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About the Book       

About Suzuki Roshi    

Interviews

10-17-12 - Tomoe Katagiri wrote in a recent email:  "I'm very genki and  happy because I can practice okesa sewing with many people at home and Z centers." (I like that "Z centers." I'm sure most know that "genki" is healthy and energetic in Japanese)

You can download Tomoe's book, Study of the Okesa, Nyoho-e: Buddha's Robe from this page on the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center website.

She was our dear friend and I miss her and her late husband, Dainin Katagiri. - dc


Tomoe Katagiri, widow of Dainin Katagiri-roshi. We called her Tomoe-san and she was always helpful and cheerful. And they were poor. Since this telephone interview of 1997 or so, I've visited her at her home in Minneapolis. She is still teaching the traditional method of sewing Buddhist robes that she discusses herein.--DC

David: Did you first meet Shunryu Suzuki in America.

Tomoe-san: Yes. At Sokoji.

D: When did you arrive?

T: I arrive in 1965. November 13. I had only Yasuhiko. He was just 4 years old in September. I took the cargo ship. It was very nice. And the passengers were all together. . . . Two . . . and one Japanese Issei [1st generation] woman and Yasuhiko and me. Very nice trip.

D: What was your impression of Suzuki Roshi when you met him?

T: He was very gentle person. I felt like a nice breeze. Very comfortable breeze. The first meeting -- he came to the harbor, the pier. He came there when I arrived. He came with two Fujinkai [women's group] members. I think so. One is Tama Yamaguchi. The other one, I don't remember her first name, but Shimura-san. Next day Trudy Dixon's husband, Mike, he helped us to pick up my things at the harbor. Trudy Dixon and her daughter Ann they helped to . . . my apartment . . . She took me to the fabric store.

D: What can you tell me about Suzuki?

T: When I was with Suzuki Roshi always I felt he was very quiet and gentle as a breeze. He was nice to me.

D: Sometimes Japanese men ignore women. Mushi suru. Did he ignore you? How did he treat you?

T: I never felt that resistance. He mentioned to understand his wife, Mitsu. He mentioned to me please understand Mitsu Suzuki's character.

D: Like study her?

T: Her personality.

D: Why?

T: That is the question.

D: Did he mean she was a good example?

T: She is very characteristic person. So if I understand . . . that will help me.

D: Do you remember anything else that Shunryu Suzuki said to you?

T: No. Just -- he doesn't say . . . He didn't say anything special or particular. That's why I say like breezing. Wind. Very gentle and comfortable wind.

D: Do you remember any funny stories?

T: Funny story. Suzuki Roshi was very quiet. We were walking -- Suzuki Roshi and his wife. We were going someplace in the evening. We are walking. I thought next to me, walking with me, was my husband. I started to talk something. Just at that time, different person answered--Suzuki Roshi. The first time I went to Sokoji morning zazen, at that time my husband had just opened the door quietly, and sit on an empty seat. He didn't say more about it. I opened Sokoji's door, and sit on the end of the right side seat. I started to zazen. Then Suzuki Roshi walk in. And he came to me and he whispered, "It's men's seat. Women on the other side. Go to next of Mitsu." Mitsu was sitting at the kitchen door empty seat. Next to kitchen door. So I sat next to her.

Yasuhiko just started kindergarten. Suzuki Roshi asked Yasuhiko how is school. "Oh, the school is terrible," Yasuhiko answered. "What's wrong?" said Suzuki Roshi. "Because my friend say your father is bald headed." Then Suzuki Roshi made him hide [his eyes]. . . "Touch my head," he said to Yasuhiko. "My head is bald. You can feel the hair. So your father is not bald. Why don't you say, 'My father is not bald. He has hair.'"

I think Suzuki Roshi didn't do anything too strong. So I don't have any strong memories or strong impressions. I don't.

D: Do you remember when he was sick? Did you see him when he was sick?

