Queen’s, Niagara Falls, back to Steveston

After the war ended, I went to Toronto to earn enough money to go to university. I was hoping to become a doctor because my uncle was a doctor. I wanted to go into medicine but missed the application deadline so would have had to apply the following year. I didn’t want to waste another whole year so I decided I would take something close to pre-med. I decided to go into chemistry and liked it so I stayed in chemistry.

I went to Queen’s University in Kingston. It must have been hard on my parents to support me. It wasn’t like today when students can get loans. It was hard on everybody.  There were very few Japanese at Queens. More in Toronto.

After graduation I got a job in Niagara Falls at a chemical factory known as North American Cyanamid. I worked there for 5 years. When it was time for my yearly review, my supervisor and I had a quarrel  and I called him stupid because he didn’t understand something. After that I didn’t get raise and I said:  That’s it. I’m quitting. They wanted me to stay but I quit.

I don’t think I experienced racism in Niagara Falls. But when I tried to find a room to stay the lady of the house didn’t want to give it to me because I was Japanese. She hesitated. I said I’m very quiet and so on, so finally she let me have the room. After she and the husband were very kind to me and we got along fine.

I returned to Steveston, lived with my parents and went to UBC to become a teacher. I went into teaching in high schools. First at David Thompson for 10 years. Then I taught at Sir Winston Churchill. I am very fortunate to still meet some of the students that I taught. One fellow from David Thompson was getting an honourary degree and invited me to come to the ceremony. I thought that was so nice of him.

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