Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Yoshimi Matsuura Interview
Narrator: Yoshimi Matsuura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-myoshimi-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: And you mentioned how your father, at the YMCA, was there taking English courses. Can you tell me how well your mother and father spoke English?

YM: My father spoke a fair amount of English. I think he did quite well for an Issei. He had to choose his words a little, but he did quite well. My mother never did learn English. She just depended on the kids and the father.

TI: And so generally around the, you have all these kids around the dinner table. What was the language spoken?

YM: English.

TI: And then would your --

YM: The minute, the minute you started school, when you started school, all your kids, your friends were speaking English and Japanese language drops out. My brother, the oldest brother, knew no English at all, hardly, when he first started school. Same as my wife. Oldest in the family, and then when he started school, after he started school, from there on, it's been English. Because the brothers all picked it up before they started school. So we had no problem at all. But my oldest brother, of course, he had to pick it up on his own.

TI: So you had the benefit of two older brothers --

YM: Two older brothers.

TI: -- who had already started school, they spoke English, so you heard and spoke English before you started.

YM: Heard and spoke English, and probably some of the things I heard wasn't quite right. [Laughs] But...

TI: But at least it was easier than your --

YM: Let's just say it wasn't Japanese.

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.