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

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: Well, today is December 18, 2002. We're here in Seattle with Mrs. Fukui, Mitsu Fukui, thank you very much for having us. And I'm Alice Ito with the Densho Project. Our videographer is John Pai. Mrs. Fukui, I wanted to ask you about your parents' background and first ask you about your father. If you could tell us your father's name and where he came from in Japan.

MF: My father's name was Riichiro Fukano, and he came from Fukuoka, Japan, and my mother, well, actually they're both cousins, and that's very unusual, I thought.

AI: And they were cousins because their mothers were --

MF: My moth-, my grandmother, both my grandmothers are sisters. So they, so they become cousins.

AI: That's right.

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: So, and what was your mother's name?

MF: Kiyono, and Miyama is the last name.

AI: So, I think you mentioned to me, in an earlier conversation, that your father was born around 1896?

MF: I kinda think so.

AI: And what did he do in Japan, his education, before coming to the United States?

MF: Well, I heard that he went to a business college in Japan and it really helped him when he came here because he was a bookkeeper when he came here. He -- they call it Oriental Trading Company he worked for. And I think it was connected with C.T. Takahashi.

AI: About how old was your father when he first came?

MF: I kinda think he was about twenty-six, and my mother was eighteen when she came here.

AI: And I think you told me earlier that your mother was born about 1892? Is that right?

MF: Let's see... I was born 1911 and she came when she was eighteen years old --

AI: And she would have come about 1910?

MF: I kinda think so. I'm not definite.

AI: Uh-huh. And what about your mother's -- her education in Japan?

MF: She graduated from high school and she came right over. Being cousins, well, you know, in their family, I guess they had a understanding that they'd get married, you know. And so the minute she graduated from high school she came over.

AI: And did your father or mother ever tell you why, why they decided to come, or why your father decided to come to the United States?

MF: Really I don't know about why my father came to the United States. But later, my grandfather and grandmother on my father's came over and stayed here for eleven years. So I was -- when I was small I was raised by Grandma and Grandpa, too.

AI: Which is somewhat unusual.

MF: Yes, and you know, I didn't know a word of English when I went to school, and it was hard on the teacher, and it was hard on myself.

AI: Well, I think you mentioned that before you were born, that your parents lived out near Crystal Springs?

MF: Green Lake.

AI: Oh, Green Lake.

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And then where --

MF: I think it was Latona.

AI: The Latona area?

MF: Yeah.

AI: In Seattle.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: And then when, when were you born?

MF: I was born here in a Japanese doctor's home. His name was Dr. Sato. And that was right across the street from Providence Hospital on 500th block, I think. I don't know where that other -- I knew it was 500 block, but it's the street... well, anyways, across the street from Providence. That's all I can remember. It was a doctor's home. Dr. Sato.

AI: And what was your birth date?

MF: September 21, 1911.

AI: So, then, at that time, what were your parents doing? What was their business?

MF: My mother wasn't working but my father was working at Oriental Trading Company on Fifth Avenue between Main and Washington, I think, somewhere around there.

AI: And you were the first child --

MF: Yeah.

AI: -- for them. So, then you also had a sister born a couple of years later.

MF: Yes. She passed on two years ago.

AI: And what was her name?

MF: Toshiko.

AI: And then you had three brothers?

MF: Three brothers: Kiyoshi, Makoto, and Yutaka. They were Japanese names.

AI: Did they have other names, also?

MF: They had -- my first name, brother was George, Frank and Henry.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

AI: What about you? Did you ever have an English name?

MF: No, I never had a American name, but lotta people called me "Rose" when I was going to school. And I was the only Oriental girl that went to that school, B.F. Day.

AI: So there were no other Japanese American girls in your class at B.F. Day?

MF: Uh-uh. I was the only Japanese.

AI: Were there any --

MF: 'Cause that was on Forty-second and Fremont Avenue.

AI: What was the neighborhood like there?

MF: Oh, it was mostly Norwegian or Swedish people living around there. And I had a very happy childhood because -- I didn't know too many Japanese 'cause "Japanese Town" was pretty far from where I lived. And, well, later my father bought a car. But my mother was a Buddhist and she never went to Japanese Buddhist Church because it was so far. But after she retired, mostly after the war, well, she was very faithful going to church.

AI: But when you were very young, you mentioned that when you first started grammar school, that you didn't know English?

MF: No.

AI: So you --

MF: That was when my grandma and grandpa was living with us. We spoke Japanese.

AI: Do you remember learning English in school?

MF: Well, you know, I could remember one time we were cutting something with scissors and see, I didn't know a word of English, so she took my scissor and put it in my hand and said to cut. And well, gradually, as I went on through grammar school I learned English.

AI: Well, and then do you have any other memories of grammar school that stick out in your mind?

MF: Well, I was the only Japanese and they all kinda liked me because I was different. You know, I looked different. And...

AI: Did they ever ask you to speak Japanese or...

MF: No, they didn't. But they invited me to birthday parties and things like that, which was nice.

AI: So it sounds --

MF: I was never isolated.

AI: It sounds like you were included with the other kids.

MF: Oh, yes. We had birthday party at our place and I invited all the girls that I knew and they invite -- they always invited me.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

AI: And where were you living at that time, when you were going to B.F. Day?

MF: Oh, B.F. Day? I was living on Forty-, Forty-first and Fremont Avenue. My father had a dry cleaning shop there, and we lived upstairs and the shop was downstairs.

AI: Did you have any jobs or responsibilities to help out with the shop?

MF: Well...

AI: As a child, I mean.

MF: I don't know how old I was, but my mother's father was very ill in Japan, so during the summertime, that three months that we had, I helped my father do some sewing and oh, she told me how to put the zipper in the pants, and how to put new pockets in the trouser and things like that. And it worked out okay. And she was gone for about three months.

AI: And while she was gone, did you also have to take care of the home and your --

MF: Yeah, I had to cook.

AI: -- younger sister and brothers?

MF: Yeah, 'cause I had four other brothers and sister, one sister and three brothers.

AI: So you really had to take over the responsibility --

MF: Oh, yeah.

AI: -- while she was gone?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: Well, I think you had mentioned to me earlier that you were at B.F. Day until 1926? That's when you graduated from eighth grade?

MF: I kinda think -- well, I graduated in 1930 from high school now, so what...

AI: So that sounds about right.

MF: Comes about right? Four, eight years and then four years of high school, Lincoln High School.

AI: Right.

MF: I think I was the second Japanese to go there.

AI: To Lincoln High School?

MF: Uh-huh. Because I think George Yamaoka went to Lincoln and I think I was the second one, and then my sister and my three brothers.

AI: Well, now, in those days, graduating from the eighth grade was very special, kind of a special important occasion. How was it for you? That your eighth grade --

MF: Oh yes. I remember making my own graduation dress and oh, I should've looked it up 'cause I have a picture of my dress that I made. Gee, it was... it was a yellow chiffon dress and I had a picture taken at a studio and it was, it must have been long because it was kinda tight fitting and kind of a flared dress and it looked so pretty on me 'cause the flare looked so graceful.

AI: And so --

MF: And they made me sit on a piano bench and it looked like, the dress kinda was long and it wasn't down to the floor, but I think it was about there, and the dress kinda flowed and oh gosh, it looked real nice. [Laughs]

AI: Well --

MF: But you know I made it.

AI: In the eighth grade?

MF: Eighth grade.

AI: So you already were a dressmaker?

MF: My mother was a seamstress. So I learned from her.

AI: That's right.

MF: Yeah.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: Well, now when you moved on to Lincoln High School, what about your experiences there? Did you have -- get any teasing for being Japanese, or any of that type of thing?

MF: Oh, no. Never.

AI: So, really you were included in high school as well?

MF: Oh, yes. I had -- well, I was the only Japanese for a little while, and then my brothers and, my sister and my brothers came after me. But they were very good. Never discriminated me; I was included in their birthday parties and everything else.

AI: Well, what were some of your activities during high school?

MF: Well, I -- let me see -- what did I, what club did I have? Oh, they had a Japanese club. There was only about five or six of us, but we had that and then I sang in a choir, and then I was interested in history so there was a club called Historian Club and I was in that club. And my sister and I used to do Japanese dances because we took lessons from a Japanese lady when we were young. And we wore Japanese kimono and I have few pictures of that. And, well, that's about all.

AI: Well, in addition to the Japanese dancing classes, did you take any Japanese language classes?

MF: Well, I went to the Japanese language school in Green Lake on Saturday. It was all-day affair from about eight-thirty 'til about three-thirty. We took our lunch and my father drove us to Green Lake and they had a little community club there, sort of a house. And then they had a Japanese teacher come from the main Japanese school to teach us on Saturday. And we took -- my daddy took all of us there every Saturday.

AI: So it was like a small Japanese community club?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And did -- is that where you had a seinenkai, a young people's group?

MF: Yeah, seinenkai, yeah.

AI: What kinds of things did the seinenkai do?

MF: Oh, we used to have Mother's Day program, we'd cook for them. And then we used to have New Year's party. Oh, and we had picnics. I had a nice time in Green Lake group. We were away from Green Lake, but that was our nearest communication with Japanese.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 7>

AI: Well, during this time as you were growing up and getting older, what kinds of lessons did your mother and father give you? Or what kind -- did they ever talk to you about what was important for you as a Japanese girl or as an American girl, or... what kinds of things did they emphasize to you that were important?

MF: [Laughs] I don't remember.

AI: Did they ever talk about being Nihonjin or as a Japanese girl, how they would like you to behave, that type of thing?

MF: Well, they taught us to be honest and, and behave like a woman, a lady. My mother was -- you know, she had high school education. At those days, you know, lotta the mothers didn't have that. They just went through grammar school and my mother was the president of the Buddhist Women's Association and all that stuff. And she was sort of a leader, I noticed.

AI: It sounds like she was very active?

MF: Oh, she was very active, especially after the war she was. Oh, before the war she was raising her kids and there was five of us.

AI: Well, now, even though your mother was a Buddhist, what about you? Did your parents teach you any particular religion or encourage you?

MF: No. I somehow, we lived among the Caucasian people and of course they're Christians. And so, oh, one of our friends, girlfriend invited us to Whitman Memorial Church. It's a, it's in Wallingford. We had to walk quite a bit to that church. But I was baptized at Wallingford at, when I was thirteen years old. And so we went there until we moved.

AI: Did you go to many church activities?

MF: No, not too many. I went to the church every Sunday, and then they call it Christian Endeavor, and I belonged to that. And then we had Christmas parties and picnics and things like that, we all went, five of us, and so we all went to whatever they had. I don't know whether that church is still open or not, very old church. It was very nice people.

AI: Well, now, you were, you mentioned that you graduated high school in 1930 and I was wondering if you could just tell me a little bit about when you were graduating, what were some of your hopes and dreams for the future?

MF: Golly, I don't remember. Well, I know that... well, I could remember that I made my own graduation dress. And I, the graduation picture I'm right in the middle in the front row 'cause I was so short. [Laughs] And our teacher was -- two teachers were both on the end of the pictures when we're sitting, first row was sitting and the other row -- the next row was, the students were standing up without the chair.

AI: Well, and then were you planning to go on to a college education at that time?

MF: Yes. Well, my father and mother said, "You must have a little bit more education," so I went one year and -- I think I went one year and a half, and then I went to Japan.

AI: Where did you go to college?

MF: Then I went there --

AI: Oh, excuse me --

MF: -- and stayed there for one year.

AI: Oh, excuse me. Before we go on to your trip to Japan, where did you go to college?

MF: When I went to college?

AI: Yes. It was here --

MF: University of Washington, uh-huh.

AI: University of Washington.

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And what were you interested in, or what did you study there?

MF: Home-Ec, 'cause I liked sewing and cooking.

AI: And then did you belong to any groups there, or have any activities?

MF: Oh, there was a Fuyokai, Japanese sorority.

AI: Well, for people who don't know about the Fuyokai, could you tell a little bit about it? What kind of sorority activities you had?

MF: Well, it was just a group of girls that went to University. And I still have that beautiful pin. It looked liked Mt. Fuji and it has a little diamond in it. And the Mt. Fuji is blue, beautiful blue. And it cost us seventy-five dollars and you know, it was a lot of money. I just hated to ask my father and mother but they were willing to sacrifice and...

