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0:37 - Grandfather coming to the United States

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Partial Transcript: So could you tell us about your family and how they came to the United States from Japan?

Keywords: Challenging; Chamber of Commerce; Children; Christian; Community; Connecticut; Engineer; English; Family; Farming; Food; Friends; George Washington; Government; Graduated; Grandfather; Great grandfather; Houston; Hurricanes; Independent; Japan; Japanese; Kagawa; Kobayashi; Kyoto; Lawyer; Learn; Medical; Money; NASA Space Center; Parents; President; Professor; Rice; Rikkyo; School; Senator; St. Paul's University; Technology; Texas; Typhoons; United States; University; Webster; Webster, Texas; Welcomed; Wife; Work

Subjects: Challenging; Chamber of Commerce; Community; Family; Farming; Grandfather; Houston; Hurricanes; Japan; Japanese; Rice; St. Paul's University; Texas; Typhoons; United States; University

5:31 - Grandfather learning English

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Partial Transcript: Ok, so grandfather had to learn English and he came and he did not have...

Keywords: Ball High School; Business; Christian; Engineer; English; Galveston; Grandfather; Grandmother; High school; History; Japan; Japanese; Junior high; Kimono; Korea; Learn; Manchuria; Married; Math; Missionaries; NASA Space Center; Parents; Philippines; Priest; Proposed; Rice; School; Shinriki; Soldiers; Spanish; St. Paul's; Teacher; Texas; Texas A&M; Tokyo; Trip; Webster; Western; Wife

Subjects: Ball High School; Christians; English; Grandfather; Grandmother; Learn; Married; Parents; Rice; School; Spanish; Texas; Texas A&M; Western; Wife

10:16 - Grandfather's dream being crushed

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Partial Transcript: Well, great grandfather died in 1939 at the beginning of the World War II...

Keywords: Cousins; Crop; Crushed; Died; Dream; Eggplant; Family; Farmers; Food; Government; Grandfather; Japan; Japanese; Philippines; Politics; Rice; Starve; World War II

Subjects: Crushed; Died; Dream; Family; Farmers; Food; Government; Grandfather; Japan; Japanese; Rice; World War II

11:51 - Uncle Robert and World War II

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Partial Transcript: Ok. My father, uh a—along with his brothers—uh Uncle Robert, Uncle Ed—uh they worked on the rice farm.

Keywords: Aunt Rola; Brothers Uncle Robert; Camera; Engineering; Europe; Farm; Father; Germany; Leica camera; Murder; My Lai Massacre; Rice; Soldier; Texas A&M; Vietnam; Worked; World War II

Subjects: Aunt Rola; Camera; Germany; My Lai Massacre; Soldier; Texas A&M; Uncle Robert; Vietnam; World War II

15:58 - Parents getting married and father finding a job

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Partial Transcript: Dad married my mother.

Keywords: Baby; Business; Childhood; Community; Dad; Daddy; Easter; Fired; Friend; Holiday; Houston; Influence; Japanese; Job; Labor; Lone Star Club; Married; Mother; NASA: Experience; Relationship; Rio Grande Valley; Social; Socializing; Teacher; Valley High Lows; Welding; Work; Working

Subjects: Childhood; Community; Dad; Daddy; Fired; Houston; Japanese; Job; Lone Star Club; Married; Mother; Relationship; Rio Grande Valley; T; Teacher; Welding; Work; Working

19:52 - End of rice business and beginning of welding business

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Partial Transcript: Ok, so is the family business still going on?

Keywords: Babysitter; Business; Community; Dad; Egg; Employment; Family; Father; Fired; Galveston; Grandfather; Grandmother; Groceries; Grocery; Hahn & Clay; Houston; Job; John Sealy Hospital; Kimonos; Labor; Married; Pasadena; Retired; Rice; School; Stroke; Uncle; Uncle Eddie; Webster; Welding; Wife; Working

Subjects: Business; Family; Father; Fired; Grandfather; Retired; Rice; Uncle Eddie; Welding

24:08 - Mother and her working at Tokyo Gardens

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Partial Transcript: So did your mom also work?

Keywords: California; Dallas; Dinner; English; Galleria; Graduated; Hawaiian; High school; Houses; Houston; Humphrey Bogart; Japan; Japanese; Job; Larry Payne; Lunch; Mom; Mrs. Gondo; Parents; Pay; Payroll; Receptionist; Restaurant; School; Sleeping; Students; Teacher; Texas; Textbooks; Thyroid; Tokyo Gardens; Tokyo Joe; Tuition; U of H; Waitress; Work; Working

Subjects: High school; Houston; Japanese; Job; Mom; Payroll; Receptionist; Restaurant; School; Students; Thyroid; Tokyo Gardens; Tuition; U of H; Waitress; Work; Working

31:14 - Life while studying at University of Houston

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Partial Transcript: So do you remember how much the tuition was?

Keywords: Car; Children; Chinese; Commute; English; Family; Friends; Gas; Grandmother; High school; Hispanic; Impala; Japanese; Job; Korean; Laredo; Mary Tate; Mother; Mrs. Gondo; Owner; Pasadena; Pilipino; Secretary; Semester; Sharpstown; Students; Texas; Tokyo Gardens; Tuition; U of H; Undocumented; Vietnamese; Volunteer; Waitress; Westheimer; Work

Subjects: Car; Commute; Impala; Mother; Pasadena; Tokyo Gardens; Tuition; U of H; Undocumented; Waitress; Work

36:35 - Meeting ex-husband

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Partial Transcript: And you mentioned that your ex-husband was with you.

Keywords: America; Baylor; Doctors; Dr. John Stirling Meyers; Ex-husband; Grandmother; Husband; Introduced; Japan; Japanese; Keio University; Language; Medical Center; Medical school; Medicine; Neurology; Research; Restaurant; Studying; Tokyo; Working

Subjects: America; Dr. John Stirling Meyers; Ex-husband; Grandmother; Japan; Japanese; Keio University; Medical Center; Medical school; Medicine; Research; Tokyo

39:57 - Ex-husband's work and getting a divorce

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Partial Transcript: So did he want to—so when—when—when you got married did he wanna go back or stay?

Keywords: Animal; Bank; Brain; Child; Children; Congress; Courtroom; Custody; Daughter; Divorce; Doctors; Dr. Meyers; Ex-husband; Fight; Government; Hospital; Japan; Japanese; Judgements; Justice; Lawyer; Married; Methodist Hospital; Mistress; Money; Osaka; Patient; Police; Protest; Research; School; Secretary; Stay; Stroke; Therapy; Unhappy; United States; UT; Wife; Women; Yokohama

Subjects: Bank; Brain; Children; Custody; Divorce; Dr. Meyers; Government; Japanese; Lawyer; Mistress; Money; Research; Secretary; Stroke; Therapy; Unhappy; United States; Wife; Women; YokohamaProtest

54:24 - Children living in Japan

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Partial Transcript: Are they still in Japan?

Keywords: English; Expensive; Fukushima; Government; Groundwater; House; Japan; Japanese; Kyoto; Media; Messages; Money; Osaka; Professor; Stubborn; Talk; Tokyo; United States; WWII

Subjects: Expensive; Government; Japan; Japanese; Messages; Money; Stubborn; Talk; United States

56:30 - Living in Japan

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Partial Transcript: I mean one organic apple’s gonna be 250 when I left and were 300 yen or $3.

Keywords: Apple; Car; Chemicals; Children; China; Chinese; Conversation; English; Expensive; Food; Friends; Japan; Japanese; Men; Milk; Mother; Organic; Pay; Quality; Research; Safety; Student; Supermarket; United States; Women

Subjects: China; Conversation; English; Expensive; Food; Japan; Japanese; Pay; Quality; Supermarket; United States; Women

59:40 - Working as a nurse's aide and a ballet instructor

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Partial Transcript: Go back to labor and talk about your training as a nurse’s aide.

Keywords: Ballet; Ballet of Houston; Blood pressure; Bookkeeper; Boyfriend; Cancer; Chad Holly; Children; College; Dance; Daughter; Doctor; Ex-husband; Fiance; Gastrointestinal; Houston Ballet; Injustice; Jazz; Job; Katy Freeway; Labor; Louisiana Street; Married; Methodist Hospital; Morgue; Nurse; Nurse's aide; Parents; Pasadena; Patient; Petition; Policeman; Quit; Respiration; Russian; Salary; Sleeping; Spanish; Struggling; Students; Tatiana Semanova; Teacher; Teaching; Thermometer; Training; U of H; Worried

Subjects: Ballet; Ballet of Houston; Chad Holly; Children; College; Doctor; Job; Married; Methodist Hospital; Nurse; Nurse's aide; Parents; Quit; Students; Tatiana Semanova; Teacher; Training

67:27 - Job in Japan

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Partial Transcript: So when you get married, do you move right back to Japan?

Keywords: Baby; Books; Brain; Broadway; Children; Conversation; English; Glenn Doman; Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential; Intelligence; Japan; Japanese; Job; Learned; Married; Move; Philadelphia; Read; School; Speaking; Stimulate; Teaching

Subjects: Baby; Books; Children; English; Glenn Doman; Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential; Intelligence; Japan; Japanese; Job; Married; Move; Read; School; Speaking; Teaching

70:35 - Japanese public schools

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Partial Transcript: Is—is—are Japanese parents really into teaching English to their children?

Keywords: American; Aoyamadai Shougakko; Children; Country; Daughter; Elementary; English; Intelligence; Intelligent; Japa; Japanese; Kids; Memorize; Parents; Public school; School; Schoolteacher; Summer; Teacher; Teaching; Test; TV; Vacation

Subjects: American; Aoyamadai Shougakko; Children; Elementary; English; Intelligent; Japan; Japanese; Memorize; Parents; Public school; Teacher; Teaching; Test

73:39 - Children's education

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Partial Transcript: Yeah my—my children went to public school, uh, elementary,,,

Keywords: Caring; Childbearing; Children; Classes; Communication; Elementary; Emergency; Expensive; Factory; Graduated; High school; Japan; Junior high; Kids; Labor; Language; New Zealand; Private; Public school; School; Semester; Smaller; Sweet; Talk; Teachings; United States; University; Visit

Subjects: Children; Communication; Elementary; Expensive; Factory; Graduated; High school; Japan; Junior high; Language; Private; Public school; School; United States; University; Visit

75:49 - Deciding to move to Japan and getting a divorce

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Partial Transcript: I was just wondering, um—why did you move to Japan?

Keywords: Academic; Bilingual; Divorce; Doctors; English; Ex-husband; Food; Government; Hospital; Hypothermal; International; Japan; Japanese; Kids; Married; Move; Patients; Research; Restaurant; Speak; Spiritual; Stroke; Therapy; Treating; Understand; Work

Subjects: Bilingual; Divorce; English; Ex-husband; Government; Japan; Japanese; Kids; Married; Move; Research; Speak; Work

80:27 - Being homeless in Japan

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Partial Transcript: Until 2000 when they went to live with their father, and I—I went to live in my car [laugh] inside my car, later on, well almost later on after the money ran out now.

Keywords: Bicycle; Car; Children; College; Community; Discrimination; English; Father; Food; Homeless; Job; Library; Money; Mother; Support; Teach; Teaching; Television; Think; Transportation; University

Subjects: Car; College; Community; Discrimination; English; Homeless; Job; Library; Money; Support; Teach; Teaching; Think; University

82:52 - Moving back to Houston

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Partial Transcript: So in 2002 you finally moved back to Houston—

Keywords: Alzheimer’s; Architect; Brothers; Camps; Chicago; Conversations; Electrician; Ex-husband; Farmers; Father; Flowers; Food; Friends; Gamblers; Government; Honeymooners Bakery; Hormone; Houston; Husband; Interned; Japan; Japanese; Medicine; Mom; Mother; Moved; Phone; Principal; Rice; Rohwer, Arkansas; Salary; School; Secretary; Texas; Uncle; World War II

Subjects: Alzheimer’s; Father; Honeymooners Bakery; Houston; Japanese; Medicine; Mom; Mother; Moved; Principal; School; Secretary

90:08 - Living with and supporting her mother

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Partial Transcript: So, right now you’re living with your mom?

Keywords: Court; Family; Friend; House; Japan; Lawyer; Living; Mom; Money; Morgan Stanley; Republicans; Social Security; Support

Subjects: Court; Family; Japan; Lawyer; Living; Mom; Money; Social Security; Support

92:40 - Challenges of marriage and divorce

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Partial Transcript: And it’s gonna be—really bad, and we’re gonna all have to band together, we’re gonna have to—have the elders teach, you know instead of, um, paying enormous amounts.

Keywords: Brainwashing; Children; Compensation; Court; Dad; Deadbeat; Elementary; Ex-husband; Fight; Friends; Help; Homeschool; Husband; Japanese; Junior high; Lunch; Marriages; Mistress; Mother; Organic; Pay; Power; School; Teach

Subjects: Brainwashing; Children; Court; Dad; Ex-husband; Fight; Homeschool; Husband; Japanese; Mistress; Mother; Pay; Power; School

95:37 - Dangers of Chernobyl

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Partial Transcript: Anyway, much better case is that Reactor Number Four, I mean what’s gonna happen to it, ugh.

Keywords: Bay City; BBC; Chernobyl; Fukushima; Generators; Greg Palast; Japanese; Money; Nuclear reactors; Protesting; Reactor Number Four; South Pole; Students; Women

Subjects: BBC; Chernobyl; Fukushima; Greg Palast; Japanese; Money; Nuclear reactors; Protesting; Reactor Number Four; Women

97:36 - Life with mother and views of food safety

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Partial Transcript: you say your job is—occupation on the questionnaire is a caregiver?

Keywords: Activists; Americans; Baby; Carcinogenic; Caregiver; Chemicals; Children; Committee; Congressman; Died; Disabled; Discrimination; Diversity; Education; European Union; Events; Fish; Food; George Bush; Gulf War; Healthcare; Hospital; Iraqi; Japan; Japanese; Job; Kobe; Kyoto; Miscarriage; Mom; Money; Mother; Murder; Nurse; Occupation; Okinawa; Osaka; Protest; Radiation; School; Soldier; Students; Suicide; Teachers; Texas; Uranium; Wars

Subjects: Activists; Americans; Carcinogenic; Caregiver; Chemicals; Died; Disabled; Discrimination; Education; Food; George Bush; Gulf War; Healthcare; Iraqi; Japan; Japanese; Job; Kobe; Kyoto; Mom; Money; Occupation; Okinawa; Osaka; Protest; Radiation; Soldier; Suicide; Texas; Uranium; Wars

110:22 - Nurse's aide vs nurse

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Partial Transcript: Um, I was wondering, uh, you say you were a nurse aide.

Keywords: America; Certified; Hospital; Japan; Midwifing; Nurse; Nurse aide; Training

110:55 - Teaching ballet

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Partial Transcript: And, you mentioned that you worked as a ballet instructor, was that a paid job?

Keywords: Ballet; Black; Deborah Allen; Instructor; Job; Jones Hall; Paid; Powder; River Oaks; Student; Summer; Teach; Teacher; Venice; Worked; World War II

Subjects: Ballet; Black; Deborah Allen; Instructor; Job; Student; Worked

113:36 - Being a Japanese American women in Texas

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Partial Transcript: Uh, where is home for you?

