Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Asano Terao Interview I
Narrator: Asano Terao
Interviewers: Tomoyo Yamada (primary), Dee Goto (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tasano-01

[Translated from Japanese]

<Begin Segment 1>

DG: Today is May 19, 1998. We are here in the Nikkei Manor and we are going to interview Mrs. Terao. She has been living here for the last nine months, and the cam -- Tomoyo Yamada is going to do the interviewing, and the camera people are Matt Emery and Charlie Hamilton. So, go ahead.

TY: This is Dee Goto and Tomoyo Yamada. Today is May 19, 1998, Tuesday. We are going to conduct an interview with Mrs. Asano Terao at the Nikkei Manor. Thank you for the opportunity. First, please tell us your date of birth.

AT: December 3, Meiji 30 [1897].

TY: Born on the third. It was 1898 [Ed. note: mistaken for 1897], wasn't it? And, you are from Hiroshima Prefecture.

AT: Gion, Asa County in Hiroshima Prefecture.

TY: Gion. You were born in a place called Midorii.

AT: The place I was born was Midorii. My father passed away when I was seven... seven or eight. Then, my mother remained widow, and grandpas, both the maternal and the paternal grandpas took turns staying with us for a week to ten days each. Then, it continued for a while. Then, after it went on for a while, my father's brother -- do you know the Russo-Japanese War? He was drafted into the war. But, a bullet hit him here [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao points at her left collarbone], and when he cauterized the place with moxa, there was a mark like this, I heard it was where a bullet went through. Then, he was taken to the hospital, and at that time, he fell down where there was ice in Russia, and I heard his legs were numb from the coldness. So his legs were cut off, and a bullet went through here, right? The right hand was in the perfect condition, but the left hand was like this, well, he could move it and grab things with it, but it didn't move as much as the right hand. And, this hand was normal, but this hand became skinny, just bone and skin. There was no meat on it. But, well, he had a pension. Then, his wife, she said that she could not have fun if she stayed married to such a cripple, and she left him. She left him neglected. So, since it couldn't be helped, Grandpa and Grandma took him back in, and took care of him. But, Grandpa and Grandma were both old, and they were concerned about the future. But, my mother... my father suddenly had a heart attack in the middle of the night... one, no, no, about one thirty or two in the morning, he started saying that he felt pain in the chest, pain in the chest, like that.

TY: It happened in the middle of the night.

AT: He said so. Now I think about it, it was a heart attack. Then, since we lived in the countryside, even if we wanted to go see a doctor, since it was so rural, it was considered to be good if we had one nearby. So, we woke up an apprentice -- because we had a construction business -- we asked him to go get the doctor. And, by the time the doctor arrived, he had already breathed his last breath. Then, we found out that he had died of heart attack. And then, my mother was still young, right? So, the maternal grandpa and the paternal grandpa came to stay with us for a long time, cleaned around the house, made some vegetables, too, as a vegetable field was right in front of our house, they made some vegetables like green onions and small cabbages. Grandpas had already been retired, so both sides of grandpas stayed with us in the house, cleaned around the house, and made vegetables. In this way, they came in turn to stay with us. I remember, I used to say, "Grandpa, Grandpa, I like you." I remember that.

TY: Your mother came to... your father's brother, I mean, an uncle to you...

AT: That is...

TY: To look after him.

AT: He went to the Russo-Japanese War and got a bullet right here.

TY: So...

AT: He suffered from frostbite because he fell to the ground. When he was found, he had already had frostbite, and his legs were removed from here because his legs had frostbite. Then, his wife neglected him, saying that she could not have fun if she stayed with him, and she left him. So it couldn't be helped, and Grandpa and Grandma asked my mother if she could look after the uncle since she stayed widowed after my father died. See, I was there, to me, he was a real uncle. She agreed and looked after him since then, for a long time.

TY: She took him into the house. Father, your father and mother were both adopted into the Nagao family, right?

AT: Yes, yes. We call it adopting a son and his bride. They were related to each other. So my father came from here, and there was my mother, so he took her as his bride, and this is how they continued the family name Nagao.

TY: Why, why...

AT: Grandpa and Grandma in the Nagaos didn't have children. That's why they did it. When my mother became pregnant with me, they were very happy. It must be true since even the neighbors told me how well and thoroughly they took care of me. For example, when I went to school on cold days, an apprentice carried me on his back and put the books between me and his back, and said, "Hang on to my shoulders tight!" So I hung on to his shoulders, and this way, he took me to school by carrying me on his back. I would be punished by heaven for being spoiled like that! [Laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TY: I understand that no child was born for three generations.

AT: No, there wasn't any.

TY: They had adoptions for three generations, both sons and their brides.

AT: So, well, I was born, and they were very happy. They were so happy and took very good care of me. So, after I was breast-fed, I was taken to the grandma's. Then, I cried in the middle of the night as I got hungry. But, Grandma didn't understand that. She carried me on her back all night trying to calm me down, but it didn't work. Now I think about it, I was crying because I was just hungry and wanted to be fed with my mother's milk. But, Grandma didn't know that. I came to know it when I became older. Well, that was...

DG: Please explain what yoshi is.

AT: What?

DG: Yoshi.

AT: Yoshi?

TY: Could you explain the system of yoshi? What is it like?

AT: Well, it is natural for the husbands to tend to be modest.

TY: Why did they come to adopt yoshi?

AT: If I married into other family, they wouldn't have anybody to continue the last name Nagao. That's because I was the only child. So they adopted a boy. Then, the adopted person became a member of the Nagao family. Then, the children born to him would continue the family name. They wanted to pass on the family name and they had me, who carried the family blood, so they adopted a son to continue the family name. In this way, they adopted him to carry on the family name Nagao.

TY: So, the person was chosen from the relatives.

AT: Yes, from the relatives.

TY: In order to continue the family name.

AT: Yes, yes, yes, that's right. And, my guardian was called Takemoto. He was from the next village. This uncle was so rigid that people voted him for the village chief, but he declined the offer by saying that he had another family to take care of in another village, and that he couldn't accept the position. That was my guardian. When I was choosing which girls' school I wanted to attend, he ordered me to go to this school, not that school, like this. Well, he was such a strict uncle. He always came to visit us twice a month. He would consult with my mother and say, "Shizu," Shizu was my mother's name, "Shizu, when you give allowance to Asano, you have to ask her first what she is going to spend the money for. You have to do that." My mother would answer, "Yes, I understand, Uncle." In this way, my uncle raised me severely. But, even though he was rigid, I was selfish, as I was the only child. [Laughs]

TY: You had a guardian because your father had passed away.

AT: Yes. So, my uncle became my guardian. My father, after my father died. After that, they sent all the apprentices home, and they were thinking about selling the big house to someone who wanted to buy it, and moving into a smaller house. But, we lived in the big house for a long time. The house was so big that I had my own playrooms, one was a three-mattress room and the other three-mattress room was called the mid-room, which was located past the hallway and away from the bathroom. Those were my playrooms, and we used to display the dolls for Hinamatsuri in the room. I remember that very well.

TY: For three years, your mother remained widow, I mean, after your father passed away, your grandpa and grandma adopted a yoshi again, didn't they?

AT: At that time, grandpas came to stay with us, both my maternal grandpa and paternal grandpa took turns to stay with us for about ten days each, and they repeated that, but they were old, you know. My mother, her name was Shizuno. They said, "Shizuno, you are still young. Why don't you take a new yoshi?" They recommended that she remarry, so she took a yoshi.

TY: That was to carry on the last name "Nagao," wasn't it?

AT: The name "Nagao" remained, and me too, I carried on the name "Nagao" for a long time. We adopted a husband in our family, and my mother and he had a girl named Yoshiko. She was eight or nine years younger than I was. So we adopted the husband. Then, the adopted husband, the bank, he went to the bank and took out money and spent it. In Japan, you just need a stamp, stamp, a stamp at the bank. So...

TY: He stole the stamp?

AT: We aired books and clothes in summer. My mother used to place the post office account book carefully in a book then. When she unintentionally opened the book to see it without thinking, she took a look in the account book, then 20 yen had been withdrawn, 30 yen had been withdrawn, and sometimes 10 yen had been withdrawn. She thought it was odd when she saw it. The yoshi was back home helping because his family had a big farm. So my mother waited for him to return, and there was an uncle who was my guardian. He was such a rigid uncle. He was a man who could become the leader of a village, a town, but still he turned down the offer by telling people that he couldn't because he had another family to take care of. Anyway, when she saw the account book that she was airing, the money had been withdrawn without her knowledge. She thought it was peculiar -- the uncle's last name was Takemoto -- she explained the situation to Uncle Takemoto and asked him what he thought about it, then he said that it was odd. The yoshi was back home helping their big farm. They waited for him to return, and not my mother, but my uncle talked to him. Then, he replied that he was in urgent need of money and withdrew money from the bank without telling -- my mother's name was Shizuno -- without telling Shizuno, thinking it would be okay if he just paid her back.

TY: Shizuno is...

AT: Yes, there was a young woman he was seeing.

TY: So that was what he was spending money for. Shizuno is your mother's name?

AT: What?

TY: Who is Shizuno?

AT: My mother, her name.

TY: Oh, her name. Yes.

AT: Yes, it was, but this world is so full of variety. Then, my mother was so angry that she said, "I don't need you. Don't come back here anymore!" [Laughs]

TY: Who chose him, the second husband?

AT: Oh, that, I think it was Grandpa and Grandma. I don't know too much about it, though. There were go-betweens, you know. But the family was successful with a big farming business. He had brothers, too. He had brothers, and they were all successful and well mannered. But, he was the third boy, he spent money like water. So my mother finally sent him back home.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TY: You were born in the latter part of the Meiji Era.

AT: In 30.

TY: In 30. Then, did your grandparents and mother tell you about the period when the era changed from Edo to Meiji?

AT: Sometime they told me some stories. When I was listening, I felt like it was frightening and scary. Something like that. But, in general, I got the impression later on that the changes back then actually went smoothly. That was because the person who was in charge of the village was steady. That was my uncle, my great uncle. His name was Takezou Takemoto, and he didn't live in the same village. It wasn't like he lived in the same village... he lived in a village next to ours. That was my guardian, and he was very rigid. When I said that I wanted to go to girls' school, he had a daughter and her name was Hisano. He came to me and gave me such an order as I should go to the one Hisano was attending. I didn't care where I was going to attend as long as I could go to girls' school, so I thanked him for his decision. He came to visit our house at least once or twice every month. When I needed money, I would tell him, "Uncle, this time, I need a little more than usual because I need money for tuition and the school trip." Then he would answer, "Go to the post office and withdraw money." It was like that.

TY: You went to Shintoku Jikka Girls' High School after you went to Gion Grade School in Gion-machi for six years, to high grade school, right? You wanted to go to normal school...

AT: Yes, I went. I went to take the entrance exam. But I failed because of my body structure.

TY: Why did they have a physical exam back then to get into normal school?

AT: If there hadn't been a physical exam, it would be troublesome if schoolteachers cried out with pain due to physical problems. Then, my case, my chest was too narrow for my height. My friends, Ms. Kasaoka and Ms. Mito, they were bigger than I was, like this, [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao motions toward herself.] both of them. They were as tall as I was. Then, a doctor called Dr. Ota told me, "Asano, you can't make it even if you go." I asked him, "Why, Doctor?" He responded that I wouldn't pass the physical exam. In fact, as he had assumed, my name was on the board because I passed the academic exam. But, my name wasn't on the board as of the result of the physical exam. So I failed the physical exam. The physical exam was very strict for schoolteachers. I said, "I see," and there was nothing I could do, so I said, "I will just return right away on the train tonight," and I got on the train and came back. Then I told Dr. Ota, "Doctor, I couldn't make it," then he said, "I told you so. You would probably pass the academic test, but I told you not to go because you would probably fail the physical exam!" So I said, "That's right, Doctor." [Laughs]

TY: Because you were thin.

AT: My weight wasn't sufficient.

TY: Your weight...

TY: My weight was not sufficient for my height. Also, when measured, the width of my chest was insufficient as well. The same thing today. I guess you are born with it. But, Ms. Kasaoka and Ms. Mito and all others have already passed away. And I, who failed the physical exam, am remaining.

TY: Until the age one hundred.

AT: When I went to Japan last time, everybody told me that their teachers, Ms. Kasaoka and Ms. Mito had passed away. "Is that so?" "You were skinny, Ms. Nagao. You weren't accepted at normal school." [Laughs] They said, "You remained and both Ms. Mito and Ms. Kasaoka passed away..." "Oh, they had passed away." We had such conversation. See, you can never tell the lives of the people. It is absolutely nonsense to assume that someone will live longer because someone is fat, or someone will not make it because someone is skinny.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TY: Gion-machi in Hiroshima-ken, what kind of town was it? Was it more like a small town or a large town?

AT: No, it was more like a medium town. At first, it was a village, but, I mean, the number of houses in the town. Probably it became a town with all the shops on the streets, to make the story short. The Gion-mura became a town. It became a town. Then, the village next to us was called Furuichi, and it also became a town later on. When a village becomes a town, they have to clean the town, including the town hall building and shops. They were taking care of the town by doing such things as splashing water on the street so that it wouldn't be dusty. I think those kinds of things happened. I don't know too well since I was a child. We only cared about being able to attend schools that we liked while the change was happening. There was the Keiken Railroad [Ed. note: mistaken for the Keiben Railroad] running behind my house, and although it wasn't an electric train, I said I was okay because I felt like I had walked there before. Now it became nicer again.

DG: What kind of things did you do when you played with your friends.

AT: I just said it. We played with beanbags, threw balls, and played house, and there were boys in the same class. Five, six of us played together, and we told a boy to be a dad in a house. It was fun back then.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TY: You climbed mountains with your grandfather to look for matsutake mushroom when the season came.

AT: There, there was a big mountain, my grandpa's mountain. We called matsutake "naba", back then. Naba was matsutake.

TY: Naba?

AT: We said naba, naba naba.

TY: In your dialect.

AT: In my dialect. People told us that we should come out on Saturday since naba had grown big. Not on Sundays, I had Sunday school. People would tell us or send the information through others to us. There was no telephone back then, so people would send the information through somebody. Then, my mother would buy a lot of things, and told me to take them to my grandpa. My grandpa's mountain was large. He had a big water reservoir in the mountain. Sometimes the river dried up from drought, and the water shortage problems occurred. It was a mountain with rice fields, like steps on the hillside. The fields were made on the side of the mountain. So he had made his own reservoir. He pulled the stopper board, and as he pulled the board up, a small amount of water flew down the hillside into the rice field. When there was little water coming into the field, he would draw water from the reservoir into the rice field, into his own field.

TY: So your grandfather was a farmer?

AT: Yes, he was a farmer from a long time ago. He was taking care of the village often as well. He was farming and taking care of the village, almost, he hired people. There was one girl, about fourteen, who was hired to go shopping and do some delivery. She was the one who went shopping. Also, how old was he, about twenty-eight or nine. There was a boy, too. He was working in the field. Sometimes, all the people in the neighborhood helped him. So he was a farmer.

TY: Did you help your grandfather to do some fieldwork?

AT: Oh, no. I never did it. [Laughs] I only went up the mountain with him when we went matsutake hunting in the season of matsutake. That's the only thing I did.


TY: We were talking about the story that you went to the mountain with your grandpa to get matsutake. In Japa -- in the U.S., people keep it secret where they find matsutake. Was it the same in Japan?

AT: No, no, it was our own mountain in Japan. My grandpa had a big mountain. There was a big water reservoir at lower level. So we reserved water in it, and there were steps, the fields and rice fields were made into the steps like this, made on the hillside. Then we watered our rice fields by drawing water from the reservoir when we had droughts.

TY: Your grandfather owned the mountain, fields, and all others...