T: Yes. I didn't see him often. At that time he didn't know he had the cancer. Just that he is weak. That's when I visited him. I wasn't permitted . . . I couldn't visit him. So always I visited Suzuki at the kitchen door. Mrs. Suzuki had her entrance in the kitchen. I visited only at the door. Stayed outside. I talked with Mrs. Suzuki at the door. I don't think I saw him. But I saw him in the hallway when he was coming and going to the Buddha hall for the ceremony. That one was the priest's ceremony. That was almost at the end.

D: The Shin-san Shiki?

T: No. I don't remember what ceremony. Shin-san Shiki was before Suzuki Roshi's death?

D: Yes.

T: Then maybe that was the one. Because he was very yellow. I didn't speak to him then.

D: Do you remember the last time you talked to him?

T: I don't remember.

D: Do you remember when you and Katagiri Roshi left San Francisco (tape goes inaudible here). . . . Did you talk much with your husband about that?

T: . . . Reb Anderson brought up that idea about Minnesota. He told me because Minnesota and the Midwest is always forgotten. Some teachers enter United States from east side in New York. After they stayed New York they go to California. And the people . . . just go to New York or California. There is some people who want to practice. So Minnesota doesn't have teacher. They have to come to California. And also many teachers are not interested in Minnesota because of the climate. So he said if I can go, I want to go to the place where nobody wants to go. That's why I want to go to Minnesota. That's what Hojo-san [her husband] said.

D: What year was that?

T: Suzuki Roshi died 1971. . . . . When Baker-Roshi came back?

D: He came back in '71 in October.

T: Then maybe '71. Then Karen Torkleson came to San Francisco Zen Center. Katagiri . . . and Karen Torkelson heard Hojo-san is interested to Minneapolis.

D: Who said Katagiri is interested in going to Minneapolis?

T: She came to our Page Street house and invited him, please come. Then after that Suzuki Roshi died. Katagiri told he wanted to go to Minneapolis. After that Suzuki Roshi . . . . every day . . . and finally he passed away. Then he said San Francisco Zen Center was in big difficulty. He was asked to stay, not to go to Minneapolis. I don't know who asked him. Just Zen Center. Then he decided to stay for one year and help. But he wanted to move from San Francisco Zen Center building. Then he decided Monterey. If he stayed in Monterey he can help Monterey group. At that time Jean Ross was the leader of the group. I think Jean Ross said stop to go to Minneapolis. Why don't you stay Monterey? But Hojo-san said one year. One year I will not go to Minneapolis. One year I will help Tassajara and Monterey. And we lived there. And Minnesota people came -- that was Eric Storlie and Sally Brown. Also they came to practice to San Francisco Zen Center. And they visited our Monterey house. And they said before you move, please come to visit Minnesota. And if Tomoe and Hojo-san know about Minneapolis more, and so we went to Minneapolis. No, no. That was before we moved to Minneapolis. We moved in '72 December. We moved to Monterey in '71 December. From San Francisco. In '71 they came and asked Hojo-san and me to visit Minneapolis. And so we visited Minneapolis. Only Hojo-san and myself. That was June or July. The summer of '71. I really didn't like Minneapolis. Because that day was extremely bad weather. Very high humid and high temperature. I went with San Francisco clothes. Very very uncomfortable. And Hojo-san had one day sesshin at Beverly White's house. And Robert Pirsig. And Lynnn Warcoff. And Karen Torkelson. And another few people sat the sesshin. Lynn Wycoff I heard that she is still in Minneapolis or a suburb of Minneapolis.

D: Did you sit that sesshin?

T: Yes. That was very very uncomfortable. Thunder storm. Bright sunshine. All day it repeated. I sat it. That was '71 summer. Then '72 again because we postponed for one year. So end of August '72 we were invited again, and the whole family visited Minneapolis. So we decided to go there. And the children liked Minneapolis.

D: Like Hokkaido or something.

T: Maybe so. Very nice friend was there. Sally Brown's daughter. Same age with Yasuhiko. And Lynn Warcoff's children were there already. So my children liked it there. That was '72 December 15.