Keywords: Afraid; Air; Asian; Asian community; Chinese; Community; English; Fight; Freedom; Home; Houston; Important; Insurance; Japan; Japanese; Japanese-American; Justice; Majority; Media; Mother; Newspaper; Orientals; Police; Politics; Public; Rights; Scared; Texas; Vietnamese; Women; Women's rights

Subjects: Asian; Asian community; Chinese; Community; English; Fight; Freedom; Home; Houston; Japan; Japanese-American; Justice; Media; Mother; Politics; Rights; Scared; Texas; Women; Women's rights


Interviewee: Nancy Elaine Saibara-Naritomi Interviewers: Dae Shin Ju, Sarah Elizabeth Craig Date/ Time of Interview: June 11, 2012, at 2:30 PM Transcribed by: Dae Shin Ju, Sarah Elizabeth Craig Audio Track Time: 1:59:30 Edited by: Anna Ta (May 28, 2017)

Background: Nancy Saibara-Naritomi was born in Pasadena, Texas in 1953. She is fourth-generation Japanese-American, the great-granddaughter of Seito Saibara, who was a leader among the Japanese rice farmers who settled near Houston in the early 1900s. After graduating from high school in Pasadena, Nancy attended the University of Houston for three years. During this time, she worked as a hostess at the Tokyo Gardens Japanese restaurant. She decided to drop out of college and found work as a nurse aide at Methodist hospital. Through her grandparents, she met Dr. Naritomi, a Japanese citizen who was in the U.S. for a period of three years to do research. She married Dr. Naritomi and moved back to Japan with him in 1979. She was a childcare giver and homemaker when her two daughters were young, and later got a part-time job teaching English conversation. She divorced in 2000, and continued to live in Japan and teach English until 2006, when she returned to Houston to care for her mother. Since returning to Houston, she has been active in several social justice organizations and is a member of the KPFT Board.

Setting: The interview centers on the areas of labor and capital to develop a working history around the context of family history, childhood experiences, employment, and family life. Particular attention is paid to the history of the Saibaras in Texas, Nancy’s past employment in Houston, and Nancy’s experiences as a Japanese American in Japan. The interview was conducted in the conference room of the Chao Center for Asian Studies on the Rice campus. In addition to Nancy and the two interviewers, Nancy’s mother Mariko Saibara was also present. The interview lasted approximately two hours. Nancy began by discussing her family’s history and her childhood, then moved in to her employment history and her relocation to Japan to be with her husband. In addition to providing useful information about the Saibaras—a very significant family in the history of Japanese Americans in Texas—she also gave an interesting and unique perspective on the transnational family.

Interview Key: DJ: Dae Shin Ju SC:Sarah Craig NS: Nancy Saibara-Naritomi MS: Mariko Saibara —: speech cuts off; abrupt stop …: speech trails off; pause   Italics: emphasis    (?): preceding word may not be accurate [Brackets]: actions [laughs, sighs, ect.]

DJ: This is Dae Shin Ju.

SC: And I am Sarah Craig.

DJ: We're here today on June 5th, 2012 at the Chao Center of Asian Studies conference room on Rice University campus to interview Nancy Saibara-Naritomi for the Houston Asian American Archive oral history interview project. Hello, how are you?

NS: Oh. I am glad I’m here. I’m happy. [Laughs] Made it.

DJ: Ok. So we are gonna start the interview with um with you introducing about your family and your childhood. So could you tell us about your family and how they came to the United States from Japan?

NS: Oh, okay. Uh, my great grandfather made the decision to, to come to Texas and he was already in Connecticut. Uh, he, he was a uh senator in uh Japanese government. And, uh, independent, ran on independent. And um after that he was a 1:00um, a President of uh a Christian university in Kyoto and then he became a Christian and he decided to learn theology, so he moved to Connecticut to a university. But at that time he was in his forties, and it was very challenging uh doing university work of theology, uh, uh, at that age to learn English so he kinda gave up and decided to go back to Japan. Uh before he left for Japan, the Chamber of Commerce of Houston, uh, people approached him and said, ‘Please we have trouble with uh getting rice industry going up because, uh, we have uh hurricanes and you Japanese, you have lots of typhoons, which is similar, but you produce lots of rice. So could you please come to Texas and bring your friends and come and grow rice?’ So great grandfather, uh, decided in [snaps her finger] made a decision and he sent a letter to his wife and he was hoping 2:00she would agree and so he was waiting—I read the diary [laughs] so—um, somebody translated it for me ‘cause it was in Japanese. And uh, uh yeah, so she sold everything and she brought his parents so one, two… three, and my grandfather just graduated uh, uh, high school and he had gotten um passed examination for uh, Rikkyo, uh, University, which is St. Paul’s University, a Christian university. And he was all ready to, uh, he already bought the uniform and he was ready to go in and become a ship engineer. But he got the letter and he is gonna come and become a rice farmer in Texas, so at that generation said, ‘Yes, you know, hai, yes’ and never say ‘No, dad, I don’t, I don’t dis-I disagree with this’ and they didn’t do that at that time. So he came, and he thought it was a very, he said, my grandfather said, ‘he didn’t think much of the idea.’ Uh. Anyway, they came by ship and um so… and some of my great grandfather’s cousins also came and, uh, they took, um, from the, from the west coast they took a train to Houston and every time it stopped, and not every time but when they were hungry some—they would take turns. One would run 3:00out and buy bologna and crackers and get back on the train. So by the time they got to Houston, they were pretty constipated. And, cause that’s not really good [laughs] for you. They did not have good food, at that time at the train station. And uh, um, uh, they, uh, the railroad company was very eager uh to help the Japanese rice farmers. So the railroad, um, um, what was his name? I can’t remember, well he, he, railroad people helped him select places to grow rice and, um, make their farms and, um, uh the Chamber of Commerce was very happy and uh they were welcomed—very much welcomed. And so in Webster, Texas, which is next to NASA Space Center, uh there was a community of Japanese uh, uh at that time, uh, 1903 was when my grandfather came. Uh. So 1904 to Houston, 1903 to Connecticut. Uh so in 1904, little by little, more and more immigrants were coming. Uh very interesting, um, you know, Kobayashi family, uh, the, um, Kagawa family. Um I think Ms. Kagawa was 98 or 99—99 when she passed away. Uh, she had 12 children. Uh, uh, they did rice farming, yeah. And then, the 4:00Kobayashi family, she lived til 102, 103 and Riki I believe was a uh a professor here at Rice. Um, um Kobayashi uh anyway, I can’t remember. Anyway, there were other—many other families. Ok then, then having enough money, uh, to buy the land, so they rented the land. So they, um, um, no they bought some land but the…for, for starting the, the farming they borrowed money. So. Half paid uh in advance, and after the harvest, they would pay the other half. So that was the first year, that was how they did it. Because great grandfather was a lawyer and, uh, uh but self-trained. Not, there was no law school at that time. And uh, 5:00uh, now—now being a senator in Japan at that time was a zero, uh, zero payment. Uh it was volunteer, volunteer, like, like you know like George Washington, Jefferson, those people—they didn’t get paid. Um maybe we should return that way [laughs]. Anyway, uh and, uh, yeah, and medical insurance they have now, and it should [indistinct] it should be everybody should have medical coverage. Ok. Anyway, I’m getting, I am digressing. Let's see, what else, labor, labor.


Ok, so grandfather had to learn English and he came and he did not have, uh, he had a little bit of English cause he went to a junior high school at St. Paul’s in Tokyo and he went to uh high school there and uh his wife who later came you know, as kind of, uh, with her parents and a trip to visit uh, and it was supposed to be just one week and it turned out well, finally on the last day or it was two weeks, I can’t remember, uh grandfather took her for a course on buggy ride on the area that now that it is NASA Space Center because that was, uh, Saibara farm, they had a nursery business there. But then, but then they 6:00sold it later on. So on the last day he proposed and so um her parents left for Japan without her and all those dishes and kimonos and all the things she brought and koto, shibura, and those musical instruments. She, so she was prepared to come and get married, I think. You know because in her family, it was Christian too, which is kind of rare in Japan at that time cause they had um, in the um, 16th century um the, the, they had a, uh it was taboo to be Christians. So they—they killed lots of Christians and they would go and take a cross or a picture of Jesus and say, ‘Step on it’ and the people who didn’t step on it, they got killed, immediately. So, there was—because they heard from sailors, from Portuguese sailors that the history of western world is first the soldier comes, first the priest comes in, and then the soldiers come in and then you are a slave. And so that’s why they [inaudible] killing Christians. So Japanese Christians had to become secret Christians and um and my grandmother, um, and uh my grandfather both raised us as Christians and, and 7:00they learned English from missionaries in, in Japan in, in the schools they went to. And so uh they spoke to their kids—my father and my uncles and my aunt—in English. So my father and my uncles and aunt are very few, um, unusual, um, example of, of Japanese immigrants who don’t speak Japanese. You know they [laughs], yeah so, I remember a story my aunt coming home from Webster um either elementary or junior high and, uh, she heard, uh, her mother holding Uncle Eddie by the ear and saying, ‘Konnichiwa’ which means ‘Good afternoon.’ ‘Konnichiwa!’ She was just yelling all repeatedly and he was going ‘uh-uh, uh-uh’ [laughs] so there were a little uh trouble. Well anyway but my grandfather did have to learn Spanish because the workers were Spanish and he had to learn in English too. So the first uh year, I don’t know how many—how many months, what he did was, he took the train to Ball High School in Galveston and he had a little uh apartment, upstairs apartment and he went to high school for one year. So, uh, he was already one year ahead of all the other kids. And when the math teacher was, needed a substitute teacher then my grandfather who was good in math or he liked math, he wanted to be a ship engineer. Well, he would uh teach the class. That’s what he did so he could learn English see, but the other classes that well that helped him uh English. Ok, anyway so for one year he did Ball High School. And uh so, um I saw pictures 8:00of the farm, um, they produce lots of rice. And they had, they had brought rice with them on the—on the ship. Ok. And this rice was called Shinriki—uh the power of god, ok—I think that’s right. Anyway, [laughs] and so he gave that part of the rice to Texas A&M and at Texas A&M, they were trying to breed hybrid that would be tougher against the, um, the—the harsh conditions here uh in and so they came and they made, uh, ‘Blue Rose,’ which ‘Blue Rose’ is what I was raised on. And ‘Blue Rose’ was the rice that was stronger, um, against disease and uh, uh harsh condition and it was uh all through my elementary, 9:00junior high. I don’t think I learned any other, ate any other kind of rice than Blue Rose. But it’s not, it’s not, I don’t see it anymore in the store. So, [laughs] anyway, that’s…One of the main purpose of my great grandfather—the reason why he decided to come, uh to Texas was another reason. He believed there was going to be a population explosion in Japan and there would be no food to eat. And so he decided that he is gonna come and his family helped the Texas rice industry at the same time trying to make surplus, um, food that he could send back to Japan in case there’s gonna be a starving. Alright, and then he went around uh Manchuria, and the Philippines, and Korea and Japan—all around Japan—asking immigrants—people to be an immigrant, ‘go 10:00to other countries’ and they did, they did go. His uncle, his cousins, they went ‘make lots of food and send it back to Japan when Japan is gonna have an ex—explosion—you know—they need food.’


Well, great grandfather died in 1939 at the beginning of the World War II and then his big dream was crushed because at the end of the World War II, we had, uh, uh grandfather had a bumper crop—lots of rice—and he was all ready to send it to Japan—this uh surplus. And the Japanese government said, ‘Stop, do not do it. Then you will make the price of rice in Japan drop and then Japanese rice farmers will starve. And just because of a free—anyway—I don’t really know to m—to what extent that really would have happened. But it was a big disappointment for my grandfather because that was the big dream—you know—and that’s why the family came. So they couldn’t do this. All they could do was put boxes and some food and can things and send to his own relatives and people he knew. But he could not send rice, uh because the government stopped it. And the government did the same thing to his cousins who were in the—uh, they were in the Philippines—I think the Philippines—and they had lots and lots of eggplant and they wanted to send in to Japan—you 11:00know, the surplus—and Japanese government would not do this. So, yeah, politics got in the way.

SC: So what was your grandfather’s name? I’m sorry. I don’t think you mentioned.

NS: Oh, grandfather, uh, which one. Uh. Ok. Grandfather’s name is Kiyoaki Saibara and he’s the one that wanted to be a ship engineer. But he became a Texas rice farmer. Ok. And my great grandfather was Seito and he was the uh Congressman and self-made lawyer and, um, decided to bring the whole family to, um, Texas.

DJ: So this was a family business, right?

NS: Yes, family of farms. Yes.

DJ: So your gra—great grandfather started it and your grandfather—

NS: Carried it out.

DJ: Carried it and then your—what about your grandparents—your parents?

NS: Oh my parents. Ok. My father, uh a—along with his brothers—uh Uncle Robert, Uncle Ed—uh they worked on the rice farm. And uh. No. Well, uh, uncle Robert he left uh to uh, uh he didn’t, well I don’t know how far—how 12:00long—Uncle Robert… Uncle Robert went into uh Texas A&M for, um, engineering and he uh was in uh a, um, cadet corps—cadet corps—in uh, uh World War II in Germany. So it was very short but all the other guys were… But he was ahead of them. [Laughs] He told me they were in Leica? Lei—somewhere in Germany and they were fighting and they went into uh a factory to clear it out—to make sure there’s no Germans in there—and then he noticed that people under him—the men under—were stepping on all over these Leica cameras. And he said, ‘Hey, don’t do that! Th—those are cameras.’ And they said, ‘Oh, back home I got one of these’—you know, the accordion type camera; very, very old-fashioned on big tripods. Said, ‘I got one of these—these are […]’ and he said. Well my uncle said to that soldier, ‘With one of those Leica cameras you sell it, you can buy ten of those accordion cameras.’ 13:00[Laughs] So they were fighting and then my uncle noticed, ‘Oh, where is everybody? Where is […]’ He started looking for his men and some of them were in the Leica factory bagging all those cameras and stealing them [laughter]. I don’t know why I’m telling this story. Anyway, uh this is and he said it repeatedly happened. He had to go back in the factory and catch them because they didn’t know—um they didn’t know. Yeah. My—my uncle, my uncle told me, um it was the first serious conversation with my uncle; otherwise it was all happy and gay things. But it was, I was fifteen years old. It was the graduation of my cousin Paul at Texas A&M and we were sitting in the lobby uh waiting on my aunt and my cousin to come join was and he was looking at the newspaper it was My Lai Massacre in Vietnam was on the front page. And he put down the newspaper. He said, ‘This My Lai thing, this My Lai thing.’ And then he said, ‘you know,’ uh. Then he started saying in, in, in Europe 14:00walking along the road he said, with tanks and all kind of people, soldiers. Civilians would come and join them and walk together with them, side by side. Maybe they thought they had safety, you know? But then every once in a while, they would hear an order like—you know—I don’t know what, uh some kind of shout. And then, all the soldiers would run on the left and, and jump off the road and the plane would come by and mow down all those civilians—those women and children—and I said, ‘Uncle, that is—that’s murder!’ He said, ‘Nancy,’ and he had his hands up, he said, ‘That’s what war is!’ And I, I said, ‘Th—that’s murder!’ and then my aunt suddenly appeared and she was upset because we were late for the ceremony and she said, ‘Robert, I told you to meet at certain time—at certain time.’ And then uh she, she kept marching by; she didn’t stop. She—she went going to the place where we were supposed to be and then my uncle leaned over just when my aunt was crossing in front of me and he said, ‘Your Aunt Rola is wearing a wig.’ And I—I just froze [laughter]. And, and um my uncle had a lot of sense of humor. Uh, he 15:00picked that timing to tell me. But anyway um, uh, that’s the first time I heard something serious about war.

DJ: Okay.

