Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 14, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ytosh-01-0030

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AI: Well then, now how about when you returned to the Seattle area? What did you find when you came back here?

TY: Well...

AI: That was in 1946, also.

TY: That was in 1946. I came back and at that time our house was being rented. And so as much as I wanted to move into the house, I couldn't. So I moved into the International Student House, housing, house. What did they call it? Well, they call it International House. Yeah, that's right. And there were students from all over the world there, lot of people from, kids from Egypt, and a lot of people from Near East, and some of the European people, and several Niseis. So it was pretty, again, very cosmopolitan environment, so I didn't feel any, I didn't have any problem at all while I was going there. And I think I went, lived there for one quarter, or two quarters, and then I finally talked the people renting our house to move out so that I could move in. So the beginning of the year, that's '47, I moved into our house and at that time, the first six months or so we had, I had three other Nisei fellows living there with me. And I'm not, I don't remember the circumstances why, but anyway, the beginning of next fall, '47, we had one, two, oh, four hakujin couples, students, married couples, living in the house with me and I got to know them real well then. In fact I still, one of the couples I still see them off and on. We've become very good, close friends.

AI: So really, as you were getting back into student life at University of Washington and living back in your old family home on Beacon Hill, sounds like you really didn't encounter too much problem.

TY: No, not really.

AI: Or difficulty.

TY: In Seattle, too, there was a lot of, there was a lot of Nihonjins there, too, so, and most of the people that I hung around with were Niseis, too, at that time. So, of course you hear stories about people having problems or having incidents when you take a bus and people saying derogatory nasty stuff to you, but I never personally, had never experienced that. The only time we -- I told you before, only time we had any problem was when we moved to Bothell. [Laughs] Back in, that was in the '60s so -- but during, when we were students, I think, I really didn't have any problem at all. And then in '48 I talked our folks into selling the house and we -- because it started to, we started having roof leakage problem and plumbing problem and all kinds of minor problems and I told Dad that I just can't handle it. I don't have time to fool with that. So I talked him into selling the house and we sold it to Mrs. Motoda who converted it into a church and I moved into the vet's dorm on the campus.

AI: Now what was that like, moving back into a dorm where a number of them were fellow vets?

TY: Yeah, well, that was something else again. It was pretty wild. [Laughs] No, I had -- first time, let's see, yeah, the first time I moved into the vet's dorm I had a hakujin roommate, Blair Bower. And I got to know him real well. I was real close to him. And the dorm life was, as to be expected, was kinda -- the vets, they studied hard but they played hard, too, I guess. And it was very noisy and trying to study -- the environment made it very difficult to study. [Laughs] Very distracting, but it was okay and we made it all right. And the second, the second roommate I had was a Nisei fellow, Tony Koura, who was from Bainbridge Island. And I got to know him very well. In fact, I was -- went over to Bainbridge Island. At that time Bainbridge Island was very notorious, it was famous for -- not notorious -- famous for strawberries and I remember having delicious strawberries over at his -- we went to visit his home on some weekends, a couple of weekends and had, oh the strawberries were just delicious. I don't think I've ever had any strawberries that good anywhere since then.

AI: I think the Koura family farm was famous.

TY: Yeah, yeah. They even have a street named after them over there which I was kinda, found surprising when I, after I got back. But...

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.