D: One year after Suzuki died. When did you move to Monterey?

T: Monterey? '71 December. We came back from Tassajara practice period. At that time already Monterey people found our house.

D: Did Jean Ross help you? And was she involved in the zendo there?

T: Yes. She came every morning.

D: Did Jean Ross stay the whole year?

T: Yes. I think so. She lived in Carmel.

D: She moved to Detroit. Do you know where Jean Ross is?

T: I don't know. Old directory has Jean Ross's address in Michigan. Not Detroit. University is there. What the town's name?

T: She is almost the same age as Suzuki Roshi.

D: No. She's ten years younger. Do you think she'd be ninety now? Do you remember Betty Warren? Betty is 80 years old this month.

T: They are about same age.

D: Maybe Jean would be 80-something. But I don't know really. Do you remember when she moved to Michigan? [A private eye eventually found Jean in the death records of Michigan--see article on Jean Ross under Interviews on cuke.com--DC]

T: That one is -- we moved to Minneapolis '72. Then after that Jean sent us the mokugyo. The mokugyo was San Francisco Zen Center's gift to the students--from maybe Baker, and Paul, and Betty. That kind of people

D: I don't understand. What about the mokugyo?

T: The mokugyo she brought to Monterey. After we moved to present

. . . house. It has the rings and the barrel. Do you know? That one she send to Hojo-san. She told this one is better to belong to Katagiri-roshi. Better than belong to me. So I want to send these to you. And she send that one to Katagiri Roshi.

D: Was it hers?

T: I think she bought it while she was in Japan maybe. No. She didn't get it from Suzuki. She bought it someplace in Kyoto when she was in Japan. Did she send it from Michigan?

D: Yes.

T: So she moved to Michigan after you went there. Around '90 or '89 still she was in Michigan. I know because in that time one of the Monterey members moved to New York. Mark -- He called me and asked me if I know Jean's address. At that time I give him her address from my Zen Center's telephone directory. I talked with Jean through the telephone, and she bought the incense from Minnesota Zen Center. And when I talked with Jean she wanted to order the incense. Maybe that was after Hojo-san

One possibility is if you couldn't find her, . . . this one is very painful. I kept all of the sympathy cards to Hojo-san. Many people send sympathy. I kept all of the cards. So if she sent some sympathy, maybe the envelope has address. It is very painful to open, so please forgive me.

D: When you first moved to San Francisco, where did you move to?

T: First was Fillmore and Sacramento corner. . . . Hojo-san he lived there. We were only two days there, then moved to Laguna. Stayed a few days at Fillmore and Sacramento. Then Bush and Laguna, first floor and part of second floor. Then we moved to Page Street. Upstairs was Dwight Brown, Ed Brown's brother. And Ruth -- I don't remember her last name. She is mixed black and white I think. She had curly hair and he was a dancer. Now she lives in Berkeley..

D: And didn't Tony Johansen?

T: No. They didn't. They lived in the Fillmore. But very close or same building with Graham Petchey. . . . was also around there.

D: I think the Johansens lived upstairs before you came.

T: That is Page Street. Zen Center. We moved to Page Street. Then Tony Johansen moved in in September.

D: She told me her kids were noisy.

T: Yes. Very noisy. Always my living room lights were dancing. Often I had to send . . .

D: My gosh. That's really funny.

T: Not funny, because so many boys -- Tony Johansen's son Adam and the other ones I don't remember. Another family was there and they had two children. So many children living there -- 5, 6 children.

D: Who was the other family?

T: The mother's name is Audrey. They came, and she had a daughter and a son.

D: Do you remember about relations between the Japanese congregation and the Caucasian students at Sokoji?

T: I don't have any relations with anybody. I related with the Japanese congregation until we left Sokoji. That's all. I don't know very well about the Japanese people. But I can help. Do you have questions?

D: How did they feel about all the Caucasian Zen students?

T: O.K. When I came, I cannot criticize. My feelings -- not about zazen, just Japanese people in San Francisco around Japantown. I felt, oh, that was is still in Meiji period. Their culture was stopped in Meiji period.