AT: Yes, they were all in my grandpa's mountain.

TY: What did you do when some people secretly went up to your grandfather's mountain to look for matsutake...

AT: Yeah, there were many people who went into the mountain, but we acted like we didn't notice. Those people were usually the ones who worked in our fields, so we let them go in. But, when they found many, some people gave us matsutake that they found and told us that they found them when they went into the mountain. See, when we treat people well, they would treat us well back. So, those people who worked in the field, when they told grandpa that the harvest was not that great that year, he told them that they didn't have to pay so much in that case. In this way, everybody called him a master, and people appreciated him as the master of the head family. When we visited him, everybody welcomed us and took care of us. When I went for farewell, they would give things to me and say, "Please take this home with you and eat with your mother." I thanked them and returned home. But, it is ridiculous, I wouldn't go there nowadays, not today. When I went to the grandpa's, he would give me various kinds of really good candies. He was looking forward to my visit. I used to say that I was visiting him because I wanted the candies.

TY: Well, were you surprised when you heard the custom of matsutake hunting after you came here?

Everybody keeps the location where they can find matsutake to themselves.

AT: No, no, there were many growing in his mountain. My grandpa used to say that matsutake would grow in places like this. I had heard him say it, so I would go to such places to find matsutake. When people asked me where I was going, I told them, "I am thinking about going to this area in the mountain to find matsutake." Once we went, there was a telephone pole, a telephone pole made of a tree. It was lying in the mountain. It had already been molded. Then, when we looked underneath the pole, it looked like there were some matsutake. "Look, there seems to be some matsutake here," and my friend and I went to look there, then we found small matsutake. Underneath the pole. This time, we said aloud, "Look, there are a couple matsutake here!" Then those who were working on it came to us. Then, when we searched in that area, we found six or seven of them; where there was a big tree lying on the ground. Matsutake were growing underneath of the tree. Nowadays, I don't go any more, but we, all the Japanese, went back then, hoping to find matsutake. As early as five o'clock in the morning, people went out.

TY: One of the entertainments of Japanese Americans in Seattle, isn't it.

AT: Yes, yes. We all went. Nowadays, when I ask people to go with me, they say, "No, no, I don't want to go. I don't have to eat it. It's better if I just buy it and eat it." [Laughs] Also, there is no mountain of my own. When I went to Japan, there was my grandpa's mountain, I searched in the mountain and found them. There was a water reservoir, a big one like this. I washed matsutake there and returned home.

TY: You shared those with your neighbors.

AT: Yeah, I gave some away.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

AT: My grandpa had passed away, and grandma had passed away, too. When I went back last time, with the new generation, it was different from the past. Also, we don't associate with each other on a regular basis, right? I am over here. The jo does not grow. I returned home thinking that the neighbors here are much better. But still, they are relatives, and they were treating us well because I am from their family. They treated us well, but we didn't have jo for each other because we didn't see each other often. It doesn't work. I took some candies from here with me. I heard that they were short in sweets in Japan, and they were happy with the candies. They were very happy saying that the gift was the best of all, but nowadays, we don't hear from them at all. The generations are different, they are at their children's generation. One of them came to this country to study for a while, came to study in Canada, and he stayed with us for two days and went home. That was it. We no longer have jo or any other feelings. We just think that there are relatives in Japan. So it is like that, human beings are like that. After all, jo wouldn't grow if you don't associate with each other frequently. My sister was visiting Los Angeles, but see, we had lost frequent contact since we came apart when we were young. I can talk about whatever I want to say with my friends here, so it is like this way. Nowadays, those in Japan don't write to us any longer. At my home, even though I send letters to the home I was born in, we have the three-generation difference. One of them came to this country. He stopped by when he came to Canada. We let him stay with us and took him around in Seattle, but when he went home, a letter, we received a polite letter. That was it. I don't write either. But, the grave is still there. Before Obon and the New Year's day, I sent some money as koden. But, I decided not to send since last year. When it is the generation of grandchildren and great grandchildren, there is nothing between us. They want money, so they would write to us saying this and that, but it is ridiculous, so I don't send anything any more.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TY: Let's go back to the entrance exam to normal school. You failed the physical exam, and after that, to the doctor, you went straight to the doctor instead of going home...

AT: I went straight to his office. When I told him that I couldn't make it, he started saying, "Didn't I tell you so?"

TY: You were liked very much by the doctor, too, right?

AT: Yes, yes, yes. "You can't make it even if you go. You will fail the physical exam. You will probably pass the academic exam, though," he said. "But, don't go, you will fail the physical exam anyway." But, the first exam was in February. After that, all the exams to girls' schools took place in March. "Doctor, but I want to go try," I said, then he said that in that case I could go, but that I would fail the physical exam anyway. So, when I told him that I couldn't make it, he said, "I told you so, what did you think I meant?" Well, I was just a kid, so I said, "Yes, Doctor," and went home. Ever since then, I stopped talking about normal school. I just said that I could just go to girls' school.

TY: And then...

AT: I was thinking about going to normal school because I wanted to be a teacher.

TY: You went to Shintoku Jikka Girls' High School, and...

AT: Then, well, there was a regular school called Yamanaka Girls' High School. And, there, five hours a day, and at Shintoku, it was six hours everyday. The reason was because they had handicraft. Also, they had a good sewing class. They even taught cloth handicraft and paper flowers. In the flower arrangement class, we used fresh flowers. Well, on every Friday afternoon, in the afternoon, they had a class. The ikebana teacher was the same teacher that I had, well, and she was learning from the headmaster. Then when I went, she said to me on the day of the entrance ceremony, "Oh, Miss Nagao, you entered this school?" She knew I became a student there. So I said, "Yes." Then she said to me that there was a flower arrangement class on Fridays so I should stay and join it. So I thanked her. I didn't buy aspidistras for the first flower arrangement class. Everybody started with the aspidistra basket. I bought chrysanthemums. "Oh, Miss Nagao, why didn't you buy aspidistras?" "I have already done it at home." "Oh, is that so?" So I arranged the chrysanthemums that day. I still remember it today. Then I called the teacher, "Teacher, please take a look at my work since I have finished it." In this way, about thirty people stayed and arranged flowers. This [inaudible] teaching for a long time. She said, "Put some here, and it will look even better if you add one stem here." So I said, "Thank you very much," then my friend said, "Hey, come take a look!" and friends started gathering to my work. "Have you arranged flowers?" "Yeah, yeah, it's been about a year and a half to two years." Then they said, "Is that so?" It was fun then. When we worked on flowers, they just bought aspidistras and asked me to make the leaf arrangement, so I said, "It's not good if I arranged the leaves for you. You are learning, so you should do your own!" Then the teacher, Ms. Shinano, a very fun teacher, said, "Miss Terao, you can be a teacher here." [Laughs]

TY: Before then, before you took a class of ikebana, you had been taking classes?

AT: Yeah, I learned at home. But, I had the same teacher when I entered the girls' school, it was the same teacher, see, teachers were lining up at the entrance ceremony, right? When I was sitting on the chair in the front row, she said to me, "Oh, Miss Nagao, you entered this school?" "Yes." "You should join the flower arrangement, we have a class here." "Thank you very much," and [inaudible]. [Laughs] So I started staying in school to join the class. Then everybody, everybody bought aspidistras, right? I bought chrysanthemums. "Oh, Miss Nagao, why didn't you buy aspidistras?" "I have arranged aspidistras at home." "Oh, that's right." So I said, and I arranged chrysanthemums, and the teacher, at first, took aspidistras piece by piece like this. She distinguished them. Then she divided them and talked about it. But, I had already learned it at home before, in this way, I arranged them right by myself, and I arranged them. While she was talking this and that about aspidistras, I finished arranging and started fixing it very seriously by moving a leaf this way and that way. A friend said, "Hey, can you just not watch me, come teach me!" It was good that I had the same teacher. The teacher was Ms. Shinano. She was good. I kept learning the flower arrangement once a week at home on the weekend, and once a week on the weekend at school for a long time. Sometimes, I just went home when I wanted to. When I attended the flower arrangement class, it was six o'clock by the time I got home.

DG: How about others? Did your friends do like you did?

AT: No, women didn't learn. I was home, at home, so I learned there, and when I entered Shintoku, the flower arrangement teacher was the same, and she said that I should join, and a lot of people lived in the dorm, those who took lessons. Not too many regular people were there. There were a lot of those who lived in the dorm.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TY: Was it close to school, the dormitory?

AT: It came with school, within the school building. There was a gym and that was large. A long time ago, we had the Russo-Japanese War, and they bought the building and repaired inside, and then, they put desks and made it into a school.

TY: How was the building used during the Russo-Japanese War?

AT: Wood, there were only pieces of wood. Nowadays they spent some money. Just wooden boards there. It used to be the Eiji Hospital. The Russo-Japanese War, they brought injured soldiers to Hiroshima, but there weren't enough hospitals, so they built this hospital immediately. So they took them, the Russo-Japanese War, into Hiroshima, and everybody, there were so many who were injured then. So they recuperated themselves there. Then, after that, a teacher who was adopted to the family in charge of a temple, and he was devoted to the education for girls, so he bought and repaired the building and installed all the desks, so he did. The teacher was called Mr. Nagai. He was a monk, but he did so because he had fun managing a school rather than being a monk.

TY: Was it the temple of the Jodoshin-shuu?

AT: Who?

TY: The monk, Mr. Nagai.

AT: Yeah, yeah, that's right. Mother and others said that I should go there if the teacher was a monk. Since it was called shintoku [Ed. note: Shintoku means advancing virtue.], and they told me to go to the school called Shintoku Jikka Girls' High School.

DG: So the reason why your mother recommended it was because you were going to do things like this.

AT: She told me to do it? No, not particularly, she never forced me. She said, "If you say you want to learn, then you should go learn it," and let me learn things.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

AT: Then, the flowers, there was a barber whose name was Mr. Tsumura. The barber liked me very much since he didn't have any children. So he said, "Asano, a flower arrangement teacher asked me if she could rent upstairs, and Asano, you should come take lessons since a group of three to four obasan [Ed. note: Aunts. In this case, Mrs. Terao referred the ladies of her mother's age who were not related to her as aunts.] have already signed up." So I said that I was going to ask my mother, and I asked her if it was okay, then she said that I should try if I was learning with other obasan. She said it was okay for me to go, it was only a block away from my house. The barber lived there, and he said that he would release the second floor for the flower arrangement, he said, and there were just a group of obasan. Miss Oki, I had a friend called Miss Oki, so I asked her if she wanted to join us to learn the flower arrangement, I told her that she should go and that it would be fun, so Miss Oki and I were the only children there. All others were obasan. There were about five of them. Of course, it was a good extra income for the teacher.

DG: Why did you want to learn the flower arrangement?

AT: You mean, how did I come to want to learn it? I have told you that there was the barber, Mr. Tsumura. He learned the flower arrangement and arranged flowers in his shop. That looked very nice. I thought, "Oh, how nice the flowers were!" So I told my mother that I wanted to learn the flower arrangement, then she said, "Say, you can go learn since the teacher comes to the Tsumura's." Then, Mr. Tsumura, the barber, came to where young girls lived, three of them, there were three young girls in the neighborhood. This way, 10 sen [Ed. note: Sen, an old Japanese monetary unit, is 1/100 of yen.] to the teacher. We took 10 sen each. It was the extra income for the teacher. Anyway, since my mother said that I could take lessons if it was flower arrangement, [inaudible] we did. 10 sen, 10 sen, we took 10 cents each with us and gave it to her, and we took our own flowers with us. So she taught us, and then I said, "Teacher, please take a look at my work," then she came to look at my work and said, "Why don't you go ahead and arrange in that way?" so I arranged the flowers, and she advised me by telling me like this; "this kind of part, you should take off the twig," or "You should add one more stem since it's a little empty here." So she taught me. When I entered here, in this way, flowers... "Let's see, I can do it," I said. "Don't you have to buy aspidistras?" "I have done aspidistras long time ago, so I don't buy them." But, it was so many decades ago. I was like that... when I was still young. Then my friends said, "Oh, so you have done already." I had the same teacher.

TY: At the girls' school, besides the flower arrangement, did you learn things like the tea ceremony or the Japanese dance?

AT: I started learning the tea ceremony, but I just couldn't sit still. My feet hurt. Also, I was told to take only six steps to walk on the tatami mattress, but I couldn't take six steps. I took about four steps rapidly. So I tried a little. But, I didn't like it. I was fidgeting. But, I learned the basic, the tea ceremony. I have chatted with my friends, yapping that we didn't have to learn tea ceremony and that we could just continue the flower arrangement.

DG: So, Obasan. Were you thinking about what you should do to shape characters then?

AT: No, I wasn't thinking, not back then.

TY: So you just did what you wanted to do.

AT: Yeah, that's right. Well, I mean, the flower arrangement was popular in those days. Ikebana was. Anybody and everybody said, the flower arrangement, the flower arrangement, and they learned it. My mother... there was a poor family called the Tsukudas, and they were so poor that everybody made fun of them. My mother said, "Their daughter, even her, the daughter of the Tsukudas -- what was her name -- but even while she is taking lessons, it does not look good when you can't even arrange flowers, so go learn it." That's how I came to it, and I thought it was so nice to have neatly arranged flowers. I thought it would be very nice to have flowers arranged in the alcove. Then, I told my friends, then Miss Oki said that she also wanted to learn it, so, in this way, four or five more students joined it.

DG: At such time, it was good for families when women learn such things?

AT: Uh-huh, because I was a young girl. Then, again, my friends came and saw the flowers I arranged, and they said, "Oh, that is nice. It is better than having nothing in the alcove." Then, those friends prepared to learn the flower arrangement. Then my teacher's income increased again. In this way, there was a barber, whose name was Mr. Tsumura, but he took care of it very well. He came to my place and told my mom that she should let me learn the flower arrangement, so my mother said, "Oh, sure. I don't know when you have classes, but she sometimes just plays at night without studying, so..." "No, no, it takes place on Friday evenings, so the next morning," we went to school just half a day on Saturdays, "she doesn't have to study too much anyway." So we learned from teacher on Friday evenings. There was a school called Numata High Grade School in my town. They had a supplementary course, and they taught the flower arrangement. We were invited to the Tsumura's for dinner because Mr. Tsumura, the owner of the barber shop, liked doing things like that, so he invited us for dinner at his place, and four to five people... even if it was 10 sen each, if there were five people it would be 50 sen. Back then, 50 sen was a lot of money. Nowadays, 50 sen is nothing though.

TY: What could you buy with 50 sen?

AT: You could buy anything, if you had 50 sen. Anyway, it was 10 sen per class. Nowadays, nobody would teach you for 10 sen. [Laughs] It was so many decades ago. My days, many decades ago from now.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TY: There were classes that students participated in voluntarily such as handicraft, ikebana, and cooking at Shintoku Jikka Girls' High School, weren't there? That was also...

AT: Cooking was a regular course.

TY: Oh, it was a regular course?

AT: A regular course. It was a regular course after school.

TY: Oh, I see. That was because they focused on raising the good wives and wise mothers at the girls' school, wasn't it?

AT: Yes, that's right.

TY: So back then, after graduating from girls' school, everybody, their goal was to get married after all, wasn't it?