NS: My uncle. Ok. W—we diverged, diverged, anyway.

DJ: Ok. So, um, so your parents were uh parents worked at the farm…?

NS: No, no just my father did.

DJ: Just your, your father?

NS: Yes, and m—my Uncle Ed. Yeah. And my Uncle Robert opened up a television repair uh and, uh, shop, you know.

DJ: So did you grow up in a farm?

NS: No, no. I was born in Pasadena, Texas. Uh…

DJ: Ok.

NS: And, uh, uh… Dad, uh, uh um let’s see uh... Dad married my mother. He met mother through a friend in, uh, in Rio Grande Valley. Um. And, uh, this, 16:00this is small community of Japanese in the Rio Grande Valley and they had a club that was called Valley High Lows and in Houston we had a club—it was called the—the Lone Star Club. And those two clubs dispersed but they, they were in my childhood, they were meeting in for holidays or for Easter egg hunt or um, uh social, social, socializing. Ok. And so—

SC: Do you know when they dispersed?

NS: Ah… Ooh, maybe in the seventies or sixties. Oh, I don’t know when they did. Ok. Everyone got um too, too tired, too old and too many—too busy I guess. Um, so, um my yeah my father met her at, at, at there, see. Oh, about labor, labor ok. My father was working for my uncle for a while and then he opened up his own welding business. He was a welder; he liked to work with his hands. And he liked to fly and, um, uh he liked to fish. I mean, he had so many hobbies. My father loved to do all kind of things. And uh, uh he, um—let’s see—he—he worked for short time for Brown and Root in NASA. And I r—I say this because of a very interesting experience that just uh influenced me for the 17:00rest of my life. Um… he was fired. And, um, before he was fired, it was like this. Uh. The new supervisor came in, a very young one, and went out to the coffee caddy and emptied out and put it in his pockets. And my father said, ‘Hey, don’t do that. That is not right.’ And then he was told he doesn’t need to come to work anymore. He needs time to find a new job. And um his contract would not be renewed so he doesn’t need to come back to work at all. He will be paid for two months until he find a new job. So uh I was, uh, uh in junior high school. It was my first year, sixth grader, I was a sixth grader. So I didn’t know what to put on the form—where is my father working? So I asked the teacher, ‘Can I call my parents? I don’t know what to do here.’ And so she said, ‘Oh! Children! You don’t know where your parents are working? [laughter] You should know that!’ You know, so. Anyway, dad said, ‘go ahead, go ahead and put down Brown and Root cause they are still paying me for two months. So I remember mother, mother would look—you know—uh watch daddy come 18:00home and daddy would say, ‘No, nothing today.’ Cause he was looking for work, you know. Ok. So uh and I had no idea that a job had a relationship to the food on the table. I had no idea there was some kind of relationship [laughter], very naïve. Ok. So anyway uh d—dad was fired for, for a silly thing like that. And uh and then also—what are the thing? Oh yeah—um, somebody stole my grandfa…my father’s uh barbecue pit that he had welded together out of scrap metal. And then it was found by some teeny tiny little Texas town. And, and they—the sheriff called and they said, ‘Hey come pick it up.’ And so when he went to pick it up, he was given a big storage, storage fee. They had chained it to a fence outside and it was, um—uh anyways, it wasn’t covered or anything. And they were charging him an enormous amount and I forgot what it was—so, uh, he, he said the sheriff wants. I said, ‘You know, this is not fair, Daddy. Uh this is your property and they are charging you an enormous 19:00amount of storage fee and this is wrong.’ And he said, ‘Can you come with me to face this Sheriff?’ and I said, ‘Oh, this time, uh, no’ because I was pregnant at that time. [laughter] I don’t know whether the first or my second baby. I think it was my second and I said, ‘I’m just too tired to this. But tell them you will call Marvin Zindler. And Marvin Zindler was a famous—um, a, I think it was Channel 11—uh a sort of a consumer advocate. He passed away. He was the same age as my father. In fact, they had a same class together at Sam Houston State. Uh, uh that was before Marvin did all the facial, uh face, uh, surgery and changed his nose and, uh [laughter]. But anyway Marvin Zindler was—was a wonderful person. He died 2007 or 2008. I can’t remember, yeah.

DJ: Ok, so is the family business still going on?

NS: Oh, no. Oh, no. That, that stopped at 1968 uh or maybe earlier. Uh, uh my grandfather retired from the rice industry and three months later he had a 20:00stroke, uh drove himself to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, cause that’s, uh that was near Webster, where they were living. And uh, and the doctor said, ‘Well, take it easy’ and then he had a stroke two weeks later and that was really strong one. He had aphasia, aphasia—can’t—can understand but can’t speak.

DJ: Mm-hm.

NS: Ok and a little bit of dementia, too. So, I became sort of like a babysitter sometimes for my grandfather. It was the reverse when I was growing up, you know. [laughter] Change—changed position. And uh, um, his, his wife—uh the third, third, third wife. And uh, she married him like when I was two or three years old so uh we were very close, um. Uh anyway, she was doing community things like—flower arranging and um, she would go take off kind of kimonos and 21:00don’t go to school and dress up the kids in kimono and teach them and take some rice crackers or something, you know, that kind of things. She would come to my—my schools too and do that. And um… about labor. My father was working for my uncle and then he opened up his own welding business and then um, my Uncle Eddie, he was working for the farm until it finished and then I think he went to work at Brown and Root, which is nearby and had a—had a job there, too. My father was fired, uh, a second time but that was a little bit different. The man who hired him—there were two brothers who owned the industry, uh welding industry—and Hahn & Clay, I think it was called. And one of them died and the one who died was the one who hired my father and the other one said, ‘Well we don’t have any space for—we—we need to cut down employment. So Dad lost a job again, second time. And then he opened his own welding business. So I remember uh—I remember that, yeah. Because we had eggs for breakfast, and then egg sandwich for lunch and eggs for dinner. And I remember that was going on for two weeks and I said to my mother, ‘Can we have something different than eggs?’ And then my mother hit me under the table with my leg [laughter] and—and my, my father was, was showing a very unhappy face and then, um, I remember uh—I was so dumb! I didn’t realize what was happening, you know. Uh 22:00when—when he didn’t have a job. And then I remember one time my grandfather and grandmother, um—she used to come, they—we would either go visit them or they would come visit us on the weekends. And so my grandmother uh liked the stores in Houston and Pasadena because Webster was a teeny tiny—just one little grocery store that was a very small one. So she liked all the stores so she would come. And one time—uh, usually the way it would be—they would come and then grandpa and I and my father would be talking and then um grandmother and my mother would take her shopping because grandmother did not drive. And then they’d come back and they—we’d have lunch and they would go home—that’s the usual way. But one time I remember, she came with whole kinds of groceries and was putting in, you know, stuffed groceries into the 23:00icebox. And, uh and then, um, and then, when we said, when time came to say goodbye my, my grandfather and my father uh were had very serious expression on their faces and, and my, my grandmother and my mother were talking and we were saying ‘Goodbye’ as they were about to leave. And, uh, I remember, ‘This is strange, dad and grandfather with such a serious expression on their face.’ This was the time when my father was looking for a job. See, and, he didn’t—didn’t have any. And grandmother and grandfather had brought food. And I said, ‘you know, you always come and you buy things and you go. You never come and bring things and put in the refrigerator.’ And I said, ‘Why is this?’ And my grandma said, ‘Well sometimes, something different, you know.’ And so I didn’t realize they were bringing groceries for us, you know. So when it came time to say goodbye, um, uh my father with very serious expression, ‘Dad—uh, Pop,’ he said, um, ‘I’ll pay you back’ and he said—and my grandfather said, ‘Pop,’ my grandfather said, ‘Warren, please don’t do that. Please, please don’t do that.’ [laughter] and so, I 24:00would thought, ‘This is strange. What is this conversation?’ You know. But later on I realized what was happening a—and this psychology with it.

DJ: So did your mom also work?

NS: Yes, she worked for 35 years for a Japanese restaurant called uh Tokyo Gardens.

DJ: Mm-hm.

NS: It was uh located on 4701 Westheimer near 610 on the other side of the Galleria. And, uh, the lady who, uh—in the, in the, the—the couple that uh hire her was Mr. and Mrs. Gondo. They came from, uh, California. She was a third generation Hawaiian born um Japanese, ok a—Ms. Hisako Gondo. And then the uh elder, uh, J—Juntaro, was kibei Nisei means he was, he was born—uh I think on West Coast, I’m not sure which state. And then to, to be raised and educated, parents sent him back to Japan. So, and then he came later—I guess when as, after he finished high school or so. And he was in a movie. They needed extras and he was in a movie called Tokyo Joe with Humphrey Bogart. He has one 25:00line. ‘Who speaks English?’ Humphrey Bogart says and he says, ‘Yes, I speak English.’ That was his, you know, one line. Anyways, he was in several, several movies. He was very embarrassed about that. Anybody who didn’t know. But uh, uh, anyway he uh—Mr. and Mrs. Gondo decided to open up a Japanese restaurant in Dallas, Texas. And they, they came and they opened a restaurant in Houston and they were building it. Have you ever seen that restaurant? Did you…?


DJ: No.

NS: No. It closed 1997. It was open for 35 years. And uh, very interesting. It was uh, uh a car, a car dealership before so it was very big, spacey. And they put a HUGE pond like—maybe two of these rooms [pause], uh, carp, and a bridge over where you could walk over. And one very heavyset guy was leaning too much on that rail and it [makes a large sound] and crashed it. So we had to put on it ‘Please do not lean on the rail.’ [laughs] It was, it was a….Yeah, it had a stage for dance and for—we even had martial arts exhibit one time. I remember. Mostly for dancing. Every thirty minutes there was a dance and on the weekend.

DJ: I see you also worked at the Tokyo Japanese restaurant, right?

NS: Yes, I worked—uh I worked as uh a receptionist, like, ‘Which would you like to seat, on the table and chair or on the floor?’ Most people—th—the non-Japanese wanted to sit on the floor, on the rice mats floor. The Japanese wanted table and a chair. [laughter] And the business—you know, Mitsubishi, 26:00Sumitomo—all these companies, they said, ‘Please don’t sit us next to another company.’ So the—we had to space out; all these Japanese companies far, far away.

DJ: So how, how old were you?

NS: Oh, I was in my last year of uh high school, so 17 and I started working there, yeah.

DJ: For how long?

NS: Oh, on the—on the, when they were busy like some conference—homeowner’s associations conference, no, home owners, homebuilder’s or something, or uh OTC conference, Offshore Technology Conference or—the summer vacation. So I worked off and on from time of 17 until oh, what was it, 20… 20 wait what was it—18, 19, 20—at 20. When I 27:00was 21, I dropped out of U of H because it was really hard for me. I was sleeping. I, I have always gone to sleep if I am not talking or if I’m not moving, I fall asleep. My, my blood pressure would drop to 55 over 45, you know. People think, ‘That’s like almost dead, isn’t it?’ but all through school, I was sleeping. I mean, the teacher would wake me up, you know. So, I had I think low thyroid—I think that was what it is. But if I am busy and I am talking or moving or dancing I can stay awake. So it was really hard—U of H—I had to study like three hours for every one hour of classroom and it was just—gosh, I am struggling so hard and all these other students are easily doing these—these same required courses so I will look for something else that everybody else is missing out on. [Laughs] So I dropped out and went to look for a job and it was not easy. So I still had a job at Tokyo Gardens on the weekend and I was doing receptionist and, um, cashier and do the daily—daily cash report and, uh, help with the cleaning—I cleaned the—all the—tempura crumbs were all over the floor, you know because people struggle with using 28:00their chopsticks for the first time. They are usually not used to it; that was fun.

DJ: Do you remember how much you got paid?

NS: Yeah, uh, minimum wage was at that time was around $2.50 an hour, I remember.

DJ: What year was it?

NS: Oh… see, I graduated at 1970 so around that time, you know, in the seventies.

DJ: Mm-hm.

NS: And but the waitresses—see, mother made the payroll checks so I, sometimes I had, I could see it. They were making like a dollar and something cents an hour. And I said, ‘Mother, why is it the waitresses are getting paid such small amounts and I am getting paid $2.50 and I am—I’m newer than they are. Why?’ and she said, ‘well, because they make tips.’ And I said, ‘Oh, is it that much they make?’ And then—I did not know but actually I’ll, I’ll say I don’t know all their cases but one of the cases uh the lady was working lunch and dinner and her tips was enough to buy two houses; one to live in and, uh, tenant, you know, have a tenant. And this was in the uh southwest area. These are small houses like, uh, one, two, three bedroom house. But, uh, well that’s—that’s good isn’t it? How can you do that today? I don’t think so. [Laughs] Things were so different. U of H—I could—as I said earlier when we were coming up here, I was able to pay with that. It was like a hundred and fifty a week I was making and I could pay all my tuition at U of H, uh parking 29:00ticket, books, gasoline and I have something to spare so I can, you know, I offered mother saying, ‘Let me—let me pay part of the electric bill or something.’ She said, ‘no, no wait til you graduate.’ But I said, ‘No, no go ahead.’ But sh—she wouldn’t take it so I would buy music, classical music, old records, you know, cause I liked it and she liked it. So, um, uh it was easy and you know what. Um, this is, this is, this is a crime today, 2012, the biggest—uh the biggest, um, business is on students, uh charging them horrendous amounts for their education. It’s a business. And the textbooks, last night on the radio with KPFT. Uh was it night? Or was it….uh. Yeah, with Larry Payne’s call-in Show at 8 ‘o clock on Monday night. That Larry Payne is a teacher at HCC and one—one s—one father said, ‘You know the, the textbooks my daughter is buying they’re out of date within the next year and 30:00then she has to buy another one and they are expensive these things. And in my day we just passed the textbooks, you know, you didn’t, don’t put all this uh…. So he said, ‘Well, we are gonna have to do something. And then maybe you know, organize—organize and pass and pass the books and uh, maybe make our own [laughter] textbooks anyways. This is—this is wrong. We need new legislation to protect. Weak people, students you go after them, or weak um—weak people get taken advantage of. And, uh, uh and the one percent people are not paying taxes. It is just amazing. Making millions of dollars.

DJ: So do you remember how much the tuition was?

NS: Yeah, I did. It was around $200, uh, for one—like fall.

DJ: One semester?

NS: Yeah. 200 and about 200 for the winter semester. And I—I didn’t go to—I went to summer one time and it was really cheap. I don’t remember what 31:00it was. I am sorry, I can’t remember.

DJ: And you also had a car?

NS: Yeah, but the car—the car was, um, um, uh the Tokyo Gardens owner, Mrs. Gondo, she let us have the company car. So uh yes. So I—mother and I had a company car. And then she, she leased another car—she leased a car for the company car and let mother drive it. So uh what happened? We had, we had a car. 32:00We had an Impala, didn’t we? Was that from…oh she wouldn’t remember. Ah, let me think, let me think. Uh I think that Impala was ours; No, that was our car. And then, later Mrs. Gondo she let my mother drive a company car. So mother didn’t have to take our car to work. So I had that. But I towed it out. A real… Uh, three days without you know sleep and studying for finals and then had got stuck in and bumper to bumper traffic and I was just following the car behind uh and it already turned red so I—I hit a car and that car hit another car and I towed out a car and I uh damaged two other cars and that’s, that’s bad. Um, yeah. Oh, I wonder how many students do that [laughter].

DJ: So you had to commute from Pasadena to U of H?

NS: U of H, yes.

DJ : And then work it’s at—in Westheimer, right?

