Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mitsu Fukui Interview
Narrator: Mitsu Fukui
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 18 & 19, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-fmitsu-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: So, even though you were living a little farther away, you still were -- you and your family were involved, active in visiting.

MF: Yeah, my father was very active in that. He was the president of the Green Lake Men Association and all that stuff.

AI: Well, was your father also involved in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and some other things?

MF: Oh my gosh. He was the secretary for twenty years. [Laughs]

AI: Well, you also showed me a, some letters that your father had written in English. And I thought that was very interesting because there weren't too many Issei men who were able to --

MF: Oh yes. Well, he was fluent in Japanese and then in English. And lotta times the Isseis' children were attending a school back East and they didn't know how to read the letters so they would come to my dad and he would translate it. And during the New Year time we would have about twenty boxes of Japanese oranges. You know those -- years ago it was in a wooden box, and my mother used to have my brother take about ten boxes to the Buddhist church and give it to them. And then I would take about five or six boxes to my friends, my American friends, and give it to them because that time it was kind of rare to have Japanese orange come from Japan, you know. And I still have that one wooden box and David said, "Don't you ever throw that away."

AI: Well, that is wonderful.

MF: I just put my hammers and nails and things in there. And I have it above my washer and dryer.

AI: But in those days --

MF: He said, "That's a antique now." 'Cause I had it over fifty years.

AI: That's right. Well, as you say, in those days, the Japanese orange wasn't very common and it was a, but it was a very special gift.

MF: Oh yes. It sure was. I don't know how much it cost, but it was.

AI: You know, you were mentioning about all the activities with the Green Lake group. Is there anything special, special activities with the Green Lake group that you, stand out in your mind? Maybe --

MF: Well, I remember Hiromi Nishitani's wife, she was Caucasian girl; she taught us to cook American food because mostly at home we had nihonshoku. And she taught us how to make -- first she taught us how to make pancakes and French toast and things like that, and then later she taught us how to make a very nice, delicate salads and then a main dish. It was very nice. We had a cooking class there. There was only about five or six girls but I learned a lot from her.

AI: It sounds like, when you were growing up and in high school, that you had a very full life with many activities with your Japanese American friends but also a very fine friendships with --

MF: Oh yes. I still have, I still communicate with my friends that I went to school together at B.F. Day. And we went through from first grade to eighth grade at that time. My sister was the first one that year that she went to -- instead of going to eighth grade she went to the middle school, at John Marshall School. And she was about two and a half years younger than I was. But I went clear up to eighth grade.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.