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Interview with Toshiaki Nakahara

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Toshiaki Nakahara
Interviewed by DC in Japantown
9\4\95

DC note: Otohiro or Oto is Shunryu Suzuki's youngest who has a travel company in San Francisco that deals with Japanese tourists. He told me to go talk to Toshiaki. See interview with Otohiro


Born in Tientsin China on 8\22\45. Came to US about same time as Otohiro [1962?]. Went to continuation school at Mission and 22nd or so - for kids who needed language help. Step-dad had kicked him out so he became a house boy out in the Avenues.

Once I stayed up all night drinking with Oto when we were in high school and we threw up and the place was a mess and the next day Reverend Suzuki was pretty angry with us. He was pretty strict - always saying don't do this and don't do that.

Oto took me over there to breakfast later on and then he was nice to me and put me at ease. He was a thoughtful man.

He asked me what I was going to be and I said I had no idea and he laughed and laughed.

I didn't know what to do so I joined the army. Mrs. Suzuki said you got Oto to go into the army but I told her no - it was him.

I was in the 11th air cavelry and 48 out of 120 died in one year. At first I'd be very upset when my buddies would get killed, but later on I'd just think, good it wasn't me. I had 92 days to go and they wouldn't send you out the last 90 and my CO tried to send me out and I refused and we had a screaming fight and I said go on and court martial me. So he finally gave in and let me work in the supply room.

When I came back I was pretty screwed up and did nothing for two years. Otohiro helped to get me back on my feet and helped me to get a job. Mrs. Suzuki would visit me at times.

Reverend Suzuki tried to get Oto to do Zen and he tried, but it wasn't his trip.


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