NS: Yes, yes. And sometimes I would stay—spend the night with my grandmother 33:00who lived in a present house uh in Sharpstown area. She, they bought that house in 1968 and my, my grandmother and grandfather did.

SC: And did you say the owners of the restaurant were friends of the family or relatives?

NS: Uh my grandmother had met Mrs. Gondo at some kind of Japanese function. And my mother was looking for a job because I, when I was eleven, eleven she decided to look for a job and so uh my grandmother introduced my mother to Mrs. Gondo and my mother had only high school diploma. And uh Mrs. Gondo hired her and she was her secretary be—just be—before the restaurant was even finished—it was still under construction. So uh it’s amazing. I think my mother was getting like seven hundred fifty a month and then at the end in 1997 she was getting like $1000 a month. And she was working like, uh—she would get to work uh 12 noon and finish 12 midnight. And, uh, uh but she had, she had a car. All she had to do was pay gas and keep up upkeep, the company was paying for the car…

DJ: Do you remember the gas price?

NS: Oh, yeah. It was like 78 cents a gallon.

DJ: Oh, wow.

NS: That’s another thing. That’s why uh I do think we all need to go electric car and get the electricity free from the sun, you know.


DJ: So what was your uh your favorite thing about your job?

NS: My job…

DJ: What did you like the most about the job?

NS: Well, it was many, many, um, different uh people in that Tokyo Gardens restaurant. And I only worked on the weekends now. Um, because there were not enough Japanese waitresses so they had Korean waitress, Chinese, Pilipino and they were all given Japanese names [laughter].

DJ: Really?

NS: Yes. And um—oh, b—but the bus boys could be Hispanic, Vietnamese, or Chinese. I remember this one Vietnamese boy, um. He came a—and he has been working like two months or so. He was a really hard worker. And he was learning English at the same time, uh maybe uh sixteen, sixteen, fifteen, sixteen years old. And uh then he came after three weeks he says—three months—and he came and he said to Mrs. Gondo, ‘I work hard; you give me raise.’ [laughter] Up 35:00front, and he said ‘I introduce my younger brother; he hard worker, too.’ So both of them got a job. And uh Mrs. Gondo was a really, really sweet person. Uh Mr. Gondo, too. They were both, um, very nice people to work for. And, um, um I remember one—one worker uh he, um—he had many children. I don’t know how many children. I think at least eight. And he came first and then uh he got caught; he’s undocumented, okay? So he calls Mrs. Gondo from Laredo and says, ‘I wanna come back to Tokyo Gardens and work.’ And uh Mrs. Gondo said, ‘Ok, I’ll try to help you.’ So she—she asked, she—she asked the office what to do so I volunteered and the secretary Mary Tate—she’s a White—white uh accountant—and she volunteered and m—my fiancé we drove out to Laredo and we picked him up and we brought him. And Daniel stayed on the 36:00floorboard the whole time. He would not get out to use the restroom. He would not get up. He would stay on the floor the whole entire time. And later on, Daniel, uh, brought one by one his all his children. I don’t know how many children [laughter] and then he got some kind of technical—I heard—if I remember correctly, some technical, um, vocational, auto-mechanic or some kind of training. And then he left the restaurant. But I mean Mrs. Gondo was really, really nice about that kind of...

DJ: So where—where was it that you drove to?

NS: Laredo, Texas.

SC: Laredo. And you mentioned that your ex-husband was with you. Did you meet him working at the restaurant though?

NS: Oh, no, no. I met—he, he was a b—he was staying in my grandmother’s house. Ok, and my grandmother uh whenever she had a problem she would call the Medical Center for Japanese doctors who were—there was a team of them working in Dr. John Stirling Meyers, Department of Neurology at Baylor. And he was the 37:00chair at that time. He was a very wonderful doctor. He just died last year. Um, uh Dr. Meyers was one of the few that I knew of who hired lots of foreign doctors [laughter] and he had lots of Japanese doctors always. And, uh, uh he taught my ex-husband research, you know. And Dr. Meyer actually co-authored uh the basic textbook that all neurologists all over the world must read and study. And, um, anyway, so, um, my grandmother found out about them and calling them, ‘Can you stop by my house and check my—my husband?’ Husband means my grandfather. He had a stroke. And she wanted to talk in Japanese to a Japanese doctor. So the language, ok? And then, uh when my fiancé was ready to come and, and take over somebody else and exchange with another doctor uh here and r—rotate—they were rotating from Keio University—doctors in the neurology department there. Well, he—he was alone; he was single. And they worried about 38:00him. And they, they so they asked uh my grandmother, ‘Would you like to have a doctor living in your home’ and she said, ‘Yes!’ [laughter] ‘That’s great!’ and—and, uh, because we were worried about him. And before my ex-husband came they had another single doctor from Keio come and he got neurotic; and he committed suicide. He drove straight into one of those concrete embankments—highway embankments. And he went back in a bottle of ash, you know. So they didn’t want the same thing to happen [inaudible]. A—and so they introduced to my—my e—ex-husband—to my grandmother and uh he stayed and uh I think she charged him—uh, I forgot, I forgot—$200? $150—150 or something like that a month for rent and for food.

DJ: So he’s actually born in Japan?

NS: Born and raised in Japan. And uh—


DJ: And he went to medical school in Japan as well?

NS: Yes, Keio University, it’s private university. It’s hard to get into that school.

DJ: In, in Tokyo, right?

NS: In Tokyo, yeah.

DJ: So he—he came to America to practice medicine?

NS: No, no just research.

DJ: Just research.

NS: Research. To study research from Dr. Meyers. John Stirling Meyers, he was very famous.

DJ: So he just planned on staying just…

NS: Oh, usually just two or three years, yeah.

DJ: And then go back.

NS: They always do that. The Japanese don’t stay here too long, you know. It’s just that long time ago the, the, the first generation, second generation those old timers that came as farmers they stayed but the—now it’s just business and medical d— they just rotate and go back. They don’t stay.

DJ: So did he want to—so when—when—when you got married did he wanna go back or stay?

NS: Well, he tried. He, he was like, ‘What should I do, what should I do?’ and he tried to get in UT but they didn’t have a space for him. And, and he had done a uh successful research—uh brain research—and uh he had done—the 40:00really thing that I am proud of him for doing is, uh, starting the first uh hypothermal therapy case for stroke. Uh the stroke victim was um, uh 68 and they put him on a plastic, uh, bed full of ice—circulating ice water to lower the whole body temperature down and then gave him TPA, a drug that s—closes up the lesions up the uh arteries that have burst. That stops the blood edema from rushing in and breaking walls in the brain, and so after three days of cold temperature and total anesthesia, and then three days of thawing up, and then they can speak and walk and stand, and n—no paralysis and it was amazing.

And that night I found that he had a mistress, I found out. Anyway [laughter] it was a big, big day. I remember October of ‘94. So he did his first patient and it had already been settled in the animal experience. So this is a lot of credit to basic researchers who were not doctors. They were doctors but they do animal experience. Already uh confirmed with mice experience but no one had done it in 41:00Japan with, uh, human with stroke. They had already done it with heart trauma and with brain trauma like falling off a ladder, but they had never done it with stroke. You know. So he, he started it. And the next case was a seventy-year-old guy and three hours or two hours of onset came to the hospital, froze him up— lowered his temperature thirty, uh a few degrees a little bit lower than the first patient. Because the first patient had a little bit of aphasia and he would walk for speech therapy—to the, to the hospital—from the train station instead of taking the bus and that’s a, that’s a twenty minute downhill so for me, for me maybe thirty minute of uphill, uh, walk so that patient was that well. Uh usually strokes they go out of the hospital in a wheelchair. They don’t go out walking, you know. It is just amazing. So that was 1994 and that second patient, he lowered the temperature a little bit lower and this guy had no deficit—went right back to work. And then they had these heart surgery patient blunders, you know, you let one of those big clots get away from you. 42:00They are all right in the big arteries but they get up in the narrow arteries of the brain—you call it stroke. And, uh, so and e—even if—my ex-husband was working national cardiovascular circulation uh disease and research center in Osaka area of Japan and that is a government hospital. And that, uh, even in that hospital they had heart surgery cases like a 46-year-old woman and she got a stroke after had—during the heart surgery. Her midline of the brain completely pushed halfway into the other half of the, half of the brain. They do that hypothermal therapies, uh, uh, cold temperature [inaudible] and midline actually moved back to normal and the lady discharged [laughter] back to normal life. And then it was a sixteen year old born with some kind of heart problem. They said wait ‘til later to do the repair, repairing but she suffered a stroke, ok. Then they did the hypothermal therapy and, and the girl got so well she went right back to high school. And then she saw a ladies’ magazine where, 43:00uh, reporter had taken a—an interview with my ex-husband and his team and they, they reported her IQ was about the same as before the surgery and the treatment. And she read that and she got angry and she complained and told ‘It’s exactly the same! It is not about, it’s exactly the same.’ [laughter] So anyways she went back to school. So this is a wonderful thing and um hypothermal therapy. But now it isn’t used because when Dr. Meyers had a stroke I called Methodist Hospital. I called the stroke ward and I said, ‘Please do not give up on Dr. Meyers. Uh, please try hypothermal therapy and they said, ‘No, uh, the way—the location of it and the severity of it he is not a candidate for hypothermal therapy.’ I said, ‘You know, I know John Meyers would say ‘go for it—just, just use me. Go for it. Do it.’’ Because even the last time I talked to him was two weeks before he said, ‘What’s going on with hypothermal therapy?’ I said, ‘yeah I wish I knew. There’s a thing I miss—I miss that about that, uh, my marriage, you know.’ My ex-husband used to talk to me about research—on how it is going and all the 44:00things that were happening and it was very unusual. Because in Japan, the society, the man doesn’t talk about his work with his wife. So I had a—I had a very unusual husband in that sense—and in that sense, I mean. But uh. But he had a mistress and that, uh, his secretary—twenty-five years younger secretary. And that uh—I—that’s why I—I sued for divorce and I sued her, and uh I had to fire my lawyer during the high-court appeal because he wouldn’t do what I wanted, and I had to represent myself and hire a translator and finally I, I got it overturned. I didn’t—I didn’t win anything in the district court. It is considered a legal mistress relationship. Because they had illegal mistress relationship—this is in Japan, which is way backward and, uh, you know there’s only like 7% of the women in the Congress—in the Japanese Congress and that, that’s like Morocco or Algeria level. And we’re not much better. We have like, uh, what is it? 14% women in the U.S. Congress? We need to 45:00improve too. But anyway they have two. So the Japanese judge had to decide this is a legal mistress or an illegal mistress. So it was considered as a legal mistress so I got nothing; I got no child, uh, kodomo shinken, how do you say it? I—I did not get, uh, custody of children. I did not get, uh, uh compensation. But I—in the higher court I overturned it and um I, I did not like the verdict cause I did not get custody. And uh I won more than any Japanese women would ever win. I won, see, from him, from him and from her, her is small amount like $2500. But from him—I won altogether, from both of them, think it was like 8 million—uh, oh, I can’t remember now— anyway 8 million yen maybe? It’s quite a bit. But I couldn’t, um—I couldn’t get uh child custody so I—wait a minute. When reading the judgments, you know—reading the 46:00judgments, they did highlight reading—just small, small catchphrases in the highlights of—they were gonna read ten different cases, uh, uh, just the highlights of the judgments. And I was number two on the list and when I heard mine and the translator was telling what happened I said, ‘Oh I have something to say.’ Because in the United States, people have a right to comment. But it doesn’t happen in Japan but I went ahead and did it anyway. And before, I have invited the press to come t—to hear my judgment because I told them my husband is a—is a government doctor—he used government funding which was for research purposes. He gave it to his mistress who was his secretary. And I said, ‘And uh, he is not the only one doing this kind of thing, I’m sure. And I think you, you should uh come to the—because this is our tax money that is being used for hanky-panky, you know, at the government hospital. Ok, and then so, uh, he—yeah, plus one of the newspapers was Mainichi Shinbun, Yomiuri Shinbun, and the other one that’s no longer around—I can’t remember—Asah—Asahi Shinbun. I invited all three papers. The Mainichi 47:00Shinbun was paying money to an account—a bank account—that was secret to me. It was made in my, my daughter—daughter’s name when she was like six years old and three million yen went in there. I think it was three million—that’s about $30,000 and you know six-year-old doesn’t usually make money like that so they were paying him—not only him—all kind of pharmacy companies were paying my, my ex-husband a present money—a gift money for advice on making this kind of drug and that kind of drug because in, in Japan, doctors do not work for pharmaceutical companies. Here, doctors work for pharmaceutical companies. But in Japan, doctors want to stay in clinics and treat patients and then give advice on the side and get some money, you know. That’s how it is over there. So, um it was a lot of money and uh it was in my daughter’s name and my daughter was angry, too. She also found out. So I realize he—he was saving my money and giving it to his mistress. Anyway so when I protested I 48:00said, ‘No you should not give cu—custody of children to a man who you know got a mistress and—and has already, you know, has admitted to me that he spend some of the research money—government tax research money—on his mistress. And you don’t even investigate that? And you should do that.’ And I said, ‘I think you three judges have enough experience to make a more fair judgment?’ Plus I haven’t had enough time and money to translate the court papers which were in Japanese. And they, they wouldn’t have it so they asked me to go on another room and get my—my judgment paper. And I said—and then one guy—one guy in the, in the—one City Council man he said, ‘if you leave, you probably get nothing.’ You know he said that [inaudible] like that [laughter]. And so I protested for an hour and a half and the judges took intermissions—they left the courtroom like three times and when they were gone then the people—it was a standing room—there were a lot of cases at one time were gonna be announced. And I was holding up the show cause I was number two and they said—they were asking me questions about my case and then, then 49:00finally, um, they had three empty [inaudible] guards I don’t know, bouncers, I don’t know. They came in green uniforms and one took this hand one took this hand one was, was, yeah, here—there were three of them. I can’t remember—one was around my waist, one was on my… and I had my hand on a microphone so I was holding it really tight so the other guys were trying to peel the fingers off the microphone, ok? And then at the same time, the guy—the councilman—now his case was suing the government for broken promise you know. Because Osaka international airport was built on the sea by claim, by dredging up the land by putting up there and lasting of the environment and promising that the local people that the planes will come on that, over the sea into the airport and leave over the sea and not cross over the land cause they didn’t want any things dropping on them. And the government promised that. And three months after the airport opened, they said, ‘Oh, we misestimated things so we’ll have to go three courses over the land.’ So they were suing for that reason. I didn’t know that at that time. Anyway, that those people in that group came over the barricade and were trying to help me. And I was 50:00surrounded by eight court clerks and and then I heard [beating her chest four times] this kind of body hits and one of them was in a physical fight with one of the clerks and then three guards were carrying me horizontally out of the courtroom and the whole room the people were standing and they were saying—yelling me at the judge, ‘Let this foreigner have more time with her case.’ And there was—they didn’t know me at all but they were, they were uh, uh, like, uh, saying things in favor of me, ok. But um. So I was carried out the courtroom. But um, uh, uh, uh, that case I later on after everything finished and everybody left, I went and talked to that man I said, ‘You know, you are gonna have the same judges that I had. And they’re not gonna like you very much because you supported me and you came over the barricade to help me, so what is your case about?’ And he explained it that the government you know broke their promises about the ‘No over the land routes’ and I said, ‘Ok, I’ll help you. So I got involved in that and then I got involved with anti-public works cause they build three other airports on the sea with lots of 51:00taxpayer money even though passenger, uh the passenger [inaudible] and and uh the activities going down and that was in the, that was in the, uh, yeah, yeah. Late 90s and 2000. These are based on plans that were made like twenty, thirty years prior.

