From the foreword, by Joy Kogawa (author of Obasan)

I devoured these stories in one hungry afternoon of reading. Some of it was painfully familiar. Some of the flavouring tasted strange and felt unsettling. Here were some Issei, professing in their diaries, an identity with a country that was the enemy country of my youth. As a passionately Canadian Nisei, I never did want to believe that Japanese Canadians were anything but totally Canadian in their identity. This was unreasonable. How could I expect people to feel no connection to the land of their birth? As I read, I ranged through discomfort, old sadness, nostalgia, admiration, tenderness, pride, and anger as I was taken back to look again with the help of these additional perspectives, into the secrets and intimacies of my childhood.

From the diaries of Koichiro Miyazaki

April 15, 1942

Rain. I haven't seen rain for a long time. As I look into the birch forest it is shrouded with a gentle spring rain. It is all very dream-like. My diaries, which were confiscated, were returned cut up and censored. It is just an internee's diary. Do they have the right to do such things? At least they should give some reasons. They can confiscate my diaries but the facts of my life will not disappear... (Oiwa, 52).

July 19, 1942

This is the last day of our life at Petawawa internment camp. I remember the day we arrived here when the camp was sitll surrounded by the harsh, bleak winter. The lake was frozen white. The biting wind was blowing. The ground was hard and icy. The birch forest gave a bleak impression of white skeletons and made us shiver. The whiteness of the landscape is still clearly imprinted in the back of my mind. It so happens that we are leaving here in the middle of summer. Tomorrow morning we are leaving this place for good. The camp is now surrounded by lush green ... Many people have cleared the barren land and sowed various vegetables and flowers which our eyes and stomachs have begun to enjoy. Well, I'd better stop being sentimental. Tomorrow a new struggle begins in a new camp ... (Oiwa, 61).

From the letters of Kensuke Kitagawa (written while interned at Angler Prison Camp):

May 28, 1943 (from a letter to his wife)

I still look at the wisteria branch that you sent me which is on the wall. As I slept in the lower bunk, a haiku came to me:

Wisteria flowers:
But double-decker bed
Is in my way

I wonder how you interpret this poem. Guess where my mind is? (Oiwa, 112)

From the diary of Kaoru Ikeda:

...We have seen Canada's true nature through our recent experiences. What is democracy? Who can talk about it? Who has the right to accuse Japan of invading other countries? Isn't Britain the champion invader? The last several centuries of British history is full of invasion after invasion. Since they can be neither Japanese nor Canadian, I wonder what the future of the Nisei youth will be? Deprived of civil rights these young people are in a sad situation. I just hope that their efforts will lead to a positive solution (Oiwa, 146).

A tanka poem, written while at Slocan:

I thought
It would only be temporary
In this Mountain country
Accumulate another year
As snow deepens

(Oiwa, 119)

In the words of Genshichi Takahashi:

The government promised us that until the end of the war the Custodians would take care of our properties. We trusted the words of the government and left all our belongings behind. These were all very important things to us. They then confiscated and sold for next-to-nothing, our farmland, fishing boats, and cars, by means of the unjust law called the War Measures Act. From the beginning the government intended to deceive us (Oiwa, 192).