D: Examples --

T: Custom. Education. Expecting of their families. Everything they had . . . good part and also bad part. I felt they have . . . when they left Japan. . . . . not only the Japanese. Why are you living in Japan for many years, maybe your experience -- or United States . . .

D: Yes! Like if you want to hear Spanish that is 400 years old you go to South America or Central America. Certain small towns they still speak and act like Spanish from 400 years ago. What did they think about the Caucasian Zen students? How did they relate?

T: Just they come once a week to the temple, and they talked, and through the temple meetings . . . and then they made their own organization. I don't know how much they bring Zen . . . from the temple. Because I never visited, and I never lived together. But my feeling is they don't sit zazen. Like Americans. But they believe that Zen teaching through their body. So if someone say Gasho, three bows, they don't have any doubt they can follow the gasho and the bow without any doubt. But the Americans sit a lot, but everything is new for them since they started to study Zen. So still they don't receive the teachings through the body. So they have many questions: why? why? About anything. But they really want to learn. So they have big desire. That one is different.

D: What did you do in San Francisco when you moved there?

T: I cared for my two boys. Every Saturday I had Japanese class for Japanese kids. At Sokoji. I helped with Sokoji's mailing. And also when Sokoji had some service, anniversary, I helped. And I was sewing zafus, too. Later okesa and rakusu.

D: You really were very energetic and diligent.

T: After I started rakusu sewing, after that my life is with rakusu or okesa.

D: My understanding is that Katagiri Roshi suggested we sew our own okesa and rakusu. Not Suzuki. It was Katagiri's idea.

T: Yes. Because it was the practice of Hashimoto Roshi to sew his own okesa. Different part of the practice. Suzuki Roshi didn't practice the okesa. Katagiri Roshi practiced with okesa. Suzuki Roshi was really impressed about okesa practice, so he agreed.

D: But Suzuki never wore that style.

T: Until he received that nyohoei . . . we make by hand. . . . Suzuki Roshi didn't, but after Yoshida Roshi [a woman roshi who taught sewing at ZC--DC] came, we learned the nyohoi. It's exactly to follow the Buddha traditional way. Nyohoei is how Buddha created the okesa. Following that way.

D: Nyo like nyorai, ho like dharma, ei is clothes. So Suzuki Roshi did wear it.

T: Yes. After he received the nyohoei from Yoshida Roshi. That was first nyohoei for him. Katagiri Roshi when he was practicing under Hashimoto Roshi he started the nyohoei.

D: So from the time that Katagiri Roshi arrived in San Francisco he always wore nyohoei?

T: Yes. He started to wear the nyohoei when he was at Eiheiji.

D: Does everyone at Eiheiji wear nyohoei now?

T: No. Now Eiheiji has kind of a uniform okesa. At that time (when katagiri was there) most practitioner could wear nyohoei. They didn't have okesa sewing classes. But when they have the time they sew.

D: Is there nyohoei rakusu? Did Suzuki Roshi wear that too?

T: Maybe so, because what Yoshida Roshi sent him. I wanted to say something more about San Francisco Zen Center rakusu sewing. When Yoshida came to San Francisco Zen Center she was very impressed that students had very straight practice. Many people are practicing together and they practice a lot. But nobody wore rakusu. Then she asked Suzuki Roshi so many people are practicing for many years, and they are very good at Zen practice, but I don't see anybody wearing rakusu. Because Dogen Zenji really encouraged people to wear the nyoho okesa. Not only monks. Just Buddhists should wear okesa. Full okesa. I did. But nobody wear rakusu. So Yoshida Roshi asks, why they don't wear rakusu. Suzuki Roshi said yes, I am thinking about it. If you could help us. Then Yoshida Roshi (asks) if Kai Zenji nuns could make the rakusus. But Yoshida Roshi asks how many people? If you want to give lay ordination, how many people, and when? We cannot make in short time. We need time. But Suzuki Roshi said, no, no, you don't have to make by hand. Sewing machine is fine. Then Yoshida Roshi said nyoho-ei is not that kind. You have to sew by hand . . .