AI: Well, that must have been very special.

MF: It was very special because everybody had it. And we didn't have a house, sorority house, so we borrowed a boys' student club to have our meetings and things. And lotta the girls met their friends, and they got married.

AI: What about you? Did you meet anyone special at that time?

MF: Well, I, I knew one boy that I liked but he, he was a junior in University. He was from Spokane. He passed away with pneumonia or something. But I wasn't interested in marrying at that time.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AI: Well, and now then, you said that after going to university for about a year or so, then you took the trip to Japan.

MF: Japan. Uh-huh.

AI: What kind of a trip was it? Who did you go with?

MF: Oh, it was called Fukuoka-ken Japanese Tour. And about -- let me see... seven of us. There was one lady from Idaho that came with us, and there was one gentleman from Yakima or somewhere, and the rest were students. I think I was the only female in that group. But we started from Tokyo and went clear down to Fukuoka.

AI: And that was in the summer of 1931? Is that right, after your year at University of Washington?

MF: Gee, I thought it was in the summertime.

AI: Yeah, summer, summertime. So during the summertime you took from the north of Japan down to the south?

MF: Yeah. And then the tour ended. I stayed.

AI: And where did you stay? Where, did you go --

MF: Well, you know, my grandpa and grandpa, grandma, was here for eleven years so I knew them. So I went directly to their home when the tour was ended and we, I stayed there for a little while and then I started school.

AI: Where did you go to school?

MF: Same school as my mother did, high school. It was very hard so I had a tutor help me for a while because I was a little behind. And she was a student but she was very good. And then I took flower arrangement and tea ceremony.

AI: Well, now when --

MF: And then I stayed with a Home Ec. teacher at her home very close to the school. I think it was only about two or three blocks from her home. And I didn't, I didn't wear the uniform because I wasn't going to stay long. And I just wore American clothes. And those days it was very rare for, to have --

AI: You must have really stood out among the other girls.

MF: Oh, I really stood out all right. [Laughs] They asked me where I was from and what part of the United States I was -- and lotta people knew Seattle. They called it "Shiato."

AI: Well, I'm wondering that -- I've been told by some other Nisei who visited Japan that some of them were teased for being American. Did you ever experience that?

MF: Being what?

AI: Being teased? Or --

MF: Oh, no.

AI: -- harassed, or...

MF: Never, never. They were very --

AI: So even --

MF: -- kind and, and they were very anxious to know something about America. They asked me where, and they would have a map. I would be pointing at Seattle and she says, "Well, you're the closest to landing to United States?" And I said, "Yes." But you know, when I went to Japan, there's no airline. I had to go on the boat two weeks going, coming back.

AI: That's a long trip going there. And now, I wanted to ask you also about the teachers and the principal at the school.

MF: Oh, the principal my mother had was Mr.-, Professor... see, what was his name? Oh, Imamura. And his son took over when I went. And there was a picture of my mother. She was the first graduating class. And he knew about me coming and he asked me, "There's a picture of your mother." And sure enough, I saw it. And they didn't wear American clothes. They wore a hakama and a top. And it was -- there she was, first graduating class in high school.

AI: Did you have any trouble recognizing her in the picture?

MF: Oh, I didn't have any trouble 'cause she was short and little plump. [Laughs]

AI: For people who don't know what a hakama is, can you describe that a little bit, what hakama looks like?

MF: Well, it's a skirt. And it's little wider than a skirt, straight skirt, has a little flare. And then it has a band that you tie. And then I think the top looks like a regular shirt except it's more "V" like that and it opens up without any buttons or anything. It just pullover. It's white. They look very nice. I never wore it 'cause I didn't want to spend the money making -- have it made and I just wear it for a year. 'Cause those kinda things wear out about four or five years, I think it'd be kind of worn out. But it's made of very heavy -- it's not a wool, but it's not even a linen. I don't know what it is. It's, it doesn't wrinkle or anything. It's very nice.

AI: Very --

MF: It really stands out. But I just wore my, summertime, I just wore my cotton dress and wintertime I wore a skirt and a sweater or something like that.

AI: So you didn't mind looking different or standing out from the group?

MF: Well, my mother told me, she says, "If you want to wear it you could have it made." But my -- I stayed at a teacher's home and the maid there, she was a good sewer, she sewed all of my Japanese kimono for me, and, but I knew I wasn't going to stay long so I just wore what I brought.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

AI: Well, were there any other experiences during that year of school in Japan that you recall that come to mind?

MF: Well, I took -- [laughs] -- tea ceremony and, well, of course she didn't know a word of English. She'd talk to me in Japanese and I understood. But she was very strict. And she says, "Wakarimashita ka." She always said that to me. And I'd say, "hai."

AI: She was asking if you understood her.

MF: Yeah. She was a sort of a elderly person but she was very strict. She said, so that -- she would say... oh, when you take the cup, you supposed to go like this, and go like this. And I would just sip it like this and she says, "No," she said, "go up like this and sip."

AI: So there were very strict, correct ways.

MF: Correct way of doing it. And she was a very ni-, very... she was very strict, but I learned a lot from her. My flower arrangement teacher was sort of, kind of sloppy. But tea ceremony teacher, Mrs. Tamura, she was very, she was very interested in me. She asked me lot of questions about America. And she asked me how old I was, and, and what your mother and father was doing. She was curious.

AI: It sounds like many of the people there were curious about America and Americans, and you as an American, who was also Japanese but also American.

MF: Yeah, well, in those days, people didn't wear American clothes. They all wore Japanese clothes and I was sorta, kinda stood out. 'Cause after school I would buy a bag of chestnuts from a vendor on the street and I would take it home and eat it. But some people would eat it on the street, throwing their shell on the sidewalk and things like that. But I never did that. But it was very interesting how they had those vendors selling things. And they had, they sold sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes. Oh, were they good, and they were hot. And after school I would buy a bag of it and then take it home and eat it. But most of the students, they didn't take it home; they just ate it on the street.

AI: It sounds --

MF: But my mother told me never to eat things on the street. Always take it home and eat it. [Laughs]

AI: It sounds delicious.

MF: Oh, it was really good. I just loved it. [Laughs]

AI: Well, you mentioned earlier that you visited with your grandparents, also, while you were there.

MF: Oh, yeah. My grandma and grandfather were here eleven years so I knew them, and they knew English, too, so lotta times I would mix English and Japanese together. And I can remember one time we went to grocery store and we wanted a bunch of spinach. And she said to the man, she said, "Spinach kudasai." And I told my grandma and said, "That's English, desu yo." "Oh, so, so. Horenso." [Laughs] Yeah. I never lived near Grandma and Grandpa but I had to take a train that took about forty minutes to get there. So during my vacation time, summer and winter I spent my vacation with my grandpa, grandma.

AI: So they lived more in the countryside in Fukuoka?

MF: No, it was a fairly a large city that they lived. And it was a duplex and they had a bath right between the duplex. So they take, every other day we used to take a bath 'cause the neighbor next door would take that bath, too. I remember that quite well. And then they, a man, around New Year time he'll come around and make the mochi for you out on the street, they pound the mochi.

AI: For people who don't know what mochi is, can you explain how they did that, what it was and how they did it?

MF: Oh, it was a sort of a wooden, wooden tub. And they'd put this mochigome in there and put a little water in and then pound it with a wooden mallet.

AI: And the mochigome is the special sweet rice.

MF: Yeah, that's for mochi. Uh-huh. We do it here with the electric mochi -- in our family on Christmas, after we had our big dinner we have it at my youngest brother's home for Christmas and we would have mochi, electric mochi made, making.

AI: But in those days they pounded it by hand.

MF: Oh, yeah.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

AI: Well, now, I think you mentioned to me at earlier time, another day, that you had some special experiences while you were in Fukuoka in Japan that you were asked to do some interpreting?

MF: Oh yes, I was the interpreter for Charles Lindbergh and Yasha Heifetz, a violinist. My father was very well-known in Fukuoka when he was young. He graduated from business college there and he knew some friends and then they knew that I was coming so they were at the station when I arrived and they knew where I was and everything. And so whenever they had somebody that spoke English then they would ask me to come interpret and so happened that Charles Lindbergh was in Fukuoka for about couple hours, I guess, and his wife. And so they called me and asked me to come interpret and I just got to meet him only about, oh, about an hour or an hour and a half, I think. And we drove from one place to another and that was all I did, was just to meet the dignitaries.

AI: What was your impression of Charles Lindbergh and his wife?

MF: Oh, he was very quiet, very dignified man. And his wife was more sociable. And he said to me, he said, "What is your name?" And I said, "My name is Mitsu." He says, "Oh, that's a beautiful name you have." And that's about all he said. [Laughs]

AI: And Yasha Heifetz was a world famous violinist.

MF: Oh yeah. He was a kind of a stubborn old man. [Laughs] He did -- I didn't think he liked it there.

AI: Did he come to give a concert?

MF: I guess so. I guess so. But some dignitary asked him a few little questions and all he could say is, "No Japanese." That meant he didn't speak Japanese. He says, "No Japanese." [Laughs]

AI: Oh, my.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

AI: Well, now, at about the end of a year or so, you were, you had to return home or you returned home here to Seattle. What happened at that time? There were, things were changing in the world, the Depression had come on and, can you tell me --

MF: Well I was, you know, I kinda think that they wanted me to stay there.

AI: Your parents? Or your grandparents or your parents wanted you to stay?

MF: My mother and father. And they were planning to go back permanently, too. But I guess they didn't have enough money to go back to live as a retirement person. So it just -- Depression came. So that's why I came back because, Depression. My dad lost all his money in Furuya Bank and so I had to come back.

AI: That --

MF: So their plan was to go back permanently. Oh, in those days, in the '30s, if you had three thousand dollars, in American dollar you could live comfortably in Japan. And my father had his home in Fukuoka and I visited it with my grandma and grandpa and she says, "This is your father's home." And later it was transferred to my mother's youngest brother because they weren't gonna go back.

AI: But at that time, you think they were probably planning to?

MF: Yeah. If you had three thousand dollars in American money you could live comfortably. [Laughs]

AI: Well, that must've been a terrible blow to your father to lose his savings.

MF: Yeah. Well, I don't know. My grandfather and grandmother lived here for eleven years, so, you know, they're pretty fluent in English, and they said they kind of miss America. Yeah. The reason that my grandpa wanted to go back was that -- I guess it was a time where we -- there was too much, not much drinking here. What you call it? Prohibition. He missed the drinking. He used to buy sake in a hot water bottle here. Somebody used to make it. And -- [laughs] -- and I could remember the time Grandpa was bringing a hot bottle, bottle home and I said, "Grandpa, what is it?" He says, "My sake." [Laughs] I said, "You like sake?" And he says, "Oh, my best wine." [Laughs]

AI: So your grandfather returned to Japan and he wanted to return, but what about your grandmother? How did she feel about returning to Japan?

MF: I don't know what she felt.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

AI: Well, now when you came back from Japan to the United States, you were mentioning it was a very long trip on a ship. Can you tell a little bit about the trip coming back home to Seattle?

MF: Well, you know, I was on the third-class and I been only about -- was about nineteen years old. [Laughs] And there was kinda weird people on that third class. And I met a minister, a Caucasian minister from Nagoya, and he was from Maryland. And he asked the captain if he could move me to the second class. He said he would pay for it. He says, "Oh, the captain said you don't have to pay." He said, "We'll transfer her to second class," and he was awfully nice and we became very good friends. And he was about the same age as -- oh, his wife is about the same age as I am. I think he's a little older. And so I got to sleep in second class and have my food second class because there was a lot of weird old men, and being nineteen years old, the minister thought it was kind of dangerous so... and we still -- (Dr. Paul Warner) is gone, but his wife is very nice and I met her. She came here when she went back to Nagoya being a missionary's wife. And we still correspond and I just got a Christmas card from her today.

AI: Well --

MF: She says, "Do you remember the trip coming back with Paul?" [Laughs]

AI: It sounds like it was a really special trip.

MF: Oh, I liked him and he liked me. And he was going back there to be married. It was a little difficult situation for him.

AI: Well, it sounds like a trip like that can be quite romantic on the ocean?

MF: Especially, especially on a boat two weeks. That's a long time. Not like flying over ten hours across.

