I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment

By Toyo Suyemoto,; Susan B. Richardson | Go to book overview

16
SENSEI

The Issei in our block understood my English better than I first imagined from their speaking skills. When I asked them questions in English, since I myself lacked a command of Japanese, they would usually answer me in Japanese, with a goodly mixture of English words. When I began to teach Issei and Kibei students in the adult classes, I found the same pattern.

The Adult Education Department, directed by Dr. Laverne Bane, started its Basic English Division when the public schools opened. A small group of Nisei, interested in teaching adults, first met together in Dr. Bane’s living room in the administration quarters in October 1942 to discuss plans. A friendly woman, Dr. Bane listened to our discussion about teaching meth­ ods. After listening to us for a while, she teased us about being “foreigners from another state” because of the way we pronounced Utah, and she told us how the state had derived its name from an Indian tribe.

We held a series of meetings at which we continued discussions of whether we should conduct classes entirely in English or use some Japanese to explain idioms. A few of the teachers read and spoke Japanese well, so they offered to teach the beginning students. We agreed that Japanese translation might also be necessary for the elementary groups. We decided to group classes into four levels: Elementary, Low Intermediate, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each class session was scheduled for two hours in length with classes meeting on alternate days. We scheduled classes on Monday, Wednes­ day, and Friday morning, afternoon, and evening, and on Tuesday, Thurs­ day, and Saturday afternoon. We reserved Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings for teachers’ meetings at which we could help one another with problems or suggestions.

The autumn registration for classes brought out 250 adults who wanted to study Basic English, and the program began under the supervision of Nori Ikeda on October 22, 1942. After three sessions, we found that we were ham-

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I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Editor's Preface xi
  • Note on the Drawings xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Author's Preface 5
  • 1 - Berkeley 9
  • 2 - 15432 16
  • 3 - Morning of Departure 22
  • 4 - Growing Up in Nihonmachi 29
  • 5 - Intake at Tanforan 37
  • 6 - Tanforan Days 44
  • 7 - Tanforan High School 51
  • 8 - Kay's Illness 55
  • 9 - Another Move 68
  • 10 - Entry into Topaz 74
  • 11 - Settling in 79
  • 12 - As 1942 Ended 87
  • 13 - Block 4-8-E 96
  • 14 - Schooling in Topaz 106
  • 15 - Topaz Public Library 112
  • 16 - Sensei 120
  • 17 - Into Another Year 133
  • 18 - Registration for Loyalty 141
  • 19 - Weighed in the Balance 149
  • 20 - We Be Brethren 160
  • 21 - In the Length of Days 167
  • 22 - The Dust before the Wind 179
  • 23 - The Dispersal 186
  • 24 - Tree of the People (Topaz Community) 196
  • Afterword 205
  • References 207
  • About the Editor 209
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