DJ: Ok, so…

NS: Public works, unnecessary public works.

SC: So did you finally get the custody of the children?

NS: No, never did. And it’s very—and I called and researched uh, uh, foreigner getting uh custody of, uh, Japanese children is very difficult except if you have three points and I called the, uh, a shelter in Yokohama city um and I called them and I said, ‘What are the three points that I need?’ and they said, ‘Number one, your husband has to be a yakuza’ that means a gangster, ok? [laughter] ‘Number two, um, you have to have proof that you and your children left the house and went to a shelter. If you went by yourself, forget 52:00it. They’re not gonna give you custody.’ And what was the third point? Oh yeah, yeah, you have to have a doctor’s letter that you have been [hits herself] hit, um, physical damage to your body [laughter], ok. So I didn’t have those three points, but anyway I still thought I should protest. I already knew that was gonna happen and I had been calling a um psychic to get a little more, uh, information [laughter]. And she helped me find things he had hidden like bankbooks. I mean I don’t know how she knew—she was in Texas and I was in Japan. But those people have some kind of ability that is really helpful and 53:00uh, yeah I need to write a book about this, uh, to encourage other Japanese women. This is uh, uh—Japanese women that are unhappy, they stay in these very unhappy marriages even though they get beaten up after the—the man eats his dinner and drinks and gets violent. They stay in these marriages because they think that they have to and there’s no other way. And actually, the—I was very lucky I got compensation. Most women get zero compensation. If the judgment only stays in the court, there’s justice only in the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, forget it. The police will not help them get the, uh, uh, the compensation. The police won’t even go after child support. Now, I mean, here they do. They go after child support. But it wasn’t always that case, so Japan is way behind—I really wanna help those Japanese women but I’m gonna have to help ’em outside of Japan, um, yeah, I don’t know how—I might write a book or uh, uh, encouraging them uh, the— it’s just, uh—but right now they need 54:00to, they need to work on the reactor number four. Oh, if that blows, it’s bad news for—it’s bad news for our children, your children. It’s, it’s bad news for whole world [laughter].

SC: Um. About—in speaking of your children…

NS: Uh huh.

SC: Were they born in Japan then?

NS: Yes, but they have dual citizenship, you know.

DJ: Are they still in Japan?

NS: Oh yes, they’re stubborn. They won’t leave! And they won’t talk to me, either. You know, I can leave messages—until recently, I could leave messages on the phone but now they’ve changed their number ‘cause I kept saying, ‘Get out, get out! The groundwater is contaminated and the groundwater contamination is moving westward from Tokyo towards—towards where they are. And the air is already contaminated. And they’re living like, like, here’s Japan, here’s Fukushima, here’s Tokyo, here’s, uh, Nagoya, here’s Osaka and then on down to Kagoshima ok so we’re in the middle—Osaka is in the middle where, where my children are. And just above Osaka is Kyoto and that’s 55:00uh—that, uh, city is um, it was not bombed during WWII uh because the uh, the Secretary of State had his honeymoon there and he is somehow credited for saving Kyoto from being bombed. And, uh, a English teacher teaching there, I heard on Coast to Coast AM um—oh, Coast to Coast that’s a nighttime tel—radio show from midnight to 4 A.M. Fox Radio 700, 740 AM. Really interesting subjects they talk about that are not spoken on usual, mainstream media. Yeah, anyway, so this one uh English professor from the United States was teaching in Kyoto and he brought it uh, uh, millisievert counter and put it down close to the front of his house and you know, things collect, so it was 400. That’s way, way…like the Japanese government raised all the toxic limits from 10 to 20 56:00millisievert—it’s ok for the air because they went up and the excuses, then they went up and had airplane catch some of the air or helicopter that catch some of the air, and but way up in the air in a fast moving uh vehicle like a helicopter, air is being dispersed really fast so you’re getting a very weak concentration—it was 20 so we raised 10 is too low so 20 is alright. So he—he tested the ground in front of his house and it was 400. Well he said, ‘We’re— we’re leaving.’ And he said, ‘I just paid a lot of money to repave my driveway.’ I mean, sounds silly but everything in Japan is super, super expensive. That means he owns his own house. This is very, very expensive to have a house. I mean one organic apple’s gonna be 250 when I left and were 300 yen or $3. So uh I mean, I mean, like having a car inspected it cost me $1500 e—to get it inspected and a car tax is, is, was a $400 a year—just for having a car. I mean everything in Japan is so terribly, terribly expensive. Uh, food, uh I was paying like, um, for just myself $700, no, this was making, 57:00three, four, about $400 a month—just for myself. And no meat. I won’t eat any meat.

SC: Uh, when, like what, what year?

NS: 2005 when I left that was the price. And I was bicycling everywhere because my car broke down. I could—I was living in my car. I lived in my car for about four years uh cause, uh, I, I could not, uh I did not, my friends offered to sign as a guarantor, guarantee, guarantor yeah, in case you don’t pay your, your rent. But I didn’t want anybody do that cause um I couldn’t really, know if, I was living from hand to mouth teaching English conversation mostly to women. I gave one class where men were invited and men did come once a week on Saturday afternoon but the—children, mothers and children class and then just housewives. And I wanted to give some guts to those women—you know, give them guts and tell, I told the mothers don’t drink milk. I mean this GMO is polluted. And I mean, uh I mean, uh, growth—growth hormones are s—recumbent 58:00bovine growth hormones put in the milks and, and in United States and uh I’m sure uh its possibility that same thing happening with Japanese milk and th….. I told them, ‘yeah, food, food, food quality. The safety it’s… and I said the cancer rates are—are skyrocketing in Japan faster than they are in the United States. And they have a lot of fertilizers they buy and a lot of um fertilizing done. The fields don’t rest enough in Japan. They immediately use it—immediately use it. And when I left, in the supermarket was made in China vegetables. Oh. Haha, surprised. And China has very low laws on, on uh safety, food safety. And—and my, my, some of my students were bringing back pictures of rivers in China. Red—Christmas red, a river. Another river—Christmas green. And I said, ‘Did you ask the people why the water was colored like 59:00that?’ and they said, ‘Yeah they said that ‘we don’t know why but it’s been like that for some time because they’re, they’re, they’re using lots and lots of chemicals and fertilizers for their—their land and dumping a lot of industry chemicals. And then I said, ‘What else did you see?’ and this one guy he said, ‘Yeah, those dog, it’s alive.’ [inaudible] Cyclops, one eye. And um, uh, yeah [laughter]. Anyway, uh, uh, they know—I would talk to a Ph.D in physics from China, he said ‘Yes, I know the food’s bad. But I have to eat. So I have to eat it.’ And I said, ‘you don’t have to go back to uh China.’ He said, ‘Oh I must. Uh China paid for my research study here in Japan and if I go to the U.S. uh later on I must return to China and help China.’ I said, ‘You can help China outside of China. You can do that.’ and I said, ‘And if you go to work for a, a, a institute in United States, uh, make sure that your name is first on your papers and your professor can be second or last or wherever he wants to. But don’t let him put his name first; 60:00make sure you get credit for your work and you’re not treated as a slave, ok?’ and he just smiled at me. Anyway, that Chinese he went…

DJ: Ok, so sorry to interrupt, but we’d like to…

NS: I’ll go back to labor [laughter]

DJ: Go back to labor and talk about your training as a nurse’s aide.

NS: Ooh, yeah. Only two weeks! Okay, I’ll—leading up, before that, I tried to find all kind of, uh, I didn’t think what [inaudible] can do ‘cause I’m not getting far in in in college, you know.

DJ: So after you dropped out of college—

NS: Yeah, I dropped out but I knew I need to get a job, cause I want to work and find out what life is, find out something else because this is this is so—uh—struggling, and struggle just to keep a B average [hand hits table] it was very hard. Anyway, I went to, I called this place and called that place and uh, and then finally, um, uh, this was very interesting, one lady said ‘yes’ but she lived way out on Katy Freeway, she says she says ‘I need a—I need a bookkeeper, uh, somebody like a filing clerk and I really would like you but you live in Pasadena that’s too far! And I’m only worried about that’ said well thank you very much for your, your, uh-uh of thinking of hiring me cause I 61:00can’t, I can’t get a job! I can get a job but this—um, one man, on the phone said—oh at U of H on the uh bulletin board it says you have a job opening and uh—and then he said [mimicking creaky voice] ‘what’s your name?’ And I said Saibara. And he said, ‘Is that—is that Spanish?’ And, uh—I didn’t answer. [laughs] I just kept quiet. ‘What kind of name is that?’ And I didn’t answer, I said it was Saibara. ‘And is it a Spanish name?’ I said ‘No, it is not.’ And—long pause, and then he said ‘No, the position is filled.’ [laughs] So I—I reported that to U of H and said ‘We’ll take that—that, that want ad off the bulletin board’ I said ‘Okay I think so too’ [laughs]

Anyway, but then, um—I thought, well, I like to help people. And then my fiancé—and he was not my fiancé, he was just my boyfriend at that time, but uh we were getting very close and I thought well if I’m going to get married with a doctor I’d better find out what a doctor’s world is so I, I called Methodist Hospital and they said ‘YES we need nurse aides’ you know ‘two week training.’ And I said, ‘okay.’ And I thought, ‘only two weeks? Wow, 62:00that’s short!’ Uh, so we learn how to take pulse, um, uh thermometer plastic thermometer then, and what else, uh, respiration, and uh, how to, uh—oh, briefly how to take blood pressure, and, uh—what else were we taught? Hm. Uh…We weren’t taught much. Really. I mean that’s it, two weeks. And then I got my first job uh, uh they said ‘We have lots of openings at the night, maybe later on we’ll have opening in the day’ I said ‘Oh, it’s okay, I’ll take a night. Uh, anything I want to hurry up and start working and—and learn.’ Uh, so I worked on the first uh— eighth floor, eighth southwest, yeah, of Methodist. It’s the gastrointestinal ward. People are up all night doing diarrhea because they’re going to have a colonoscopy in the morning or, uh, operation and need to be cleared out. So they want a magazine, or they want to talk, or they wanted this or that. Okay then, uh, it was the first night and they said ‘Oh we have a, uh, expired patient. So I—Nancy, you need to go in there, and here’s the kit.’ And Richard will help you. [lower voice] Same name as my ex-husband’s nickname. Okay, and Richard, Richard knew how to do it. I didn’t know what to do, what to do. And uh so uh—a—and lady sharing 63:00the room was crying ‘Please get the dead lady out of my room!’ Now, and so I was saying okay, and trying to sound—sound very calm, yeah, I didn’t know what to do, so he taught me how, and I had to take the body to the morgue. And uh, uh put a tag on its right toe, I believe, and uh, uh the lady expired of cancer, I believe.

But after that, uh, it’s mostly turning patients, uh, bedridden a lot of patients from nursing homes! [knocks on table] Came, got well, left after two or three months went right back same, came back later with more bed ulcers. And you have to rinse, and clean, a—and turn them, and I said ‘these nursing homes, ugh’ You know? [laughs] Ugh. And then, find out later Texas nursing homes are below the average, you know, this is something I don’t ever want to put my mother in a nursing home, but even if I did, she cannot afford it. Our neighbor went to a nearby nursing home it’s three thousand dollar a month, his wife had to be in a lockdown unit it was four thousand five hundred a month, so all their savings just, phew!

DJ: So, do you remember how much you got paid for your nursing job?


NS: Yes I did, it was—uh, uh three hundred and something, mm… three hundred and twenty dollars—

DJ: A month?

NS:—was the salary but, since I was going to work at night, hundred dollars extra. So, four hundred twenty a night. Yeah.

DJ: So how long did you have that job as a nurse aid?

NS: Oh, seven months, and I had to quit. And I sadly quit that job, but I had trouble driving home in the morning, from eleven to seven shift, uh, I was, I was dangerous, and I was trying to keep up my classical ballet at the same time, cause I was assistant teacher, and I was teaching ballet in the evenings, and then trying to get a little shut-eye and then go to work at eleven to seven, it wasn’t really good, you know, and I was falling asleep while standing up at night, one of the nurses say ‘Nancy! You’re sleeping standing up!’ ‘I am? I thought—I thought you were talking and the lights went out, I was wondering why are you talking when the lights went out, you don’t notice?’ [laughs]

DJ: So you were a ballet instructor?

NS: Yeah. I took ballet for fourteen years. From uh Tatiana Semanova, she’s 65:00uh, uh, how do you say um—a White Russian who escaped, yeah, she escaped Russia, yeah. [SC: Oh.] Uh. And she was first um, uh director of uh Houston Ballet, uh, before they became ballet, Houston Ballet was the Houston Ballet Foundation at first, and—and they wanted her to do all kind of things like jazz and tap and all kind of, like a dance studio, and she was against that, and uh, she was not somebody, though, easily uh could control, and uh, she was fired. And I left with her t—to start another school.

DJ: So where was this ballet school at?

NS: Oh, it was on Louisiana Street and Holman, it’s now nothing there, just a highway, uh huh, uh it’s not there anymore. But uh she, she had a small, uh, it’s called Ballet of Houston, and some of the students left with her, but most of the students, uh, it’s so, stayed with the Houston Ballet. And I remember, uh, one lady taking a petition in the parking lot as the parents are coming with their, with their—uh, children, to take, and I remember one guy, uh, his daughter’s in the advanced class, he said ‘I really appreciate uh 66:00Tatiana Semanova, I really appreciate her teaching my daughter and her uh her teaching has nothing to do with her ability, but I work for, Exxon, or I work for Shell,’ I forgot which company ‘if I sign that petition, uh, there’s gonna be, uh, trouble for me. And I—I remember hearing that, I was wondering ‘why would that be any problem?’ You know, it just, so… Fear. Fear stops us from doing a lot of things [DJ: Mhmm][NS laughs] like getting—getting petitions s—signatures against the uh civ—uh—civilian review board, ah, elected civilian review board with subpoena power of proper funding and prosecutorial power. This is really hard because people, but see when these things happen, like the Chad Holly case, uh, and, and uh the policeman got off scot free, uh, not guilty, acquitted, you know, and he—he pointed the gun at his head while Chad’s on the floor and then he kicked him in the head, and he pointed—two times in the movie you’ll see him do that, and he got acquitted! All right, well, uh, you know, people are afraid to sign this thing, and uh, 67:00but, after that happened, I got more signatures at the—at the—on the bulletin board at, uh, KPFT, and uh, so the fourth page, has been signed, and I, it’s been one year I’ve had that—petition there [laugh] now I’ve got four pages, so [laugh] little by little.[SC: So-] It’s—it’s—it’s very intimidating, a—and we could get, uh—but if you don’t stand up for against injustice, it just, it will bite you later on down the road until you’ve had enough, you know, no more. And then you, you do something. And you can do things the smart way—ask other people unaf—unaffiliated to complain for you [laugh]. That may be very smart, and actually more effective than more people, different people, that complained about something. So—

SC: Okay, so—

DJ: So when you get married, do you move right back to Japan?

NS: Uh—Yeah I went to Japan to get married.

SC: Is—

DJ: And did you have a job?

