Family History

The exact dates are not clear to me, but my Mother was born in 1929, so that seems like an accurate date to start. My Grandmother, would always joke that my Mom was made-in-Japan, but born in Canada. In the Sixties, anything made in Japan was looked down upon, as an inferior product. It was fun to hear my grandmother hint at a joke like that. My Grandmother, Mrs. Kurita, came to join her husband, here in Canada, wearing tabi and geta, with no western clothing. She was regarded as highly educated for her time, as she had gone to a private girls’ school and had graduated from high school. Her love of literature was something she enjoyed well into her old age. She was gracious and could speak kei-go, formal Japanese. Her hair was always perfectly coiffed and she dressed appropriately for all occasions. She was petite and reserved, so it was a pleasant surprise when I found out that she absolutely loved Sumo wrestling. This was before the Internet or even tv broadcasts of sumo were available in Canada, but she knew what was going on in Sumo in Japan, and had her favourite wrestlers. As one of the first members living in Sakura-So, she was revered by her contemporaries, and an article chronicling her life appeared in The Bulletin. In the late 1980’s, Sumo wrestlers went outside of Japan, and fought in Vancouver. When they were featured on the 6:00 o’clock news on television, there they were with tiny, 4’ 11 “ Mrs. Kurita! Bowing, and mumbling some Japanese niceties while meeting them, she seemed so happy. She was on television enjoying her 15 minutes of fame.

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