Asian Heritage Month

Category: Asian Heritage Month

Part of my novel, After the Bloom, is set in a decrepit boarding house in the Bloor/Lansdowne neighbourhood of Toronto. This house is inspired by an actual house I visited with my father a number of years ago – the house where he grew up. He lived there during the postwar era, after his family had been released from Japanese internment camps on the west coast (my grandmother was interned in Minidoka, Idaho, and my grandfather in Kaslo, B.C.).

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Many Japanese left their Asian world to find a different kind of life in Canada. The first wave of Issei (first generation) began in 1877. They sought a life that brought both satisfaction and financial success. Once they mastered the language of their new country, the Japanese knew employment opportunities beyond labour and servitude would arise.