D: She chanted Namu Amida Butsu.

T: Yes. Yoshida Roshi said . . . in a short time. Then Katagiri Roshi asked for the future, for people who want to receive the lay ordination and also the rakusu, if you could teach us we can learn how to make it. Hojo-san made before, but that was long time ago, so he doesn't remember. So . . . who can learn, then I cannot understand English. Then Hojo-san teach Tomoe. Then if we start to make it, I have to return a certain date. So we don't have many days. We have to start immediately. Then Hojo-san came back home and he said, "Do you have any scrap now? Yoshida Roshi teach you rakusu sewing. So go to Yoshida Roshi with some fabric. I will watch Eijo. You don't need to worry about our babies. I will stay here. Go." So I took some fabric. I have no idea what kind of fabric is good. So just I grabbed the fabric, really slippery, . . . fiber. And I went thinking maybe he will start to teach me. Then also we calculated how many people and how many yards and what kind of material we will need. Then . . . we went downtown to fabric store with Jane Schneider. Jane Schneider and me and Yoshida Roshi went to downtown fabric store. Since we didn't have . . . Japanese . . . For instance she needed to find how many yards she used . . . We bought the fabric. That was the beginning. How it started, the rakusu sewing. That time Yoshida Roshi know only Japanese measurement. I learned that . . . at that time government didn't permit to use all the measurements. We had to use centimeter. Then when I came to United States they used only inches. That was most difficult part. Three systems. I had big handicap -- English. If I could explain more, the people feel more comfortable.

D: When was that?

T: That was -- I made nyoho-ei instruction book. A long time ago. Now I am revising the nyoho-ei book because we want to make more explanation. So in that book Yoshida Roshi came to United States, '71. May '71. Then '72 she came again.

D: The lay ordination, when we received rakusus, that was '71?

T: Yes. Because you see the Roshi came and . . . how to make rakusu. After I finished . . . Zen Center, then I went to Tassajara. That was the summer. And at Tassajara finished it. If you see the back of your rakusu, it will say the date of the lay ordination.

D: Yes I have that here.

T: '72 she came back and she helped, and I learned okesa sewing. At that time we made Suzuki Roshi's nyoho-ei.

D: Not '72. Because he died in '71.

T: Then my record is wrong. Yoshida Roshi didn't come '71. Maybe '60 something. Eijo was born '68. At that time he became 3. So '70. Maybe '70 and '71. And '71 Suzuki Roshi received nyoho-ei.

D: Right. Because I sewed okesa in the summer of 1971.

T: . . . second visiting. She came for the okesa on second visiting.

D: My first rakusu was '70. I can't remember.

T: Your first rakusu must be '70. You are ordained '71.

D: Do you remember anything else about Yoshida Roshi's visit?

T: I remember that visit . . . maybe Bobo Helper [Bob Halpern]. He asked Yoshida Roshi, when do you do zazen? You sit facing to the wall. Suzuki Roshi doesn't face the wall. You are priest and a roshi. Why you face to the wall? That was Bob's question. Yoshida Roshi said, I came here for my practice. So my purpose to come here is not to teach. It is for my practice. I want to practice with American people because American people started to come to my k

sodo [kodo was written down but it might be sodo, or monk's hall]. So I wanted to see American sodo. So I came here for the practice. . . . . . . face to the wall. The teacher face to the center

D: When Suzuki Roshi and Katagiri Roshi resigned from Sokoji and moved to Page Street, do you remember that time? How did Katagiri Roshi decide to resign at the same time?

T: Yes. The Japanese congregation wanted to have a priest who does not relate to the Americans. So Katagiri Roshi relates to Americans. But Sokoji wanted to cut completely the relations with Americans. We never went to any meetings. Yes -- I went once. I was invited to Sokoji's board meeting. Only one. At that time I don't remember who, but the board opinion was to ask Suzuki Roshi to stay at Sokoji and cut the relations with Zen Center. Or just go to Zen Center and cut relations with Sokoji.

