Relocation (Transcript)

Relocation

[geese calling]

[woman]: I remember the long walk back home

from the beet field.

After school, my brother, sister, and I

would join mom and dad, who had been there all day,

and we all worked until suppertime.

It was hard work, and I got so tired.

Jiro, I'm tired.

Carry this water jug so I don't drop it?

No, Sumiko.

I'm tired too, and I'm carrying the hoes.

We don't have far to go.

Besides, you shouldn't complain.

We went through worse during the war.

I don't remember the war. What happened?

[woman]: Before the war,

our mother and father owned a store in Mission, BC.

We lived in a nice house and had a car.

[plane engine rumbles]

[bombs fall]

[Jiro]: When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor,

Canada went to war against the Japanese.

[Sumiko]: But we're Japanese!

[Jiro]: Our ancestors are Japanese, but we are Canadians.

We are born here,

and Mom and Dad became citizens long before the war started.

[woman]: Our father and mother came to Canada

almost 20 years before the war.

They worked hard

and saved their money to start the store.

[Sumiko]: Why did we have to leave BC?

[Jiro]: They thought we might be spies.

[Sumiko]: I'm not a spy. Are you a spy?

[Jiro]: No one that we knew was a spy, but that didn't matter.

We were told to pack some things and leave.

[Sumiko]: Oh, I remember crying

because we had to leave our yellow cat all alone.

[meowing]

[woman]: All we were allowed to bring

was a few crates of belongings.

When the train got to Lethbridge,

a farmer showed us an old shack where we were to live.

Mother cried then.

[Sumiko]: Why didn't Daddy start another store?

He doesn't like to farm.

[Jiro]: He wasn't given a choice.

They needed help planting and harvesting beets.

Besides, we weren't allowed to live in Lethbridge.

[Sumiko]: Isn't that where Toshiko

wants to go to be a nurse?

[woman]: Our older sister, Toshiko,

wanted to attend the Galt School of Nursing,

but it wasn't until after the war

that a Japanese-Canadian girl was accepted there.

After the war, life got a little easier,

and the Buddhist celebrations,

like the Bon Odori festival for the ancestors,

were a happy time in the community.

[Sumiko]: I get to go with Mama

to the Bon Odori dance practice tonight.

We're going to make a new yukata

for me to wear this year.

[Jiro]: I love the dancing that happens

after the service at the cemetery.

It's such a special part of the day.

Reverend at the temple says the festival

is a joyful gathering in honour of our ancestors.

He says it helps us keep our courage up

and remember that the bad times pass.

Like now. See? We are home already.

[purring]

[§§§]

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