for that I had to consult a Chinese-Japanese dictionary to find out what, how it's pronounced. Now, once you've got the pronunciation right, you didn't know what the meaning was. So I had to consult the Japanese-English dictionary to find out the word. For example, for example...

NI: Yeah, a simple example.

BH: Yeah, well, for example, for "doho" here. I didn't know, well, I knew what the "do" was, but I didn't know what that was, so I looked it up in the kanji dictionary and said, "Oh, that's 'doho.'" I looked it up in the Japanese-English thing and says "fellow countrymen." And nogyo, well, nogyo, but for example, hattenshi. Hattenshi, I didn't know what that word was, so I looked up the kanji in this kanji dictionary and it says hatten, so I looked up hatten in the Japanese-English dictionary and it says, "development." And that's how I... thing, and almost every night after school, why, it was repetitive work. But I was young then. Once you learn what it means, you know, you remember it. So it's the new words that keep cropping up that I had to thing, but by the end of the first year, I was able to read the Japanese papers and somewhat understand it.

NI: How were you academically in Mission before you went to Japan?

BH: I was... I didn't do too bad. I was in the top, top category. I wasn't, I wasn't the brightest, but I was up there.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.