D: Let me repeat what you said. The board asked Suzuki Roshi to stay with Sokoji and cut relationship to Zen Center. Or the opposite. But not both.

T: No. Sokoji didn't want to go together. I don't remember what Suzuki Roshi said. He didn't say anything, he was just listening. That was not a discussion. I think Suzuki Roshi was just listening. I don't remember his answer. I don't think Katagiri Roshi said anything. I think they just listened.

D: At that time had Page Street been found?

T: I don't remember if that was before or after. Maybe before, because Sokoji had some statement to Zen Center to leave.

D: Did they deliver that statement?

T: I don't know. . . . was told to San Francisco Zen Center. Then Suzuki Roshi thought, wow, it's really now. Zen Center has to leave. Also Zen Center was really expanded. So Sokoji was not enough to hold. Some people had to stay downstairs. Then Zen Center could find Page Street quickly.

D: Suzuki Mitsu-san says that George Hagiwara found the Page Street building. [no-Claude Dalenberg.--DC]

T: I don't know. If you want to find that kind of history, I think San Francisco Zen Center have the record.

D: Not very good records. It's hard to find anything at Zen Center. There's very little written down. How did Katagiri Roshi feel about the move?

T: First he heard if Suzuki Roshi left that he would stay and help Sokoji. But the meeting of Sokoji, asked to stay here or leave here, not between. Decide once. And also if Katagiri Roshi stayed Sokoji -- some students will go to Sokoji. . . . So after Suzuki Roshi put his resignation, Katagiri Roshi wrote his resignation. Not together. Not so long apart. I don't remember how long, because at that time every day was just like . . .

Not many days.

D: I remember that well. Back then I didn't hear much about it. There was not much talk. We didn't know so much what the Japanese congregation thought-- but we could feel. I think everyone was happy about the change. Maybe the most difficult area to ask you about is when Katagiri Roshi -- he wanted to leave too. He wanted to leave Zen Center and have his own group. Right? Like in 1971. While Suzuki Roshi was still alive.

T: But this time he wanted to go to Minneapolis. So he told Suzuki Roshi he wanted to leave San Francisco Zen Center. He said that first maybe '70 or beginning of '71. At that time still Suzuki Roshi was ill, but we didn't know it was cancer. Early '71 or late '70.

D: Do you remember what Suzuki Roshi's reaction was?

T: He said stay in San Francisco Zen Center. Please stay. But Hojo-san wanted to go. Then after that his weakness became worse. Then Hojo-san said, I feel something -- I made him weaker because I said I don't want to stay in San Francisco, I want to go other place. And Suzuki Roshi asked him to stay, but he didn't say yes. After that Suzuki Roshi became worse. We didn't know he had cancer.

D: So Katagiri Roshi wanted his own temple.

T: Own group. Maybe wanted to start own group. More was, he wanted to leave San Francisco Zen Center. If he left San Francisco, he start own practice.

D: Do you think he felt like we say, maybe in Suzuki's shadow?

T: He never say that. I don't know. We never talked about it.

D: I talked to him about things like that sometimes. But he wouldn't say too much. He said to me sometimes that he thought people idealized Suzuki Roshi. That people saw Suzuki Roshi as someone perfect. And they didn't see him as a normal person, and that Katagiri Roshi, being Japanese, could see him more as a normal person. What do you think?

T: That's possible in any place, don't you think so? That kind of thing is possible in any group. First person to come in. . . . . . . takes care of the younger children they want to have a mommy, not a big sister to help. It is the same.

D: Did Katagiri Roshi have the same problem in Minnesota?

T: I think so. Daddy, daddy, daddy.

D: Many people thought of Katagiri Roshi as their teacher in San Francisco Zen Center. He was pretty strong for number 2.

[tape turned over]

T: We cannot say in our short life.

