MY LIFE AS A PIKADON SENSEI
What Do You Know About August 6th ?
After the war, I was recommended to become a teacher.
When I was a student, I studied airplane propeller engines in the engineering faculty.
All teachers went to the battlefield, so there were few male teachers in my school. We have to make a living anyway. I taught math at both the junior and senior high schools in Hiroshima city and Ondo town now Kure city, even though that wan’t my speciality. Mr. Tsuboi talks about his experiences – At Hiroshima city on March 13th,2016. His ear has been deformed by the bombing. I began to call myself 'Pikadon sensei’.
(Mr Tsuboi talking about his experiencs to the students – Hiroshima City on March 13th, 2016)
My body is better now, but at that time, it was injured from head to toe. And I had blisters on my upper lip. I was embarrassed and wanted a mask to hide my face, but my ears were injured, so I couldn’t do that.
In the summer, when I took my shirt off, you could see burn marks on my back like cheese. Since I went to school in such an appearance, the students said, “Here comes the ghost!"
On August 6th during my first year of teaching junior high, I told the students, “I’m not going to teach math today. Listen to my story. “Do you know what happened on this day in 1945?"
At that time, the students were well aware of what had happened.
I said, “Let me tell you about my experience of being exposd to the atomic explosion and radiation. Before that day, I had been a beautiful boy”. The students were pleased to hear that. They were relieved because taking Japanese class was better than taking math.
For 40 years since then, I’ve never forgotten to do that.
At that time, everyone was poor because of the war, so some of them were absent from school. That’s what is now called truancy. In those days, most students who didn’t attend classes had to work instead of going to school. When they reached junior high, their parents forced them to do jobs such as fishing or plowing the field.
In the case of fishermen, they went out to sea in evening and came back at 1 or 2 in the morning.
Even so, their teacher said, “Be at school by 8 o’clock in the morning”.
I thought it was impossible for the students to arrive at such a time, so it wasn’t only the students’ fault. At that time, the teachers were staying overnight at the school. And I was repairing students’ clothes until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. Some of the children went a whole month without taking a bath. So, in turns, I took them to a local public bathhouse.
One day, the public bath worker asked, “Hey teacher, are you going to pay for all of them?”
Then, he said “I’ll take care of it.” He returned all the entrance fees to me after the children left. Such acts of kindness were here and ther
Reunion With A Student
I’ll never forget.
The sun set behind the mountains to the west. It was a bit romantic actually. I thought “Ah, what a beautiful sunset, as always.”
At that time, two girls came up to me and said, “Mr. Tsuboi!" “Let’s have a chat together if you are free right now." I replied.
In the music room, the two girls played the piano.
At first, I just had a good time with them. For a while, I met up with them every Saturday. One day, I asked one of them, “In which class did you used to be one of my students?" She said, “Don’t you remember it?" I said, “I guess I forgot you because I spent so much time looking at the blackboard!" That was a funny one. I did my best when it came to teaching. But, she said, “I was taught by you." So I said, “Oh, I’m sorry." “You were the best teacher ever. I was scolded by you many times." she exclaimed. I asked, “Who was the most interesting teacher?" She answered, “Mr. Tuboi."“And who was the scariest teacher?” “Mr Tuboi,” she answered again. But finally they said, “It’s Mr. Tsuboi who is interesting and thinks of us in different ways." I was glad to hear that.
Going Out on a Date
I used to go to the movie theater with her. But we weren’t able to enter together, so I went in first. She came in a bit later. We had to do this because at that time, it was impossible for boys and girls to be together in the city. I tried to pretend like I went there alone. Once inside, we talked a lot with each other. In that way, we started getting along well.
Marriage with Hibakusha
At that time, I thought,
“I shouldn’t date so nonchalantly like this." However, I didn’t say, “Let’s get married" until the end because I had believed, “Hibakusha couldn’t get married, because of the fuct that our body was exposed to the atomic bombing. I have to think this way." I thought this to myself. But 3 or 4 years had passed, and she hadn’t married yet. In the second year, she found out that “he is a Hibakusha." Her parents said to her, “Don’t hang out with that guy."
(Mr Tsuboi talking about his experience to the student – Hiroshima City on March 13th, 2016.)
So she was blamed and warned. “All Hibakusha will die 2 or 3 years from now. What will you do then? He will die soon, and you will be widowed. Then, her relative began to say, “He is a Hibakusha." We don’t know how soon he will die. Don’t get married with him." I was hated by her family. I thought that I had done my best…
Then I said to her, “Perhaps I will die soon, even if I marry you. So, I can’t marry you. Now, if you make another boyfriend, please tell me. I will take care of you.”
But, we actually began to fall more in love at that point.
However, her parents had not allow her to leave the home. They told her, “You must not go out alone." 4 or 5 years had passed since we had been going out.