AI: That's right. You have quite a bit more time to visit and --

MF: Yeah.

AI: -- get acquainted.

MF: And he transferred me to second class and...

AI: Well, let's see. That was the summer of 1932 then, that you returned to Seattle. And what did you do after you got back here to Seattle?

MF: Oh, I worked in the consul's home as a maid. Or a maid or a housekeeper or something. The wife cooked and all I had to do was wash dishes, and when they had company they hired people to do those kinda things but just for the family I did the wash. I stayed over there and upstairs they had two bedrooms upstairs and I took one bedroom and worked for about year and a half. And then -- and later I worked for Mrs. Thompson next door for about six months, and then I got married.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

AI: Well, now, I was, wanted to ask you about your ideas about getting married because as I understand, some people tell me that even for some Nisei, their parents wanted to arrange a marriage and have a more Japanese-style marriage.

MF: Well, I married a first-generation. He was married before. And he had two -- three, three children. They were all in Japan now. And, well, it was our family's friend that I married.

AI: And what was his name?

MF: Fukui, William Fukui. And we were -- my father and mother and he was in the same kind of business, dry cleaning business. So...

AI: So you had known him already --

MF: Oh yes.

AI: -- for many years.

MF: Oh yes. When his wife was ill with brain tumor there wasn't very much they could do with her. She became blind and she was ill for about six months and she was in the hospital, General, Seattle General for about two months and she was totally blind and left three children. And the youngest one was only about three, and then the next one was six and the oldest daughter was nine. She was in Japan and I guess the mother took the children to visit their grandparents and left the children there planning to go back very soon, I think. And she passed away with brain tumor and so I took care of their children for a while. And then the mother's sister wrote and said, "Bring the children back to Japan, I will raise them." So Bill took them back and she didn't, never had children so she -- I think the children had a very hard time with their new aunt, new mother.

AI: Oh, that's sad.

MF: It's kinda sad. But they're fine and they all have grandchildren now. [Laughs]

AI: Now, when you and Bill became engaged, this was not an arrangement, your parents did not arrange that, did they?

MF: Oh, no.

AI: Well, what was your parents' thinking about your getting married?

MF: They didn't like it very much. See, I being the oldest and then never married before and married a man that is a widow -- widow -- -er, -er isn't it? Widower? They didn't like it. But he was a wonderful man. I don't think we ever fought. You know, going to bed without speaking. And my mother said, "Gee," she said, "Well, we didn't think you gonna last you six months but it lasted forty-nine years." [Laughs]

AI: When was it that you and Bill were married?

MF: '36.

AI: 19 --

MF: May 24th, '36. He was a wonderful, very compassionate person. Never spoke ill about anybody and be kind to people, and afterward my mother said, "You should be like Bill." [Laughs] I was sort of a naughty girl.

AI: What makes you say that?

MF: Well, I sometimes criticize people and that's not right. But my mother forgave me. She said, "You married a fine man."

AI: Well, in 1936, you would have been about twenty-four years old --

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: -- when you got married. And as you say, Bill was already in the dry cleaning business.

MF: Oh yes.

AI: So then, after you married, then did you also work in the business with him?

MF: Uh-huh. Yeah.

AI: And where was that, that you were living then?

MF: That was in Montlake.

AI: I think you mentioned, was it the name of his, the business was Montlake Cleaners?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: Well, could you tell me a little bit about that, again for people who don't know what the dry cleaning business was like at that time? What would be -- your customers would come and what types of service would you provide?

MF: Well, my husband did all the pressing and I did all the alterations and, oh, did the hand ironing. And then I had a girl that did the seamstress, you know, repairing. She used to come in 10 o'clock in the morning and leave about 3:00. So when she came home her children would be home from school. And I had her for eleven years, I think. And she was a neighbor. She lived only about four or five blocks from where, Montlake.

AI: And where were you living at that time, when you had the Montlake Cleaners?

MF: Oh, we had a -- lived in a duplex, just about a block from the shop.

AI: So it was very close by.

MF: Very close.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

AI: Well, then I wanted to ask you about, it sounds like you were working so hard in the business there, but you were also thinking of starting a family also, with Bill.

MF: Yeah. That's the problem. We wanted children so bad and, and I knew that it wasn't his fault because he had children. And so I went to the doctor and he said, "Well, you've been working too hard." He said, "Why don't you take a vacation?" And so we took a -- went to San Francisco Expo. And we were there about three weeks. And then I got pregnant. And we were married about, oh about six years, I guess, before I got pregnant. I had David.

AI: And then David was... when was David born?

MF: '39.

AI: 1939. I think, did you say that he was born in November? Earlier, you told me he was born in November?

MF: Yeah, when we took the Expo. I don't know what, that was early in the spring or something... was it February? Somewhere around that time. Then I got pregnant so David was born November 13th.

AI: Did you have David at the hospital or at home?

MF: What?

AI: Did you have David at the hospital or at home?

MF: Oh, I had it at Swedish. And you know, those days you stay in the hospital for two weeks, you know, for a pregnancy. It was only a hundred dollars for two weeks. And the doctor was a hundred dollars. And the baby doctor was a hundred dollars. He was cheap huh? Two weeks in Swedish for a hundred. That's almost like a -- now they just charge about a hundred dollars a day.

AI: Or even an hour. [Laughs]

MF: [Laughs] I had Thanksgiving dinner with Bill when I was there.

AI: In the hospital?

MF: Yeah. See, he was born on thirteenth and I was there two weeks.

AI: That's wonderful. It's hard to believe. It's so different from now.

MF: Yeah. Both of my doctors passed on but, David's baby doctor passed on, Dr. Douglas, and, and what was that, my doctor, Dr. Scott? Yeah, they're both gone.

AI: Well, did -- you gave David a Japanese name, also.

MF: Huh?

AI: You gave David a Japanese name, also. Is that right?

MF: Hiroshi.

AI: Hiroshi?

MF: Hiroshi. He said it's named after his great-uncle who was a army captain, head of the army in Japan. He was quite a famous man. So they named him after him. [Laughs]

AI: Well, you must've been very busy with David when he was an infant. Were you still able to do some work in the shop? Or were you mostly at home with David?

MF: Oh, David was always with me. One time he wanted to climb up on the counter and he fell. So I had to take a taxi and go to medical dental building, the doctor that I knew, and he took a x-ray and nothing wrong with him. He climbed up on the high counter. I didn't know. I was sewing or something and I didn't know until he, heard a thump. I looked and David was on the floor crying.

AI: Oh no.

MF: You know, he didn't walk until he was fourteen months old 'cause I always had him in that stroller. And the doctor said, "Shame on you, letting him on the stroller. Why didn't you put him on the crib?" But I never had a crib in the shop. I had a crib in the home but I never had one in the shop. He was always on the stroller.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

AI: Well, when David was just, just little, that was 1940, he would have been about one year old. Well, in 1940 there were so many things going on in the world. There was the war in Europe was going on, World War II in Europe. And of course Japan was -- had a lot of military action in Asia. And I was wondering, what, did you or Bill read any of the Japanese newspapers or hear much about the news of Japan and the war or Europe?

MF: I guess he did. He took Japanese paper so he must have read it.

AI: Did he ever comment on anything about the war's going on or --

MF: Not too much. Not too much.

AI: The reason I ask is that when I've talked to some other Nisei they were mentioning that, that yes, that a few of the Issei did seem to be worried that there might be some coming war or conflict between Japan and the U.S. Did you ever think about that?

MF: Well, I was wondering why my husband burned all his old pictures. You know, before I was married. Was that a warning?

AI: Old pictures from Japan?

MF: No, here.

AI: So you weren't sure. Well, I also was wondering whether your, if your parents had mentioned anything to you about whether they were worried at all about --

MF: Gosh, you know, I don't remember too much about -- oh, I guess my parents were. But they never showed it.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

AI: Well, before we took our break we were just talking about, 1939 David was born and then 1940. And I was gonna ask you a little bit more about the Montlake Cleaners business. Could you tell me a little bit about your customers?

MF: They were, they were hakujins, you know. And we dealt with -- well, my husband had that cleaners before I got married to him.

AI: So he had many long-time customers?

MF: Oh yes. He started the Montlake Cleaners. And my father and mother were in the cleaning business, too, you know. And so I knew how to put zippers and repair, put new pockets and everything 'cause when my -- maybe I told you that my mother had to go to Japan to take care of Father, Grandpa.

AI: Yes.

MF: Why, I took care of the shop with Dad for three months during the summer vacation.

AI: Well, and then I wanted to ask you also, for people who don't know about the dry cleaning business, do you also usually have a wholesale cleaners that you work with?

MF: Oh yes.

AI: And what did they do?

MF: We had a Japanese wholesale cleaners because we had so many Japanese cleaners those days. I think there was about twelve. And we used to send it -- you know where, Fourteenth, I think it's Fourteenth Avenue and Jackson Street there's a building there. And that was where they did the wholesale work.

AI: And --

MF: You know --

AI: For people who don't know, can you explain the wholesale --

MF: -- Mr. Araki was the driver for picking up all the clothes for different cleaners. And we used to send it there and they used to clean only and they would bring it back and my husband pressed.

AI: Right. Well, I thought that was important to explain because lots of people don't know about the wholesale part of it.

MF: Yeah, well, most of 'em didn't have a plant, you know. But later on they did. And there's a certain kind of a gas that they use to clean. And that's, my brother had that. He used to clean his own and they say it's not very good for your health. And my husband -- my brother, of course, retired but, but we never, we always sent it out and then we just pressed it.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

AI: Well, now then in 1941, of course, it became very difficult because in December of 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed. And can you tell me what you remember about that day?

MF: Well, you know, my husband was fishing out here. And when he came out from the boat to get in the car, the FBI was already there. They questioned him. And he was released, of course. But some of those people were taken that day. My father was. And that was the night that my grandfather's memorial service was held at my father's home. And the minister, Reverend Ichikawa, from Baptist -- Buddhist church, he was there. And my father and the minister was taken that night of the Pearl Harbor.

AI: They were taken directly from --

MF: To Immigration.

AI: -- from your father's home--

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: -- to the immigration station here in Seattle. When did you find out about what happened to your father?

MF: Next day. They just told him he'll be back in a couple days but he never came back.

AI: So after they took him to the immigration station --

MF: Then, you know, he was there for quite a long time, I guess. I never visited him but my mother did because she had to take his shaving equipment and everything. Well, anyways, he said he'll be home in couple days but he was there and he was sent to Missoula, Montana.

AI: To Missoula. Well, after your father was taken out of the home, who was left there living with your mother?

MF: Yeah, my mother and my brothers were still there.

AI: And your sister also?

MF: I guess so. When was, we taken to the camp?

AI: That was a little bit later. You went to Puyallup in May --

MF Yeah, we went to Puyallup first.

AI: In May.

MF: Was that in September?

AI: That you went to Minidoka? Uh-huh.

MF: And then we, we're there about three months or something like that?

AI: Well, so, after your father was taken, did you and -- you must've been very worried about him. Did you have some idea as to why he was picked up like that and why they kept him rather than releasing him?

MF: Well, I didn't really worry about him because he was with his friends and when he was taken, my father and mother and the minister, Reverend Ichikawa was at my parents' home having a service for my grandfather. That was when FBI came. That was in the evening and I wasn't there. I was married and so happened I wasn't there. But my husband is a Issei and FBI came and asked him that, if I had a visitor from New York recently. I said, "We don't have a friend in New York." Oh, so he said, "Okay." He left. But I don't know why he said that I had a visitor from New York, and I said, "We don't have any friends there." He says, "Is that right? Are you sure?" I said, "Yes."

AI: Isn't that peculiar?

MF: Yeah.

AI: Well, then after that, did you, were you worried about what might happen to Bill or to you after that?

MF: Well, you know when my father was taken right away somebody spread a rumor that my husband was taken, too. But that was a rumor.

AI: What kinds of rumors were going around at that time?

MF: I don't know. But anyways -- but FBI did come about this New York people. He said, "You had a visitor from New York," and I said, "We don't have any friends from New York, any from New York." "Are you sure?" he said. "Yes." I don't know where they got that idea.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

AI: Well, at about that time, what kind of reactions did you get from your neighbors or your customers? Did some of your customers stop coming to your business after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

MF: Yeah. It was surprising. They all picked up all their things and they didn't bring anything in. It was really sad.