NS: Nnn—just taking care of two children [DJ: Mhmm], and I—after my children 68:00got much older, I took a part-time job teaching children at a s—you know, English conversation. Three-year-olds, four-year-olds [DJ: Mhmm], ooh they learned really fast! Anything, anything! They’ll repeat and copy anything you say [DJ: Mhmm]. So I was doing flashcards, cause I had, uh, taken the Better Baby course, uh in in in—uh, [knocks on table] mm, what is that, Philadelphia, yeah, for—for children. Cause my—my first child, she could not speak at the age of three. And she would have trouble speaking, she would cry, she say ‘I ya ee, wuh oh wuh oh ee, wuh oh uh oh ee’ and I understand ‘I cannot speak, what I want to speak, when I want to speak.’ So, she had troubles at three years of age, I—I studied and all kind of [one word inaudible] but this not [one word inaudible] books about child development, and finally I found one that said, yeah, there’s something you can try. Now no promise. And it was, uh, the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. And Glenn Doman started it, and has books how to teach your baby to read, how to teach 69:00your baby into—uh—multiple intelligence, and—and using flashcard stimulation, physical stimulation you grab the kid by the arm and ankle and you do like that [rustling of movement] and reverse, and the little newborn baby you do that too like this [laughs], and reverse, same number—clockwise as you spin counterclockwise so the brain gets equally stimulated and um, uh, the creeping and crawling, my children and I—well, they did mostly crawling, crawling, like uh, with your stomach on the ground, that kind of crawling was like four hundred, uh, yards a day, and then hands and knees creeping [rustling of movement], uh, eight hundred yards a day. And they did cello, violin, piano, and um, what else did they do, oh yeah—swimming, I taught them how to swim, they were three and two years old. And—nine months later they were reading their first books. It was really easy. It was just you stimulate, you don’t test! You don’t test—you just flash the cards, and I made seven thousand flashcards, uh, uh, they had about fifteen different groups, like bugs, or cats, 70:00or dogs, or constellations, or, um, cell, picture of the cell, the mitochondria, the uh, whatever. [laugh] I forgot.

DJ: So—so you taught, um, Japanese, um—

NS: Oh yeah.

DJ: Infants, like three year olds, so—

NS: No, I taught my own children.

DJ: I mean like, you—your part-time job?

NS: Oh my part-time job! Oh yes, I taught, yeah, at a school, English conversation.

DJ: So it was at a school, like a public school?

NS: It was at—no, a private English school, they have a lot of them in Japan, yeah, they’re teaching a lot of kids.

DJ: So, I see like a lot of Japanese people, they’re not really good, like, familiar with English—

NS: But they can read.

DJ: But they can read. So, what you taught was just mostly—

NS: Yeah we did Broadway musicals, you know, [singing] I’m singing in the rain…

DJ: Is—is—are Japanese parents really into teaching English to their children?

NS: Oh! They’re followers! The Japanese public school is like, you quiet, you 71:00listen to teacher, you memorize, and you do the test. You don’t ask questions like why or how, and it—and I—I tried t—I had a small English class for beginner English, well, schoolteachers, public school teachers, I had three or—first it was five, then only three of them. I said let—ask questions, ask them to think! They said ‘Yes we know what you’re talking about Nancy, but we have no time, we have a long curriculum we have to get a schedule of things,’ and I said ‘but you have to get kids to think, otherwise they’re always following orders and then nothing gets done, you know!’ [laughs] Well anyway, uh that’s the mentality in Japan, so um, uh when my—my daughter was uh—six, sixth grade, or no, fifth grade, I forgot, ehhh the schoolteacher said, um, ‘Children, uh American children are not as intelligent as Japanese children. The reason why is that because we, in Japan, go to school s-uh—six days a week, but American children, only five days a week. And American children 72:00have three months of summer vacation; Japanese only have one and a half months, so uh, that is why Japanese children are much more intelligent than American children.’ And my daughter [laugh], she came home and told me this story, and she was [laugh] pushing her lower lip out, and the teacher said ‘Naritomi-san,’ uh, Miss Naritomi, ‘what’s wrong?’ ‘I don’t like,’ she said ‘I don’t like uh calling a country, you know, not intelligent, I don’t like s-bad things being said about another country’s intelligence. I don’t like that.’ And the other kids she said were saying ‘Look, we’re number one in cameras, in—in—in, uh, computers, at TVs, Japanese uh cameras are the best in the world, the Seiko watch.’ And she says ‘I don’t care, I don’t care if American watches or TVs are not number one,’ [laugh] ‘I just don’t like it.’ So I thought, ‘Oh!’ When I heard that story, ‘Oh! All my work paid off!’ You know? [laughs hard] So happy!


DJ: So could you tell us the name of the school?

NS: Yes. Aoyamadai Shougakko. Aoyamadai means green mountain. Uh anyways, public, public elementary—

DJ: Aoyama—Aoyamadai?

NS: Ao—ao means green, yama—is mountain, dai—I don’t know. Area, whatever, uh, it was a public elementary.

DJ: Shougakko.

NS: Shou means small, gakko is school, so it’s a elementary school.

DJ: And so how long have you worked at the—

NS: Oh, I didn’t work at there; I worked at a private English school.

DJ: Oh, okay.

NS: Yeah my—my children went to public school, uh, elementary, then they went to a private junior—junior high school, and then they went to—one went to a public, uh, high school, one went to a, a—[inaudible word], yeah, [inaudible word] they both went to public high schools, you know, but they went to private, uh, junior high school. Yeah, I had to uh—mm, it was the—the—the junior high school was a very, um, it was private, it was expensive, it was like, uh, 74:00three thousand dollars a semester. I think. So, it was very expensive. But, um, it was uh… it was more on the naïve side and sweet, um, uh, more caring, teachers more caring, it was a smaller school, that’s probably the main thing, smaller. The high schools, wow, sixteen classes with like, you know, forty fifty kids in each class. Um, like, like the—like the, uh, like for example the first grade of high school had sixteen different classes, and uh, I mean it’s just, it’s factory! It’s not, not—it’s factory education! It is terrible! So anyway, [SC: So uh—] my, my, my children went—one went to a private university, for, and one went to, uh, a prefectural state uh foreign language university, and would not tell me where she went, I found out much later after she graduated, cause, she didn’t want me to come and visit, so I 75:00had almost no communication whatsoever with my children, they don’t talk, they said ‘only call if it’s emergency,’ I don’t know what they consider emergency. And the last time I gave a message, I said ‘Hurry up and get out of Japan. Go anywhere, go New Zealand, go United States but get OUT of there and, and then I—I was angry, I said ‘I’m going to end up in, uh—taking care of two cancer daughters if you don’t, you know, if you don’t’ [laugh] They’re childbearing age now, you know, thirty and twenty-nine, need to get out. I don’t know if I helped you with labor, labor is, uh [laughs]

SC: It’s fine, [three words inaudible], [NS: Good.] I—you know, a lot of good information, and I actually had a few more questions if you’re willing [one or two words inaudible] longer.

NS: Oh well yes yes yes, go ahead, go ahead, yeah.

SC: I was just wondering, um—why did you move to Japan?

NS: Cause, he decided to go to work in Japan, that’s why. So, I went there got married, and uh. Yeah, he was asking me what should I do, I said I said ‘Well, what do you think is good for your work or research?’ He said ‘Well if I stay in the university hospital, I’m going to be treating chronic patients and 76:00be so tied up with all my time I have no time for research, cause if I go to this research institute, I will be able to have time for research primarily, and I can do, uh, you know, uh, checkups, follow-ups, on the side,’ but he said ‘I don’t have to be tied up with just chronic patients or, uh, in the ward.’ Because if you’re in the ward, you don’t have time for mi—mice experiments and things like that, it’s just very difficult. And he did uh do very well, um, yeah, he was publi—a lot of papers published and international congresses and uh, um hypothermal therapy was I think the—the peak of wonderful things that he got done and started. So um, so ke—keep that in mind if you have somebody that has a stroke, quick quick quick get to the hospital, the quicker the time, the less edema. The edema, the—is rushing, all that blood is what breaks down all the walls. And uh, hypothermal therapy, when we got a divorce, when we were going through a divorce still, I was—when I would see him a little bit, and talk to him, I would say ‘what’s going on now.’ He said ‘Well now I’m thinking, uh, not so drastically to, uh, do general 77:00anesthesia and put them out, knock them out completely, but with drug, lower their brain temperature by drugs, uh, I’m trying to do it less drastic so it’s easier on the patient and, uh, less chance of blood sepsis or some kind of infection.’ And—and that was really hard to s-get started, because it was—for one thing it’s a uh—uh—government hospital, and the nurses says ‘Ooh, we are so busy and now you bring us something new to do and we’re scared, we don’t know how to do this!’ You know so the nurses didn’t want to take, to—[short laugh] take care or—help, so it was just doctors at first, and it took him like seven months or eight months just to get uh that plastic bed, you know, where there’s uh for the circulating ice water, you know, for the patient. And he had to break a lot of hurdles just to get it started, but that night he—October of ’94 he finally got the first case started, that was wonderful. And then, um— yeah, anyway, that was good. And so uh, hm. And then he got little bit selfish. You see, when your private life 78:00is—is not quite right, and—it comes out on your work. So I went there for some reason, and to the lab late at night, and then he got a call, and I was li—half listening to it, and I said ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘Well, they have two teams of neurology, one department and another department, and they take turns when a emergency patient comes in. Well they got one, the other team got one, and they wanted his advice on a hypothermal therapy. Cause only his team was doing it! And I said, ‘So what did you say?’ He said, ‘Well, uh you know, it’s not my turn, and I don’t get the praise for this patient getting better. And—I don’t want to help.’ I said, ‘You go and help and you teach them! What are you talking about, that’s the purpose [two words inaudible] you became a doctor.’ So he kinds of, uh, uh went out of the room and disappeared for a while, and I don’t know if he did or not, but I called my son like ‘Did he go, did he go and help’ He said ‘Yeah, he did a little bit.’ Uh see he’s getting selfish, and he says ‘I want to be—get the 79:00praise for this’ and I said ‘Okay, do you want me to call newspapers and tell them,’ said ‘No, no, no, don’t do that, that looks bad.’ [laugh] But he finally did get the praise in, in newspapers and magazines, much later, but—ah, you have to, you have to, uh, you have to watch your uh spiritual path as well as your—your—your academic path, or your job path, uh, it’s, if it’s not—if it’s not together, in sync, it oh, just, oh, it just spoils everything. [laugh]

SC: And so when you moved to Japan, did you speak Japanese at all?

NS: No. No, I knew food names [laugh], I knew restaurant terms cause I’d worked in the restaurant, like um, you know, uh… okonjo is a bill, uh, all kind of restaurant things, um, I knew food names. Eh, so I had to learn with dictionary, I carried a English-Japanese dictionary, so when any—somebody say something, then I look it up, and I find out, and by that time the conversation has changed. ‘Wait a minute. What are we talking about?’ [laugh] So, it was 80:00very hard, it was like the same as listening to cicadas, cicadas, you know, y—you don’t understand what they’re saying [laugh] they’re saying something. And that’s how it was for me, it was [one word inaudible.] But—those doctors, especially ex-husband, um, spoke English a lot. Cause you had to, you know, at the work. So—our house w-hold was just English, only. And, uh, the children, if they spoke to me in Japanese I would say ‘What is that in English?’ I would just pretend, because otherwise I’d heard, and uh, from other cases where they start speaking Japane—the mother speaks Japanese to the kids and then they will not try English at all, so my kids—bilingual, yeah. Until 2000 when they went to live with their father, and I—I went to live in my car [laugh] inside my car, later on, well almost later on after the money ran out now. But that was interesting, I—I think everybody should have a chance to be homeless, at least for a short time, because you have time to think, no television, no—[laugh] nobody calling you, and you have time to think about a lot of things, and then you see a lot of discrimination against 81:00the homeless, you will taste it and you will—you will understand, you know, almost anybody can become homeless, you know, it doesn’t matter you could have a Master’s degree and still become—or a doctor’s degree. And your job get lost, [knock on table] car, house foreclosed, your car taken away from you then you’re on the streets, you know, so, it, it—it doesn’t matter when you have, uh, degrees, you know, and so—

DJ: So, while you were—while you were living in a car, how did you s—uh like, support yourself, like—

NS: Oh, I was teaching English.

DJ: Okay.

NS: To mothers and children and ladies—mostly ladies’ group.

DJ: Like a—like in a community center?

NS: Oh! Yeah, uh, the libraries had a—small, community center combination library, and I would rent a room. So the room—room fee was like half my sala—I was making like seven hundred a month, and I would pay like half of it to the—to the libraries, to rent the rooms, and then—the other half was the food, and the very little left for transportation, when I—I have to take a bus once in a while, but most of the time I was bicycling. So I got in good shape 82:00with the bicycle! And that city gives away free bicycles! I mean it’s a college town, and they have a foreign language university plus the Osaka State University so a lot of students from all over the world, and—and they need transportation! So, they have a—uh, uh the city offers a, a you pick out all the thrown away bicycle, and then you—the city’s pays for a few parts, and then you pick out what you want and then volunteers—old guys, and some are old ladies—and they’ll say, ‘Okay, I’ll help teach you, I’ll teach you how to’ and they teach you how to put it together so I got a free bike that way. Plus I had four cats, and the four cats, uh, uh, kept me warm in the winter, you know they all, one on my feet, one or two in my lap, one here, you know, they kept me warm. And so I really, uh, owe them, they—they’re very warm, their temperature, you know, is higher than our temperature, the dogs and cats yeah. And so I needed to take my cats with me wherever I went, so the—they even put a platform on the back of my bicycle so I could have my pet cage and take my cats with me.

DJ: So in 2002 you finally moved back to Houston—


NS: No, 2005.

DJ: 2005?

NS: Six! I’m sorry, six, yeah, six, yeah.

DJ: 2006. And then—since then you’ve been take caring of your mo—mom.

NS: Yeah! Yeah, take care of mom, yeah. Mom say something.

NM: [laugh] What do you mean, say something?

NS: What was your—what was your first salary, do you remember what your first salary was?

NM: No, I don’t remember that far back.

NS: She—she, uh, was interned in Rohwer, Arkansas during World War II, and she was seventeen or so, and then she got a job as a secretary as the junior high school principal. Cause they had schools within the camps, you know.

SC: Mhmm.

DJ: Oh, for Japanese people?

NS: Yeah, Japanese—first and second generation people, yeah. And uh, her uh brothers got to leave the camp earlier than she and her mother, um, they went to—university, I forgot where uncle [three words inaudible]

NM: Ch-Chicago.

NS: Chicago? Well one was at U—became electrician, one became a architect. And uh, then, then after the war she went to Chicago, cause a lot of Japanese went to Chicago, and she got a job in, uh, Honeymooners Bakery. And uh, she likes 84:00sweets. I don’t let her have them. Anyway, anyway, [laughs] that represents why she picked hers—her next job [laugh], an—and then she happened to meet my father when she went to visit, uh, some—Valley, friends in the Valley, and uh [SC: Mhmm] my grandpa—my father used to truck, the Valley, ruby red grapefruits from the Valley to Chicago and visit her and fell in love with her, and I just recently discovered his letters to her, maaaan [laugh] I was so surprised that he’s staring at her picture, and say ‘please write, please write,’ ah okay, ‘dreaming when I next see you.’ And also he’s talking about, uh, the weather, severe weather and the—the flowers on the rice dropped off, and he said ‘Oh, we’re—we’re going to lose a lot of rice this year. We farmers are gamblers, aren’t we?’ And [laugh] yeah, so. He was talking about how—how hard it is, for the farmers, but always been hard, but—government should give subsidies for the farmers, instead of making factory farms where you don’t know what you’re eating, you know, the quality 85:00of the food.

SC: So—so you moved back to take care of her?