AT: Yes, they would get married, right. If we were asked to sew at home, we sewed. In my town, there was a big kimono material and goods store called the Oshimo. The lady there liked me very much. After I graduated from school, she asked me what I was doing, so I said, "Oh, I am just sewing various things." Then she asked me if I could sew items to sell at her store. I said, "But, I can't receive money for what I do yet." "I'll pay you if it turns out nice, and I won't pay you if it doesn't turn out nice. Why don't you start for us?" At that time, I didn't know what to do. For the brides, when they had daughters married, they bought kimono from that kind of places -- everybody -- they would order one from the kimono materials and goods store, right? When she told me about that, I said, "No, Obachan, I can't do it. I can't make kimono that well," but she told me that I should give it a try regardless of the result since I had learned the basics. So I said that maybe I could try just once, and I tried. Then she liked it. I sewed it by hand. It was a layered one. Since my teacher taught me to wear two layers and lay one upon the other, and to sew little by little while holding them together, so I sewed it that way, then they told me that a customer was very happy with it. It was a tailor store called the Oshimo. The customer was happy. The store lady's name was Ms. Onao. Although she was the daughter of the family, she was adopted, an adopted daughter. She repeated that it would be nice if I could sew for their store. My mother, she said this and that to me, explaining that Ms. Onao asked me to sew their items. She said, "Why don't you sew for them? You are just playing at home and that doesn't take you anywhere," so I thought, "Maybe it is good for me," so "All right, why don't I," -- well, in English, it is the word 'try' -- "try?" I said. And, that was a one, two, a two-layered, and the customer liked it very much.

TY: So you got money.

AT: Yes, then they paid me all at once.

TY: I see.

AT: This way, I had allowance, right? Then I started wanting more and I didn't have to get from my mother any more.

TY: That's when you were in the girls' school.

AT: No, after I graduated.

TY: Oh, after you graduated.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

DG: This is a little bit different subject, but then, when you were young, did you know about the United States?

AT: Oh, I didn't know, I didn't know. Well, brother, not brother, I mean, my uncle used to come to the U.S.

TY: Was that your maternal uncle?

AT: Yeah, it was my maternal uncle. He came here. When he came back to Japan, he gave me money, some candies from here, and he returned sometimes. I thought a place called Amerika was such a nice place. Whenever he returned, my uncle, that uncle gave me things whenever he returned. And, at Obon and other seasonal festivals, he sent me money to add to my allowance since my father died early, he said that I would be needing money while going to school, so I thought there would be money found everywhere on the road in the place called Amerika.

TY: Were there a lot of people whose relatives immigrated to the U.S. around you?

AT: No, there weren't too many.

TY: There were many from Hiroshima itself though.

AT: Right, Hiroshima itself had a lot of them. Around me... nobody. There wasn't any. But, the family of Terao did, the younger generations had already been to the U.S. He came to study but he couldn't study as he wished, so he started working.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TY: At the time you went to girls' school, the westernization had been advanced and you went to school in hakama [Ed. note: in this case, a pleated long skirt], didn't you?

AT: What?

TY: Hakama, in hakama and shoes, you commuted to school. Not like zori or geta, weren't they regular shoes?

AT: No, some people wore shoes. There were people who commuted in geta then. Not everybody wore shoes. But, we all wore shoes during exercise and activities.

TY: When?

AT: During exercise and activities. In such occasions, we all wore shoes. Some of them, they said that they forgot to bring shoes, so they participated in the activities with the slippers on. [Laughs] When they said, "Teacher, today, I am not participating for such and such reason," then the teacher replied, "Oh, no, you should participate, never mind your shoes." So those participated with geta on. Then, those who lived in the dorm said, "My shoes might be a little too big for you, but why don't you try them on?" and those who lived in the dorm let us use their shoes. At that time, we were a lot closer than nowadays. With the people in the dorm. But, they would ask us a favor instead. They said, "Well, I feel bad to ask, but there is a candy store that sells bean-jam buns, so can you stop by quickly? I want to eat the buns, so can you go buy them for me?" I thought about the one on the third block, the third block in Otemachi, but I couldn't get there by train. I had to get off the train and walk. Then, I said all right, and I looked here and there and jumped into the store when nobody was looking, and I said, "Excuse me, but I want some of the round buns with bean-jam and some of those skinny long ones," then she wrapped them up quickly. I thanked her. The misesu [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao referred to married women as misesu.] there, she was young. She was a beautiful misesu. Then, "These, since you buy from us all the time," she said, "I am going to put extra ones, so please help yourself," and she would put extra pieces. Whenever I troubled myself to stop by to buy buns there, I couldn't take trains. I had to get off and walk. Promptly. Yeah, I walked! Because I walked there, the boss of the store gave me extra pieces as their appreciation. Back then, now I think about it, was the best time after all.

TY: Say, was it prohibited since you entered the store quickly? To buy bean-jam buns and other sweet-buns...

AT: Overall, it was prohibited. We were prohibited to do so, but they overlooked it. [Laughs]

TY: That means that you couldn't stop anywhere on the way, on the way from school, right?

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TY: Those students who lived in the dorm, they were from other cities, and they lived in the dormitory at school, didn't they?

AT: It would have been too far if they commuted. That's why they were in the dorm. There were three at school who came from Yamaguchi Prefecture.

TY: Is that so? Those people, their families must have been pretty well off. They had them stay at the dormitory.

AT: Uh-huh, well, their parents came over in the beginning of the month, paid money to church, no, to school, for food and others, left allowance, and went home. But, we commuted from home, so I said, "Mom, I need money, I need money for tuition." Then, she told me to take the bankbook and our signature stamp, and to go to the bank and withdraw so and so much, and my obi, we fastened 3 feet, and they would roll the money in it. She told me that I shouldn't get distracted because I was old enough and that I should go straight to the bank, so I replied yes. When I arrived at the bank, they could tell by looking at my face. They told me to come inside, told me from the window to come inside, and they let me come to a room in the back. Then, they opened here, and the money was rolled inside of obi, and they took out the money this way. They put back the change into the obi again, and they inserted money. When we went to withdraw money, money was when mother came home, mother could not go by herself, after all. When I went, she told me to take it, then I took it to the bank, then I told them how much I needed for this and for that, right? Then I went into the back, they told me to come inside, and they let me enter from the door, and I was wearing obi like this, right? Then, from this part of obi, here, I was wearing kimono overlapping here, right? This way, in the part of kimono, in the inside, they put an envelope inside, and did like this, and they said to me, "Don't play on the way home. Be sure to go straight back to your mother, and give her the money." "Yes," I said. In this way, I went places on errands.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TY: You have mentioned that you respected your teacher at the girls' school.

AT: Yeah. Well, she was a very good teacher, her name was Ms. Kobayashi. She lost her father early like I did. She liked me very much. She stayed at my house one night, she spent night. My mother had told Ms. Kobayashi that the scenery from the back of our house was beautiful, and she came. My mother had said that I should show her the scenery from the back of the house, so I told her so, then she said, "Oh, is that so? I may come visit you, then." I came home with the teacher on a Saturday noon, then she stayed over night, then she went back to the dorm on Sunday, she went back there since they lived in the dorm. Ms. Kobayashi, she was a good teacher. She remained single... she graduated from a girls' occupational school in Tokyo and she had been a teacher since. She said that she was from Ibaraki Prefecture. At first, she was talking with the northern accent, so we said, "Teacher, we don't understand you. Teacher, we don't understand you!" [Laughs] So she spoke, but she liked me very much. After all, when you behave yourself, trust, trust and rely on teachers, teachers would come to take care of you. That's what I think. When the teacher stayed with us, my mom suggested that she should sleep upstairs, so mother had her stay on the second floor. On the second floor, there was a cluster of trees in the backyard. They might be still there. We could see a vast stretch of scenery without obstacles. Once in a while, the Keiben Railroad passed by. It was a very nice place. Then, the teacher said, "This is such a nice place, Miss Nagao," and said that she was very impressed. She went home, and my mom said that she should stay with us again if she liked it so much. She thanked us for the invitation and came over one more time sometime later. I slept in the same room with the teacher... we slept on the second floor, and we didn't close the door, the door, for a long time, and we looked out of the open glass-fitted sliding door. I said, "Teacher, this is nice. Please look outside. This, please look at the direction of the mountains, like Shiji, the Mount Shiji. Tonight, they lit the fire there." She said, "Oh, is that right? That is very nice." I am sure those who live in the town like the scenery from the countryside. She was happy as she went home. Ms. Kobayashi was from Ibaraki.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TY: Even back then, there were many buildings lined up in the town?

AT: Yes, far over that way, there were many in the town called Gion. Then, the next was a place called Nagatsuka. The next was Misasa-machi. Then, it was Yokogawa. Then it was was the Mushichi City, I think. Beyond that, there were girls' schools. The Keiben Railroad was available, too. A long time ago, when the Keiben Railroad wasn't there, we had to walk to Yokogawa to catch a train, so we used to walk. It was a good timing, it happened sometime before the year, the year we entered the girls' school. The Keiben Railroad was completed. At that time, there wasn't anything else but students. We would be jam-packed in the train. Also, boys from Narita did nothing but mischief. They did such bad things like breaking flower stems.

TY: You said before that you put tapes on the bottom of hakama to distinguish your school from other girls' schools, right?

AT: Yeah. Back then, Yamakawa Girls' School had black tapes, about this size, all the way around at the bottom of hakama. Two inches, about 2 and a half inches, I think. About this much, maybe it wasn't as high as 3 inches from the rim. Shintoku had yellowish brown ones. We went to the school called Shintoku.

TY: So hakama was the same color.

AT: No. The colors of hakama varied, but overall we wore the same color. So the principal said this. He said, "I was thinking about the color of hakama, and I was wondering what kind of tapes would be good, but this tape should go with any colors." The color, not brown or yellow, sort of the color in between, became the mark of Shintoku Jikka Girls' High School.

TY: Was it like golden yellow?

AT: Yes, I see. Probably the color like that.

TY: Like a mustard color.

AT: Yes, so it goes with anything. Yamanaka had black. They put black tape called something.

TY: A little while ago, you said that there were many students riding on the electric train or railroad. At that time, the romance between students, or the one-sided love and that kind of...

AT: No, no. We didn't have that sort of things in our head yet. Those mischievous ones did bad things. We, we were carrying flowers, and they would break the stems. When we came home, the cores were gone. The stems were broken. If I said, "Last time, the tip of the flowers were broken when I got home." "No, I don't know anything about that!" They did such mischief. Almost, four, four, between four and four twenty-five, five o'clock, there was nobody but students. After a little passed five, those who worked at the city hall. Then, there were just students. Really, there were very few of those who went shopping during the time and got on the train on the way. But, schools taught us to offer the seats in that case, so male students would stand up right away and told them to have seats. Those old folks said, "Thank you very much," and were very happy, and they took the seats. Almost all were students. Even if they said that it was full and no more passengers were allowed, we would say, "No, we can just hang onto the side of the train and go home," and we forced to cram into the train. We got on at a place called Yokogawa. [Laughs] Then, the conductor got mad. He said we wouldn't listen to what he said. [Laughs] It was funny. It was already intercepted so that the side doors wouldn't open. Then, they would just jump over it, then it had no brake. Everybody had tickets. They would rip the tickets and drop them on the floor. Then, they acted like nothing happened. They did that kind of things but told us not to push them. When I got on, they wouldn't. In this way, even boys, they were mean back then. But, they were also kind sometimes. When girls got on, they would let girls get on first, after all. Even us, when we were slow, they waited for a while. They said, "Come on! Come here, over here!" [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao said this quote in English.] like this. So I said, "Thank you," and stood there. When people were standing, some were standing there slowly, some were standing by pushing...

TY: Was it in the U.S.?

AT: No, in Japan. We did that on the way to school. It was fun. Now I think back, such time was the most glorious time.

TY: About the age sixteen, seventeen, right?

AT: Six, seven, eighteen. How old was I? About twenty, when I graduated. I went for three years. It wouldn't help if I just stayed home, would it? I said, "Mother, I want to attend a research meeting." My mother said, "You've had enough." And, there was a kimono material and goods store called the Oshimo. That place, brides chose, when mothers had their daughters married, they shopped and ordered a lot of things to be tailored. But, the store didn't have anybody to sew. I had left school, just being lazy and bored at home... that was close to us, the store. It was just like less than half a block. The lady came from the store and said, "Asano, if you are just playing, I wish you could sew just one kimono for us." My mother also said, "Well, I think it would be fine, but I don't know until I ask her. She does nothing but to play anyway." But, I would sew kimono right away if they were for us or for our relatives to wear. But I said, I told my mother that I didn't really want to sew something they had asked me to. She asked what was with me. Well, the feet...


<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TY: Could you talk about your mother? Like what kind of person she was...

AT: My mother. Well, say, on the one hand, she was very kind. On the other hand, she was very strict. She was very good mother, but when she was strict, she was a strange mother. [Laughs] I used to think that she scolded me a lot. [Laughs] But, that was... as I grew older, she was saying it for my sake, so she was not a bad mom at all. She was a good mom. But, when I said something that she wouldn't like, she said, "No! I don't know!" it was like that. I flew at my mother. Then mother was, I came to understand later that she had tears welled up in her eyes in the back. I stopped doing that since I heard about it. I think, in that way, she didn't scold me too much and she reproved me. And then... now little by little, I came not to be resistant to my mother. About anything. Since my father died early, almost anything I asked my mother that I wanted her to do this and do that, she didn't say "no" most of the time. Most of the time it was all right. I had a friend whose name was Miss Oki. At her home, both parents were there, and they engaged in farming. She said, "Miss Nagao's mother is very nice. She always agrees to whatever you say. At home, my father and mother both oppose me for everything," so she said. I really didn't feel it in my head back then. When I started going to girls' school after graduating from grade school, I started remembering, "Oh, after all, girl... because I didn't have a father, she allowed me and tried to let my opinions go through anything, and maybe that's why she said 'all right, all right' to everything." I didn't understand it when I was younger. It was like that. I used to say good things about others, too. I said, "How lucky, Miss Oki has both father and mother. Nice, isn't it?" Then my mother would face the other way, with tears welled up in her eyes. At that time, I didn't understand it. I said it two, three times. My mother... I thought, "Oh, mother, she must have thought what I had said was sorrowful." Later on, two to three years later, I said, "Mother, when I went so and so, this way, mother, you handled it in this way." "Oh, I was feeling so bad. I didn't want you to see my tears. So I looked away this way clearly and I did so," she said. At that time, I thought, "How gracious parental love is." It happened two years before that. I came to feel this way two years later. So, "Oh, parents are parents after all. We grow up selfish, so we don't understand the parental love." I even didn't understand the love of my grandparents, but I came to understand as I gained years in my life.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

AT: Oh, what a good mother she was. She hardly ever said no. When I said, "Mother, please do this. I want to do things in this way." She said it was all right. She let me do it. She said it was okay and let me go wherever I wanted to go visit as long as it was okay with my friends. Back then, my friends asked me if I wanted to go to Kyushu, as there was something in Hakata. She asked me if I wanted to go. I wanted to go because I had never been to Kyushu. "Mother, for such and such reasons, Miss Oki asked me if I wanted to go to Kyushu." "Just two of you?" my mother said. "No, Miss Oki's older sister is going, too, and they invited me if I wanted to come with them." "It is all right for you to go with them if Miss Oki's sister is going." So, I got permission and I went to Kyushu. How old was I? Back then, I was like sixteen or seventeen years old.

TY: Sixteen to seventeen. So, they let just girls go together.

AT: In this way, she took us to Kyushu. The teacher took us there, my friend invited her, and the teacher showed us around. So we visited, we went toward Kagoshima. And, where was it? It wasn't Kagoshima, Kyushu...Miya, Miyazaki, isn't there Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu? Then, when we saw it in the car, in the rice field, something was gushing out. I said, "Teacher, what is that?" Then she told us that there was a hot spring underneath. It was, well, water that was gushing out in the rice field. We said, "That's unusual." My friend and I, two of us, said, "Wow, it is good enough already by just coming here, by just seeing water gushing out in the middle of the rice field. We went home talking like that. This kind of, well, experience I had. When I went to Kyushu, water was gushing out in the rice field. I told friends that there seemed to be a hot spring underneath, then, "Wow, you guys did interesting thing," our friends were jealous.