“Her boyfriend is a Hibakusha. That’s too bad for her." Then she got sick and spent all day sleeping in bed. I said to her parents, “I’ve come to visit her." But they didn’t let me inside. They got angry and said, “You’re disgusting. Are you trying to kidnap my daughter?"
Death As The Last Choice…
In time, she got better. When her parents were’t around, I met her secretly. One day, I bought some sleeping pills at the drugstore.
I said to her, “I can’t be with you. If we can’t be together in this world, then let’s be together in another world." Then I opened the container of pills to depart from this world, though I didn’t know how much we should take.
We went to the hill where there were no other people. We sat on the grass to take the pills. For a while, we slept like a log. If we died, someone would find us, but I didn’t think such a thing.
However, I woke up in the evening. I opened my eyes. I thought, “Oh, my god! I didn’t die!" “I hadn’t taken enough." I tried to take one more time, then she also woke up. I don’t know why is that. I asked her, “Are you awake ?" She responded, “What happened?” At that time, I didn’t know even the stars had come out or not.
We couldn’t be together in this world so we tried to be together in another world. And we decided to die. But we couldn’t be together even in another world. We cried together.
So, we decided to live on and survive no matter what happened. We shook hands.It was our first time shaking hands. But now she is in the grave. In Higan of this year, I went to the grave and said, “How are you? I’ll come to you soon”.
I told her that we stop choosing death on our own and would live no matter what happened. Then, she became a little bit positive…
PTA Officers Helped Me
Men didn’t care if they got married or not.
Nobody said anything about it to the men. But women were often told,
“Hasn’t she married yet? She won’t find anyone who will marry her."
After a year or two, despite the bad social structure of the times, she kept trying hard, and she waited for me. While this was happening, her father passed away.
The PTA officer helped me. He said to her mother, “Mr. Tsuboi is a great person.”
Make him and her get marry.” “Let them get married." They told her mother many such things. He knew that I was wearing my student clothes until 2 or 3 in the morning. I was patting the student’s clothes. The officer also said to her parents, “Why did you say to her, ‘Don’t get married with him? Don’t discriminate against Hibakusha!”
If I had said that myself, her parents would have gotten angry. Then her mother and relatives started to move. And they said “Tsuboi is a great person. The doctor said Mr. Tsuboi would die in three years but now he is still living. He had been alive for 5 or 6 years. He might still live. All right. He wouldn’t die." Finally, I could get married with her, at last.
However, her mother or relatives were worried that if we had held a wedding ceremony in public, other relatives would do something to make us brake up or say something to us.
So they decided us to leave town. This meant “we can’t live here anymore.”
“ We must leave this town” so we went toward the mountains (North part of Hiroshima Prefecture). Going to other places was decided already by the board of education. But I fought with the board of education. They said to us, “Please wait a year”. So we had to wait a year before going to the mountains. I wanted to marry her but I couldn’t.
After a year, we went to Kumano. So life as a couple began there after the marriage. We said “Let’s live as long as we have breath!”
But, I would often get sick so she sometimes said, “Why am I with you?”. About 20 years after marriage, when our children grew bigger, she said “Am I your wife, or am I the same as a hospital nurse for you?”
I went to the hospital very often, so she always complained. About 22 years ago, she collapsed with a stroke. She died around 5 o’clock in the morning. I often got sick, so I had to take time out from my tight schedule to work. Even though we got married, we couldn’t go on a honeymoon. After I retired at the age of 60, I went to Hokkaido with her for more than 10 days.
I Managed To Live
When I was a teacher, I was often absent from school. This was because I was hospitalized more than 10 times. So I couldn’t be in charge of my own class. I had been in charge of only the head of the grade, or the coordinator etc. There were only three cohorts I saw through to graduation. All of them graduated before you were born.
It was regrettable that I couldn’t have my own class. At the hospital, I made a “death tape recording." I said to the students on the recording, “I have sickness, so I may not be able to attend the graduation ceremony or the closing ceremony. Everyone, do your best”.
I had two cancers and I sometimes had rare anemia. Three different times, a doctor said these words to me: “You can’t live anymore. So you should gather relatives together at the hospital". I was told that right after the a-bomb was dropped. But 10 years…20 years have passed. My condition got critical suddenly after such years.
I didn’t know when I would die.
I sometimes meet with the doctor of the hospital even now. He says, “Please don’t say that."
Even though I was told, “You’re going to die, so gather your family and relative, amazingly I managed to live on.
Someone helps me to stay alive. Whether that’s a God, Buddha or human. I don’t care. I am given life by such things. My motto is “Value own lives. Let’s live as long as we can.” This is my motto, which is always in my center of live. When I meet you, I say “Please value your life”. Even if I go to a graveyard or wherever I go, I will take these words with me. Therefore, I hate war. I do not accept the war which deprives us of our lives.