NS: Yeah, take care of my mother, because—I could not tell on the phone, I had s-real short conversations with her, with a pay telephone, uh, talking to her maybe eight minutes at uh—at the most, or maybe five minutes, or uh—not very long. And she sounded fine! But then somebody from Houston got a hold of my ex-husband’s telephone number and—and called him and said, ‘Hey, she’s not—she’s not, uh, all there, you gotta—you gotta come, she’s forgetting to lock the door when she goes out, and uh, she’s just sitting around, the house is a mess,’ he said. So—‘Tell Nancy.’ So then, one day I came back to my car and there was a note, on the—pasted on the windshield, uh no on the side window, it was my daughter, said ‘Oh, you better call, uh, our friend, and uh, he said mother’s not well.’ So I called my mother immediately and asked her ‘How you doing,’ she said ‘I’m fine,’ ‘Well, what are you eating?’ And ‘Oh, um, I’m eating uh vegetables, and don’t worry,’ and then, hmm, then I called this friend, I said ‘I just talked to my mother,’ I 86:00left a message, and I said ‘I think she’s all right, and she sounds all fine.’ Then, he immediately calls again, my ex-husband, my ex-husband has my daughter put a note and—and says [two words inaudible] ‘Call, call this friend again’ so I call him again, and he said, ‘Hey! I talked to your mother, right—two days after you called her, and I said ‘What did Nancy say?’ she said ‘Nancy didn’t call me.’’ I said ‘Okay, I made a decision, okay I’m going to close up everything here and I will return to Texas, this is—no, this can’t work,’ and I—I was completely fooled. So you have to see and be with them to know their mental, um, uh, level, a—and you cannot just, uh, count on a telephone call, and—she fooled everybody! She fooled my—my uncles didn’t realize this, ah, everybody. So, um—Doctor Meyers said that, uh, she has Alzheimer’s, and I disagree with him, I think it is the mercury, the mercury amalgam fillings, that they’re still legally able to put in people’s mouths today. In European Unions there’s some countries that ban it, but that thing with every bite, every time you drink something hot 87:00or eat something hot or brush your teeth, mercury vapor comes out, touches the inside of your mouth, and goes into your brain, and messes up your—gives you Alzheimer-like symptoms. So, uh, this is—this has got to be stopped, this amalgam thing, and there’s a—there’s one non-profit organization called—, it’s uh, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and it’s two of their purposes is to teach dentists how to safely remove those things, uh, using, uh, independent air with the nitrous hoods so they don’t smell it while they’re having it out, and the whole face is covered with wet paper towels, and uh, and uh, so the metal—and the mercury won’t go on their skin, and then a big vacuum pipe to—to take it out, and—and they take a stool specimen the day before, they have it removed, and three days later, and it’s like twelve times more mercury in your stool after you’re they’re removed, cause all of that touching the inside of your cheeks goes into your body. So you know, anything medicine that you put on your skin, it goes in. It goes in and so, uh, people, you have to be sure whatever you wash 88:00your clothes with, all those, uh, detergents, they go into your skin, they’re made from oil, you know. So I wash, uh, laundry with boric acid [laugh] oh, half cup of boric—Borax, I’m sorry, Borax. Twenty Mule Team Borax. I get it—I get it from Fiesta, yeah, I wash—

DJ: So—do you stay with her all the time?

NS: Yeah, we’re a two people package, she goes to me to the committee meetings, at KPFT, where, uh, that’s where we were Friday night, and then I—after I finished the meeting I played—I had my telephone plugged in and I—I heard Brian’s, uh, voice and I went ‘Oh no!’ and they said ‘What happened?’ ‘Oh no’ [laugh] And I just thought, ‘Oh, those two people waiting in the hot parking lot ‘oh, this lady’s not showing up,’ you know. [laugh] I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

SC: Don’t worry about it.

NS: It’s hormone decline, I think. Uh, I know my mother has a good excuse, this mercury amalgam fillings, but uh—any kind of filling, all those metals, you suck at them, uh, if you know anybody, take care of your teeth, please take 89:00care of your teeth, and dental floss, and—put [one word inaudible] the floss in water for a while before you put it on because then some of the chemicals will be diluted, you know. We have to make—we have to do much harder work to make safe water, safe food, safe air, safety. Because, there are more and more, uh, birth defects. More and more children that will not have a chance. And that’s—that’s y’all’s, you know, your generation’s, uh, it’s going to be a horrible, horrible mess. Uh, in Japan, I—I had, through my little class I got nurse stories, about deformities. And in Japan, they have very high rating on, uh, infant mortality, I mean, very healthful, high—high rating in the world. But, when you’re—when you’re two months pregnant, or three months—I think three months pregnant, they do a ultrasound, and if there’s anything that’s strange they will say ‘abort your child.’ And I had a German measle [one word inaudible] that they said was seven hundred, it was too high, they wanted me to abort my first child, and I said ‘No, I can’t do it. 90:00I’m just not going to do it.’ And he asked me and asked me, and I said ‘No, I’m not going to do it!’ So I went with my—my husband, and I said ‘Tell that doctor in Japanese, I am not going to do it for two reasons: number one, no baby’s perfect [laugh], and number two, I can’t live with, uh—the idea of, uh, killing my child, and number three, I don’t feel anything bad going on! You know, I trust my intuition! So tell him I’ll sign the paper made me sign lot of release of, uh, you know, liability, you know. And the baby—first baby’s, fine. [laugh]

DJ: So, right now you’re living with your mom?

NS: Yes. Yes, since 2006.

DJ: So how—so how do you support your family?

NS: Oh, mother’s Social Security. [DJ: Mhmm] It’s about—what is it, fourteen hundred a month? Okay but that might go if Republicans have their way, [laugh] they want to cut back on that. Plus mother—mother has, uh, stock, uh—uh, in mutual funds, and I just liquidated them. And it took me a—uh, a 91:00fight, to get Morgan Stanley, uh, to liquidate it. They tried everything in the book to stop me from doing it. They said ‘You have to sign, you have to sign our form’ and I said ‘Well what’s your form?’ And they emailed it to me, it’s ‘I give up the right of ar—uh, of uh—suing in court, that I submit to arbitration.’ And uh—my lawyer friend said, ‘Oh, those arbitrators, they usually favor the big pockets, uh, you know, not the—the smaller people,’ so I told them, ‘I would never give up my right to sue in court!’ I enjoyed myself in court in Japan, I was in seven different cases, I said ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’ And then, they said ‘Well, we want to talk to your mother, uh, directly.’ And I said ‘that means sh—they’re questioning my power of attorney.’ And, and then, and then suddenly they changed their, their—their tune, and uh, I can’t figure out why, they said ‘Okay we’ll do it,’ but then they said uh, I said ‘No do it May 8th when I gave you the papers,’ I gave them papers due May 7, you received them May 8, 92:00the prices at that day. And they did it, no, they did it last week, so they—they made—about, over two thousand and—in [laugh] difference, I don’t know whether I question that later, go to—if I have time or—energy, I might do that, cause they shouldn’t do that, they’re—they’re treating other people worse, um, I’ve heard, uh, people are getting almost nothing, for their—So she had about a hundred and six thousand, they’re—they’re promising me a hundred and four. And so, the cash assets, legally they’re required to give me, they wouldn’t give it to me but it came in the mail, finally, yesterday. So, we got some money, and we have roof repair to do, water pipes are broken so I’m buying all the water [laugh] and, um, uh—what is it, air conditioning, yeah, air conditioning. So we’re—we’re nude in the house, [laugh] with four fans, and [laugh] and uh—well I wear underwear, she wears underwear too. But anyway, uh this—we have a lot of house—house repair to do, so that—that [one or two words inaudible] money. And then I want to buy electric car, I want to get the money out of paper, put it into something, you 93:00know? Land, or something, because—troubles are coming. And it’s gonna be—really bad, and we’re gonna all have to band together, we’re gonna have to—have the elders teach, you know instead of, um, paying enormous amounts. And what they’re doing they’re privatizing uh, the—the elementary and junior high, so—but the, the main factor, smaller course load, grade goes up, you know, that’s—it’s more time, so being a—uh—uh—uh homeschooling, I did homeschool my children, until they—uh, got through the end of elementary. And I—I kept them home from school Wednesdays, you know, and I had a big fight with that, you know, uh with ex-husband, he didn’t like that. And—the teachers gave up the fight against me, they—they let me do—do that [laugh]. And I, and—and I refused school lunch, too, I want—I want them to have organic uh—and uh—right, you know food and brown rice, and the school’s all white rice, and they serve chocolates, and uh—on birthdays, and on uh—I said I don’t want to do that, and so, for two and a half years I did 94:00that, maybe three, and then I gave up. I mean I just lost my will. Cause uh, um, yeah—ex-husband kind of brainwashing me, uh ‘You’re not a very good mother, you know, and why don’t you, you know, disappear, and-’ [laugh] and really, I was, uh—I didn’t know there was a mistress. I just, I was—just knew my husband’s uh attentions were changing, and uh—and I actually gave up my power, and uh, I should’ve stuck to it, well anyway, um—I am so glad I went through a divorce, and uh—and uh, I won, finally, uh compensation, much more. Most women win nothing, nothing. And that’s why they stay in horrible marriages. And the children watch it, and see it, and they do repeat, you know, s-history—it repeats, unless you have a something changing, so I hope for my kids’ case, uh they will remember, that—they don’t talk to me because they said, I should have stayed married until they got out of university, so that 95:00their friends would not know anything that happened, and uh—a—and they said ‘Mother do not write a book,’ and I was also gonna start a website in Japan of deadbeat dads, [laugh] their picture and their history, they—and maybe even put the website in America but met—let them see—uh, some kind of pressure, because most of the Japanese dads pay NOTHING, no matter what is decided in the court, they pay zero! So, I—I, um—they need help, they need help. Anyway, much better case is that Reactor Number Four, I mean what’s gonna happen to it, ugh. [laugh]

Everybody’s problem, in the world, mm—oh by the way, we have Chernobyl inside of us. [SC: Mm.] You know that, right? Yeah, it—it—the world turns, and it—it comes down, even in South Pole there’s Chernobyl, uh, particles. So, uh, that’s—it was 1989, or ’88, no. So, this is—uh, uh, I’m—I’m—so happy, that Japanese women are marching in the streets 96:00finally, and they are protesting, uh, the—they—they want all the nuclear reactors to close. And we’re going to have a new one built, south of here, [sigh] near Victoria. And, it’s like under—it’s like nobody knows about it. They have two reactors in Bay City, and if either one of those reactor—they’re the same design as the one in Fukushima, the same GE mark, whatever, four, mark two, I forgot. And Greg Palast, he came, he’s a—uh, reporter, uh, and he works for BBC, uh, Television I think, uh, in London. He used to be a, um, a Pacifica reporter for the KPFK, Los Angeles station that our—our Pacifica station network. And he came, and he said, it’s uh, just saving on money. Like those, uh, generators, that were supposed to generate, um, uh—electricity for the uh Fukushima reactors in case they got wet, you know, 97:00or got damaged, and they didn’t work—they were not made to work, he said. The—he’s getting inside information from all over and he said what happened is, they couldn’t even test drive these things at full speed, cause they would break up. So they were not ready, they—it wasn’t that they were flooded with water and they didn’t—they wouldn’t work even if they weren’t flooded with water! So that’s how we are not—we are not, uh, on the ball on things, we are trusting, and then, uh, then —and the corporations want us so busy making our bread and butter that we don’t have any energy or time to even look at what’s happening, you know, the news or the, um, what’s happening, how we’re getting taken c—advantage of, and students! Students, do they know? [laugh] They know they’re paying, but do they know there’s—biggest industry is student loans, more than credit card loans, I mean—did you all know that? [laugh]

DJ: Okay, I want to go back a little bit—

NS: Okay.

DJ: And talk about your—you say your job is—occupation on the questionnaire is a caregiver?


NS: Oh yeah, now for mother, yes, yes.

DJ: Mhmm. So do you—it’s also, like, for your going everywhere with your mom, mhmm—

NS: Well I take her everywhere with me, yes.

DJ: So you actually don’t have a break. [two words inaudible]

NS: Well, she goes to sleep at night.

DJ: Okay. [laugh]

NS: Yeah. And then she—she comes with me, she’s pretty patient with me, and it’s good for her to see different people although she can’t really remember their names, but uh, she—she goes to the finance committee, the—the—the development committee, the outreach committee, the [laugh]—the anti-racism and diversity committee, she—whatever, whatever committee I’m in. Uh, she’s, she goes—yeah, to the events, we go to the events and we pass out fliers [DJ: Mhmm], and then at protest rallies I go, and then she—she sits on a little stool and the— [DJ: Mhmm] because she can’t stand too long. And then, uh—then, uh—I pass out things, and then—uh, make sure I have lots of food prepare for her, and uh—the food, I changed her food completely. She was doing like a lot of people do and even younger people do, even probably students do—Cheerios, uh, biscuits, crackers, potato chips, dips, ice cream. I mean uh, 99:00she was eating that kind of horrible food. I don’t know what, I know I, Japanese students are eating horrible food. I saw what they were eating, but they were eating food from convenience store. Rice balls. But that’s—that’s better than—than these convenience stores, the one they have here, uh—probably all kind of chemicals in them, you know, and bleached wheat flour. If you see something white, it’s been bleached, with bromides. So you’re eating bleach with food. You know, this should be outlawed! Uh, this kind of thing should be outlawed. Uh. You know there was—a law, I’m sorry I don’t know remember the name, it was made in 1953 or ‘4, it had two Senators or two Congressmen’s name, and uh—or Congresswomen, I don’t know—and it said nothing carcinogenic could be put into a food product. Well that law was repealed during the ‘80s!

SC: So um—

NS: …So you see FDNC number—red number forty or FDNC number blue, all those colors, they’re all carcinogenic. And not just the colors, there’s all these 100:00long names, you know, ugh, all these things. Um, uh—and, and the cosmetics, uh, industry, oh, all kind of horrible things! European Union has higher standards. And—and, and the Bush—Bush, uh, administration sent LOTS of money trying to change the rules of the European Union’s, uh, restrictions, on uh—uh, cause—what do they call—those kind of products, like shampoos and soaps and things like that. Because, you know, if—if those companies get—have, uh, stricter standards for safety, Americans who know about it, they’re gonna buy non-American, non-Johnson & Johnson, non-non [laugh] They’re gonna buy healthier things, you know, you know we want to, uh —Oh, by the way, I want to go back, those nurse stories, about those—those—those uh, birth defect children. One nurse, uh, was student nurse, she got lost in a—in a state hospital, she wound up in a room and there’s this little baby with another brain attached to the back of the head. Okay, that baby—died 101:00after eight months. Never saw its parents, was in that room, and they told her—‘The mother and the father think the baby is dead. This is a secret. Okay.’ So, that means, human rights abuse, because the mother—the parents think, you know, the baby died. The baby is alive, and alone, without its—uh, meeting its own parents for eight months! Okay, and then the—the other nurse story was something similar, uh, although—she came in the room and there was a baby with no openings on the face, no—no nose opening, no eye opening, no mouth opening. It looked like—uh, baby, but just no openings. And it did not live very long, it just, it was born, and then—and they—they told her, this nurse, ‘This baby, uh, its parents believe the baby died. And, uh—we’re keeping it for study’ or something like that, and they—they were given some kind of um, uh s—what kind of excuse they told the parents to keep the baby, cause usually people take the baby and—and burn, and ash, you know, and they have a cer—funeral. But—they told them something to where they could just 102:00keep the baby and the parents went home without a body. So—that, maybe they did not show the baby to the mother, I don’t know. Anyway, I mean uh, things like that happen and I told you, uh, the earlier they do ultrasound and they—they advise mothers to—to cancel, and Japanese mothers, I don’t know why, they usually have a—a miscarriage, like two or three, before they ha—finally have a baby. And I don’t know whether it’s a weaker, or it’s—it’s public transportation, you know, we—women don’t drive there, it’s too expensive to have a car, and pay for a car so they take the bus, they take the train, the subway station’s a lot of stairs, and so if you can’t travel, you know, it’s—it’s hard. Oh I’m sorry, I’m going off the subject again.

