The Arai family remained in Grand Forks until 1949. When the government finally allowed Japanese Canadians to move back to the west coast, they purchased a dry-cleaning business on West 10th and Alma with financial help from their friend Mr. Reid.
I knew I could do anything in Vancouver. If they gave me a chance, I could do it.
Yosh knew that Japanese Canadians going to Toronto were earning about 35 cents an hour. But in Vancouver they were earning 50 cents an hour.
No way I was going to be kicked around for that [kind of pay].
Mr. Reid didn’t know anything about the dry-cleaning business so Yosh and his mother ran the business. Mr. Reid did the deliveries and helped finance the business. The Arai’s were able to pay back Mr. Reid after a few short years. The dry-cleaning business was sold in 1952.
During the early years when Yosh was getting his business off the ground, the business was not generating very much income. He took on additional work at Westeel on Granville Island, working the 4:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. shift, getting paid an additional $15 a month as the first aide attendant on top of his regular wages.