TY: By gushing water, you mean steam was coming up?

AT: No, say, probably that was steam. In the rice field, like this, it was gushing out like this. Not everywhere. Just this one part. The teacher said that we took a car on the road instead of taking a train because she wanted to show it to us.

TY: Was it a school excursion?

AT: No.

TY: An individual trip.

AT: Because it was an individual trip, the teacher was good. We said, "Teacher, we have never been to Kyushu yet, please show us around in Kyushu someday," then, she went by herself in advance, saying that she wouldn't be able to take us there unless she saw things well. She was a good teacher. Then, she would take about three students. The teacher drove, that way. She had already paid lodging expenses and all in advance.

DG: Did she have a car, the teacher? Did she have one?

AT: Yes, she did. Well, she rented one over there. She rented it because she could drive. At first, we were worried, so we asked, "Teacher, can you drive?" "Yes, of course I can." We asked her many times. "Don't worry," she said. [Laughs] Then, we went there by car, then now we had to walk. The contract was to take the car up there. So, we left the car there, and if there was a chance, they were to drive us back to the place we rented. That kind of place it was. And then, now we walked or took trains. Then, we took an electric train, and we arrived in Kagoshima.

DG: Was it your first trip?

AT: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was my first trip. Then, "Wow, Kagoshima is such a wonderful place." Then we climbed some mountains. It was called something, a mountain in Kagoshima, I forgot. I forgot. We climbed there. There were such beautiful places. At that time, I was still fifteen or sixteen, so I didn't feel too much, but I thought, "Wow, great. Kagoshima is a great place." Then, we heard a little about the place in Kagoshima where an honored monk used to live. But I don't recall much about it.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

DG: Back then, didn't you have grade school excursions?

AT: We did, we did. I went because my friends invited me to go during the break, and I was rushed into it by my friends.

TY: The trip to Kyushu.

AT: Because I had good friends. Also, my friend's sister, in the girls' school, I think she was already in her fourth year then. Because it wouldn't have been fun at all if she'd gone by herself, she invited her sister and us, and she took us there. It was great. Usually, about a group of four people. When her sister took us, we had the sister to handle all the payments, and I paid her afterwards. And, if teacher came, if teacher took us, each of us gave money to the teacher one by one later. We did it this way. So, relatively, it was easier to depend on the teacher. It was good because she adored us. It was also good that the teacher was single. It wouldn't have been that way if she had been married.

DG: That was Ms. Kobayashi?

AT: No, it wasn't Ms. Kobayashi then. Who, the teacher was one who came after Ms. Kobayashi. She only stayed just for a short, short while. What was the teacher's name? I can't recall her name. Ms. Kobayashi was a very good teacher. She was around thirty, thirty-one. She wasn't married. She said that she wanted to devote herself in the education for girls. She was from Miyazaki Prefecture, Miyazaki Prefecture. She spoke the northern dialect. At first, we repeated many times, "Teacher, we don't understand you. Teacher, we don't understand you!" [Laughs] We understood, although we only understood half of what she was saying.

TY: From the northern area.

AT: We used to say things like that. And, at the end, it was fixed completely. Then, she started saying gansu, our dialect word, at the end of the sentences, and we said, "Teacher, it is embarrassing if you say gansu too much!" [Laughs]

TY: Gansu is Hiroshima...

AT: In Hiroshima, the grandmas from the countryside often said, "this-gansu, that-gansu," so we were laughing about that. When I remember the things from back then, it makes me laugh, and I sometimes think it is nostalgic. After all, being a high school student was great. I had a great time during the three years in high school.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TY: Did you write to each other for a long time with your friends and teachers later on?

AT: Oh, I did with my friends, but, today, they all have passed away. Everybody. Some were killed in the atomic bomb. One of them was killed by the atomic bomb while she was teaching at school. I was very close friends with her.

TY: Was it Ms. Kobayashi?

AT: Huh?

TY: Ms. Kobayashi?

AT: No, it wasn't Ms. Kobayashi. It was a teacher from another school. She was married, married, and she was told by her parents to quit, but she didn't even have a child, so she said that she would use her experience in teaching instead of playing at home, so she was teaching the third or fourth graders in a grade school. Then, she sent me a letter saying that she felt younger when she stayed with children everyday. So I thought she was doing a good job, but she died young. Today, I don't have any friends. Only I am remaining alone among friends. Sometimes I think that I should visit the graves, so I want to go to Japan. I also think it will be great if I could visit my family's graves and my friends' graves. But, I really don't have a chance to go to Japan any more. My children tell me that they won't let me go alone. They say that someone has to go with me. Well, even if I go to Japan, I don't have my parents or siblings. After all, well, we call them relatives, but they are like strangers... We don't associate with each other, whatsoever. I don't feel close to any of them. When I think about such things, even my children ask me, "Where are you going to stay, Grandma, supposed if you went?" I say, "Where to stay? I can just stay with the main family." But, I don't know them, so, my children, even if I say that I am going, they don't really say that I should go... They say that I should go when they go. I don't know when I go. It is like that.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

DG: Until when was your mother around?

AT: Let's see, when did my mom die. At age eighty-eight.

DG: Eighty-eight, a long life.

AT: She lived long, didn't she? Instead, my father died relatively early, right? He died at age forty-two, at an unlucky age of men. So my mother went through hardships to raise us. And also, when you have girls, you receive offers of marriage from here and there. Then, my mother really didn't want to send us to strange families or we didn't want to go. Besides, parents would be worried to send their daughters if the other side wasn't capable. Then, Terao [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao referred her husband as Terao.] came back from the U.S., and he said that he wanted a wife. There was a grandma [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao called her obaachan (grandma in Japanese), but the lady was not her actual grandmother.] in the relatives of the Teraos. The grandma's relative was also related to our family. Sister, my mother's sister was married to the grandma's relative, so in this way, she came to my house once in a while. The grandma always said that when I got married, she would arrange the marriage. Then, Terao came back to Japan from here. The grandma said that there was a good girl, so she would arrange the marriage, and she arranged the marriage. Since it's the grandma, I was not worried. She used to be a maid at a palace, so she was very, very strict about manners. See, she came and complained about everything and anything I did, like, "Don't sit like that," or "Don't walk like that!" I always said that I didn't like Grandma Kobata coming over. [Laughs]

TY: You had been acquainted with the grandma since you were little, right?

AT: Oh, well, my mother's sister, she married into the family that was related to the grandma. Then, she must have felt like I was the child she should take care of since there were no children in her family. She came over all the time. She had some land farmed, so she said that some lettuce was grown, apples were ripe, pears were ripe, and so on, she had them in her yard. She had someone pick them. She put six or seven of them in a sack and brought them over saying that they were for us to eat and to offer before the Buddhist altar. So she came, but she just wanted to complain about me. [Laughs]

TY: But, she liked you very much, right?

AT: She liked me very much. She would say that the way I walked was bad and so on. Well, she used to be a maid at a palace, she was sent to be a maid at a palace to learn manners, and I told my mother that I hated when she came over.

TY: But, your mother must have been happy.

AT: Yes, I said so, but when I said to my mother, "I hate it when she comes over. That grandma only complains about me!" then she sighed and said nothing. She said, "Because she is a grandma, she complains, so you should listen to her without being upset." I don't know who heard it, but it reached the grandma's ears. [Laughs] The grandma complained whenever she came over, and she said, "Oh, Asano-san, I am sure you hate it, but when you get married and have children, someday you'll think that I was a good grandma. I come over and complain because I am looking forward to the day." She was a very good grandma. As I said before, she used to be a maid at a palace, and when she talked about manners [inaudible] when it was out, oh, she did not like that! Oh, she was such a precise person.

TY: That must have been because she was trained when she was young.

AT: She was trained. She did the same thing with me since she didn't have a daughter, so she came and complained about everything. But, me, I came to appreciate it later on.

TY: Just as the grandma said.

AT: Just as the grandma said. And, mother, when mother said something, I said, "Mom, you are complaining again." I didn't listen to what my mother said. I listened if the grandma told me. Isn't it funny? But, now I think about it, I think that my mother didn't complain too much because my father passed away early. I think that is why she didn't complain so much.

TY: Well, since the grandma was so strict about manners, she must have been happy when you started things like the flower arrangement and the tea ceremony.

AT: Happy, yeah, she was happy. I arranged flowers and put them in the alcove. As soon as she came over, she did like this to Buddha. The first thing she did. She greeted him. Then, she would look at the flowers in the alcove next to the Buddha's altar. "Today's flowers, they are fresh flowers and alive." Sometimes when flowers became like this, she said, "What's wrong with the flowers. They are dead. You shouldn't put such flowers in the alcove." My mother said, "Grandma complained again." [Laughs] The grandma had too much time to spare. I was the only young girl among her relatives. She just wanted to come and complain. She used to be a maid at a palace, and she wanted me to do exactly what she had gone through then. But, even if she came with the intention to train me, there was no way I would do it. Because she was a maid at a palace, about everything, like, "When you walk, take this certain numbers of steps." Or "Do it this way," who could do such things? One tatami mattress, I was supposed to take four to five steps, but I just strode in one big step. [Laughs] She was a good grandma. She was related to the Teraos. She also became related to my family because my mother's sister went into the family, so we became relatives. The grandma said that she was going to arrange the marriage to the Teraos, and so she did.

TY: So the grandma arranged the marriage. After you met Mr. Terao, your husband, how long did it take to marry him?

AT: Well, it didn't take that long, it didn't take more than two months.

TY: Two months. Two months after the first arranged meeting.

AT: And having fun... Because he was in the U.S., all over, he said, "Let's have fun. Let's go to some places," and he took me to places. With the grandma, three of us. We went to see here and there, and then, there is Hakata in Kyushu, right? The bronze statue of Mr. Saigo, you know the big one, I wanted to see it. When I told him so, he said, "Then, we should go see it by way of a visit," and we went with the grandma, and we saw it. It was nice.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TY: Before the arranged meeting, you heard various things about your husband, about Mr. Terao, from the grandma, didn't you? Before you had the arranged meeting, you saw the pictures, too.

AT: Yes, that's right.

TY: What kind of things did you hear?

AT: Um, nothing particularly, the family lineage of the Teraos. She also said that he was the fifth boy, and he was not the main family heir. So she said that he was free to live anywhere. The grandma said to my mother that if we wanted him to be yoshi, they said that he could be yoshi. But, my mother had suffered from yoshi herself, so she said she did not want yoshi.

TY: Your mother.

AT: We had our uncle's son to take our name to continue the family name. She suffered from her own yoshi experience, so she said that she would never have me adopted. I think it was better this way. The name is still continuing today. The name Nagao is. She made a mistake, so she was careful not to do the same thing again. But, well, as long as we just took the name, we could succeed the property of the Nagao forever. We say that it is just fine.

TY: About the main family successor, back then, the oldest son...

AT: The oldest son only, it was the oldest son.

TY: The oldest son only. But, why was that?

AT: Usually, it was the oldest son. Well, it is the branch family after the second boy. When considering the monetary estate, "We give you so much land, we give you so many guns, so many mountains," this way, they divided and received the property, and broke into branch families. But, the money, if there were many families, many people, if there were many brothers, the property of the main family would be gone. "Give that one a quarter acre, give this one a quarter acre, give mountains to this and to that." The Terao brothers, how many were there? The main family brother, Brother Kubo, Sakuyama, and him... there were five boys. For this, the main family... Well, it was fine. If they divided the fortune to the other four, they said that however much fortune they had, the main family would run down. So, those who came to the U.S. said that they could manage to make a living without receiving the fortune, and they didn't get any. To the family called Kubo, the second oldest brother, there was a young girl in the relatives called Kubo, and he went into the family as a yoshi. They didn't have to give him a share of the fortune, so he went into the family when he was asked to be yoshi. That brother, he was different. He was very stable and kept manners, and so I said, "I get headache when I visit Brother Kubo," and I came home. [Laughs] He was polite. When I bowed and looked up, his head was still down, so I stooped myself like this again. [Laughs] There are such people, those who are way too polite. I don't know now. Well, he was so polite that it was excessive, the brother. Instead, he never made mistakes. The neighbors used to say, "Oh, the master of the Kubo is so polite, so polite." Since he was called master, master, I said, "Oniisan, it is this and that way," then he said, "Oh, all right. Then, well, we should do that way." Brother, he was very gentle. Since he went into the relative Kubos from the Teraos through yoshi arrangement, he became Kubo. The wife was, she was a very good wife. She would say yes, yes, yes, yes to whatever her husband said. So, even though he was a yoshi to the family, it didn't look like he was a yoshi. Yes, so...

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

DG: When you met Mr. Terao, what did you think of him?

AT: At that time, nothing really. It was just that I served tea, and we talked, but since he was in the U.S., he wasn't modest like Japanese. He said anything frankly. And, I was speaking frankly with others at school, so I spoke frankly. The grandma explained the situation to my mother. She said, "Well, if she likes him, you don't have to ask his family lineage since it's the Teraos," and the match was made immediately.

DG: Well, young people back then, did they think about nice physique?

AT: Yeah, well, I thought that I didn't like short men. That was because my friend, well, she'd been married three months before. Her husband looked very handsome, but his height was only five feet and three inches, he wasn't so taller than his wife. I didn't like a man like that. [Laughs] It wouldn't work for me. When I looked at that, then, my husband was five feet and seven inches. He was tall. He also had a good construction. Then, my mother, too... his name was Shizuto. She said if it was Shizuto, since he was tall and well constructed, he wouldn't be pushed around anywhere he would go. So she said and we talked. Smoothly, my mother, with the grandma, arranged the marriage.

TY: Your mother and the grandma liked him, too.

AT: Yeah, she liked him, the grandma...

DG: If you didn't like him, was it okay if you opposed it?

AT: Of course it was okay. That was okay.

DG: Could you have?

AT: Yeah, I could have. But, since the related grandma made the arrangement, I couldn't do anything so unreasonable. But, the related grandma who arranged the marriage was, as I said before, a maid at a palace, so she was very strict. So my mother said that because it was her who arranged the marriage. Well, Kobata, the family was called Kobata. Kobata, it's a nickname since she was from the Kobatas. She said, "Grandma Kobata, she said it was okay and he is nice, so don't think that you should research his background by yourself. He said he wanted to marry you, if he said so, that's fine. I am saying no more yoshi, so go marry him." Since my mother said so, I said, "Yes, I am going to do as you say, Mother."

TY: In that case, if he was to be a yoshi, then you wouldn't have come to the U.S., and would have remained in Hiroshima, right?

AT: No, no. Even if he became a yoshi, what of the person, he just needed to go to the prefectural office and change it, the name. Just change it, and they would give him this paper work. If he wrote that he lived in the U.S. and was going to go over again, then he could come over.

TY: Is that so, but when yoshi, the yoshi, was made to a family with one daughter, was it okay if you still moved away from home?

AT: Yes, that's right. But, my mother had a hard time as a yoshi, so she said she didn't want any more yoshi.

TY: So she had you married.

AT: She said she would have me married. Just no more yoshi. A husband was yoshi, and he spent a lot of money. Well, a long time ago, you could withdraw money by stamping the signature stamps when you went to the bank. Then we saw it when we aired it. When we opened to see the bankbook, it was a lot. Twenty yen at that time was big. A long time ago. Ten yen was withdrawn, 20 yen was withdrawn, and we never withdrew, my mother never went to withdraw, but you can withdraw by stamping the stamp, so it was withdrawn. At that time -- the family of the yoshi were farmers and had a big farm -- he was back home to help. At that time, when we aired the bookshelf, the money was withdrawn, so we thought that we should tell him when he returned, and Mr. Takemoto, well, he was my relative on the Nagao side. He was my guardian. We called in Uncle Takemoto and explained that such and such things happened, and we showed the bankbook of the bank, and we had the uncle negotiate with him, that we didn't want him back again. We wouldn't let him back home. He apologized humbly and said that he wanted to come back, but we absolutely did not want him back.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

DG: What did you do to prepare for your wedding? Your...