SC: No no no, that’s fine. Um, and then that was in Japan, you said? [two words inaudible] Okay.

NS: Yes, in Japan, but it—it’s all over! But yeah, in in—uh, I—I don’t know the U.S. situation now, but, you know, I’m sure, uh with all the—the chemicals we had, we have a lot of—um, disabled people, it’s going to get worse, uh, you have to take back, uh, the country, we have to, and—um—uh, we 103:00can’t just—we can’t let this ride. Um—and if you see the pictures of the Iraqi children, uh during the Gulf War embargo, after the Gulf War, they were embargoed, they couldn’t get things, anything, even a medicine that had something that might be used for some, you know, weapon, was banned, they didn’t even have cameras! So this Japanese uh—two Japanese jour—photo journalists went to Iraq, and they were sending back to my little small group, uh, I didn’t organize it was a—gro—a group of junior high school teachers, three high school teachers, one kindergarten teacher, they were public, but they were not union members. And they were teaching their students, of all the wars, the U.S.—U.S. wars, ooh a long list, and all the people who died, [laugh] and uh, they taught them, they were teaching them the truth about the Japanese, uh, war history, how there’s so many old women with—never got married cause there was no men to marry [laugh]. And then—they were teaching the truth, and so this group I was with, and uh, we—these two photojournalists were sending 104:00us back pictures. That’s how I got into this group: There was a photo exhibit of Iraqi children! And they had all, all these birth defect kids, and no—no openings on the face, um, uh—no brain, no brain, nothing, but the head ended here. And this baby, the mother looked at the baby and ran out of the hospital screaming and the Japanese photo journalists just happened to be there, took pictures of the baby, it was—it was alive for a few minutes, and then died. And I saw that picture, I said ‘Take me to your leader, I will make speeches, I will—deliver fliers, whatever is ne—I gotta do something!’ Ooooh, American people never saw these pictures! And late night on Japanese television there was a show, at 11 PM at night, it was called 11 PM, and it’s—not there anymore, uh, I miss that show, but my students said ‘Nancy, there’s a little boy, he’s alive is Iraqi boy, one eye is here, one eye is here, they’re displaced. One eye is in the lower cheek, one eye is in the top of the forehead, 105:00there’s—no hair on the top, but he has a goatee. And this child, both eyes blink at the same time, I mean they’re all misplaced, and uh, she’s—she was all upset, and that was her—her, she c—couldn’t say anything else, she was so upset about that, she was crying, too. Anyway, this—I don’t think American people saw these things. And then, in Amer—in Japan, being in Japan you see—bad things, you hear about bad things about your own country, U.S.A, that you don’t hear in the U.S.

Like I saw, uh, a U.S. soldier in uniform, he’s holding hand of a little, uh, kid, white kid, okay, this is white soldier—the kid’s hand is coming out of the shoulder, like a minamata, but it’s not minamata—it’s a Gulf War veteran’s child. So, when he came home, they had sex, but the—the wives complained that their vagina was on fire—they only knew this when they had wives get together and talk! And they would mention things like that, so I started learning about depleted uranium, cause that’s what was used for the first time in, uh, in—in the Gulf War, ‘91. Uh, Bush the First. And then, uh 106:00the penetrators about the length of a um, uh, a cigarette—cigarette pack, uh, box, and uh—and those things were, were s—they were found by women in Okinawa, in uh, some tiny island in Okinawa collecting metal for metal—metal, uh, how you say, money for metal? And then they found those penetrators, and then they ask the Japa—the American government, ‘Are you practicing, uh, depleted uranium on an island in the Okinawa without our permission? Please go and clean it up!’ Okay, they cleaned up ten—fifteen percent of the penetrators they shot, so eighty-five percent of those is still in the soil and it’s very, very weak to water, so they go into the water. So the island next to there said ‘Well we don’t fish on this side, we’ll fish on this side.’ But—[laugh] but you cannot stop radiation like that it goes, mm, anyway, depleted uranium—boom! It goes into minus something six microns, so it’s inhalable, so if you’re around, and it goes into your lung, goes into 107:00all those body fluids and that’s why the soldiers came home, and more soldiers died, a hundred and forty-nine soldiers died in the Gulf War but when they came back stateside, it was like, up to two thousand died, some of them committed suicide, and these were Japanese schoolteachers teaching in that group of anti-war activists. So we were teaching—just with a picture exhibition, and then they would put the picture exhibit at a big—uh, train station, and kids coming home from Saturday afternoon classes, they’d see it and they’d—they’d teach them, um. And then we make posters before a big event and we—tied, and then after the event is finished, then, and we tried, uh Bush—Bush—George Bush, George W. Bush for uh, murder of Iraqi uh people and uh, and Afghan people, we tried him, uh, twenty—twenty-two times, twenty-three times in different cities, yeah, when I left. Um. I participa—participated in three trials, uh, in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. And uh, we uh tried him for murder, 108:00and we—we gave him a lawyer. [laugh] American lawyer. [laugh] We—we gave him—ah yes, uh, some kind of way, but many of the, uh, the journalists, who went and took pictures and they came back, and they said ‘Please do not tell anybody the name of my company—and then here are my slides,’ and he would show us things from the, uh, war front. So, uh, I got to learn about U.S. history, the—the part that’s not taught in school, by Japanese anti-war activists. And uh, I—so I’m—I’m glad, I’m gl—I’m glad of all my, uh, what happened, you know, [laugh] and—and labor, labor is, uh, labor is—is dwindling, labor unions are—are—are minimizing, uh, in—in Ja—in Japan as well as in the United States, and, uh, in Texas! Texas is the place for activists, if you want to have an issue to work on, cause we have, uh, right to hire right to fire state, here in Texas. This is really, really bad for labor, 109:00uh here, and um, the other stations, we have five stations in Pacifica, they have less—less discrimination, because they have workers’ rights, in their states. We are a, what do you call—uh, hire at will, employment at will, state, uh—the South, most of the southern states are like this. So, this is the place. Plus, you know, death penalty. Texas is the capital of death penalty in the world. And each execution represents two point three billion dollars of public tax that we could use for something else. And if we keep them alive for forty years, it’s eight hundred thousand. Eight hundred thousand from—minus, uh, I mean, uh two point three billion minus eight hundred thousand that’s one point something billion you can do something with, you know, education, healthcare, uh… protect the environment, uh—alternative energy, you know, get off of oil. Uh, we could do so much, so, uh, this is—this is um, uh I’ve got so many issues now that I’m really ih—ih—into it’s really enjoyable 110:00for me, and I cannot—uh, I cannot, uh, expect everyone to do this, because people have to make a—a—a decision on their own, and uh, otherwise you know—cause I, one person said, uh, he said ‘Nancy you have nothing to lose,’ [laugh] ‘You can stand up for anything, you c— you have nothing to lose.’ Well, that’s freedom, you know. I don’t have to go home and cook for a husband, uh, that’s freedom, uh—ah, well, anyway. There’s, uh, a lot that a individual can do to change the history, and uh, I want to tell that to you girls. [laugh]

SC: And, I had just a couple of quick—

NS: Yes, yes.

SC:—detail questions—

NS: Uh-huh.

SC:—and then a couple wrap-up questions—

NS: Uh-huh.

SC —if that’s okay.

NS: Yes, yes yes.

SC: Um, I was wondering, uh, you say you were a nurse aide. Is that the same as a nurse or is that different?

NS: Nooo, nurse—

SC: Okay, I just wanted to clarify.

NS: Oh. Nurse is—I don’t know for U.S., in Japan it’s three years of training to get certified nurse, and if they do, uh, midwifing, at the—in the hospital, then—or, it’s—it’s not really midwifing, but it’s like a 111:00s—helps at delivery time, then they have to take a fourth year, in Japan. In America, it may be, I don’t know what the—what the re—uh, required training is, I—I forgot to ask that kind of thing.

SC: Okay. And, you mentioned that you worked as a ballet instructor, was that a paid job?

NS: Well, sort of, I got free lessons for teaching.

SC: Okay.

NS: Yeah. So—my teacher would go to Venice in the summer so I would teach, or she like—go to Jones Hall for a concert or something and I would teach, yeah. She would—she, she was, she was very interesting person, yeah. Mm, she—she stood up for t—for her rights, because in her class there was one black student. And at the music hall, that was before Jones Hall was built, uh, the music hall, and oooh nobody wanted that Black child to show up in—on stage, and so she said ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry,’ and so everybody was worried because um, uh they’d never had a Black person on the stage okay? So [laugh] 112:00And this is Dih—Deborrah Allen, she’s famous now, [laugh] she was—uh, anyway, she’s half White, half Black, okay, uh but she looked Black, anyway, Deborah Allen, so she—my teacher just put lot of powder on her face! And then, the nannies, the nannies of all these—students, okay, they’re Black, and—you know, some of the River Oaks people, they had kids in the—in the school. And so they came to Tatiana, said ‘We want to see the performance of our children,’ you know, they—they, it’s like their own children, you know, and they take care of them, now. And then ‘Please, please, but we’re not allowed to be in the audience!’ This is the 1960s, okay. And so she’s—she said she battled with the board, and the battle with the music hall to get the upper upper balcony, which was not going to be open—cause it was considered too small of a, um, a performance, it wouldn’t be needed—she let—they let them open that for the Blacks to sit. So. I mean, she did 113:00something, really, uh, outrageous. [laugh] I mean, she did. I liked—I liked Tatiana very much, yeah. And she w—she performed for the Third Army in Patton’s group in World War II, and she got injured during that time and broke—hurt her—hurt her leg. Anyway, she’s, uh—she was something.

SC: Mm, and then, I guess, just a couple of wrapping-up kind of questions. Uh, where is home for you?

NS: Home. Whoa… well, right now, it’s at a house, my mother’s house, and I think I should—I was all ready to uh, come back, uh, assess things, uh, pick up my mother and go back to Japan and work for women’s rights over there. But now, there is so much, uh, I see, and I think I should stay in the—belly of the beast, and that’s Houston. That’s where it is. [laugh]

DJ: So—for you, what is it—what is it like to be a Japanese American woman 114:00in Texas?

NS: I don’t—I don’t know about that, unless I look in the mirror and I don’t have too much time to look at a mirror! [laugh] I don’t even think about that, and when I ran for KPFT board, I—I wasn’t, uh—there was a Chinese boy running saying he wanted more rights for Chinese, but—he didn’t win. [laugh] And later on he had a chance to come on, as a runner-up but he didn’t want it. [laugh] I didn’t—I didn’t, uh, I didn’t think like that. And everybody’s expecting me to bring in all the Orientals, and I said, ‘That’s—uh, it’s a personal decision, everybody.’ Uh—yeah, I would like to help the, uh, Asian community get more, uh, aware, and I would like the non-Asian community to be more aware of the Asians’ concerns, or what’s—what’s it, so I’m trying now to get some Asian programs on KPFT. It’s very hard. They’re—Asians, I—I hate to say this, they’re 115:00scaredy-cats. They’re scared, and they must have good reasons to be scared. I mean—in Japan, people are afraid of police. And I used to go to the police station all the time and complain about this and complain about that, and they’ll say ‘Oh here she is again,’ you know, I—I was not that afraid of them, but uh—usual Japanese are afraid to break a rule, they’ve been taught that way from school, and I—but the Chinese, Chinese, uh—I don’t know how they are now but they—they seemed to be very—I tried to talk to the Vietnamese, it’s really hard, I try to talk to the Chinese and, unless I have it somebody who can speak English, it’s really hard, they’re scared. And they—they hang up, [laugh] like the Chinese newspaper I called, and I said ‘I would like to, uh, have uh, some—[one word inaudible], you know, some health issues, uh some—about, uh, air quality, about, [one word inaudible] about amalgam fillings and that kind of thing, uh, and they said ‘Well we usually use uh, uh Chinese medicine, we don’t really need to know about, uh, 116:00Western’ or the person who answered, and I said ‘Well, how about political things, I wonder if our Chinese community or Oriental community is understanding what’s happening, all the politics and uh how we’re being taken advantage of, I really would like to know that, what—I cannot understand your—your—your radio shows or your—your—your newspaper, so I don’t know if you’re really aware of these points or not,’ and so I—I really don’t know, so I tried to call—I talked to somebody from the Vietnamese community, I found the leader, and he speaks English, and, uh, he seems to be a little bit aware, but I said ‘Do you realize that the—the drawback with the Vietnamese community, they don’t—they stay clannish, isolated,’ and Chinese do too, and I said ‘the Japanese also, they all go to the same apartment complex to live, you know.’ I said ‘This is—they’re scared, and at the same time they make their own banker, their own insurance, their own—you know, little community stores, they deal with each other, and I think that that’s nice to do, but uh, u—without that, uh, they’re—they don’t 117:00really know what’s happening to the other group, and the other community doesn’t really know what’s happening to them, so it’s like—isolation. And I don’t like that and our—our, uh—our KPFT should—should have some of—one of every flavor, I wanted to get some—that’s—that’s what I’m working on now, it’s very hard, and uh—there’s politics, and—in the place where it should not be, uh, a lot of things. So, uh, if you know anybody that’s interested in free, um, expression of, uh, fr—freedom of speech, and, through the media, and wants to get involved with KPFT, there’s going to be a election this, uh, summer, uh, for new board members and that would, uh, that would, uh, change, I like to get just activists to join, and uh, we make uh KPFT a little bit more what it should be, it’s not quite right, KPFT. I—I’m really not happy about this. But, I’m not gonna give up, I’m not gonna give up. And uh, there’s always, you know, like, uh, underwriting, you’re not 118:00supposed to have underwriting, but we’re they’re starting to do underwriting, from non-profit groups, and uh, and—all right, worst come worst, maybe do this but go—go, uh—public, I mean, tell the listeners this is happening, and this is not happening yet, and uh this gets on a—a library of your, then—they’ll find out, that’s good, you know. [laugh]

DJ: [laugh]

SC: [laugh] Yeah.

NS: Uh, yeah, it just takes a majority vote to get rid of the manager, and uh—and it would take pressure, you don’t really have to target a person, or a president, or a manager, you have to—you have to get consensus and get people to—to band together and stand up for their rights, but when people are afraid, afraid to talk to you because they’re afraid of losing their, their program that they volunteer for, THEN there’s tyranny going on or something’s wrong, you know, and uh, you—you need somebody who doesn’t mind about the—the result. You know. Like, I like to go to court, to fight for—for rights, and uh, I’m not going to it just because I know I can win, 119:00or there’s a chance to win, because then, uh, then it’s not as fun, for one thing. [laugh] You don’t learn as much, for one thing. And, uh, if we all fought like that then nothing great would get accomplished, you know. Uh, and we have to have respon—we’ll be more responsible, um, for the future, uh, that’s really important. So I’m not, uh—my home, hmm. My home is wherever there’s a fight, [laugh] for justice, that’s where I feel comfortable. [laugh] That’s where I feel at home.

SC: Well, thank you so much for talking to us today.

NS: Oh, thank you. You’re—

[The recorder is turned off, the interview ends]