Across Two Worlds - Memoirs of a Nisei Flower Grower
By Yoshimi Shibata. Yoshimi "Shimi" Shibata grew up with a kendo sword in one hand and flowers in the other. Born to Japanese immigrants in Oakland, California, Shimi spent his childhood in Mt. Eden, an agricultural community on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. There, amidst his family's greenhouses, Shimi overcame a serious illness to learn kendo, Japanese sword fighting, from master teachers from Japan. While being exposed to Japanese culture and the Japanese American community, Shimi, as the eldest surviving son, was also being groomed to become a flower grower and take over the family business. Attending Ohio State University, the premiere floriculture school in the country, and traveling throughout North America to see the best in flower growing at the time, Shimi began to cultivate dreams for Mt. Eden Nursery. However, World War II intervened and the Shibata family was forcibly removed to Tule Lake War Relocation Center in Northern California near the Oregon border. Now the lessons Shimi learned from his early years had to sustain him through battling factions within the detention center. And finally released, Shimi had to make his way home and help rebuild the family business into a large diversified enterprise that his late father would have never imagined. Struggling to hold on to and release different aspects of his cultural upbringing, Shimi discovered that he would have to create success in his own unique way-- the Nisei way, the Shimi Shibata way.