AI: Did anyone say anything to you, or...?

MF: No, they didn't say anything. They just picked it up and didn't -- we had no business at all at the very end before we evacuated.

AI: That must have been difficult.

MF: It was really sad. And most of them were Jewish people, too. And Montlake was Jewish people before they moved out to Seward Park.

AI: What about the, your neighbors that lived close by? Did they start treating you differently also?

MF: No. That wasn't it. We had a drugstore in the corner that really sympathized us and came to say, "We're very sorry how people react to something like this." And there was a doc-, a dentist across the street, Dr. and Mrs. Price. They invited us even to dinners and we had a curfew, remember? And we had to be home by eight o'clock. And they -- see, they practiced until six and they'd start having dinner. So we went there about six-thirty and we had to be home by eight. So we had a nice dinner and just had a, after coffee and things like that and then it was about seven-thirty so Bill said, "Well, we better start going home." So she lived in Sand Point. So that was little far from where we lived in Montlake. So we left about seven-thirty. We were home by eight.

AI: Did you ever have any problems of being out a little bit late after curfew or --

MF: I don't think we went out very much. Weekdays I don't think we ever went out.

AI: But it sounds like the curfew did affect your lives that you --

MF: No, it didn't really affect our lives. We had David and he was small and I didn't want him to be out late so miss his sleep, so we didn't go out very much unless on Friday we always went to dinner to Japanese Town to have Japanese food. But otherwise I used to take him in a crib. [Laughs]

AI: Well, about that time some other people have told me that they were worried about being considered sympathizing to Japan or being considered too Japanese and so that some of their families decided to get rid of their Japanese things or their pictures from Japan or --

MF: Yeah, they told us to destroy these past pictures so my husband didn't have any pictures of kids when they were very, very young, when they're even less than a year old 'cause they were all gone when I came to marry him.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

AI: And then what about later, now, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Did you get rid of any of your things that --

MF: No, I didn't. No.

AI: So you weren't too worried about that, then? That didn't...

MF: Well, David was born in '39 and Pearl Harbor was forty what?

AI: '41.

MF: '41. '39, '40, '41, he was about two years old then.

AI: And you had some mementoes and things from your trip to Japan, but --

MF: To Japan?

AI: Right, when you went in '31. You had some photos and things.

MF: Oh, I'll tell you what I have here.

AI: Oh, just a moment. Don't show us right now but --

MF: See that wastepaper basket? That's from '31.

AI: So you kept your things --

MF: See, I was staying at this Home Ec. teacher and they didn't have a wastepaper basket so I bought that and gee that's old, huh?

AI: It sure is.

MF: That's the only souvenir that I haven't -- oh I have few little dolls and things but, I have in the bedroom, but those are things that -- well, you know, I knew my grandpa and grandma from my father's side so it was a pleasure to visit them during my spring and winter vacation with them. And I remember they lived in a duplex, right in the middle there was a bathroom and they take baths every other day. And then another thing that I remember distinctly was that a man would come around and pound mochi for New Year out there on the street.

AI: Oh yes, you mentioned that earlier, that, you told us about that.

MF: Yeah. I watched that and the man said, "Oh, you look different." And he said in Japanese, he said, "Are you from America?" I said, "Hai." And he said to me, he said, "Where?" I said, "Seattle, Washington." He said, "Oh, I know where that is." He says, "My nephew goes to University of Washington." Yeah. He was very curious. 'Cause I wore American clothes.

AI: Yes, that is interesting how they would ask you --

MF: Yeah, I was during the winter vacation I was with my grandma and grandpa. And that was about oh, about forty minutes drive on the train from Fukuoka city to Kurume, they call it, a little city. It's a beautiful city. And my fa-, grandpa and grandma are buried there now. And, but they were here eleven years so they knew English. And did I tell you about the spinach?

AI: Yes, you mentioned about the spinach. But you know, another time you had mentioned that your grandmother, that you thought she was kind of modern?

MF: Modern?

AI: Uh-huh.

MF: Oh yeah. My grandfather, my grandmother was very modern. And see, my father and mother were cousins, so Grandma, I have two grandmothers that are sisters. And the sister in Amagi, it's in the country, it's in high up mountain country, and she is so Japanese, so different from, from Fukano to Miyama and I said, "Are you really sisters?" She said, "Yes." But she is so quiet and, but my father's mother, she would, she'd tell me how to dance Japanese dances and songs and she plays the shamisen and so we bought a shamisen for her here. And she would perform at Nippon Kan. Yeah. She was really modern. And my grandpa, he only spoke about one or two words when I'd see him. I'd say ojiisan, I'd speak to him in Japanese but he was very quiet man, very quiet.

AI: It's so interesting to hear about them.

MF: Yeah. My grandfather was, that was my father's father. And my father was quiet, too. My mother was more chatty.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

AI: Well, I wanted to bring you back to this time where it was not a very happy time, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and as you say, your customers were not coming back for more business. And then, of course, in early 1942, things were starting to come out in the newspaper and there were some worries that at least the Issei would be taken away from their homes. And so in January or February, at that time did you have any idea that you, as a Nisei, that you might also be forced to leave your home?

MF: Somebody told me that if you're Nisei married to Issei that I'm a citizen and he's not, that he didn't have to worry. And so we didn't worry 'cause I was a citizen. And my child is a citizen.

AI: Right. Well, but then unfortunately, in February, there, did you hear about the people in southern California that were removed from the -- they were mostly fishing people, fishermen, down there?

MF: Around the Terminal Island?

AI: Terminal Island, yes.

MF: Where were they moved?

AI: They had to get out right away. And at first they were put in some hostels.

MF: Oh...

AI: And then later taken to camp.

MF: Is that right?

AI: And then of course, up here on Bainbridge Island at the end of March --

MF: They went to Tule Lake wasn't it?

AI: Yes -- uh, no.

MF: They were the first to go.

AI: Actually I think the Bainbridge Islanders first went to Manzanar, and then some of them moved later.

MF: And then some of 'em went up, came back to Minidoka.

AI: Right. So do you remember when the Bainbridge Islanders had to move?

MF: You know, my folks had a lot of friends there but I don't remember any of them.

AI: Or hearing about it in the news, newspapers?

MF: I just read in the paper where there's always that same picture, you know, leaving.

AI: Right.

MF: But my friends, my father and mother had quite a few friends there 'cause summertime they would come, they would call us and come and pick berries and take it home and my mother used to take, pick a lot of berries and she would make jams and preserve them. 'Cause she was very famous for doing that. And when we left here for camp she had a lot of canned fruits and mushrooms, matsutake, and we rented our house to a Caucasian and they didn't know what that matsutake was so they didn't take that but they ate all the other things.

AI: Oh, the renter ate all the food that your mother had preserved.

MF: They ate canned -- let's see... what she canned, fruits. She always canned lot of fruits, peaches and apple, pears.

AI: What, so for your, your parents' house, they got a renter to live in the house while --

MF: Yeah, we rented, I think it was about twenty-five dollars a month. And that used to come to our mother's, check used to come every month to Minidoka.

AI: And then what were you and Bill doing to get ready to leave when you found out that you were, that you were going to have to leave also?

MF: Well, we tried to sell it and we sold it for a thousand dollars.

AI: The business?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And what about all your household things?

MF: We stored it in my mother's home.

AI: Now, your mother and father, of course, were Issei. And so was their home in --

MF: My father was taken the first night.

AI: Right.

MF: To Mis-, no, first to immigration. And then he was taken to Missoula, Montana. He roomed with Reverend Ichikawa. So they were very good friends. And he's, my father and mother are Buddhist so naturally... [Laughs] It was kind of a bad time.

AI: Yeah. A difficult time.

MF: Yeah.

AI: Can you remember anything else about what you were doing to get ready before you had to leave, other things that you were doing or taking care of or...

MF: Well, we wanted to leave together. My father was taken so it was my mother and three brothers that staying home at that time and so we went to, we closed our house and we went to live with my mom's home for about one week or so. And then we left together. So our identification had the same number. You know, my mother's and Fukui's.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

AI: Well, what do you remember about the actual day that you were leaving Seattle to go to Puyallup?

MF: Well, only thing that I remember was that when you got on the train they closed all the blinds and we couldn't see where we were going or anything. And they didn't tell us where we were going or anything.

AI: How did you feel when you had to leave?

MF: We felt kinda blank and when you can't see anything it's terrible. And that was a long ride from here to Idaho. I don't remember what they fed us on the train. It was a rickety rack train. 'Cause I remember when we were in Detroit -- we were in the camp very short time. They thought, they, the War Relocation had a headquarter in Detroit and so we went to Idaho. They had a office there and they said that the best place to go now is in Detroit where his work would be accepted right away and the day we went there, they wanted him to work. So we waited for a couple days and then we were very lucky. There was a lamp factory there and after the -- before the war or after? Well anyways, this lamp factory closed and they made a nine-unit apartment and so we went, they said, "Now you go to Detroit to the war relocation center and they have a house for you." And it wasn't a house, it was a apartment. And this lamp factory was turned into a nine-unit apartment, they wanted a manager there and I was the manager. [Laughs] So my husband went to work and I managed a nine-unit apartment where there's mostly Polish people living. One side was Polish, the other side of the street was Negroes. So we lived on the Polish side.

AI: Well, before talking too much about Detroit, I wanted to back up a little bit because we kind of skipped over the part where you were in Puyallup which is the fairgrounds, the Puyallup fairgrounds, actually.

MF: Yeah.

AI: And I think I remember seeing in some of your papers that it was May 1st that you all arrived in Puyallup and that it was Area A. What do you remember about actually going to the Puyallup fairgrounds, or your impression?

MF: We were not in the fairgrounds. We were in the parking area. Area A. And I never had gone into the regular area, you know, that Puyallup Fair area until David got the measles and we had to go there and we had to live in a, a horse stall. It was all painted white. And sometime it smelled like a horse there. [Laughs]

AI: That sounds terrible.

MF: It was to isolate the patient so all of us had to go. So we were there about two weeks, I guess. And then another section, we had to eat with the tuberculosis people. That was really dangerous, you know. But we tried to sit away from them. And I don't see why they didn't put them in the Firland right away, but they didn't.

AI: In the sanitarium, you mean?

MF: Yeah. Maybe they didn't go to Minidoka. I don't know. But my husband was really cautious about them. He said, "Don't sit close to them."

AI: Well, of course in those days, tuberculosis was very dangerous.

MF: Yeah, and you know, they didn't have any light in the, in our cabin. That's where horses were there. And all they did was paint the little cabin white. And I could still smell that white paint and it was just a small place, it's just for the horse, you know. So it was just a scrimpy place. But we were isolated because he got the measles from a neighbor, a little girl. She had the measles and he was playing with her and he got it. So a truck came and took the three of us out. We were there about two weeks, I guess.

AI: So how was David after, when he got the measles? Was he okay or did he get real sick, or what happened to him?

MF: Well, he got it from a girl and she was there, too, with her parents. And she lived across from us. We were in Area A in the parking section and she was living about three door across the street from us. And we lived on Fifth Avenue. [Laughs] They called it Pioneer Area and then started from One, Two, Three Avenue. We lived on Fifth Avenue. And my brothers and my family lived on Seventh Avenue, I think.

AI: Did David get over the measles okay?

MF: Yeah.

AI: Was he all right?

MF: He got over it. He got it from a girl that lived right across the street and they were playing together and then he got it. She was in there already when we went in.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

AI: Well, so then, a little bit later, I was going to ask you, it sounded like a very, a really miserable place to be put into that horse stall and David being sick and then eating with the people who had tuberculosis. What did you, what was going through your mind? What did you think about your government at this point that they would, they would do something like this to you?

MF: Yeah. I thought that was really cruel. Being a citizen and to be put in a place like that. You lost everything. You lost your house, and you lost your business, and we only got a thousand dollars for a business that was worth about three or four thousand with all the clothes that we had finished hanging there. Of course, a lot of 'em picked it up but a lot of 'em was there. And then we only got a thousand dollars for that business where we were making a lotta money on that. But, you know, there was a lot of kind people, though. They said, "You bring your precious things and we'll keep it for you," and sure enough they kept it. And when you came back we got everything back. And I appreciated it so much. 'Cause you know I had -- my husband was first-generation. He had some very lovely things, porcelain and sculptures that he loved and we didn't know what to do and the friends came and they said, "We'll keep it for you until you come back." And sure enough they kept it for us.

