Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mitsuko Hashiguchi Interview
Narrator: Mitsuko Hashiguchi
Interviewer: James Arima
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: July 28, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-hmitsuko-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

JA: Can you tell me about these farm parties?

MH: Oh, the farm parties. That was something else the farmers had. They, the men, the men are either the prefecture people or the village -- or the people that live near each other. Now like our area, we had the Midlake group that included all the Itos and all that, right through there about eight families, and we used to get together. And of course, the wives made the sake, homemade sake, and they use that for dinner. And they would, and it was potluck so we brought foods and we had a gathering together. And they had a ball singing and playing cards, and the women sit and gabbed and talked about the children or the sewing, or... and so it made a wonderful evening sometime that we had a gathering during the winter months when nobody was busy.

JA: Now, these potluck dinners, I imagine they were quite a feast.

MH: Yes, it was, because every country was, every city, let's say, every prefecture was a little difficult, and Kumamoto people are a different, because they were saltier, and Fukuoka people are a little different again. Okayamas are, they're very mild in flavor. And so it was kind of interesting to see the variety of food that they had come in when we had those potluck dinners.

JA: I guess even now, the Sansei and Yonsei look forward to these potlucks because of the wonderful food that's presented. Was this the case then?

MH: That's true because it's the variety that they really get wherever they go.

JA: And each, each woman brought her best dish, correct?

MH: That's... of course, they do. Yes, they do.

JA: Now, was there, does, does potluck come from Japan? Was this commonplace in Japan?

MH: No, I don't think so. I don't think it was, come from Japan. I think what they instigated over here because of the fact that everybody can get different things. Whatever they can get from their own country or something like that, so they want to bring it out and show it to the other prefecture people of what they can come up with, whatever they have, and things like that because every prefecture is a little different in the way they prepare the food. You can have the same thing and they prepare it a little differently. And for that reason I think that's why they enjoyed doing the potluck and bring different things to different homes. And we enjoyed it, too, because then we don't have to eat the same, my mother's food. It was a little different.

JA: So this is a real Japanese American creation.

MH: Japanese American creation, yes, it was.

JA: Because even today now, oftentimes we prefer to have a potluck than to go to a restaurant.

MH: Yes. That's right, because you get a big variety of food that you can get, and everybody brings their best, when they come out to a potluck as you can see.

JA: So Japanese potlucks are quite different then potlucks in general.

MH: American potluck, yes. It is a little different. [Laughs]

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