An American in Japan
American in Japan
José Cruz: Uh, and uh, apart from that, Actually you know, I realised as I was driving here I don’t really know that much about you. (Really? I’m a…) Well, I mean you know, I know that you’re a fun guy, and we go out and uh, we we, we have a few beers now and then. And it’s always good to catch up with you. You’re really easy to get along with, but apart from that, I don’t really know that much about you
Danny Minn: I’m a man of mystery.
José: Oh yeah you are. So like uh. let’s uh, let’s unveil that mystery. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Danny: Uh ha- alright. Well uh, my parents are from Korea, and they moved to Okinawa and we lived on the base there, Kadena Air Force Base. So I was born in Okinawa.
José: How long were you living there? Until how old were you?
Danny: Until I was about seven (OK) Yeah so, I went to the American schools on base. Um so, a lot of Japanese people ask me, “Oh so, you know you you we’re born in Okinawa, so y- that’s how you learned Japanese.” But I- I didn’t really learn Japanese.
José: Uh well, we’re going to get on to to that. because you’re one of the people I admire uh, in terms of your Japanese skill. But just to stay on track with what you’re pointing out now, so you basically grew up as an American in Okinawa? (That’s right) You didn’t really, you didn’t really um, um play with the Japanese kids so much the- or… You you met a few in- maybe in the neighbourhood kind of thing kind of thing: an expression at the end of a sentence meaning, 'for example'(1:23)or you stayed pretty much entirely on the base or what?
Danny: That’s right. Well we would go off base to go shopping. (Sure) You know um, But… on base, you- we were kind of in this special neighbourhood on the base where the other families were uh translators. Also my dad was a translator for the U- US government
José: Oh cool. So your father, he spoke Korean, Japanese and and English thenthen: in this case, to mean 'thus' not, 'at that time' (1:49)? (Yeah) Wow, cool. OK. Um and then and then you moved to America. See (Yeah) I knew you were American, but I- I didn’t know about… and I knew that you you speak Japanese fluently, I didn’t know about the base. (Mm-hmm) I thought you grew up in America. So you you were there until you were seven and then you moved to America?
Danny: That’s right. My dad, You know he gave up a really nice stable job uh because he wanted my older brother and I to grow up in the US.
José: Hhmm (Yeah) that’s interesting. And now your your mother, I- I assume is also Korean, They were (Yeah) they were both first generation Koreans (Mm-hmm) and saw that um, you know America was basically the future for their kids?
Danny: I guess. It was the American dream, right?
José: Oh OK. Fan-Fan-: José began to say 'fantastic' and changed his mind mid-word. (2:40) and did it work out? Like with um, With every- everything like uh, you didn’t have any problems um because of that or anything?
Danny: Oh It was a struggle for my parents I think. Yeah.
José: How so, if I may ask?If I may ask: a polite way to let the other person know that the question might be too personal. (2:55)
Danny: Well my dad, he could speak English pretty well (Right) but my mom couldn’t. (Ah) Yeah so she, she actually uh didn’t speak English very well at all. She spoke Japanese better than English. (Oh, OK) She learned Japanese from watching TV, uh, becauseBecause: Danny Minn uses the colloquial pronunciation 'KUZ' (3:14) we could watch Japanese TV on base (Sure) and so she watched a lot of those cooking programs.
José: Samurai samurai dramas. (Yeah yeah) Did your mother come to eventually learn how to speak English tho’? (Yeah yeah) OK.
Did your parents come from a different country?
How many languages would you like to speak one day?
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American in Japan
José Domingo Cruz
Vancouver, British Columbia
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