D: I'm not saying better. I'm saying strong. He was a very strong teacher even with Suzuki Roshi. But I know what you mean. You don't want to compare.

T: You say not like Yoshimura-sensei, or Chino-sensei. It is hard to say.

So, my relation with Suzuki Roshi, your relation, is teacher and student. Master and disciple. And always you have that kind of relationship. Suzuki Roshi and my relationship is different. Is not teacher and student. So a little different.

D: Did you have a pretty formal relationship with Suzuki Roshi?

T: No. Just very natural relation between Sokoji teacher and Sokoji teacher's wife. And he is abbot. That is natural relation. So I didn't bring any problem and ask his teaching. Never.

D: Did you spend much time with Suzuki Okusan?

T: I had many experience with her. That's all. I didn't spend time a lot. Once a week on Sunday -- Saturday afternoon or Sunday -- Sokoji has service. At that time I went to Sokoji and helped to serve the tea and clean up after the tea. We fujinkai [women's group]. . . When Sokoji had some celebration the day before I went there and helped with the . . .

D: Did you go to fujinkai meetings?

T: Yes. Mitsu Suzuki was treasurer of the Fujinkai. And I was the secretary.

D: I've been trying to meet with some of those women.

T: How about Tamaki-san?

D: They won't meet me together.

T: Tamaki-san was very close to Mrs. Suzuki.

D: I have her name, I've talked to her. George Hagiwara died last year. He was 90 something.

T: I heard Hagiwara and Suzuki Roshi were same age.

D: He had diabetes. He was very old.

T: . . . at that time Eijo was born. Chino-sensei came to the United States and Eijo was born. Otohiro went to Vietnam.

D: '67. He talked to me about that. It was very hard on him. He's a nice guy.

[She says something about Hoitsu]

D: Like you said his image is just like Suzuki Roshi. His voice. When Hoitsu-san speaks English like in a ceremony at Zen Center, he sounds exactly and looks like his father.

T: And when I saw Hoitsu-san in the Wind Bell. Oh, that was exactly Suzuki Roshi. So then San Francisco Zen Center, all those children's attachment to Suzuki Roshi becomes stronger. Because they are so alike.

D: I know Hoitsu-san pretty well. I've spent time at Rinsoin and I've interviewed him many times. And actually in many ways he's opposite.

T: But when Hoitsu-san was . . . he was sophomore at the . . . University. I went to Noiri Roshi's sesshin and Hoitsu-san too. So that was first meeting with Hoitsu.

D: That was like 1964. You went to a sesshin with Noiri before you came to America?

T: No, before I married. Of course Katagiri Roshi told me if you can go to Noiri Roshi's sesshin before we marry that we'll be very fruitful. Because if we marry I will have a baby soon. Then I will lose the opportunity to participate in sesshin a little while. I cannot go to sesshin with baby. So I went. That time was Hoitsu Suzuki was sophomore at Komazawa University. And Nishiyama who translated Shobogenzo was there. And Tosan is with Nishiyama now?

D: I think Tosan is at Eiheiji. [who?--DC]

T: But he was with Nishiyama. Nishiyama translated Shobogenzo. Not sesshin. He translated and published Shobogenzo in English. But when I went to one-week sesshin at Noiri Roshi's, at that time he was freshman at the university. I knew Nishiyama. He was at the sesshin. He was very young. There were many people at the sesshin. Lay people and all others were monks who came from outside. The sesshin was at Shizuoka. Fukuroi. The temple was Daito-in. [That's Rinsoin's head temple I think.--DC]

D: Why did Katagiri Roshi send you to Noiri Roshi's sesshin? Did he have a connection to Noiri?