TY: Did you sew your own kimono?

AT: Yeah, I sewed my own kimono. That, the crested kimono and all.

TY: How long did it take for you?

AT: Say, I don't remember. There was a big kimono material and goods store called the Oshimo, there, "Asano, it doesn't help when you just play around." There was a kimono material and goods store called the 0shimo, and they prepared the wedding preparation. They asked me if I could sew for them, and they said, "For spending money, it doesn't help when you just play around, so you should work for your spending money." I thought I should try and sew one piece, and the patterns at the bottom was in fashion, so I sewed one with the patterns at the bottom, then they liked it. The patterns matched. It was like that, and someone who ordered said, "Oh, how nice it is as it is sewed so beautifully. I appreciate it," and she thanked the Oshimo kimono material and goods store a great deal. There was an oldest daughter whose name was Onao-san. She took a yoshi, and she inherited the store. This time, she came in person and said, "Ms. Asano, for such and such reason, please sew for us, please sew for us." I said, "I don't sew well, so I don't like it." She said, "No, no, when you sewed last time," the bottom pattern was in fashion, "the patterns were matching neatly. The customer was very happy, and she came to thank us. So please sew for us." "Well, because I play, I just play, I don't have spending money." Then, my mother, when I told my mother, she said, "Yeah, it doesn't do anything if you just play, in the middle room, in the middle room, what, the stand has already been set up, so why don't you go there and sew kimono for them?" So I said, "Well, then why don't I give it a try?" Then they liked it. In this way, whenever there was a wedding, let's see, I usually got one to two extra pieces. The store was called the Oshimo. The lady called Onao-san was running it. She was the oldest girl, but she didn't marry into other family. She inherited and managed the main family business. When I said, "Onao-san, why do you bring this many? I can't do this many," then she said, "Well, please work on them all night if you have to. If the bottom patterns don't match, there is nothing more embarrassing than that." Then, my mother said, "Since she is asking you, why don't you do it for them? It'll be fine." For a while, until I married Terao, I ended up sewing kimono. When I bought mine, at the store called the Oshimo, there was a lady called Onao-san. She said, "Yes, if it was for you, buy this and do that. Instead, I will give you a discount." She brought out the items of the best quality. So she came in this way. To the Teraos, I wore that at the wedding. I went. Then here, there was something, there was something for some occasions here, and I wore it. Then everybody said, "Oh, this is a nice pattern, very nice." So I said, "I sewed it," then they said, "Oh, is that right?"

TY: So you brought it to the U.S.?

AT: I brought it over here. I brought it over, but I asked my friend to take it back to Japan. I didn't have a chance to wear it. I wore it at a Buddhist ceremony because somebody said that we all should wear kimono together. I had it sent over for the occasion. Then, my friends, the kimono was black after all. Then they said, "Hey, you have a really nice patterns." When I said, "Yeah, it went such and such way at the wedding," they said, "Oh, is that so? Then, it is a remembrance." Then, I had it at home, but I didn't have a chance, a chance to wear it. It became a bother, so when somebody went to Japan, I asked the person to take it back. I told her that she could just donate it to anywhere. I said that I didn't have a chance to wear it here. So I said, then my younger sister said, "If it is from my sister, I want to keep it." So I gave it to her. My sister, she passed away. Sometime ago. So, me, I don't have siblings any more. I also had two half brothers. The second boy -he was still small- was in my family register. His name was entered in the family register, and I had my name entered in the Teraos. My mother said that she would never make us yoshi. It happened in that way. I did more, but it wasn't worth it. They spent it all. They all passed away.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TY: Well, things like the betrothal gifts, you practiced the betrothal gifts, didn't you? Well, could you explain a little bit about the betrothal gifts?

AT: The betrothal gift was money. Money. I don't know how much there was in the envelope, I don't know. The go-betweens brought it over as the betrothal gift. This time, our side took it back as a souvenir and returned it. Same thing. It was just that we saw the money. Just in the envelope, that, the one with noshi on. With that. We gave it all back to the go-between of the arrangement, and the go-between took it back. We just returned what we received.

TY: How did your husband prepare it while he was back temporarily from the U.S.? He just exchanged the U.S. money into Japanese yen?

AT: He exchanged money. Yes, that's right. In Japan, all the money was Japanese money, except for American money. So we did, and the go-between, she was related to my family and also to the Teraos. She was a relative, and the Terao was the main family. The new branch family was related to the grandma. She said that she would arrange the marriage since there was a young girl she knew, me, to the main family Terao, from here, since he came back from the U.S., and that's how she arranged my marriage.

TY: That's Grandma Kobata, right?

AT: The grandma, she used to be a maid at a palace long time ago, so she was strict with manners. She said, "Oh, what is it, what are you doing, taking five steps to walk on the tatami, taking five steps?" She said that it looked inappropriate. When she came over, when I noticed, "Oh, the grandma is here again?" I went through the kitchen secretly, climbed up the ladder, and hid myself on the second floor. They said that they were wondering why it was taking so long. [Laughs] So, my mother said, "Go greet her. The grandma is so, so worried." [Laughs]

TY: Could you tell me about your wedding?

AT: Wedding. I don't remember wedding too much. Well, let's see, we all went to the new house. There lived the main family of Terao, and here, it was like a block away, there lived the new branch family. My grade school friend was married into the new family. There was a relationship like that... we changed kimono to go to the wedding. I couldn't wear kimono from a mile and a half away even if I had taken a car, so I wore a regular kimono and went to the new house, and then I went to the house of the main family.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TY: Could you tell me the life of your husband in the U.S.?

AT: He was farming. In the beginning, his brothers were running a business. Well, what was it?

TY: Were they the third and the fourth brothers? The oldest brother was the main family, and the second one became a yoshi to the Kubos, he was a yoshi to the Kubo family, right?

AT: Yeah, he went to the Kubos. It was the third and the oldest. They came to the U.S. In the U.S., at first, they were on the Second Avenue, the second floor, I think. It was the Second Avenue. What of here, he said that they were running a business before. The business was to get items from Japan, like importing. But, they didn't go more than that. There was no way it would go well. They laughed when I said, "These sons of farmers, when you became merchants, there is no way you can go up." People, if they hired people, they said, they had to pay salary. Terao was going to the middle school. He quit and he was called in to help them. The three brothers together ran the business. But, Terao said that he wanted to go to school as soon as he came. If he went to school in the morning, he couldn't help the store, so he had to go to night school, so he went to night school, he said. Then, he helped the store, and since there were sawmills, one brother went to take orders from sawmills. Next, once they took orders, they packed various this and that things... those who came from Japan, the sawmills, many at the sawmills, a lot of Japanese people worked there. There was a person who did the cooking. Rice, soy sauce, and other items, the brothers sent them all. They ran that kind of business. He said this often when we were over there. Since it was busy, they said, "Shizuto, well, we want you to come over and help us," so he quit junior high school and came in two years. He thought he could just study here, but it turned out that it was just so far from studying! He was made to work so hard at the store that he was always sweating, and it was just too busy. [Laughs]

TY: Ten... since he came when he was in the second grade in the middle school, he must have been around fourteen or fifteen, right?

AT: Yes, yes. So he quit, and that was how he came over. It was a night school, though. For this reason, he went to night school. But, he couldn't pronounce English words, and he said that he had a hard time. Then, he thought he should be independent since he really didn't get salary if he stayed with his brothers, and he had a friend in California. So he went there counting on his friend. His friend was farming there, so he made himself a farmer, too. There, he rented, what, 40 acres, because he couldn't own his own. So he rented it, and he farmed the land. One year... it was before the war. He got an unexpected income for some reason. He received the unexpected money because the crops he thought wouldn't sell were sold. He thought, "Well, maybe I can visit Japan for a while," and he came back, he said.

TY: You had the arranged meeting and got married.

AT: Terao, now, the grandma who arranged was related to both the Terao side and my side of the families. My aunt was married into the family.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TY: When you got married, when you had the arranged meeting, you already knew that you would go to the U.S. if you married him, if you married Mr. Terao. What did you think about that?

AT: Whatever it was, we thought back then that we wanted to go to the States. It was because my friend from the girls' school, what was it, I think her name was Miss Nakata. She and I were in the different classes, but to the U.S., such nice people couldn't go there. She said, "It will be to your interest if you could just see the U.S., so if you wanted to marry him, you'd better go." So she said. And the person, she had a good chance. She came to the U.S. She got married and came over. She said that human characters wouldn't improve if they lived in such small closed societies as in Japan. She said, "If one comes to such large places as in the U.S., and the person feels peaceful and does things, everything will succeed." She was, she came here for the farming, but at the end, they quit farming, and with her mistaa, [Ed. note: Mister. Issei commonly refer a married man as such.] she started like a small store. But, the store seemed to have been prospering. After that, they quit the business again, and they started a money lending business this time. With their talent -they understood English, and people didn't when they just came from Japan- so they did things like translation, and that's what they did. That's what a friend of Terao's told us. If it was like that, people back then suffered. At that time, what, the salary was just so cheap. Nowadays, salary is what, they say whatever hundred yen, but the things were cheap back then. But, they said they worked a lot. After all, it seems that those Japanese who came to the U.S. were mainly farmers. Those farmers made crops and sent them into the stores, right? And then, their ways to the future opened up. My husband said that this was probably how the current Japanese society today was established after all. During the time, they had children, so they had them study this much. Right? Today, people send their children to high schools and colleges in general, right? Then, they held down Americans, and the Japanese children came on the top. They became top students because they were smart. He said such things often.

TY: You had heard about the U.S., about many things.

AT: I heard about them, yeah.

TY: Did you hear success stories often?

AT: Oh, there were many success stories. Where we were, probably, let's see, a third of the village had been to the U.S.

TY: Is that so? Have you heard any failure examples?

AT: In the U.S.?

TY: Yes.

AT: There were many people who ended in failure.

TY: You still wanted to come over even if you heard such stories?

AT: Well, yes. But, we said that it was just good enough if we could see the place called Amerika. We couldn't really come over if we lived in Japan.

TY: You were very inquisitive.

AT: Well, there was also a feeling that it was good to see places as well as to have fun.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TY: You and your mother, two of you, you were close to each other.

AT: Yeah, we got along.

TY: About leaving your mother behind.

AT: I was sad.

TY: You missed her?

AT: Mother cried. I cried, too. But, Terao said, "Mother, well, you must feel lonely, but please be patient. I will bring her back soon." But, I got used to it soon after. Mother, she had my sister. So it was good. But, I was a girl after all, and she herself made mistakes as a yoshi, so she said she would never make us yoshi, so that's why.

TY: She was fully prepared for your marriage.

AT: She was. So I said, "The family of Nagao, please just make sure to protect the grave," and they said that they would protect it and wouldn't neglect it. We bought a tombstone on the side of the house. After I got engaged, after I returned, we sold the space, and we asked the temple to take care of it. We settled the grave in the grounds of the temple. At that time, what was it, 1,200 yen in the Japanese money, I think. They said that they could move it there. Then, they said it was 1,200 yen, but we paid 1,500 yen. We also asked the chief priest, "Sorry to trouble you, but please recite a sutra as well." Then we left most of the things to the temple, and they moved the grave that was in my family's land to the grounds of the temple. It is still in the grounds today. There, the priests always burn incense sticks continuously. Those family members back home told me that they were thankful that the priests visited the grave. So I sometimes think that I should send them some money, but I am busy. Since I have grandchildren nowadays. [Laughs]


TY: About coming to the U.S., what did your mother say?

AT: No, mother had already given up. She said it must be fate after all. She said so. My successor, the one who continued the Nagao family, the son of my uncle whose name was Tokuo, the middle child, and him. He had good grades in school, too. He liked me and called me his big sister. It would be nice if we could adopt him, we said.

TY: Then he was your cousin, wasn't he.

AT: That's right. So I gave it to him. I gave him the family name Nagao. I asked him to protect the grave, I told him to take care of the grave. I said that I would give all my estate to him instead. So I did. He was happy. He wrote me a letter thanking me that he would never forget the favor throughout his life, and that he would always be grateful, but he died in the war.

TY: Was it the World War II?

AT: Huh?

TY: It was the World War II, wasn't it?

AT: Yes, that's right. He died. Well, his children are still there. One of the children, last time he came to the States, well, he entered a university in Canada, and he told us that he would stop by on the way, and he did so, but no more relationship, we didn't have the relationship through blood any more. I didn't know him because I never saw him. I... the family lineage of Nagao, I told them to give my share of estate to whoever would continue the family name Nagao. I told them that I didn't even want a penny since I didn't go to Japan. It seemed like the relatives had a meeting. Then, Tokuo said that he would continue the name Nagao since he was the second oldest boy. He also said that he would take care of the grave, too. Then, the grave, we used to have it close to the house before, we held it like this for a long time. We moved it to the temple. But, this time, we sent money to the temple, and we had it in the way that the temple would take care of it. That's how we do it now. It is better this way, to have the temple do it. If we left it on the side of the house, and once people who live there change, they don't take care of it, but if it was at the temple, the temple has the responsibility, so I sent 1,000 yen in the Japanese money then. Then the temple said that they would be happy to take care of it forever, and that they would do it. Then, in Japan, since it is different from this country, we go to our family grave and offer candles and burn incense in the beginning of every year. So I feel at ease with it. Since then I had lost the connection with the relatives in Japan.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TY: So you came to the States with an intention to live permanently?

AT: I didn't mean to live permanently at first. I came because I thought it would be nice to see the places I never knew. [Laughs] Isn't that right, the U.S., I heard it was large, very large.

TY: You heard many good stories, too.

AT: Yes, I said that it would be good enough just to see the place called Amerika. It would be nice if we could go, then we should go to the U.S., we said. So we came. We went all the way to Mexico, and to the east, we also went as far as to New York. We had fun there. That trip, it wasn't that long, though. Luckily, a friend of mine had a house in New York, so we stayed there. We played around for a week, and there is the Statue of Liberty in New York, right? The woman, what, we were taken there by ship. Forty-eight stories or forty-two stories, it was like a big tall building. There, we went up. They showed us around. We had fun for a week.

TY: Was it right after you arrived in the U.S.?

AT: Yes, we came to the U.S., and, not soon after, no, it hadn't been that long since I went there. It has been only eight years or so. Not long ago, I think it has been seven or eight years. Well, my friend got married and went to New York. She said that we should stay at her house when we visited New York. We wondered what we should do, but we thought that we should go, so we went. Then three rooms on the second floor were vacant. So we said that we should ask them if we could stay there, and the family slept downstairs and we three went. We said that two of us would sleep downstairs, and we slept on the second floor, and we were going in and out, in and out of New York, and they showed us around. There is the Statue of Liberty in New York. The one standing. We said that we wanted to go by ship. We also saw it close. Then we came back, but I haven't been there since then. I am sorry. I've done such a great thing. To New York, well, you don't really have a chance to go. To this direction, I went to California, and there was a border where you made one step and you would be in Mexico. It was written, it was written that Mexico from here and the U.S. from here. There was no line or anything. When I went there, there was a notice board. I said, "Well, I should make a step into Mexico," and one step, two steps... Nobody was watching, you know. I stepped in there, and I came back. I really don't feel like I want to go visit places any more. I have been to Canada, too.

TY: That's nice that you have been to many places.

AT: I had fun there. But, no more, what, I don't feel like I want to go anywhere any more.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TY: You studied English before you came to the States?

