Learning English

Transcripts available in the following languages:

We spoke nothing but Japanese. Yes, yes. We didn’t know any English. My father spoke some English but not to us, it was always Japanese. So in the first grade, it was hard for me. Even in the old days, the Japanese would say for chair “Chi-ah, chi-ah.” It wasn’t the very “chair.” Like your different things, I forgot the many thing now. But my first grade teacher was wonderful. She used to walk home with me cause she lived on the same block. And coming home, she used to walk with me, she used to point at the weeds and say it was grass. I used to say “kusa’’, you know, “kusa’’. Weeds. Grass. On the sidewalk. That’s why she taught me English. Yeah, she was a wonderful teacher.

Date: May 24, 2011
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

education English language

Discover Nikkei Q&A series poll

Take the survey >>

Kizuna 2020: Nikkei Kindness and Solidarity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Read the stories and share your own!

More Than a Game: Nikkei Sports

Submissions accepted until October 31.

Read the Nikkei sports stories >>

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation