Working in America

Birthplace My image of America as a child (Japanese) Longing to be an imperial soldier as a youth (Japanese) Boarding house life and the Issei (Japanese) My father’s venture into the hotel business (Japanese) (Japanese) My children’s education Luckiest Issei The situation after the war (Japanese) “Junior Issei” (Japanese) Working in America Struggles with English (Japanese)

Transcripts available in the following languages:

First of all, my aunt's husband, my uncle, he was a big shot in a Shopping Bag, super market. So the president is my uncle's friend. The president sponsored me to come back to the USA. So I worked about a month and a half in Shopping Bag. But, I don't understand English, so every time the customer asked me, I go to the back room again. How many times, back room and front and back and front. Soon, I'm sick and tired, and also I feel so bad for customers, so I quit.

Same time, friend of mine came from West Los Angeles. He asked me, "hey how much you making money?" And I say, week, so much. And he says, hey gardener, much better than you are making money, so come in! So I went to Sawtelle, and started gardener's helper.

Then I made other, because too much tension and frustration and so, I quit gardener, so I went houseboy. About a year. I tried to learn English, but to me, I guess no brain, so I couldn't pick up English. I need money anyway, so I went back to Sawtelle, and I tried truck driver. I worked in a small papa-mama size grocery store...

Only thing I didn't do was dish washing. Washboy. And finally, I went back to the supermarket again, and I worked 28 years until I retired. That's my life.

Date: January 31, 2012
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki, Yoko Nishimura
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

kibei Los Angeles sawtelle

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