AI: When you say "friends," are you talking about individual --

MF: Individual friends.

AI: -- people or you're talking about the American Friends Committee?

MF: American Friends, yeah.

AI: Oh, the American Friends Committee.

MF: Yeah, we had about three or four professors. We lived near Montlake so there was a lotta University of Washington professors there that were our customers and they were very, very sympathetic about us going and we had some real nice things 'cause my husband, being Issei, why, he had some -- before I got married to him, we, he collected real nice antique things which couldn't really replace it. And they were kind enough to keep it for us.

AI: Do you remember anything about the things that you were able to take with you to camp? Was there anything that kinda sticks in your mind?

MF: Oh, I don't think we took anything. We weren't allowed to take anything except just to carry things and my husband carried the, he had dismantled the crib so that he would have a bed for David. We were the only ones that carried heavy thing like a crib and dismantled it and he carried it in his hand and took it and put it in a cardboard box. He wasn't used to sleeping in a bed yet. He was so small. I don't think -- nobody ever carried -- I think people carried suitcase or something like that. We carried suitcase but crib was really kinda bulky but Dad said, "Well, we better take this. He won't sleep anywhere else." So we took that.

AI: It must've been hard having such a young one with you.

MF: Yeah, and it was hard because we weren't married too long and we were married in '36 and we were able to buy new furniture from KCW Furniture Store. And we bought a dining room set and then a sofa and refrigerator and when I got married he had a, just a icebox. Yeah. And then he built a Nihon ofuro, bath. It was wooden. We would wash ourself outside and then jump in the wooden thing. He had a tile floor in our bathroom. We had to leave all that. He missed that.

AI: It must've been really hard to leave --

MF: Yeah, it was hard for him I'm sure, more than me.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

AI: Well, as you were saying earlier, after being in Puyallup for a few months from May to about the, about August or September, then you went on the train to Minidoka. I was wondering, after you got off the train and then you got to the Minidoka camp, what was your impression of it?

MF: My impression was all that sagebrush. That's all we saw. Nothing. And my husband was a policeman there. They gave him a complete policeman uniform and he had the high boots because sometimes there was rattlesnakes and he got athlete's feet and he had to go to hospital and they peeled the whole sole.

AI: Off of his, the skin of his foot?

MF: [Nods] He was in the hospital about a week.

AI: That must've been painful.

MF: Gee, it must've been painful. I just went there maybe two times out of the week, 'cause it was so far from where I lived. I lived way up on Forty-first and the hospital was in the twenties block.

AI: What was your room like up there? Was that just you and Bill and David in one small room in a barrack?

MF: Yeah. We had a small room. Mr. Sasaki, that used to work for Fredrick & Nelson's, his son, I think it was Arthur, and his wife and a little boy lived in that unit, that unit, so we were with another family. So there was six of us in the one big room and we had a blanket to separate us. And that just lasted only about three weeks. And then that, Sasakis moved back East so we got that room on a corner barrack.

AI: So at first you had to share but then afterwards --

MF: Yeah. I was lucky that they moved. And they went back East so we got that room and...

AI: You know, that's so interesting to me that Bill got the job as a camp policeman.

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And here he was, an Issei, considered an "enemy alien" and yet he was able to get this job of responsibility.

MF: You know, my aunt and I were laundress. Just to wash the caps and aprons for the kitchen. We washed it in the washroom where the toilet was. And then we hung it there and then we would iron it at home.

AI: In your barrack room. Well, tell me about the laundry there. What did it look like?

MF: Well, it was a great big concrete -- I don't know what you'd call it, tub. And then they had this washboard. And my aunt and I, we, my aunt, I didn't want her to work hard so I told her to just rinse it. I would scrub it and we would hang it in the laundry room and then we'd take it home and iron it. No, I think we did iron it over there. There was one or two iron boards there. And then we would iron it and give it to the cooks. And we got sixteen dollars a month.

AI: That sounds like hard work. Washing by hand.

MF: Doctors got nineteen dollars a month.

AI: So you and Bill both had jobs while you were in Minidoka.

MF: Yeah. We both, so sixteen and sixteen is thirty-two dollars.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

AI: Well, now, that first winter, 1942, in Minidoka, that in December it was Christmas in camp and David had just turned three years old. Were you able to do anything for him for Christmas that year in camp? Do you recall anything about that?

MF: Oh, around Christmas time there were three missionaries, Caucasian missionaries, and they were here in Seattle, I think. But you know, they were kind enough to move with us and they lived in... what, Idaho was that? Was it Burley? Or was it -- it was very close to the camp. I think it was about, about two or three miles somewhere in Idaho. They bought a house with three missionaries and they followed us from here. I didn't know them but they got to know me 'cause they loved David somehow. When we were here we used to go to church, Japanese Baptist Church, and they would be there. And I didn't know them at all but they got to know David and they all -- and so we were surprised when we found out that three of the missionaries had moved and bought a house in Twin Falls. So one time we went out, we got a permit and spent the whole afternoon with them and David was so -- and then every year when David was small we used to have a picture taken somewhere, here, even in Seattle, and on his birthday. So even in camp we went to Twin Falls to get David's picture taken and then that day we stopped in and they knew where we were and everything and they would come into the camp every other day or something. And one lady, she had a car so she'd come in and visit us. And so we kept track with these ladies and I often wonder where -- what really happened to them now because we lost track when we moved to Detroit.

AI: Well, that must've been a very good feeling to be able to get out of camp even for a short time --

MF: Yeah.

AI: -- and visit with them.

MF: We went to photographers and had a pictures and they delivered to us in camp. And it was really nice to be out. And I bought a few things for David, like pants and socks and shoes for him. Oh, you could get out any time you wanted to but it was a effort to get a permit and get a truck to take us out and we had to be there at certain place at certain time and Bill said -- Bill went out to work to work for a while. He used to come in at weekends.

AI: Now, what kind of work was he doing when he was able to go out?

MF: Well, he was working the same kind of work we did here, dry cleaning business. And so did my brother. So once in a while during that time they stayed in a hotel with my brother and he was a cleaning business, too, so they both worked in the same place in Burley. And they would just come in for the weekends.

AI: Into camp for the weekends.

MF: Oh, they would bring us the bacons and something that we didn't have. And David liked fresh orange awful lot, so he used to bring him fresh orange and fresh apples and things like that which we didn't have too much.

AI: What do you think was the life like for David as a little kid? Did he have any nursery school in camp or any children's program --

MF: Oh yes. My cousin, she was a nursery teacher. And I think David was quite small yet, but he attended maybe about less than six months, I think, while he was there. And he used to say, "My auntie is a teacher," to people he -- and then we were lucky enough to take a little tricycle to camp. And everybody wanted to ride on it and David said, "My favorite friends can ride but nobody else." [Laughs]

AI: Little kids can be like that.

MF: Yeah. Remember, I remember one time this -- there was about six kids in that family. I think their name was Tsutsumi. And they were on the other side of the barrack and one of the boys wanted to ride and David said, "No," I guess. [Laughs] He shi-shi'ed on David and David comes crying home and says, "What's the matter?" And he said, "That boy shi-shi on me." I said, "Oh my gosh," and I got mad and I went to the mother and I told her. [Laughs] David wouldn't let him ride on his tricycle. That's why he got mad. [Laughs]

AI: [Laughs] Oh. Well, that's --

MF: Kids would do that. [Laughs]

AI: Yes, they sure will.

MF: So I had to give him a bath. [Laughs]

AI: Gosh, you didn't really have a, baths in camp, though, did you? Or did, did you take him to the shower room?

MF: I took him into the, where you wash. I dumped him in there. It was, it was about this big, concrete thing and you wash in there. And they had washboard and I took him there and put some water in and washed him up. But it was shower. No bathtub.

AI: It sounds like there was no privacy there in the camp.

MF: Well, first they didn't have any toilet. They didn't have any doors. Gosh, that was terrible. So everybody complained. Said, "You gotta have a door." So people volunteered and whoever could, I could remember my brother was very handy with his hands and he made hundreds of doors for the barracks.

AI: My goodness.

MF: That's where he learned his trade was carpentry, was in camp. He said there was a elderly Issei who was very good and he learned awful lot and now he's, that's his prof-, was his profession at camp. Here, after he came back, carpentry. He made a good living.

AI: I was wondering also about, as far as the kids, and David, you had mentioned earlier the rattlesnakes. Were you ever worried that David might get bitten or hurt by snake or something else?

MF: Worried that what?

AI: About the rattlesnakes, that David might get bitten or get hurt by something else out there at camp?

MF: Oh, yeah, well, Bill being a policeman, he had to patrol that. He had a gun and he, every time a rattlesnake be there he would shoot 'em.

AI: Oh my goodness. Did you ever come across a snake?

MF: No. [Laughs] But they were rattlesnakes. So they told us not to go wandering off. There was one man that wandered off and he died. They wondered what happened, and he was dead, elderly person. I think his mind was not too clear.

AI: You had mentioned that Bill and your brother went out to work. Did you and David go out to work at all outside of camp?

MF: David?

AI: I mean not David, but did you ever take David out or did you go and work outside of camp at all?

MF: Where?

AI: At, in Idaho?

MF: Uh-uh.

AI: No.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

AI: Well, now we're coming up to 1943 and in early 1943, January and February or so, came the Application for Leave Clearance form. Sometimes that's called the "loyalty question" form. And about the same time, recruiters were coming for the U.S. Army to recruit volunteers for the army.

MF: I don't remember.

AI: Do you remember anything about the "loyalty questions"?

MF: Yeah. We had to sign yes or no. And lot of people did sign and they went to Tule Lake, and from there they went to Japan. They had a special boat, didn't they?

AI: Some of them did.

MF: What was that called?

AI: I don't recall the name of it.

MF: Gee, I forgotten what it was called. But it, a lot of people did go back to Japan.

AI: Did you know anyone?

MF: My mother was planning to go.

AI: Was she?

MF: 'Cause my dad was taken. And she even bought a trunk at Sears. But we all told her not to go.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

AI: Well, did you, while you were in Minidoka, did you hear anything from you father at that time, while he was interned in the other camps?

MF: I think my mother did. But he was one of the first to get out. He was very lucky. And we were so happy to see him coming to Idaho. And then right after Dad came home, we left for Detroit. And we had our car shipped. We had a 1941 Buick and it was almost new, and we loaned it to a hakujin friend. And our minister checked on it and he said, "Gee, that guy is really using your car a lot." He says, "Why don't you bring it to camp?" And so our minister brought the, Reverend Andrews brought the Buick to camp and then we left about a couple months later.

AI: Well, let's see, you had been in camp from the fall of '42 and all the way through 1943 and then it was, it was early '44 that you left. But I want to --

MF: I don't remember when it was when we left for Detroit.

AI: I wanted to ask you about, before Detroit, you had mentioned earlier about your parents' home on Fremont in Seattle, about the tenants. I was wondering, at that time, was, did you have some worry that they weren't paying their rent after a while? That happened --

MF: Yeah. I guess my mom mentioned one time that she wasn't getting the money. But you know, at time, we didn't have a hakujin attorney and I didn't know of anybody, so I don't know what happened, whether she got any money or not. It was only about fifteen or twenty-five dollars a month. But you know how it is, some people just think, well they're in the camp so they don't need the money, so they didn't send it.

AI: So there were --

MF: And my father was in (Missoula) and my mom -- [laughs] -- and the boys were there and my boys were still young yet. Well, she never burdened me with it, but I think that was it, that she wasn't getting any money.

AI: But in the meantime, your father was released to Minidoka and then...

MF: I don't know when my father was released but I know that he was one of the first to be released.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

AI: And then, in the papers that David showed me earlier, he had showed me that you had written some letters, that you and Bill had written some letters from camp to the War Relocation centers in the Midwest to see if there might be some jobs, some dry cleaning jobs out there.