T: Yes. You remember Yokoi Roshi? Yokoi Roshi is Hojo-san's very closest friend. And he respected Yokoi Roshi very much. Close friend. Same branch temple. And Noiri Roshi's temple was the branch temple of Rinsoin. The temple has a relation. Yokoi Roshi and Noiri Roshi have the same master -- Ian Kishizawa. Noiri Roshi is his disciple. And Yokoi Roshi was Ian Kishizawa's grand disciple. His master was Ian Kishizawa roshi's disciple. Chito Kishizawa. He was Kishizawa Roshi's direct disciple. He was not his son. . . . Kishizawa's school. Kishizawa's school never married. Nobody married. But Kishizawa Roshi adopted the child. Chito Kishizawa is not the blood child, but was adopted. So has the same last name. Has a dharma relation, but no blood relation. So Yokoi Roshi was Ian Kishizawa's grand disciple. And Noiri Roshi is Ian Kishizawa Roshi's disciple. So they practiced together. And Hojo-san also respected Kishizawa and Noiri Roshi. And he knows the way of Kishizawa and Noiri Roshi's practice. So when Kishizawa and Noiri Roshi had one-week sesshin he was invited as a teacher. Hojo-san and Yokoi Roshi suggested I go to one-week sesshin.

D: Where did you meet Katagiri Roshi?

T: In Tokyo. We met at my teacher's home. He was teaching English. My junior high school didn't teach any English because it was during the war. After the war I had tuberculosis so I was absent from school for one year. When I returned to the school, that was a new school. So the school was very active in English classes. And I didn't learn any ABC's. So I was very behind. So I needed to go to learn privately. Kind of juku [after school school]. But very small. He was Japanese. That was after I finished high school I stopped learning English from my teacher. But I visited my teacher often. What year? 1959. I think '59 or '60 I met Katagiri. '59. At that time he finished graduate school and he was working at Soto Zen headquarters. He didn't have time to go to English school. He went to different school. He went to public English school in Tokyo. My English teacher was also Noiri Roshi's lay disciple.

D: Why was Katagiri Roshi visiting your teacher?

T: Because my teacher was Noiri Roshi's lay disciple and Yokoi Roshi is Noiri Roshi's relative disciple -- dharma brother. My English teacher's name was Tanaka.

D: So Katagiri Roshi was just visiting.

T: Kind of so my teacher and my mother arranged the meeting. To introduce a friend. Kind of nakodo [matchmaking] meeting. Very informal. He had a tea party for me and Katagiri Roshi and Yokoi Roshi. And my mother. He introduced both of us. Not as boyfriend or girlfriend. And if you like -- the goal is marriage. So if we are interested to meet again, and please meet again, and arrange.

D: Did you have a nakodo?

T: He didn't take the nakodo. Katagiri's teacher is his graduate school teacher. So he took me there, so already we decided to marry, so we went there, and asked him to marry us. Shosai Hatori. So I married at 28. And Hojo-san was 32. He was four years older. That was 1960.

I am from Tokyo. I was raised in Tokyo in Shitagaya. Katagiri Roshi was from Osaka. And raised in Osaka and Fukui. Tsuruga. He went to Eiheiji we transferred to Tsuruga. Hojo-san's parents had a restaurant in front of Tsuruga station. I don't know how old he was when he moved to Tsuruga. He doesn't remember how old he was.

D: What I remember is that he hated fish. He didn't like to eat fish. Right?

T: At home he didn't like fish.

D: He told me he ate too much fish as a child.

T: No. Tsuruga is very good with fish. Always he ate very fresh fish. So any fish for him is not fresh. Not good enough. In United States he almost never ate fish. It was old. I also felt it was old.

D: It's hard to get good sushi in America.

T: But now there is very good sushi in San Francisco. Not in Minnesota. Frozen. The sashimi is frozen.

D: When you met Katagiri Roshi what were you doing?

T: I had the juku at the home. The juku is everything. Elementary school. Junior high school.

D: We had many students in Japan. Do you miss Japan?

T: No.

D: Are you happy in Minnesota?

T: Sometimes I feel I want to move to some warm country. For four seasons I want to breathe fresh air. In Minnesota cannot breathe fresh air during the winter. Because all are frozen. We cannot open the window because it's too cold. I come to Sebastopol and eat many Sebastopol Fuji apples.

 

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