Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Joe Yasutake
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: So had you and your mother been at Crystal City very long before he joined you there? Or...

JY: It seems like he was there. When we got there I just vaguely remember that he was waiting for us and that I saw him for the first time in, in quite a while, because, of course, I was not on that trip that my brother and sister talked about to Lordsburg. So it had been at least a year, you know, over a year since I had seen him.

AI: Let's see. 19-, December 1941 he had been taken away. You had a few visits with him before you left Seattle, and then --

JY: I, I just vaguely remember visiting him in, in the cell, you know, in the facility where, where his office was. But, yeah, since that time, of course, I had not seen him.

AI: So it was over two years then.

JY: Well, through, through our time in Puyallup and Minidoka, which probably amounted to a year and a half or so, so yeah, between a year and a half and two years maybe.

AI: And where, what was your living situation there like? Were you as, the three of you as a family in your own room or unit?

JY: Yeah. And, of course, at Minidoka we had a room to go to the bathroom and everything, and to eat you had to go to some, to some, some other building. But in Crystal City, as I recall, it was like a little, like a studio apartment in a sense, because my mother was -- I don't know where she got the food or how she got it, but we used to be able to eat as a family in, in, in our own little studio apartment, if you will. So from that aspect it was a lot better than Crystal City -- or better than Minidoka.

AI: Because you didn't have to go out and line up for --

JY: That's right.

AI: -- mess hall and line up for --

JY: Uh-huh.

AI: -- everything?

JY: Uh-huh. Still, we didn't haven't a private or anything. We still, we still had public facilities as far as the toilets and where you cleaned up and things like that were concerned. I can remember one time when I was sitting on the potty and there was a -- for whatever reason, I knew what a black widow spider looked like, and he was crawling right up the side of the, of the toilet bowl, and it scared the daylights out of me. [Laughs]

AI: I bet.

JY: But that's why I remember there was, you know, it was a public facility, or a community facility as far as the clean-up areas were concerned.

AI: Right. So you were there all of your sixth grade then --

JY: Pretty much.

AI: -- in Crystal City?

JY: I was -- somehow, each movement seemed to kind of last over an academic year. And, and I think, as I think I said before, that for -- in, in Seattle, you know, the fourth grade ended in about February or whenever it was that we, we were hauled off to Puyallup, and then I was moved in the next, the next time, to the next grade, to the fifth grade in Minidoka. And I'm almost certain I finished the fifth grade in Minidoka before, and I think it was over the summer or early fall that we went to Crystal City. And the same thing with when we moved from Crystal City. It was at least at the beginning of the school year, because when we arrived in Cincinnati, the principal had to take me to my first class because the class was already in session and so, so he could kind of introduce me to the, to the teacher and the, and my new classmates and so forth.

AI: And -- oh.

JY: So it worked, kind of worked out that way.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.