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And so I was wondering, did you remember much about that, about sending those letters to see if there was anywhere --

MF: Well, in the camp there was an office there and we asked if we could be released to go back east and Detroit was the only places that they thought they were, could find employment that easily. And some places they have stated that they have sent people but some people had to wait to get employment right away. They couldn't get it right away but in Detroit he says there's a lotta demand for pressers. And so when Bill got -- we got there, well, we were in the hostel for couple of day -- no, more than couple of days, about a week. Why, we went to the Detroit relocation center and he says, "Sure, come and work tomorrow." But another thing that I really resented was when we got to Detroit, there was a hostel there and it was run by a minister's wife. She was so nasty, very unpleasant person, you know, to deal with public. And she said to me, she said, "Your son can't bed with you," I mean, in the bed, in the one room. "He has to stay with your father." So David not used to that so David had a hard time getting used to sleeping with, not together but sleeping in the same room with a man. I couldn't sleep with my husband. We had to be separated. But we was there. But a minister's wife, being like that? I thought, what a cruel world it is. And she took all our rations, shoes ration and sugar ration just... it was awful. I'm glad we only stayed about four days at the most.

AI: And after that, was when you moved --

MF: She was from Tacoma.

AI: Is that right?

MF: I'll never forget how, how miserable we felt. Bill thought, gee, a minister's wife being like that.

AI: That's sad.

MF: You know, when you're suffering you should comfort them.

AI: So...

MF: She was so high up she thought she was a king. She thought it was a privilege to serve people, not... she didn't think it was a privilege to serve people but destroy or distrust everybody. And Bill felt terribly bad. He said, "Gee, we're in a bad situation." He said, "We should get out soon as possible." So we stayed only about four days.

AI: And then after that, is that when you went to the apartment building?

MF: Yeah, we went to the relocation, I said, "We'd like to move out as soon as possible from hostel." And he said, "Well, there's a good news for you." He said there was a lamp factory that, that turned into a nine-unit, "Would you like to be a manager?" I said, "Sure." So rent was free. But it was just only a, a one-bedroom. And so David had to sleep on the sofa in the living room, but that was okay. Housing was really difficult at that time, and didn't have a refrigerated, refrigerator and we went all over and we finally got one and it was a rickety rack refrigerator but it cost us two hundred dollars at that time, and it was hard to find. And there was a Japanese man that lived in Detroit that the relocation man recommended. And so he came to the relocation office and met us and he took us and we bought our beds and mattress to buy, where to buy. And we bought a new mattress and a new bed and a few other things. And then we got a second-hand refrigerator that's worth only about fifty dollars that's two hundred dollars. But good thing we had a little money. [Laughs] He said, "Cash, please."

AI: My goodness.

MF: And one side of the street was all Negroes living, and the other side was Polish people and they all spoke Polish more than English.

AI: How interesting.

MF: And we have to go to the Negro side to buy a chicken. You buy your chicken fresh and you have them, feather taken out. We wait for that. They boil it and they take the feather out and then we bring it home. It was only about half a block from where we lived. And oh, you ought to see the colored people lined up there. They have real good business there.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

AI: Well, I wanted to ask about Bill's job also, as a dry cleaners in Detroit -- I thought I saw in some of the papers that David had that it, I thought it was a union job. Is that, do you remember anything about that?

MF: I don't think this place was a union job. But there was -- they said they had twenty-five or thirty-five people working there. It was a big place, the biggest in Detroit. And it was a dollar a hour and that was a fair price at that time. He worked from eight to, eight to five.

AI: That, it sounds like that was a fair wage.

MF: And he said half of the people were Negroes. And he said on Mondays they would bring their fried chicken for lunch and he said, "My, it smelled good." [Laughs]

AI: Were there any other Japanese Americans there besides Bill?

MF: Well you know, somehow they found out we were there, the Baptist church there, Caucasian Baptist church, I don't know how they found out, but we were invited to a Christmas party and there was only about two or three Japanese people that were there and they had udon for us.

AI: What do you know?

MF: For refreshments.

AI: That must have been a surprise.

MF: Yeah, it was. David, he says, "Mother," he says, "we haven't had udon for a long time." [Laughs] I didn't know where to buy noodles. Where we lived, why it was on Polish side and they used to have little small grocery stores. Never had, didn't have a big chain like Safeway and Tradewell's and things like that. Yeah.

AI: So life in Detroit sounded very different, very interesting --

MF: Gee, I do appreciate that man that lived here -- in Detroit for all his life. I don't know how we met him but he came and at the hostel and introduced himself and he didn't have a car. But we went around the streetcar or a bus and he knew where to buy a bed and, and pots and pans, and things like that.

AI: Right.

MF: But you know, when the, when we wanted to come back, why the government brought everything back for us.

AI: Well, I think we'll --

MF: Packed it up for and back, brought it back.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

AI: All right, well, today is December 19, 2002 and we're continuing with Mrs. Fukui, Mitsu Fukui here in Seattle. I'm Alice Ito with Densho. John Pai is our videographer today. And Mrs. Fukui, yesterday, before we ended our session yesterday, you were telling us about Detroit. And you, your husband Bill, and your son David were living in Detroit in 1944. You had left Minidoka camp, and I wanted to ask you more about Detroit in those days, things that you remember about that city being so different from Seattle, where you grew up.

MF: Yes. Well, when we had Reverend Andrews bring our car, our Buick 1941 car to the camp and we left about three or four days later. That was on Valentine's Day. It was snowing in camp and my mother cried. And she said, "Why, why leave now?" because the weather was very bad. But on the road it was clear and we stayed in a motel couple of times and we didn't have any discrimination or anything. And in restaurants, they were welcome and Bill had a haircut one time near Detroit. And we got there safely and then we went to the War Relocation office there. And they made, and they told us to stay in a hostel for a little while until we could locate a place for you to stay. And so we stayed in a hostel which was very, very uncomfortable and unpleasant because the lady there, well, she was from Tacoma and she was the wife of a minister. But she was very, very cold to us and we felt very uncomfortable. We tried very hard to try to get out of there as soon as possible. Well, my son was only about two or three years old when we were there and she wouldn't let him sleep with me because he was a male. He had to sleep with daddy. And David was very upset about that. He cried all the time and I said, "Don't be like that, be a big boy and you sleep with your daddy and mommy's right in the next, next room." We couldn't even sleep together as a couple. [Laughs]

AI: That must've been difficult for a -- at that time.

MF: It was very difficult. I felt very sad. I said, why did we leave camp where everything was so, running very smoothly.

AI: But then you were able to find the apartment house.

MF: Yes. What, a -- the war relocation office called this hostel and asked for me and I talked to him. He said, "I want you to come right down because there's a big opening." And we both went down there and this building was quite a large building right on the corner and had two stories. It was a lamp factory and they converted it into nine-unit apartment. I don't know when it was converted but I just saw the one room, one apartment was very comfortable-looking. It had a very small bathroom but otherwise it was a very comfortable apartment as I remembered. And we were to be a manager there. And Bill went to work and I just stayed home with David so I just -- only thing I had to do was to keep the hallways clean and they would have people come and clean the windows and things like that. And my husband would shovel a couple of cinders full of cinders in the furnace in the morning and that would last until we went to bed. And then he would give another couple of shovels full and that would last 'til morning. And we had free rent and then they had a couple of garage there the next door and they gave us a space to park our car. Which really helped us because it was his only wage that we lived on and we had to live on. And at that time it was only a dollar a hour. That was just the normal wage.

AI: It's hard to believe now.

MF: Yeah.

AI: Well --

MF: And you know, I don't know how long we stayed but anyway, we saved about fifteen hundred dollars because the free rent.

AI: And you must've been a very good homemaker, budgeting with the...

MF: Oh yes. Well, we, they didn't, that apartment, I don't know when it was open but anyway, it didn't have a refrigerator so we hunted high and low for a second-hand refrigerator. We couldn't get a new one. They didn't have any in the department store or any hardware store at that time. And so we bought, there was a Japanese fellow that lived there all his life and I don't know how we met him but he was very helpful. He, he helped us shop our beds and our coffee table and a sofa.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you about how some of the neighbors in Detroit reacted to you and your family because I'm thinking that many of them probably had never met a Japanese American before.

MF: I guess not. Well, we didn't associate with people. There was Polish people on one side of the street and the other side it was all Negroes. And sometime we would go on the other side of the street because they would sell chickens and meat and things like that. On Polish side it was mostly grocery store.

AI: Did anyone ever ask you were you Chinese or Japanese or did they, anyone ever ask you, "What are you?" or, "Where did you come from?"

MF: No. I remember writing to my mother in camp telling her that lettuce was, was thirty-five cents a head or something like that. And at home I think it was about fifteen cents, in Seattle when we left for camp. And oh, I was telling her about the chicken that, that you don't buy dead chickens. You buy the live chicken and there they feather it, cut the feathers and the neck and everything for you. And David was scared and he said, "I don't want to go in that store." He said, "Oh, they kill the live thing." [Laughs] But sometimes you like to have fried chicken or roast chicken.

AI: And so you could get a really fresh one.

MF: Oh yes. And you have to line up because there was one little store and there was only two people working there and people just lined up, half a block long.

AI: Oh my.

MF: And it was just only across the street, too. So we had chicken quite a bit. And then you know, we had lotta visitors during their stay in Detroit because there was a, lot of my brother's friends were in the army. And I guess they must've been stationed near there and they would stop in. They knew that -- my brother told them that we were in Detroit and gave them the address and everything and all of a sudden we would have company, Japanese company.

AI: So, what, what kinds of food would you cook for them when they stopped by?

MF: Oh, I always cooked rice for them and my husband loves tsukemono so we always had tsukemono and the boy said, "I don't want anything else but just tsukemono and rice," he says. They're just sick of American food, I'm sure. They missed the rice.

AI: What vegetables did you use for tsukemono?

MF: Oh, we had cabbage and I made celery tsukemono. But they didn't have nappa.

AI: Well, for people who don't know, could you explain how you made it?

MF: Huh?

AI: For people who don't know about tsukemono, can you explain how you made it, what you did to make it.

MF: Oh, well you know, celery, I kinda took the skin, strings off and then I just cut, cut the, well, celery's about that high, I cut in half and then I salt it slightly and then put a little weight on it. I put a dish and I put the weight on that.

AI: And about how long would you leave it?

MF: Well, about three days it would ripen. And if you think that celery is quite dry you put just at tiny bit, about couple of tablespoon of water. They didn't have nappa there at that time. I missed the nappa but we have a friend who's a Fukuoka-ken people and it's my mother's friends and they lived about fifteen miles from Detroit. And they owned a little farm there and they would bring me nappa and my husband was so happy. So he says, "Mother, you make the nappa tsukemono," and so I used to do that. They used to come down to Detroit for, I don't know, for clothes shopping or shoes or underwears and trousers and things like that. 'Cause where they lived I think it was just a little town where didn't have a real nice department stores. And they would stop in and so we had dinner together and they would drive back. We lost contact with them after we left. I don't know where they are or -- they were my folks' friends there.

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

<Begin Segment 31>

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you, were your folks, your mother and father still in Minidoka while you were in Detroit?

MF: Well, they stayed 'til the very last, until it closed and then they went home because they had their own home.

AI: And what about your sister, Toshiko, she had gone out from camp, didn't she?

MF: Yeah, she left early, very early with her friend Ko Suzuki. And they went to Minneapolis and she got a job at (YMCA) as a secretary and she was doing very well and then she met Kay, Kay Ishii and they got married and he was still in the army. He was a sergeant in the army. And then he was stationed in Indiana. So when we were in Detroit we went to see them in Detroit, from Detroit on a rickety rack old, old train. And there was a lotta soldiers on the train and they wanted to carry David and bounce him around. [Laughs]

AI: They must've thought he was real cute.

MF: Yeah. They said, he was only gosh, about three or four? I guess so, something like that. I can't remember.

AI: That's right. That, well, in fall of '44 he would have turned three. Let's see, '39, '40, '41, '42, '43, '44, no, he would have turned five.

MF: Five?

AI: At, November of '44 he would have turned five.

MF: Well, I remember if I might have told you that when we went to Detroit I wanted to put him in the kindergarten or somewhere. And I went to this Catholic church and the priest came out and he said, "May I help you?" And I said, "I like to enroll my son to your kindergarten." He said, "Are you a Catholic?" And I said, "No, I'm sorry, I'm not Catholic." And he slammed the door on me. Imagine a priest slamming a door on a person. And David said, "Mother," he asked me, he says, "Mother, what did we do wrong?" I said, "Mother didn't do anything wrong." It really made an impression on my son. So he never talks good about Catholic people. [Laughs] He still, I'm sure he remembers that.

