Eyes that Tell A Story

"We had nothing, but we started our life..."

Ella B.

Satoaki Omori: Immigrated from Japan

December 16, 2019

Through my grandfather’s broken English, I pieced together words that formed a story of his life coming to America.  Ojiichan, I call him, has a kind Japanese accent that holds on to his words and sentences like a raindrop at the bottom of a leaf.  He told me stories of his immigration, more impressive and astonishing than the last, but still, nothing seemed to hold a meaning.  

I had strong desire rustling through the back of my mind to ask, “What injustice did you face? How was there negativity towards you as an immigrant?” Other than I had predicted his answer, I expected Ojiichan to tell me people treated them different, look at his family a different way, but he smiled and shook his head. “United States respect… each individual, for each individual has a strong talent and capacity. They don’t care for race or region.” 

I studied his demeanor, noticing meaning finally flooding through his syllables, his eyes seemed to tell a story, the careful creases around the edges, but Ojiichan has a life behind them, told not only through his words.  “We had nothing, but we started our life…” His words fell lightly and rose like a wisp of steam into the air before dissipating. I am in utter disbelief of how incredible his immigration was. “The USA government wanted my brain, as a scientist,” He says, explaining why he was not worried about draft agreements, about abandoning his home, about starting a new life.  “When we came to this country, we only had two suitcase.” He truly did immigrate and begin with nothing and used his intelligence and perseverance to change from his past life. He smiled with accomplishment, but it showed the richness of an intricate tale behind him. “Thank you.” The raindrop was still curled around his words, and I smiled back, hoping one day my eyes would tell a story like his.