Yosh’s siblings were still in school when they were removed from Vancouver to Grand Forks. They ranged in age from 8 to 18. The eldest daughter Fumi was just a month shy of high school graduation. The school sent her her graduation diploma.
The other siblings were first sent to the Doukhobor school.
The first year, they all had to go to the Doukhobor school. That was no good. Fumi was supposed to go, but she didn’t go. We raised heck and everybody ended up going to public school.
Yosh wrote letters to the local school board in Grand Forks demanding that his siblings be sent to the local public school rather than the Doukhobor school. He was successful and his siblings entered regular public school. The siblings were treated “pretty well,” but were called “Japs.”
Initially, despite being taxpayers, the Arais, like all the other Japanese Canadians, had to pay for public schooling.
Fumi secured work in cleaning earning about $2 a day. Rental income from their property in Vancouver was seized by the government.
We had to do something to raise money.
Because of lingering feelings of ill will towards Japanese Canadians, Fumi had trouble securing employment, particularly after the war. She applied for 49 different jobs with no luck. Eventually, her 50th application landed her an accountant/ bookkeeping job at a woodworking business where they made windows and doors.
They gave her a job right away. The fellow that owned it, he was a professor or something at UBC. Quit that and started his business on the side. He hired her right away.