Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0008

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LH: Now, how old were you at this point, about sixteen, seventeen?

FY: It was seventeen.

LH: How did you get around? Did you drive a car?

FY: No, but somebody else would have a car and we could double up. By, usually it's the father's car and the son could borrow it. We had a car, but my older brother always borrowed it. [Laughs]

LH: Can you recall learning how to drive?

FY: Yeah. I guess... of course, when nobody is in the car, behind the wheel there, I was pretending like I'm driving. And then when my dad would be going to town, he would let me sit on his lap at time and just steer the car and that's more or less how... we never, couldn't afford taking driver's lessons, I mean, take driving instruction. Also, there would be some real jalopies. I think they're called Model-T's where you crank the engine to start it and we would every so often -- and to this day, I'm not sure who owned it -- we used to take that out. [Laughs] When I say we, the older, bigger guys would do it and of course, the little kids would be tagging around.

LH: Speaking of some of these rites of passage, did you...

FY: I'm sorry, I didn't...

LH: Oh, speaking of some of these rites of passage, learning how to drive or beginning to date, did you also try maybe some of the other things like smoking, drinking? Can you describe your...

FY: Oh, that was standard, yeah, when our family, when our father would have their friends, they have a party, and they smoking, and they had a little butts, and we'd get those butts, and cut it and then we roll them into little cigarettes, smoke. I, living out in the country, we would have ofuro, ofuro is a hot tub, and, in heating the water -- we would heat the water from the outside, there'd be a area to burn trash or whatever you could burn, newspapers and wood -- and there I almost, I almost died once. I would roll newspaper up and tried smoking that. [Laughs] And then, also, there was a weed that we used to call, call it Indian tobacco. And you let that dry up, and you can, we used to get corncobs and dig that out, and then you'd make a pipe out of that. And so there was a lot of that type of thing, smoking. And drinking, we would sneak drinking from the party they would have, they would have sake, and, of course, we'd try the sake. I guess we... again, I shouldn't generalize. Maybe I was more of the rowdy ones. [Laughs]

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.