Keiro Chats: Meet Kazuko!

Go back to other Keiro Chats

Name: Kazuko Yamamoto
Age: 82
From: Seinan Senior Citizen’s Club, Crenshaw

“I was a rather quiet girl, but brimming with curiosity. Back then, I constantly wanted to move to somewhere more spacious.”

What is your weekly schedule like?

I go to QiGong exercise class and volunteer on Tuesday and Friday mornings at Seinan. On Thursdays I play Mahjong at Hiroshima Kenjinkai. On the other days, I go around to my other friends’ houses and help out with their cleaning and cooking. I sometimes arrive at their house saying “Housemaid Kazuko is here!” I also occasionally help with housekeeping at my second son’s family’s home too.

I also do yardwork at home. I just hate to stay at home and do nothing. I love going out.

What do you look forward to each week?

I look forward to coming to Seinan, and playing Mahjong every Thursday.

I also love casinos. Once every other month, Seinan organizes a casino day trip by bus.

I really enjoy spending quality time with my children, who live fairly close by.

Do you have any accomplishments you are proud of?

Working. I really love doing service for others.I worked part-time as a seamstress while raising my children, and from age 52 to 72, I worked at a factory assembling electronic equipment.

Once my children went off to college, I became an assembler at a factory, making parts for electronic equipment. I worked there for 20 years. It required very detailed work looking through a microscope and connecting wires. 

Volunteering, too. I don’t understand the language as much, but because people were patient when teaching me, I was able to continue here at Seinan. And I’m learning more English.

Are there any goals that you are currently working towards?

I don’t really have any at the moment, but I am grateful to be able to enjoy every day with joy and a healthy body. I’m sure if I spoke more English, I might have more of a goal.

I think my children are actually happy that I don’t speak much English. If I did, they would be worried that I might travel far away without them knowing. But I enjoy my life every day.

Also in Japan right now, the term P.P.K, pin-pin-korori* is a trend. I pray for this every day. (She said with a laugh)

*Pin-Pin-Korori (PEEN-PEEN-KOROREE) – a term to describe living a very healthy life, and then having a painless death.

What contributes to your happiness?

I think health is number one. To be able to live life without relying on or burdening my children.

What is the most important thing to you back when you were in high school?

I never went to high school. Once I graduated from junior high school in my small village in Wakayama, I longed for somewhere more spacious. I moved out to Minoh City in Osaka, where I lived as a maid learning proper manners (gyogi minarai). I was hoping to move to an even more spacious place, when talks of marriage with my late husband happened and I hopped over to the United States when I was age 25. I was a picture bride. I left Japan by boat from the Kobe port, and arrived in San Pedro.

I was a rather quiet girl, but brimming with curiosity. Back then, I constantly wanted to move to somewhere more spacious.

What sustains your quality of life?

I think socializing with everyone here [at Seinan].

And also, being able to spend quality time with my children, and living a life without any worries.

In fact, since I moved to the United States, I am the happiest right now. Every day, I am happy. Who would have ever thought such happiness was in store for me at this stage in my life!

Go back to other Keiro Chats