AT: I studied a little, but it didn't help. [Laughs] I couldn't pronounce too well, right? So I got fed up with it. I said, "Oh, I can't do it, I can't do it!" When I need English, I take young people with me. I have them translate for me. That, my children do it for me, so I am not worried at all.

TY: Who was teaching English?

AT: Well, there was a school called Belliyard [Ed. note: Most likely, Mrs. Terao meant Bailey Gatzert Elementary School.], and they had a night school there. The night school teacher was teaching it.

TY: In Seattle?

AT: In Seattle. Well, on the Main Street, the school was on the Main Street. It is not there any more. About twenty people went there. But, we couldn't memorize, it didn't work. During the daytime, Terao said that it was not worth going to night school. He told me to go to school. Over there, at Broadway High School, what was the place called? In the private class, there was someone who taught English. I went there for a while. But, that too, I quit again after half a year or so. During the time, I was told that there was a job and was asked if I wanted to take it. It was at a place where they made necklaces. Then, my friend told me that they wanted Japanese. My friend and I said that we should go. When we went there, they said that they would hire us. At that time, 20, 22 yen, 2 yen, 25 sen, I think. How much was it, they hired us. For the first time I was going to earn money. I was happy when I received the payment.

DG: You didn't have your children yet?

AT: No, I had one child already, but she was going to school. There was a Safeway on the way home, if I walked home. The work was where I could walk in about 15 minutes. It worked just fine because I just went home straight, stopped by at Safeway, bought groceries for dinner, came straight, and by the time I got home, the oldest daughter had already cooked rice, as I had asked her to do in the morning. We worked till four o'clock, right? We worked til four thirty. After I came home, I cooked, I mean, my oldest daughter did everything so that I just needed to make dinner. So we did. So I worked, and I received the first payment that I worked for, went to the bank, and I had never been so happy. Because I worked by myself without any help. Then, I came not to want to spend the money. [Laughs] My children, they were doing pretty well. They were fine, and they didn't get sick, so it was good.

DG: Oh, yeah, you were making necklaces. You were saying, saying something about the boss.

AT: Oh, necklaces. There was an arrangement at the place where they made necklaces, so I went there. What, what was her name? I forgot her name, um... That person could speak some English, too. Something like, she was doing things like a manager. She said that if she hired hakujin, she would rather hire Japanese. She stopped by my house on the way from work. She said, "Mrs. Terao, for such and such reason, won't you work where they make necklaces?" I said, "Well, necklace is that thing you hang here, right?" "That's right," she said. "Oh, I don't mind going," I answered. She said, "Then, I will stop by tomorrow morning, let's go together." And then, I asked, "Please tell me what I need to do," and there was a board of this size, and it was cut like this. The board. I pulled out beads there, they came from Shizuoka in Japan, those beads. When I looked at it, it said Shizuoka. Those, I pulled them out, and I took them out if they had scratches. Sometimes, if the small ones were blended in the big ones, I took those out again, and in the order, here I put a big bead, and I placed smaller ones in the order. I made it 15 inches and a half. With half an inch of a kurasupo [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao said "clasp" with a Japanese accent.], it became 16 inches. I measured it to be such and made them. I worked there for the first time, let's see, how much did I receive then? I received a salary. I was happy. I earned salary for the first time I worked in the U.S., and I received salary that I earned and went to the bank to cash the check. I had never been so happy. That was, we only made, 10...15 or 17 yen, but I said with friends, "Wow, the first time. This is the money we earned by ourselves." I remember that I was happy receiving it.

DG: There, the bonus, you received the Christmas bonus...

AT: That's right. That's right. The boss secretly gave more to Japanese. He said that Japanese worked harder and did more work. When we bought necklaces, he gave us a discount.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TY: Even though your husband lived both in Seattle and California, why did you return to Seattle?

AT: No, that was, the reason why he lived in Seattle was because the family of Terao, they ran a store. A trading business. They didn't have enough people, but they had to pay if they hired people. If they hired their brother, well, they thought they could just send him to school and give him some allowance, so two of the older brothers were running the store. And, he came as the third one. He really couldn't go to school, and he had to help the store when it was busy. A brother left to take orders. The other brother couldn't manage the store alone. There was no store ran by Japanese, I heard. So, hiring Japanese, Japanese people would come to a Japanese store even if it was a little far. It was like that. Well, once in a while, the night school, no, no, he came because they said that they would send him to school, but he said that he couldn't go to school. So, to night school, he went to night school. But, it was back then, so he said about it, too. He said that he used mainly Japanese, not English. Japan, those many Japanese came back then. There were many people who worked at sawmills. That kind of people would come out on, say, Saturdays. They ordered Japanese items, and they sold them there, at the Terao's store. It was busy. But, if he complained about such things, they would just tell him off, and while doing that, he got sick of it. He told his brothers that he wanted to be independent, and he left for California. He had a friend there, so he was staying there in California for a while, and he started going to school, and he was doing such things. Then, he heard that a farmer needed a help, and his family was a farmer, so he said that he could go, and he went to give him a hand,, sugar beet, that was, when they made it, yes, in California. He went there for the help, and they liked him, and he was asked if he wanted to be independent. "Say, about 3 acres, this Japanese man has it, but he is going back and he is wondering if anybody would buy it from him." So he said that he would buy it. When he told them that he didn't have the money, they said they would take care of the money. So they gave the land to him, and he became independent there, started working alone, he said. When he did it by himself, when he was in trouble, there were people to help each other, so they all came and helped him, he said. It was before the war broke out. It was before the war, and everything started going up. The prices went up. What he made that year, well, let's say supposedly, something that would sell for 5,000 yen was sold for 10,000 yen, I heard. Since he got the money, he decided to go home to find himself a bride, he said.

TY: Why did he return to Seattle? Why didn't you two go back to California together?

AT: Original, originally, his brothers were running business in Seattle, and he knew a lot of people there.

TY: Oh, that's why.

AT: He was also told that he could just stay here instead of going to California. His closest friend, Mr. Shibukawa, he was also here, and he had a house. My husband told him that he came here in such and such way, then he asked my husband, "Oh, where are you staying?" then my husband said, "I am staying at a hotel now," then he said, "If you stay in a hotel, there is a vacant room in my house." So we stayed at the house of Mr. Shibukawa, in a bed room, and he said that we could use another room like a kitchen and we could cook there, so we lived there for about a year and a half. Then we visited houses this time, and because he said that he wanted to be independent in the house, I said, "Oh, I want to do that, too," and he worked at the Mitsui Product. Then, at the Mitsui Product, he went every morning, and every morning, he went around saying, "Good morning!" He did not like that, so he kept saying that he was quitting soon. [Laughs] So he quit, and he went to a hakujin's company, then he didn't have to do it. So he quit and started working for the Frye. The Frye's company was with hakujin, and it was just that everybody said one good morning, right? So he worked there for a long time until he quit. Once he said, "I am quitting," but the boss came and said, "Sam, why are you quitting now? We will be in trouble if you quit now." He was told so. Well, he was doing something like a foreman. So he worked there for a while, then...

DG: What kind of company was the Frye?

AT: It was Mr. Frye's. It was a small company. But, it gradually grew bigger, that company.

DG: What did they sell?

AT: There, that, what, they made it. That was...cows and stuff, cows and stuff, they did this to all...

TY: Beef?

AT: Yeah, well, they sold it. Meat.

TY: What kind of work did your husband do there?

AT: Uh?

TY: What kind of department was he in, in that company?

AT: Oh, at the company, that was, well, what was it called? How many cows today, this, like this and that, how much per pound it was for this part, I don't know the name. This kind of place where they got meat. That was so many pounds to this place, so many pounds went to that place, he reported to the office. To the office. So he got the job. But, he didn't like the job again. Oh, no, he was working for the Mitsui Product before that. Because he was hired last, to everybody, when he went to the office in the morning, "Good morning!" He had to go to everybody's desk. He said he didn't like it, and he quit after three months. [Laughs]

DG: What year was it, when it happened.

AT: A long time ago.

DG: You said a long time ago, but when you came, ten, nineteen, um, you came in twenty, right?

AT: Hmm, I, I don't remember what year though.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TY: Nineteen hundred, you came to the States in 1920, and you started the process for the issue of your passport after you got married, right?

AT: No, no, pass, well, I already got my passport in Japan.

TY: That was after you got married, after you got married...

AT: Yeah, after I got married. There, what was it, I went to apply to the prefectural office.

TY: In Hiroshima.

AT: The prefectural office, yeah. I went to apply there, and I got the passport there. The passport, I had it, but I think it is in the bank now. It said "non-immigrant." [Ed. note: The word on Mrs. Teraos' passport was "Hi-Imin"; not an immigrant. This indicates that although Mrs. Terao was an "immigrant," she did not immigrate as a "laborer."] It showed that I was not an immigrant. I obtained the passport, and the color was different, I got it and came here. So...

TY: The passport was issued rather fast.

AT: Huh?

TY: The passport was issued quickly. Your passport, it was issued quickly.

AT: Oh, it was from the prefectural office. Other ones, from where, they were issued by the government. The color was different, and it was written that I was a non-immigrant. It was a passport written such things as I was not an immigrant, not an immigrant.

TY: How were they different? Regular immigrants and non-immigrants...

AT: Well, when you received the permit for the non-immigrants, you couldn't travel the third class.

TY: On the ship.

AT: Yeah, we only could travel the second or the first class. But, if there were many people, there were only so many first and second class, right? There were many third class. To the third class, we... Terao was going to be drafted , so we had to hurry back. Otherwise, he had to go to the physical examination for conscription. There, there was a big hotel called the Taisei-ya. They took care of it. We went there and stayed there, then they told us that they would prepare it right. So they did it for us, and we still couldn't get on the ship. We were waiting for our turn, but what was it, about ten people were waiting. Then we just skipped nine people because we had the permit, so we could get on the ship. When we arrived at iminkan, there was no examination after landing if you had the permit of non-immigrants. They just had us landed. They had us back immediately.

TY: You said that those who had the non-immigrant's passport couldn't work at such places as sawmills.

AT: No, they couldn't.

TY: What other places couldn't they work?

AT: Well, Terao worked for the Frye. He worked for hakujin, so I don't know. I don't know too much about others.

TY: Had it already been arranged that he was to work for the Mitsubishi [Ed. note: mistaken for Mitsui] in the beginning? Or, was it after he arrived in the U.S.?

AT: No, after he came. After he came to the U.S.

TY: He applied...

AT: Yeah, the Mitsubishi.

TY: It was the Mitsui, wasn't it?

AT: Work... His friends, they said it was so and so, and they said that he should go and negotiate. It wouldn't do anything if he just played around, so I said, "Why don't you go?" Then he hated bowing to everybody. In Japan, he was called, "The master of the Teraos, the master of the Teraos," so he hated bowing to people.

TY: Was that because he came here when he was young and grew up here? Or it wasn't like that...

AT: He came here to escape from the physical examination for conscription. That was why.

TY: When he returned to Japan to find him a bride, he was able to stay there up till 3 months, right? If I remember correctly. Draft, to escape from the physical examination for conscription...

AT: That was December, he came at the end of December, and it was the end of June, I think, when he came back to the U.S. after he married me.

TY: Then he was in Japan for six months.

AT: During the time, he must have had many things he had to do. Together, we visited places for fun. All over. We went to Kyushu and visited other places. To India, India, what, we visited India for some occasions. Calcutta, it was such a beautiful city. We spent one night there and we came back. To this direction, where was it, Moscow, we went there and spent one night. When we went out to the Sea of Japan, the sea was so rough, and it was just awful then.

TY: And the married couple...


TY: You had to be on either the first or the second class on the ship because you had a permit, a passport of the non-immigrants. The third class was for the people who were traveling with the regular passports. How, how were they different?

AT: Which, I was, I received the permit of the non-immigrant properly from the prefectural office. So, to tell the truth, I had to travel the first class. But, all the first class was -- both the first and the second class were full. We couldn't get in. Then we had to wait for one to two months. Then my husband was close to be drafted, right? So we couldn't do that. When we told them the reason, the hotel let us board on the ship. It was okay if we traveled the third class. We took the meals from the second class, we took the meals that those who were traveling the second class were eating, and since we didn't have sheets, we just came in a room in the third class. There was a big hotel called the Taisei-ya in Yokohama. We had the place as a base, and we asked them to take care of everything. So, if the first class was available, we were supposed to travel the first class, but there wasn't any when we applied. We had to leave Japan since the physical examination of conscription was coming up for my husband. For this reason, the third class then, and we said, "Then, let's go to the U.S. promptly," we took the third class. They took care of everything... [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao scratches her collar bone.] Sorry, sorry, it itched.


TY: The second, the first, I mean, you traveled by ship on the third class, but you ate the meals of the second class.

AT: Yeah. That was because, to tell the truth, we had to travel the first class. For the type of the passport we had. But, we were told that the ship had already reached its capacity so that we couldn't travel. There was a big hotel called Taisei-ya. We asked them, then, they said that they would try somehow, and the person, the staff of the Taisei-ya hotel went through a lot of trouble, and that was how we could get on the ship. We were supposed to leave Japan because of the army, the physical examination for conscription. It was illegal, that, that we were still in the land of Japan, right? So we wanted to get on the ship as soon as possible, and the master of the Taisei-ya said that he would manage to do somehow, and he took care of the ship, and he had us on board. He was very kind to do that for us.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

AT: When we arrived in the U.S., there was no examination because we had the passports, and we even didn't have to go into iminkan. As soon as his brothers came to pick us up, on their car, we came back. "Oh, this is the United States," I thought. I thought then. That was it.

TY: Did you think it was large?

AT: I thought, "Oh, this is Amerika," but it was the wharf there today. It was a dirty place, where the ship landed. As we came over toward this way, I started seeing beautiful hotels and other buildings, so I thought that they kept things beautiful in the U.S. as I expected. Then, we stayed two nights at the Fuji Hotel. Then, the older brothers, they were running a hotel called the Union Hotel. The older brother of Terao was running it. He prepared a room for us because he heard that we were coming, but we didn't know that. We thought that the letters had crossed. We stayed at the Fuji Hotel first because we had reserved a room, so we stayed there, then the brother said it was this and that, so Terao said, "Oh, in that case, let's go to my brother's," so we went to the hotel that his brother was managing, then we could do whatever we wanted to do. It was called the Union Hotel, and that was on the Washington Street and the Fourth or somewhere, the Union Hotel is still there today. There, we stayed there, and, this was how the place became the congression. [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao actually said the word "congression" in English.] Then, from there, we thought about going to California since Terao used to live in California, and we did some things, but the brother said, "Since you have brothers here, why don't you just live here?". We thought, "That is probably the right choice," and we couldn't just play around, so my husband thought that he should look for a job somewhere, and he looked for job openings. He heard from people about a position at the Mitsui Product, so he got the position, thinking that he could just follow what people recommended. But, he didn't like going to the Japanese office. Every morning... since he was at the bottom because he entered the company most recently. He went to everybody's desks and greeted, "Good morning. Good morning!" He hated it. He said that he hated going into the office and bowed to everybody. Well, he worked for about two months. This time, he said that he didn't have to do it at the hakujin's offices, then, Ken Masuda, he was a driver of Mr. Frye. His car. He was Terao's friend since they were little, and my husband told him that he came here for such and such reasons. He described the work place and said that he didn't work at such a place, then Ken said, "Yeah, to hakujin, I will tell Mr. Frye about you, okay? Then, you can just work there." Cows, there was a place where they killed cows, I heard. They had cows killed, but they didn't kill cows. They divided this, meat and other parts to this place and that place, right? He was asked if he wanted to work since the position was available. That's how he went there. When he came not to like it, he finally quit it, too. Because our child, we had our first child soon after. We had to do something to put food on the table after all, right? Because I couldn't work. Then he tried many things, but we worked at a place, not the Frye.

TY: At an American company.

