Mama used to be a calm person—
properties attributable to your ancestry
Nikkei were people of Japanese
descent, whether they were citizens of America, Japan, or any other country.
characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
Logging was one of the most deadly professions in America, Papa said. At Jerome it was
grueling work with old equipment.
censure severely or angrily
But, still, he insisted Hanako and Akira call him “Mr.” She’d called him “Taylor” once, and Papa had
reprimanded her for being rude.
a vertical structure that divides or separates
Nobody was shy, because in the camps there had been showers and latrines with no
partitions between them. So none of them had had privacy for years.
wild and menacing
Besides getting stronger, Papa had changed in another way. He looked older now, and kind of
feral. Before, he had always seemed civilized, even sophisticated.
having or covered with protective points, spines, or thorns
You did not need a suit when you were surrounded by
boldly resisting authority or an opposing force
He opened his eyes and squinted at her in that
defiant way he did when he thought she might be mad at him but he had no idea why.
that which is perceived to have its own distinct existence
She didn’t even know these kids, but at the moment they were all one single
marked by excessive or uncontrollable emotion
Then the boy who’d opened the door called out “Hakujin!” and slammed it shut, and they all ran away laughing
in a hesitant manner
tentatively stood up and still felt fine.
extend out or project in space
She’d hardly eaten. She held out her arms in front of her—the bones in her wrists
exit from a ship, vehicle, or aircraft
Then suddenly came the announcement: “Japanese repatriates will begin
disembarking beginning with R through V.”
a person who is voluntarily absent from home or country
Also, she knew, because her teacher had told her, that the proper word for her family was “
expatriate,” not “repatriate.” A “repatriate” was someone returning to his native country, while an “
expatriate” was someone withdrawing himself from his native country. Like her, many of the people on this ship had probably never been to Japan.
a person who has returned to the country of origin
Also, she knew, because her teacher had told her, that the proper word for her family was “expatriate,” not “
repatriate.” A “
repatriate” was someone returning to his native country, while an “expatriate” was someone withdrawing himself from his native country. Like her, many of the people on this ship had probably never been to Japan.
a flatbottom boat for carrying heavy loads
Most of the small children on the
barge wore knit caps, probably made by their mothers.
Truthfully, Japan looked a little
dismal. The road was rocky, and the buildings were made of cracked wood. Everything looked like it was a hundred years old and hardly ever repaired.
a building or group of buildings to house military personnel
They were let off at some
barracks that Mama said had been a center for Japanese soldiers who were being shipped out during the war.
come to understand
She could not
fathom it: living here before going off to war.
sweet dessert or topping made of beaten egg whites and sugar
The pies for the week were apple, lemon
meringue, pear, pineapple, cherry, and egg custard—for Tuesdays through Sundays.
cook (vegetables) briefly
When lunch ended, she would
blanch whole almonds by boiling them just until their skins puffed up.
a strong solution of sodium or potassium hydroxide
She would save old grease and mix it with
lye and water to make dishwashing soap.
The ACLU was a bunch of lawyers who’d formed an organization to defend people’s civil rights and stand up for the Constitution. Supposedly, they had a lot of
wear off or die down
She felt that anger that made her face hot and made her squeeze her hands into fists. She had no future! All she had was her trust in her parents. Then her anger started to
affected with or marked by mania uncontrolled by reason
“Hana! Aki! Stand back!” Mama shouted.
Hanako was happy to do this, because the grownups were
frenzied as they tore through the baggage.
spread by scattering
Hundreds of bags were
strewn over the dirt ground!
lacking solidity or strength
There were solid black trunks and
flimsy tan suitcases bound with thin rope and more laundry bags than she could count.
engage for service under a term of contract
Papa ran a hand through his hair and said, “We don’t have time. We’ve all
chartered a train to Hiroshima.”
accept as inevitable
“Well...I hope someone finds it,” he said
resignedly. “But it’s not ours anymore.”
walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
It was hard not to stare at them, the way they
sauntered, the way they acted like nothing had bothered them—ever—even though they’d just been locked up for years.
done or made using whatever is available
In the truck, on the way to the train station, she saw a few
makeshift homes built out of what looked like scraps—even worse scraps than the barracks were made out of.
move haltingly and unsteadily
lurched along. It was the noisiest train she had ever been on, and it shook like it was going over a track full of rocks.
showing a sense of shame
Hanako sat back and looked
sheepishly out the window.
in a serious and dignified manner
His mouth dropped open as he took the katapan and bowed
something given or received as payment or reparation
As a result, workers went on strike. They demanded improved safety and working conditions and
compensation for anyone injured on the job.
attract strongly, as if with a magnet
The man leading the prayer had spoken more advanced Japanese than she could then understand. But the prayer was
mesmerizing; she had felt sure nobody’s spirit could possibly be broken now.
an underling of unquestioning obedience
In general, Papa said, the people running the camps were “low-level
flunkies,” so everybody was curious about Mr. Myer.
a complaint about a wrong that causes resentment
A negotiating committee met with him and Mr. Best to discuss camp
goods whose trade or possession is prohibited by law
Once, the military invaded her barrack without knocking, shouting and demanding to know if they were hiding “
a penal camp where political prisoners are confined
Papa and more than two hundred other men were imprisoned in the
stockade, some for as long as nine months, without a hearing or trial.