"I’m not convinced that I’m sick. I don’t go there. I just deny it. So I’m treating this as just a deterrent that I can grow out of. I don’t think about death and dying as much as have I provided for the family as much as I can. But it’s tough in this world, especially when you are a minority. We were born of an immigrant family, barely making it. I was Asian in the very white community. And in this life that we have right now, the easiest way is to be the right color, right education.

We were the lost part of a population. I didn’t know what the world was and I wish I was better educated towards what my possibilities were. I wanted to go into architecture, but my background everything was short of following that as a true educational development. So I gave that up and went into some place where I could be used as a worker, rather than a creator. Everything was work first, pleasure after if there’s time. I felt that I should help the family out as much as I can economically. I don’t believe I missed too many deadlines. We were probably close to 100%.

When you try and work and get ahead, you give up time. You have just a very few hours in the week to enjoy people, education, religion. I wish I can back off on how much work I did. I would try to go back and make a more creative mind so I can fully enjoy what’s available. There’s so much the world has to offer. I just barely skimmed it."


Osamu and I met in his home in Moraga through the Asian Network Pacific Home Care. Throughout our interviews, Osamu denied that he was dying and told me that he refused to “go there” psychologically. Instead he spent his time with me talking about his childhood years in a Japanese internment camp in California during WW2. Not only was Osamu set back by being taken out of the education system throughout the war, like other Japanese people at the time, he was to suffer from widespread discrimination. He lamented upon the cultural ceiling this created and how his life choices had to be focused on financially providing for a family rather than following his passions. Osamu died on March 25, 2016. 


Osamu - Pencil on drawing and tissue papers - 30" x 22" - © Claudia Biçen 2016