AT: He could only work at American companies. He couldn't help it because he hated bowing to people. He was called, "Master, Master," as he grew up. He came here, and he said that he hated lowering his head to anybody.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TY: You were on the ship, and on the way to the U.S., you said that the picture brides were boarding as well, right?

AT: Huh?

TY: The picture brides, too. The brides who got married by photos.

AT: There were many people who had picture marriages. We all came together. In their sleeves, they wore kimono, they wore Japanese robes, and the ship arrived, right? The husbands-to-be were there to pick them up. They saw the pictures from the underneath their sleeves like this, and they looked for their husband, well, they looked and tried to find their husband. Then, Terao said, "Why don't I help you look for your husband. He looks like the one in the picture, but the man in the picture looks twenty-five or six, but his face looks like he is at least fifty." [Laughs] He said that. It was true. They sent the pictures they took when they were young. There was a hotel called the Fuji Hotel, it is still there, right? There, they were staying. After landed, some brides already escaped within the same evening. I read on the newspapers and heard from people.

TY: There were people like that.

AT: There were. There were some. It was their fault because they sent the pictures from their youth, right? They sent the pictures and lied about their age. There were people like that. It created a lot of trouble back then. There was a place called the Fuji Hotel, and they hosted those brides who came from Japan, and they were there to pick them up. There were picture marriages. All of them, they wore the same style, wrapping this thing around their waist. Terao was inquisitive, so he offered that he would take a look at it, then they said, "Yes, please take a look." "If it was him, the faces are similar, but there must be a huge age difference," he said. There were many people like that.

TY: On the way to the U.S. on the ship, it was before they met their husbands, right? What kind of things did such brides talk about? They must have heard what the U.S. was like, right?

AT: No, well, I was talking about it. But, I never said that there was money everywhere in the U.S. We traveled in Kyushu after we got married. I thought I wanted to go to Kyushu since I had never been there, and he said that we could go together, and to Kyushu...

TY: That was with Mr. Terao, right? But, the picture brides, they came to the U.S. to meet their husbands they never met before.

AT: Yes, that's right.

TY: They came to meet their husbands, right? What kind of conversation, what did they say about the U.S.?

AT: Let's see. There were people who said that they were tricked. They sent pictures, lying about their age. They sent the pictures of the time they were young. That, they were the pictures from their twenties, so they were young. Once they came over, they were around fifty. Then the brides landed, and at a place called the Fuji Hotel, some brides escaped within the same night.

TY: But, before they came, they didn't know about it.

AT: No.

TY: How, so...

AT: Because they sent the pictures from their youth.

TY: Did the brides look happy?

AT: So, probably so. Terao was willing to help them out. He said, "I can take a look. Let me take a look." [Laughs] He said so, and he took a look of pictures.

TY: Probably, everybody, like that, they thought they could live a nice life after they came to the U.S. Those people...

AT: There must have been such people.

TY: There must have been.

AT: I...

TY: Did you hear such stories?

AT: What?

TY: On the ship. Those brides who were expecting the nice life in the U.S.

AT: I really didn't hear any.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TY: Those people...

AT: Well, we were, we had one room to ourselves. It wasn't like just one, it was made to accommodate people on the top and the bottom. Another one next to it, it was like people could sleep on the top and the bottom, three people, three people... one, two, three people were sleeping there. There, in one room. On the top and the bottom beds. We were sleeping like that, and that, it wasn't like everybody huddled together to sleep. That was because we had the passports. When we told them the reason, they saw our passports, and said, "Is that so. Then, this room, this room, and this room are open, then we'll give you the top and the bottom." In this way, we got the room.

TY: There were many things you had priorities with the non-immigrants' passports.

AT: Yes, yes, there were. Yeah, because we had the permit of the non-immigrants.

TY: What did you need to do and have in order to get the non-immigrants, to get the passports of the non-immigrants.

AT: That was, well, the labor workers couldn't get it. The reason Terao could get it was because, what was it called, because he had his own business. That's how he got it. So, I, I was wondering if I had the passport back then, and I was looking for it though...

TY: Well, if we could see it someday when you find it. Yes, we would like to see it.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TY: About the picture brides, you told us what happened after they met their husbands, that pictures were different.

AT: It was... many things happened, that was, the ship arrived, right? Then, they took out the pictures from their sleeves, and they looked at them really hard to compare the faces. There were many people who said, "That person, his face looks very alike, but he is a lot older." They sent the pictures from their youth. Terao was so curious. He said, "Let me look for him for you," and he saw the pictures. "Look, this picture was taken when he was thirty or younger, and his face looks over fifty now." [Laughs] Like this, they landed. There was the Fuji Hotel right there. It is still there. Or is it? There, most of the picture brides spent night. If they didn't check in right away, they would run away.

TY: But, those brides were in about early twenties, right?

AT: Sho ga nai, right? They lied about their age, those who lived here told lies, the lies. Even though they were in their fifties, they still told them that they were in their thirties or twenties because it was the picture marriage, right? They sent the picture from their youth. When you looked at it, they were young in the pictures. The faces are very similar. Terao, he was inquisitive, "Let me take a look," and he saw the pictures, he said, "The third from that end looks like him, but whatever the way you look at him, he looks near fifty, that person. But, in this picture, he looks about thirty." He said so. Then, that night, the brides ran away from the Fuji Hotel. There were many people like that.

TY: After that, after several years, did you meet the brides you met on the ship in downtown?

AT: Never.

TY: You never met any of them again?

AT: I didn't see them. Nobody in our group was a picture bride. Everybody came over after they got married. I was in the class of the people who were married in Japan and got the permits there. So, I didn't meet those people. So...

TY: Then, really, when you got off the ship, was it the first time you met those brides?

AT: After the ship arrived, and they were calling for the brides. We looked from the ship because we heard that they were there to pick them up, and we saw them downstairs...

TY: So it was your first time to meet them.

AT: That was the first time we saw them. Oh, this lady was a bride, and that lady was a bride. But, the ages were different by far. We said with friends that when we saw boys, they looked over fifty. We saw them really well.

TY: Then, actually, you didn't have a chance to really get to know each other.

AT: Umm, no. We didn't.

TY: Oh, I see.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

TY: You arrived in the U.S. in kimono, right?

AT: Yeah, in kimono.

TY: Did you go buy western clothes immediately?

AT: Oh, I went to buy them. Terao's brother's wife, she lived in the U.S., and she came back. The clothes fit me perfectly. I got some, two, two pieces, and she said that if I wanted to wear them I could. Then, she said that I should buy these by myself, so I came to the Main Street. On the Main Street, there was a store called Kanda, a long time ago, it was a tailor shop. I bought clothes there.

TY: Was it a store run by Japanese?

AT: Yeah. There, I bought clothes there because I found my size after they measured my body. Before long, I started thinking it would be nice if I could learn how to use the sewing machine. I learned how to use the sewing machine, and I sewed my own clothes and wore them.

TY: What did you do with the patterns?

AT: The patterns, I bought them.

TY: You bought them. Until then, you were learning hand sewing in the Japanese handicraft class, the sewing class, weren't you? Was it the first time you used the sewing machine after you came here?

AT: No, I had used it in Japan.

TY: You were using it in Japan.

AT: In Japan, I went to a girls' school called Shintoku. There, they had a sewing class. It was a sewing machine class.

TY: They were teaching how to use sewing machines as well?

AT: There, we were rolling the machine by hand, but it was still a sewing machine. I knew how to use it.

TY: Were the machines here more advanced after all?

AT: Yes, yes.

TY: It must have been with the pedal if it's back then.

AT: The one with the pedal.

TY: It was easier than rolling the machine by hand.

AT: We rolled it by hand like this. There were three machines that we operated by foot.

TY: What did you think of the western clothes?

AT: Well, it was nice to wear. It was better than wearing Japanese robes because there was no obi to fasten. I thought it was comfortable. Yeah. Japanese robes, I sent all of them back to Japan when my friend went back. I didn't need them any more.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

TY: You moved to the Union Hotel that Mr. Terao's brother was managing after you stayed at the Fuji Hotel for two nights, but how long did you live there?

AT: Less than a year...It hadn't been a year. We found a place, we had to live somewhere we could cook, right? We found a place, and we went there to live. We lived in 721 Yesler Way soon after that. There, twelve, twelve, thirteen, about fifteen rooms that they were renting. Those, I watched. I changed the sheets once a week, and I did that, and there, I received the room rent. That was my allowance. I did such things.

TY: That is, that came much later on, right?

AT: Huh?

TY: That was after your children grew up, right?

AT: Well, something like that. They were already going to school.

TY: Yes. I heard that you bought a house on three, 309 Boren, Boren, then, you bought it using your children's name since Issei couldn't own properties.

AT: Yes. We used the oldest daughter's name, we used Fusako's name even though she wasn't old enough yet, but somebody who took care of it told us not to worry, and he said if something would go wrong, he was going to sign for us. There was no trouble. We bought it by using Fusako's name. She was still eighteen, I think. Maybe around seventeen. In this way, we bought a house.

TY: Since she was little, you used her name for many...

AT: Yeah. We bought many things. After she turned twenty, we switched the way and did it. It was fine. This was why we could buy a house early. Otherwise, we had to pay rent forever, and we thought that would be ridiculous. The house we bought on 309 Boren Avenue was the last house. We lived there for a long time.

TY: Did you know that Issei couldn't own properties when you were in Japan or did you find out after you came over here?

AT: What?

TY: Issei, the first generation of Japanese immigrants couldn't own properties, could they?

AT: Yeah, yeah. That was right after we came, I think.

TY: Oh, when the law was passed.

AT: Uh-huh, it was passed. Oh, let's see. I don't remember what month, things like that any more.

TY: What did you think about that?

AT: Not particularly because it had nothing to do with us, so we didn't care, we, we were immigrants, we came as the non-immigrants. We came with the passport of the non-immigrants that said the carriers were not immigrants. I still have the passport. My son has them all.

TY: Oh. Yes. In 1924, you must be talking about the law that banned the Japanese immigration.

AT: Yeah.

TY: Could non-immigrants enter this country in 1924?

AT: No, no, the same thing.

TY: The same thing...

AT: Nobody could come in. Exchange students had special passports to enter this country. But, people couldn't come in as immigrants any more.

TY: Then, you and your husbands really were one of the immigrants in the last several years, weren't you? There were laws that banned the Issei, Japanese to enter this country and to own properties, right? What did you think about the laws?

AT: What did I think about it, but it had nothing to do with me. But, I only felt things like it became harder to go back to Japan and come back again. At that time, my children needed to be cared, so I was just busy taking care of my children.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

TY: Your husband, he quit the Mitsui Product after three months, and he moved to the Frye Company, right? What did you think about him moving to an American company?

AT: When he was at the Mitsui Product, it was the Japanese style, so every morning he went to the office, the first thing in the morning -- because he was the last one to enter the company -- he had to go to everybody's desk and say, "Good morning. Good morning!" He hated it. He just hated it. [Laughs] That, he didn't want to work there. [Laughs]

TY: You two talked about it...

AT: No. By himself, alone, he decided that he didn't work there any more. No more. In Japan, he grew up being treated as a master, that's why. In Japan, people called him, "Master, Master," and once he came, "Good morning!" Here, there, he was a master, and he hated the polite greetings. He couldn't stand it any more. He hated working for Japanese. At the hakujin's place, they were equal, right? Greeting is done when he just said, "Hi. How are you?" It doesn't go that way at the Japanese places. In addition to it, if it was a company, it is special. If you had your super, superiors, you have to say very politely, "Good morning." Then you have to tell everybody. Then my husband was in a bad mood. Like when he was eating dinner after he came home. So when he said that he was finally quitting, I said, "Oh, that's fine. Go ahead and quit if you want to quit." I said, "Well, we can still manage what we have somehow." I said so. So, to tell the truth, since he got the position at the Mitsui Product, he shouldn't have said such a thing. But, he said that since he had been here before, he didn't have to force himself to work for the Mitsui Product, and that he could just become a farmer, and he just kept complaining. Then, he had a friend in California, and he said that we should move there because there were many friends there and he could start his own business if he wanted to. But, his brother had a hotel here, it was called the Tacoma Hotel, he had it. So he said that Shizuto was, alone, that he wanted his brother. He and his wife were lonely because they did not have children. It was just him and his wife alone. We had our children at home, then they adored our children. Almost every night, after they had dinner, they came to visit us at 721. They went home after they played with children. So we didn't move because they kept telling us that it was better for brothers to live together here. For me, I was fine with wherever I was used to living. I was already used to our neighbors. Interestingly enough, we lived across from the people who came over on the same ship. I remembered that we talked many things on the ship, and we often said, "It was fun then." It sure was nostalgic. So I didn't want to move anywhere else to live. That was when we lived in 721 on Yesler Way. We lived there for a long time. We were there until eviction, we were evicted, then a house on 309 Boren Avenue was on sale, so we bought it, and Issei, Issei still couldn't buy it. So we used our daughter's name, and we bought it by being her guardians, and that was on 309 Boren Avenue, I think it was. There are buildings that the city bought.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

TY: You became the mother of one boy and three girls, and in the beginning, you went to night school to learn English, and after that, you said before that you worked at the place where they made necklaces. In 1929, the American economy went through the depression during the Great Depression. Then...


AT: Well, but one thing I thought about here was, I thought, "Oh, it is so much better than Japan." Because at the city hall, actually it was not a city hall, if there were your superiors, you had to go, "Good morning." In Japan, they all have to go bowing to everybody. He didn't like such places, and he was always looking for other places to move on. Then Terao said this. Terao, he did not work for Japanese people. He always worked for hakujin. Then, he could just finish greeting by saying one good morning. There. He came here, and let's see, he didn't have a job, so he worked for the Mitsui Product for a short while. Yeah. A friend of Terao was assisting the boss at the Mitsui Product. And, he said, "Sam, it doesn't help if you just play around, I am going to talk to my boss. Then the new positions always open up." My husband said, "Then maybe I should go," and he went there. He quit after 3 months. He said that he hated the good morning thing.

TY: Oh, then, your husband's American nickname was Sam? Everybody called him Sam.

AT: Well, Japanese, in Japanese, it is Shizuto.

TY: Mr. Shizuto.

AT: It is Shizuto, and...

TY: Do you spell Shizuto as a "quiet person"? [Ed. note: The interviewer is asking Mrs. Terao how Mr. Terao's first name is spelled in Chinese characters.]

AT: It is spelled as 'to ascend quietly.'

TY: Yes.

AT: To, the part to is to ascend, so Shizuto, to ascend quietly. Then, friend, his friend called him, "Shizu-san. Shizu-san." His friend from his infancy did. He called him, "Shizu-san. Shizu-san." My husband called him, "Ken-san. Ken-san." Well, Ken was Mr. Frye's driver. He drove his boss's truck. The Mr. Frye, the boss was so strange that when he didn't like the way the drivers drove, wherever he was at, he told them to stop, and stopped them. Then he called for a taxi. That's how he went home. But, Ken, Ken Masuda, the boss liked the way he drove. So he adored him, and Ken said, "Hey, Sam. It doesn't help if you just play around, and I am going to talk to my boss, so why don't you start working?" "That's right. It doesn't help as long as I just play around. But, if I work for a bank, I hate the 'good mornings to everybody' custom," and he quit. [Laughs] When he went to work for hakujin, they didn't have that. Yeah. So Ken talked to his boss about my husband, and the boss said, "Oh, the Frye, he can work here," so my husband started working. At the company.

TY: During the Great Depression in 1929, American economy experienced the slump, and your husband was working for the Frye Company then, right?

AT: He worked there for a long time. Back then, having lost their jobs, Japanese ran up quite amount, but they were under protection and received things to eat. There was a place underneath the NP Hotel to serve meals. There was one.