AI: That must've felt terrible.

MF: Yeah.

AI: To be treated like that.

MF: Slammed the door on us. That's really something. I didn't think those Catholic people are like that. A priest.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

AI: So we were just talking about Detroit and, you know, I wanted to ask about Christmas that year in 1944 in Detroit.

MF: Golly, I don't remember. Only I remember is going to a Caucasian church and there was some Japanese people there and they had some Japanese food. And that's all I could remember. They were very nice people and I don't know how they got to know that I, we were there.

AI: What kind of Japanese food did they have there?

MF: I think they had udon. And then they had a Christmas program and I think they distributed a little toys for children. I guess there was about three or five, four Japanese families there. They asked us where we were from and then we told them we were from camp. And they said, "Where?" and I said, "Idaho." And, "How long you been here?" and...

AI: Were they surprised to hear about the camp? Did they know anything about it?

MF: No, they wasn't too curious about it. Oh, they probably knew about it. Yeah.

AI: That sounds like that was a nice thing. A friendly thing for that church.

MF: Yeah, a friendly thing. I don't know how they got to know that we were there. And we didn't have a telephone because we didn't know anybody. But they found out that we were there and we had a invitation on a Christmas card telling us to come and attend the Christmas program. So we went.

AI: I was wondering, eventually, did you get David enrolled in any kindergarten while you were in Detroit? Or did you keep him at home that year?

MF: I kept him at home. He had his tonsils taken out. And doctor had his practice at his home. And I remember he had it taken and I waited and then afterward I treated him with ice cream. The doctor said he could have ice cream. So I remember that. He was a nice doctor, very compassionate person.

AI: Poor David. That must have been painful.

MF: No. He didn't cry or anything. But I got him a little ice cream cone and went home. I don't know how I got to know this doctor. He was a very nice doctor. I've forgotten his name and everything but...

AI: Well, you told me where your sister was at this time. What about your brothers? George, Frank, and Henry, what were they doing?

MF: I think they were in camp. And later my two brothers came, Frank and Henry, and worked at a soybean factory. And they housed them and everything, fed 'em and bed 'em.

AI: And George, did he eventually go out --

MF: He went to (Cornell University). I think he got his master's there. Well, anyways, Frank worked for a while and then he had to go back because Colin was to be born in camp. But Henry stayed. And when the war was over, Bill, and I, and David, and Henry went back home to Seattle.

AI: Well, in fact, I wanted to mention that that was in 1945, and do you, in August of 1945, that's when the atom bomb was dropped on, in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I wonder if you remember anything about that, about hearing about the bombing.

MF: Well, I read about it but that's about all because I wasn't associated with too many Japanese people at that time and I didn't, I just had only about two or three friends in Detroit.

AI: And you, there wasn't anyone there at the time who was from the Hiroshima-ken?

MF: Uh-uh.

AI: Oh.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

AI: Well, also in August, I guess in some of the papers that David had collected, there's a copy of a telegram from Frank and a telegram that he sent to you while you were in Detroit and it says, "Come back to Seattle."

MF: Who?

AI: From Frank.

MF: Oh really?

AI: Telegram to you. It says, "Come back to Seattle."

MF: Oh, is that right? I forgot that.

AI: Yes. And so then you have mentioned earlier that you and Bill and David left Detroit by car, that you drove when you left Detroit.

MF: Yeah. Well, we went home but my folks were still in camp while we were going home to Seattle when the war ended. We stopped in to camp to see them. And we stayed there about two nights, I guess, in camp. While we were there, somebody stole four tires that were on our car and we had a hard time buying a car, tires at that time, at the wartime. But we finally got it and then --

AI: In fact, I have a copy of the letter that you wrote. David got this copy and I'm going to ask you if you could read part of this for us.

MF: [Laughs]

AI: It's dated September 17, 1945.

MF: Uh-huh. "I'm writing this letter in anger. We reached Hunt last Wednesday afternoon and today we were to leave for Seattle when we found out that car was damaged. Two tires, both wheels were stolen and also the clock and the dark, oh, dashboard is gone." I don't remember that. Dashboard was gone. I can't read what I wrote. "The windows were also broken and few minor things are gone. The accident, oh, assistant director says he is sorry and won't take no responsibility when we came in the visitor's" -- I don't know what it says.

AI: The visitor's parking?

MF: I don't know what it is -- "Park, your car outside of the project on the parking lot, we don't know when we can return to Seattle now. I know it is impossible to buy tires, so many red tapes we have to go through. I wonder if I should write to Director Myers and tell him the situation and ask for the damage. There is no one here to advise in this order." September 21st, that's my birthday, 1945. Who did I write to?

AI: At the top it looks like a Miss --

MF: Yeah.

AI: Satterfield?

MF: It says Miss Saterford or something like that. [Laughs]

AI: Shall I take your glasses?

MF: Oh, yeah.

AI: So, as you mentioned, it was impossible to get tires.

MF: But we finally did get a tires from Twin Falls or somewhere. Bill went around and kind of inquired other people and, but we lost -- we didn't get any money from relocation.

AI: And the reason it was hard --

MF: And then after that we were in camp couple of days and he got tick and then he couldn't drive anymore.

AI: The insects? The ticks?

MF: Yeah.

AI: Oh, no.

MF: So we were in the hospital there. Gee, where was that hospital, where did we get stuck? Gee, those people. They were Mormon people, they were so nice. So he got sick and so we stopped in this motel and this motel man was very, very nice. I said, "My husband is very ill. Is there a hospital near here?" He said, "Yes," he said, "right across the street." I didn't notice it when we were driving in. And he took my husband to the hospital and then we had to stay in the motel 'cause we couldn't stay in the car. And he asked us where we were going. And he didn't charge me for four days or something like that for the motel that I stayed with David because his wife's mother was very ill in some other state and she was away, and I said, "Well, could I help you?" And I did all the washing the sheets and I didn't know how to use the man-, what do you call it?

AI: The mangle?

MF: Yeah. But he taught me how to do that. And oh, I tried to help as much as I could because I wasn't doing anything. And he didn't charge me anything for our staying there. And Bill was in there about four days. And you know that hospital bill was only eighty dollars for four days. And the doctor was eighty dollars. And we didn't have that kind of money with us, I don't think, 'cause I wasn't able to pay. And they trusted us until we came back to Seattle.

AI: Is that right?

MF: So right away I borrowed some money from my mom and I sent a check there to them. They were really nice people.

AI: That's wonderful to hear.

MF: Yeah.

AI: So you had some interesting experiences on your way back

MF: Yeah, really. I didn't think that he would be so sick that he couldn't drive anymore and those people were so nice. He said, "We're Mormons."

AI: Well, is there anything else you recall about that trip from Detroit back to Seattle? Anything else that stands out in your mind?

MF: Well, we didn't have any discrimination. 'Cause I think David had a haircut one time on the road. And we stayed in a motel and a lot of those motels had little kitchen so we, I remember going to Safeway and David said, "Oh Mother, there's watermelon," so I bought a half a watermelon and in the motel there was a real big knife so I just cut in half and he says, "Mother, this is very good." He was still a boy.

AI: Things like that make such a difference to children.

MF: Yeah. He was such a good boy when he was small. He minded everything and he was very polite to people and everybody loved him. And then when he was very small I made a bunting with a hat, with a kind of a, with a hood that attached to the clothing. And it was red. And everybody thought he was a girl. [Laughs] So I said, "No, he's a boy." 'Cause we used to go every Friday to Japanese town to eat Japanese food. And when we were working and we lived in Montlake. And they would, I would bring him in the crib, a basket. And he would sit in right beside me in sort of a kind of a bench at the Japanese restaurant there. And everybody said, "Oh, what a cute little girl," because I had him in red. [Laughs] I said, "No, he's a boy." And they said, "Oh." He's very delicate face and very light complexion. He was almost white. For a Japanese it's very unusual, but he had a very lotta hair when he was born. I could remember that and Mother was so surprised. She said most of the children don't have that, baby don't have that much hair. But he was just full of hair. [Laughs]

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

AI: Well, and now, getting back to your return to Seattle, that was later in September of 1945 and I was just wondering, what was your first impression? What was your reaction when you got back to Seattle?

MF: Gosh, I don't remember.

AI: Where did you stay?

MF: Well, I could remember calling my good friend up on the phone and she -- I didn't have very many Japanese friends 'cause we lived in north end by Woodland Park. And all my hakujin, friends were hakujins. And so I did call her up and, oh she was so happy to -- she came right over. And mother, and my dad had their home and nobody was living there when we came back. They were, some people were living there, I heard, but they didn't pay the rent so our Caucasian friend, they, we wrote to them and tell them to move out and just lock it up. And so they did for us. So we never had income from our mother's home until we came back.

AI: Oh dear.

MF: They sent the check about two months, I guess, and after that they stayed about six months before we kicked them out.

AI: So, since it was vacant, you were able to --

MF: Yeah.

AI: -- stay there.

MF: So we came, we -- Mother and Dad were still in camp and so we came back first and we stayed at Mom's place.

AI: Well, now, were you and Bill thinking of getting back into the same dry cleaning business again?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: Because you told us how you had to sell your business before the war and so were you looking for places, then, right away?

MF: We asked to buy our old place back but they wouldn't sell it. So we looked around and then we found a Jap-, Chinese hand laundry on Twenty, well, it would be, I would call it Twenty-fourth and Union, East Union. And we bought that laundry and we just almost killed ourselves by working so hard. And my husband said, "Let's quit this and buy a press machine." And so we bought a second-hand press machine and then we started a dry cleaning business there. And then we found out that there was a vacant gas station right across the street on the corner and so we bought that place and we built our drive-in dry cleaning shop. It's still standing there.

AI: Well, I wanted to ask you about what happened before then, before you were able to start up your dry cleaning again because I had seen in some of the papers that David had collected that before that, that you were trying to set up your business but that some people didn't, were not, would not do the wholesaling, dry cleaning with you as they did not want to take any business from Japanese Americans.

MF: Yeah.

AI: And that that was a difficult time.

MF: That was kind of a hard for a while. But Japanese start coming back and this man started a wholesale, Mr. Araki. And so we sent all our work there. And that was on, I think Fourteenth and Jackson. It was a, still a brick building. It's still standing there.

AI: So that's how you were able to --

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: -- start up again. Well, so --

MF: And then we were very lucky. This Chinese man that owned this building when we first started as a Chinese hand laundry, why, he started raising the rent every month, every six months or so and Bill said gee, that's not fair. And so we went to the bank, a couple of banks and they wouldn't loan us any money because we were just back from camp. But our friend loaned us the money. He loaned us six thousand dollars. Oh, that was the time that, that was the house that we wanted to -- 'cause we were living in the back of a dry cleaning shop and we didn't have a room to put a bed in. We had a mattress but we put the mattress on the floor. We slept like that for a while. And I remember one time Bill had a sort of a flu and Dr. Suzuki came and looked after him and he was shocked that we had to live like this for a while. That was right after the war.

AI: That must've been a hard time.

MF: Yeah.

AI: Living behind the shop.

MF: That was the worst time, I think. Of course, I'm glad David was very small at that time so it wasn't bad, but if he was older I think it'd kinda affected him.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

AI: Well, when you first started up your dry cleaning business again after the war, who were your customers? Because before the war, your customers had stopped coming, so who were your customers in this new business?

MF: Oh, they came. They didn't care who it was. And we had a flourishing business. My husband was very particular about his work. He would never hire anybody because he wasn't satisfied. And he worked his self to death 'cause we were so busy. He used to get up three o'clock in the morning go to work and he'd come home around eight o'clock, have breakfast and pick me up to work. He was really a good presser.

AI: Well, you were just explaining about how the banks wouldn't loan you money for the building that you wanted to build.