TY: Those who lost the jobs, were they Japanese who worked for American companies? Or, did they work for Japanese companies?

AT: No, even if they worked for Japanese companies, it was the same everywhere. But, the recession was very severe at that time. Well, see, how many people were standing there, quite a few people were standing there. That was because they had to eat after all, they just had to survive. Food was donated to some places, and it came back, and they ate it. Such things happened. But, only Terao, by the grace of God, he was working for the Frye, such things didn't happen to us. So we somehow managed to send our children to school.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

But, I was, twelve, twelve, three rooms downstairs, among those fifteen rooms, we used three and a half, and we rented the rest. I changed the sheets once a week and cleaned the room, and the rent was my allowance.

DG: That was the Tacoma Hotel.

AT: No. That was called the Union Hotel. There, now Washington, the Union Hotel on the Washington, it is on the Fourth Avenue. There, just for a while though, he was managing it. The Tacoma Hotel was managed by his brother.

DG: Did friends stay at the Union Hotel?

AT: The Union Hotel was, one of his friends... the other brother was running it.

TY: Then, each of the brothers managed the Union Hotel and the Tacoma Hotel.

AT: Yeah, that's right. The one called the Tacoma Hotel... the rich second oldest brother, he lived in Alaska, and he found a gold mine. He was walking around in the mountain. Like this, he brought the soil back, and he had it looked at, then they said that they found the gold in it. Then, as a token of the appreciation, he received a lot of money. Then, he came over here. He didn't have children, he wanted to adopt one of my daughters, but she said, "Me, I don't want to go," so I said, "You should go back to Japan and find someone to take care of you." [Laughs] In Japan, he passed away already, and I saw my nephew. So he was managing the Tacoma Hotel. At that time, my husband was asked if he wanted to manage a hotel, but he said that he thought it was better to work than to manage a hotel. He worked for the Frye. He worked for the Frye for a long time and finally quit. He retired early. You start receiving retirement money when you work until the certain age, right? Now, he was receiving the money from Union. He was receiving it. When I worked, we always had enough money for food. But, he was so laid back, and he didn't talk about money too much. He liked antiques, so when he saw antiques, he bought them without hesitation.

TY: During the depression, you said that many Japanese lost their jobs. Were you asked for the help?

AT: No, they were running up quite an amount.

TY: Yes. But, Mr. Terao was...

AT: No, Terao was working, right? Back then, he was working for the Mitsui, so he didn't go. Then, me, too, after our children grew old enough, I was working at a place where they made necklaces. So I bought groceries at a Safeway on the way home, I shopped at the Safeway because it was where I could walk in 15 minutes. I went to work with my friend everyday. I worked there. I made necklaces. When I bought necklaces there, I could buy 15-yen-necklaces for 8 yen.

TY: So they gave you almost half off.

AT: So I bought many necklaces for my friends.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 41>

TY: Your children, there were one boy and three girls at home, right? Raising children in the U.S., there are such important concept as oyakoko, giri, and gimu in Japan, right?

AT: Of course, there are.

TY: Did you think that they were important assets to raise children in the U.S.?

AT: It is important, of course.

TY: So you taught your children such concept?

AT: I didn't say that they had to do it. But, I taught them that they should do this and do that. Thanks to that, still today, my children say, "What are you doing, Grandma?" and I answer that I am not doing anything, then they tell me that I will become senile. [Laughs] They say such things. My grandson, too, he is funny. "Grandma, if you don't do anything, it's not good because you will become senile. It is still good that you can come home straight though." "What are you talking about!" [Laughs] He made me say that I am back home. [Laughs] He jokes, my grandson. After that, he must have felt awkward, when I came down here, he came near me, when I came, the oldest one do this immediately. He has things to do. Like this, this. It is nice. Now, the daughter's son, he said that he wanted to be a medical doctor, and he is attending the Princeton. He said, "I want to succeed my daddy." He said that he wanted to go to the Princeton that his dad went, and he asked us if they could let him go, so we said, "Oh, sure, you should go." Then, he passed the test. Then, if they were the children of the parents who graduated from the Princeton, I heard they pick those children first. Of course, it wouldn't go this way if they failed the test. They pick them first [inaudible], and they pick the rest of regular people. So he passed it, and now he goes to the Princeton. One of my grandchildren. When I asked him what he wanted to be, he said, "Me, I am going to be a doctor," so I said, "Be sure to do your best to follow your dad's path." He said, "All right," but he is busy. He only speaks English, that boy. When he learned Japanese, he talked to me in Japanese, and when I talked to him in Japanese, he said, "What? What?" Still today. He's already lost it.

TY: Did you pay special attention to your children to learn Japanese?

AT: What?

TY: While you were raising children, when they were small, about acquiring Japanese, did you pay any special attention...

AT: Yeah. We all spoke in Japanese. Japanese, they went to Japanese language school. The teacher said, "Mrs. Terao, your children, Fusako and others, they speak Japanese very well. Are you teaching them at home?" So I said, "No, we are not really teaching them, but when I talk to them, I just teach in Japanese because I think it is better to use Japanese than bad English," then she said, "That's good." Someone said, "It's been a long time, but when I talked to Fusako and others in Japanese, they talked to me in good Japanese. They answered in Japanese," so I said, "Is that so?" Not today, no more. They are speaking English now.

TY: But, still now, the conversation is...

AT: We use Japanese. I never speak in English. I use Japanese.

<End Segment 41> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 42>

TY: When your children were small, they went to the Baptist Sunday School at first, didn't they? But they changed to the Sunday school of the Nichiren-shuu where their friends went, and started going there.

AT: They went there for a long time.

TY: Then, was that the reason you and your husband who used to practice the Jodoshin-shuu changed to the Nichiren-shuu?

AT: Yeah, we changed. We became the followers of the Nichiren-shuu. The family of Terao was originally practicing the Zen-shuu. We found out when we asked. We said that we should change to the Nichiren-shuu, and we changed to the Nichiren-shuu. The school our children went to, we would crash if the parents do not follow the religion, right? Our feelings would crash. This is why we changed to practice the Nichiren-shuu. At first, we recited Nanmandabutsu.

TY: You didn't think about changing the Sunday school that your children were going?

AT: Huh?

TY: Didn't you think about changing the Sunday school that your children were attending?

AT: No. Our children, they trusted them and attended the school, so Nanmyohorengekyo [Ed. note: the casual pronunciation of the sutra of the Nichiren-shuu] was placed a little higher than Nanmandabutsu, so we said it was better that way, like that. This, Terao recommended, too. A boy who was attending the school was a very good boy. We called him Jakki [Ed. note: Jack. Many Issei pronounced Jack as Jakki.], Jakki Yamazaki, and he was playing with our children. I wondered how he became such a good boy. Properly, even though he was a child, he came for my children. He also called for them in the morning, and he walked them home after it was done, he brought them home. At such time, he asked me, "Obasan, could you let us use your backyard?" so I said, "Sure, come and play." We had a pretty large yard where children could hop around. It was a grass field. They threw a ball there. When I told them, "You can play there," with our children, he played with all of our small children. He was the oldest in the neighborhood. Then, well, he became the head, and he was suggesting that they should play this and that, like throw balls, and play baseball, and in the back, they were playing in the large part of the yard. That boy, he was a very bright boy, and his name was Jakki, Jakki. When I asked his parents what they did to raise such a good boy, they said, "He goes to the Nichiren Buddhist Church," I said, "In that case, we should send our children there," and this is why we sent our children to the Nichiren Sunday School, instead of to the Buddhist Church. [Laughs] That was why we joined the Nichiren-shuu church later on.

TY: You said that you studied for that.

AT: We studied a little bit. If we changed from Nanmandabutsu to Nanmyohorengekyo, then the sutras were quite different. Of course, Terao researched very hard. He wanted this one, and he went to talk to the reverend. Our children, once they attended, they wouldn't change the religion even if we told them to. We said that if children say Nanmyohorengekyo, the parents had to say Nanmyohorengekyo as well, otherwise we couldn't have a happy home, so we changed, then now, even us, we don't really hesitate to recite it. So that's why I say Nanmyohorengekyo here. To begin with, we didn't really worship at the temple in Japan, so we didn't really recite Nanmandabutsu, and that's why we could recite the new sutra.

TY: You reported that you converted yourselves to the Nichiren-shuu to the main family.

AT: Yeah, we reported all. Yeah. We reported everything to Japan. We said, "We all, for such and such reasons, changed the church to that of the Nichiren-shuu," then, from the temple of the main family in Japan, the main family said it was all right. Before, we didn't recite Nanmyohorengekyo, but they practiced the Zen-shuu, so they recited Nanmandabutsu, but a little, they weren't Nanmyo, Nanmandabutsu, they said that it was better because it was a little higher. The main family in Japan said that to us.

TY: If you didn't get their approval, what would have happened? From the main family.

AT: No, still, we wouldn't have quit the Nichiren-shuu, yeah. You choose the religion depend on what you believe in. That's why. Our children were going, so if parents did not practice the religion, even if there were events for some occasions, we wouldn't understand at all even if we went to listen to the doctrine. Even if we helped them, we wouldn't know what it was about. So, if our children went there, if we thought it was good, we should convert ourselves to the religion and help the temple, and if the parents and the children worked together, it would make a difference to the children. So one is working hard as a doctor, well, when he asks what is wrong, he is asked to exam the children, the children from the Sunday school. So he examines them.

TY: Still today, all the generations of your family are attending the sect, right?

AT: Yeah, yeah, we all go. Yeah. Then, my grandson started attending now. In the beginning, he was in the Boy Scout of the Buddhist Church. He quit, and he started coming to our church. [Laughs]

TY: For you, Asano-san, what do you call it, a church or a temple, of the Nichiren-shuu, for you to attend there also meant the connection to the community, right? All of your good friends over years are from the Nichiren-shuu, through the Nichiren-shuu.

AT: Yeah, that's right. Terao, he studied two religions, the Nichiren-shuu and the Shin-shuu. Then, he said that the Nichiren was one rank higher. Then, finally, we told our children that they didn't have to change the church, and that they should count on the Nichiren-shuu. Then, children heard many things, and we heard from the reverend, and in the beginning, we went to the Spirit Church. But, we stopped going there immediately, and we said that we would be under the care of this reverend, and we paid money to the church, and we swore our commitment by reciting Nanmyohorengekyo, and this is how we became the followers. All my children, including my grandson, are attending there today.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 43>

TY: As you said before, the Nichiren-shuu also had a meaning as a connection to the Japanese American community for you, but did you participate in other various events in the Japanese American community? There are many events such as Bon Odori.

AT: Yeah, after all...

TY: The community-wide activities.

AT: Oh, that, I used to go help them, but I haven't done recently. I don't do it any more.

TY: Then, your children danced, too, in Bon Odori?

AT: Sure, they dan -- danced. At that time, it was just the church, there were many ins and outs there, so the reverend said that he would be in trouble if we didn't come help him, so I said, "All right. I will go, I can do small things to help," and I helped them. Everybody changed into kimono, we changed kimono at the church. There were some people who came from home in kimono, there were people who changed into kimono in a church room and went out to dance. If we were not careful then, um, there were some people who stole things sometimes. [Laughs] Once, an offertory box, there was this big one there. The box, when the reverend got up in the morning and went to see it, it wasn't there. He thought it was strange, then the box, it was left on the second floor of the hall. Someone, it must have done by some young people. Then...

TY: You never found out who stole the money? You didn't know who took it?

AT: We didn't know. We didn't know. We had Bon Odori in front of the Nichiren church, someone did it then. So many people entered the building, right? That was when it was stolen. They stopped doing at the church since then. The practice was at the hall, too, everybody practiced, they did until the day of Bon Odori. Many people came for the practice. We went and danced, too, but I didn't dance even if I said so. I went because it was fun chatting with friends. Now I don't go there any more. I don't go, because they have it in front of the Buddhist Church.

TY: Please tell us the manner, the manner that you emphasized to your children, and also the things they couldn't say or the places they couldn't go, such things. What kind of places did you teach your children not to go?

AT: Hmm. That kind of things, the teacher taught them at the Sunday school. See, my children went to the Sunday school, right? Then, they taught things like if they went to this kind of places, they had to behave like this, or if they went to this kind of place, they had to do in this way, like this, I don't know now. Before, the wife of the reverend was a very good person. The wife was teaching, and the wife of the current priest is a good person, too, but she has children. I wonder how she is doing, I don't go to the church any more nowadays.

<End Segment 43> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 44>

TY: Mrs. Terao, when you were small, you said that your mother and grandpa and everybody let you do whatever you wanted to do. But, when you actually had your own children, it was in the American society where you didn't grow up, right? But, did you, after all, have your children do freely? Or, were you more careful because they were in the American society...

AT: No. Of course I was careful. As much as I could, um, how should I say, there were some not well-known meetings, right? I told my children not to go to that kind of places. That, those well-known meetings were fine because most of them were related to the temples. But, there were some irresponsible unwell-known meetings, but there were some curious people, they are not doing now, though. They were walking around quite a bit for solicitation, so I just said, "Thank you for inviting us. Well, if we had a chance we might join you," and I talked with friends, and we decided not to go, and said, "Oh, let's not send our kids to such meetings."

TY: Children, as they grew older, there were occasions when they would ask you if they could spend a night at their friends' house.

AT: Yeah, yeah.

TY: Were you okay with those things?

AT: Yeah, I was fine. But, they rarely went to spend nights at others.

<End Segment 44> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 45>

TY: After you immigrated to Japan, I mean to the U.S., you found some events like Thanksgiving that you didn't celebrate in Japan. Such events, how did you do, how did you...

AT: We celebrated Christmas.

TY: In Japan as well?

AT: I don't know in Japan.

TY: That was after you came over here.

AT: Over here, yes. In Japan, we didn't even think about celebrating Christmas, when we lived in Japan. But, recently, we celebrate Christmas. In this country, we celebrate Christmas. Nowadays, all, all the children do that for me. They take turns. They take turns and tell me who does what the next year, and they say, "Grandma, go to this house. They take care of it tonight." Sometimes, I tell them, "I don't want to go, so can you just bring me some dinner." [Laughs]

TY: Have you been celebrating for a long time since your children were small? In American society, people in general celebrate Christmas, right? But, the Terao family has been with the Nichiren-shuu. But, did you do it after all?

AT: We do it. If we didn't do it, children would have pouted. They have friends that were both Christians and Buddhists. If we didn't do it, they would be embarrassed. So we did it every year.

TY: Thanksgiving and Halloween, too?

AT: Yeah, yeah, the same thing for all the events.

TY: These events, how did you learn? Like what kind of food you eat, what kind of things and what you needed to do.

AT: Yeah, of course, children learned it from others. They said that at so and so's house, they were going do such and such things. So I said, "Then, let's do such and such things here, too." We said such things. That, the children, they all went to school together. They insisted that some people made such and such things at their home. If we didn't have it at our home, they said, "Gran," um, "Mommy, next time you should make such and such things, you should make them." Now, I don't know any more. I don't care now. After all, among children, if they found out that they didn't have the certain things at their home, they would want to have it the next year. I saw some tendencies like that. They were doing that to each other. Now, all my children have grown older, and once they had their own families, they really couldn't say so many things any more, after all, how should I say, I just think that we have been just carrying out the old custom.

TY: Did you still practice otoshidama and nenshimawari even after you came here?

AT: About nenshimawari, we just wrote letters or called people on the phone. We didn't do it as much. Little by little, we became slow about it. Christmas, we still celebrate. Even if we don't celebrate the New Years that much. My family, we still celebrate Christmas. But, our children, too, even if I talk about the New Year's day, they just say, "Oh, it is the New Year's day," and they don't appreciate it as much as Christmas.

TY: After all, it is not a general event...

AT: Yes, that's right.

<End Segment 45> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.