MF: Yeah. We went to Citizen's Bank and they said no and then we went, oh, couple places and then finally we got a loan. And we borrowed twelve thousand dollars and so happened that we got, we, we had twelve thousand dollars the bank loaned us, and one of our former customers in Montlake said he'll loan us some money. But I remember we were almost going to ask for a little more from him but it so happened my husband's insurance matured and I think he got about twenty-five thousand dollars, that was about six months after we borrowed from the bank. So we were very comfortably settled. And it took about four months to build a building and then we moved out and this Chinese man was real mad because we moved out and we didn't sign a lease. Good thing we didn't sign a lease so we could move right out. My attorney said, "Don't sign a lease." He says, "If you gonna plan to move out," he says, "don't sign a lease." So I guess this Chinese man didn't know anything about lease. But anyways, we built it in about three or four months, right on the corner. And it was a really ideal place 'cause you could drive your car right to the door. And we were the second one in the cleaning business to have a drive-in and boy, people from Madrona and even from West Seattle used to come. They said they recommend us, our work. And from Laurelhurst, we had about five customers from Laurelhurst. They would drive in and they said, "You know, we drove way over here. I heard that Japanese people are very good in pressing and their work is excellent." And my husband was very particular about his work and that's why he had more than enough work for him.

AI: So after the war, you really were able to get your business going fairly well?

MF: Yeah, and you know we had, we bought a house, it was eleven thousand dollar house which was worth I think about ten times more right now. [Laughs]

AI: Where was the house that you bought?

MF: It was the 300 block and Twenty-ninth. It was a nice old colonial home. It had a great big -- you could put two double beds in the bedroom and still have room. It was a huge bedroom. David had the same size bedroom for himself, too, the same floor, second floor. And everything was hardwood, the floor, we bought Karastan rug because it was such a beautiful floor. And, you know, the banister that you go up? Oh my gosh. You don't see that kinda thing anymore.

AI: About when was that when you moved into your house there?

MF: 300 block and Twenty-ninth.

AI: About what year was that?

MF: Gee...

AI: Maybe a few years after you got back?

MF: That was our first house, so... when did the war end?

AI: You came back to Seattle in '45.

MF: '45. Well, we bought it... well, we lived in my mom's place until we bought this house. So I think it was about six months, I guess, after we came back we bought this house. That was the time that we had a hard time getting a loan.

AI: That's right.

MF: And it was owned by an elderly couple and it was just spic and span. Beautiful yard, and husband liked to garden so he had beautiful rose garden and my husband used to get up around five o'clock in the morning to spray them and water them, everything before we went to work. Beautiful rose garden. I bet that lady was very unhappy moving out there but I guess she said it was too much of a work to have a big house like that for herself now that her husband passed on. So she was gonna move to Everett where her son was living, closer to her family.

AI: I wanted to ask you, what did that neighborhood look like?

MF: It was all Caucasian and by the time we sold that house, a lot of Negroes came in. Uh-huh.

AI: So it was a changing neighborhood?

MF: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

AI: And, then, about when was it that you sold that house and, did you have another house built?

MF: Yes. Well, that was, let me see now, now we did, that was on Twenty-ninth. That was our first house. Gosh. We lived in another house, which we bought. Isn't that funny, I can't remember. And then we built our own house.

AI: Where was that? Where did you have it built?

MF: It was 711 Thirty-ninth Avenue. That was a block from Lake Washington Boulevard and it was a dead end street. And it was, it was Thirty-eighth here went down this way and Thirty-ninth straight this way and so we bought a property on Thirty-ninth and our backyard was Thirty-eighth. It was on a slope and they just cut that flat to make, build the house. And our backyard was like this, on a slope.

AI: Kind of steep?

MF: And that's where I fell on a rock. I had Mr. Yamasaki bring huge rock to kinda make it kinda interesting in the backyard and I was weeding and I fell on the rock and hurt my back very badly. And the doctor said, "You've gotta move. You can't work here anymore." And so we lived here, lived there about eleven years, I think.

AI: It must've been hard to move from there.

MF: Oh, it sure was.

AI: You must have a lot of memories from that house.

MF: Oh yes. It was a beautiful house, beautiful house. I just loved it.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

AI: Well, about that time, was that about the time when you and your husband also knew the artist Paul Horiuchi?

MF: Uh-huh.

AI: And he was becoming very active with his artwork.

MF: Yeah, this is his work there and his work here.

AI: Can you tell me the stories about how you got these artworks?

MF: Well, we knew that Paul Horiuchi was becoming a very famous man and Bill thought it would be nice to have few things of his and so we asked Paul to bring something for us. He came first to look here and he looked at this wooden wall here. He said, "Well, I have something that I had made when I was working as a... as a body, fender man." And he brought this and he said he made six of them and this is the last one. And then he brought this one, too. You know how much I paid? Hundred dollars for both.

AI: Is that right?

MF: That was very early. He wasn't, well, he has won, he said he won a prize on this one and he was telling me how poor he was. He said he slept -- he didn't, couldn't afford a house so he slept in the car with the family. Gosh, must've been hard up.

AI: I bet.

MF: I wish he lived a little bit longer. He would have been really famous.

AI: Well, so, in the meantime, after you had recovered from your back injury, that's when you moved here to your current home, this place.

MF: No.

AI: No? Oh, you had a place in between?

MF: Yeah, we built this house on 711 Thirty-ninth.

AI: Right.

MF: But we lived on Twenty-ninth and then we built the house on Thirty-ninth.

AI: And then --

MF: Then, then in '71 there was a, not a Boeing strike, but layoff and we didn't get very much for the house that we built. I think it was about thirty-six thousand dollars to build and then we sold it for forty-one and had a hard time selling it. But we finally sold it to a colored man. And I heard he stayed only about six months and he almost doubled his -- well, Boeing got better, I guess. It was, '71 was very bad. There was a lot of layoff in Boeings and depression time. And then we moved here in '71 and we were the third one to move in here and it took two years to fill up this whole condo. And I been here since '71 so that's about, almost thirty years, huh? Thirty-one years.

AI: Wow.

MF: I like it here, so convenient. It's close to library and close to Y, close to downtown and people are nice. They're not the kinda low-class people here.

AI: Well, you've had such an interesting and long life. Is there anything else that you recall about, just times in your life or living here in Seattle that you wanted to mention, anything else that comes to mind?

MF: Oh, let's see. Did I tell you that I was interpreter for Charles Lindbergh?

AI: You did. You told us about that yesterday.

MF: Yeah.

AI: That was very interesting.

MF: That was my highlight, I think and Yasha Heifetz, that violinist. That was just about, that was in Fukuoka, Japan.

AI: Right.

MF: When I was there. I was there one year studying Japanese flower arrangement and tea ceremony and Japanese language, writing, reading. My mother and father gave me the best education for a, for a woman. My brothers, my last brother didn't get to go to university because of the camp life but all the others all graduated from the University of Washington.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

AI: Well, and then tell me about David, because then David grew up and he went off to, he went to school, and he went to college.

MF: Well, David did very well in Garfield. He was top ten. And he went to four years of University here. And then he took a, he worked for a firm for about a year and then he started his own business and he took a one -- I don't know, five years after he had his business he took a sabbatical for one year and he went to New York and went to school there, Cornell, I think. And then, that's about all. He's been on his own now. He always had a partner but he said he never got along with them so he's all independent now and I think he's ready to retire.

AI: Well, I --

MF: He's sixty-three.

AI: And his career has been very well-known as an architect.

MF: Oh, I think so, I think so. He does a lot of charity work, too. Every, every once a month or something he goes down to the International District to talk with them about architect with the Chinese people and I think maybe few Japanese, I don't know. But he always tells me he has an awfully good time and they feed him. [Laughs]

AI: Well, speaking of charity work, you have been active with charity work for a long time, also.

MF: Oh my gosh. I started volunteering for Children's Hospital in 196-, now we retired in '67, I started work in '68 and I quit about two years ago. And then I have worked six and a half years at Keiro as a volunteer, and then I have worked about four years at the Trinity Church as a volunteer sorting clothes where they sell them.

AI: And then, don't you also volunteer for the Red Cross?

MF: I knit for the Red Cross. Where is my knitting? I'll show you.


MF: I make leggings. I been doing this for, I think I made over a thousand. They furnish the yarn and then when I finish the product they pick it up and bring me the yarn. She said I'm the oldest woman that's doing volunteer work for the Red Cross here in Seattle.

AI: Is that right?

MF: [Laughs] I do this when I'm watching television. Yeah, I love to knit. I knit all my sweaters and I knit all my nephews and nieces sweaters all the time. I like hand work. I have a tablecloth that's handmade. I'll show it to you because lotta people think that I'm not telling the truth. [Laughs]

AI: Oh, let me see. You're still connected. Maybe we'll -- why don't you sit down for a moment and we can, you can show me that afterwards.

MF: Yeah.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

AI: But I did want to ask you, another thing that you were able to do is that you were able to go back and visit Japan a few more times. And I wanted to ask you a little bit about going back in your more recent trips.

MF: Oh, the last trip we took was with David was in 1988. That was, I told everybody there that it'd be my last trip. So I had beautiful jewelry that my husband, he always wanted me to wear the finest things that he could afford. And I had some beautiful jewelrys and I had about five or six pearls that, Mikimoto pearls that every anniversary or something like that he'd give me a long one and a short one and the double ones and so all my relatives have something of mine and it was for my cousin or my great-aunt or something like that. And the last trip was with David and I knew this would be my last trip being, getting older and so it was kinda sad to say goodbye to them. I, I have a lot of cousins. Lady cousins and during, during the hard wartime my mother used to send a lot of clothes to them. And they said they were the best-dressed girls in the school during that time and they wanted to thank me and they gave me a beautiful, a wonderful and a delicious dinner where there was about twelve cousins of mine and I didn't even know their names or anything but we got together. We went to this Japanese place and very formal place and had dinner. And then they said, "Well, we didn't know what to give you," so they all gave me an envelope and when I came home I took it to the bank and they gave me three thousand dollars, about twelve girls. And so Bill and I decided that Japanese people like designer's things so we went to the Magnin's and bought a designer's scarf that cost about, oh, about twenty-five or thirty dollars each and sent each of them a scarf and they wrote back and said, "We're the best-dressed women in our community." [Laughs] I never spent that kind of money on a scarf but Bill said, "Why, they were kind enough to do that nice things for you so you remember them and you're not gonna go back anyway," so I hope they're using it. [Laughs]

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

AI: Well, I had one other question and you must get asked about this a lot. But do people ask you what is your secret to having a long and healthy life, or anything that you do, advice you have for people?

MF: Oh, I don't get that kind of advice. Oh, I don't know. I think best that I could say is to be healthy. Gee, I'm ninety-one and you know, I'm pretty good. I'm diabetic for about thirty years but I do my shots every day, but I'm okay.

AI: Is there any kind of advice or suggestions you would like to pass on to younger people?

MF: [Laughs] Be healthy and be happy and try to get along with people the best you can. I think that's very important. You don't like to be despised by people, say bad things about you. I think you feel bad, too, and I think that person that says that feels bad, too. I never speak ill of anybody, no matter if I don't like them I never say anything. I just keep quiet, just for myself.

AI: Well, we certainly appreciate all the time you've given us, and your thoughts and your sharing your memories. I really appreciate it.

MF: Well, what memories I have is really happy ones, you know? I don't have too many sad things. I just -- only sad thing that I lost my husband so early. Of course we were married fifty, forty-nine years but that's early for me. That was my greatest loss was my husband when he passed on. He was much older than I was but everybody expected that but, but you know, he was ninety-four when he passed on.

AI: So he had a very long life, also.

MF: I had a very happy life. He was very, very good to me. We never fought. He, we both tried to agree and his children are very good to me. They're in Japan but we went to Japan quite often so he could get to see his children and they were very, very good to me. 'Course, I took care of 'em when his mother died for a while and then they were sent to Japan, taken care of by his mother's, mother's sister who never had children, and I think they had a very hard life. But they kinda mentioned it to me privately that they wished his mother was alive to raise them up. But they're so good to me 'cause I took care of them when their mother died for about six months before they went to Japan. They're such nice, nice, Junko is the oldest and she has grandchildren and everything but others are still, they're married but they just have one or two children. Yeah, well, I had a really good happy life, very happy. He was much older but I knew it would happen but I miss him a lot, especially around the holidays. We used to go grocery, Christmas shopping together and, to Southcenter and decide what we wanted to buy for each one of the nieces and nephews and... yeah, I guess you have to say that life goes on.

AI: Well, thank you very much. We really appreciate this time together.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.