Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Minoru "Min" Tsubota Interview
Narrator: Minoru "Min" Tsubota
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Tetsuden Kashima (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-tminoru-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

MT: And so, about that time, the, the Camp Roberts area was a grass fire all throughout there and we were immediately restricted there because of the grass fires were spreading for miles and miles and miles. But anyway, I told the sergeant that I was, I wanted to attend the wedding. And so the buck sergeant was very nice. And so that night, what he did is, he said, "Min, I'm gonna cover for you." So he put the pillows in my bunk bed and that evening, while all the trucks were out there fighting the fires we were restricted (to) fight the fires. The whole Camp Roberts was out there fighting the fire. And so, he said well, "Min, I'm gonna cover for you, (...) so be sure and come back. So that evening I went up there and all the trucks were going by and everything. And then the Greyhound Bus came about, oh... but I had to hide behind the telephone pole to, so, because nobody was on pass or anything, because they were restricted, of the fire. But I caught the Greyhound bus. And I got to Los Angeles I... my mother, especially I wanted to go because my mother doesn't speak English and she took the train from King Street Station in Seattle all the way down to Los Angeles. And she kind of thought it was the greatest thing that she was doing that. So, I had to go and I told the sergeant that I must go and he covered up for me.

And so we attended the wedding ceremony at the old Los Angeles Betsuin on March 18, 1941. And so I met Mother there and we stayed, I stayed at Pomona. And Cherrie's mother came to give Hiroko away because the father had (...) Cherrie and Toshiko had to run the restaurant there. So I met Cherrie's mother at that time. I didn't know that she had two other daughters in Price, Utah. And so, but looking back, I got to meet my mother-in-law at that time. And so I, I stayed there, I stayed there two days at Los Angeles. But Mother, being there, and I was gonna put her on a train. And I didn't have to, but I wanted to stay there. So I went AWOL two more days and didn't go back to camp and made sure that Mother got on a train and going back. I got back to Camp Roberts and went back to camp to the company there and the first sergeant says, "Min, where you been?" And I said, "Been in camp." Well, what happened is, we got trapped is, on the third day he covered me up every night with the pillows in my bed and night call, and we got by with it. But I think it was the third day, the fourth day, at the middle of the month, see, that's the eighteenth, I left on the fifteenth. And we signed the payroll. And I wasn't there to sign the payroll. But the buck sergeant told the first sergeant that I was on garbage detail or I was in the kitchen or something like that. But it finally turned out that they found out that I was AWOL. And I got back and the first sergeant called me in and he says, "Min, where you been?" And I said, "On garbage detail and kitchen and all that." And he said, "No you weren't." And so I finally had to confess and, boy, they, they restricted me to the camp for about four, four weekends. And that was all I got for... but I was AWOL because wartime. No, it wasn't, it wasn't wartime then. It was after that. But it could've been pretty bad because I was a brand-new GI like that.

TK: For Mrs. Tsubota, when you first, well, when you left, you said to yourself, "This is the one." I don't want to embarrass you, so you don't have to answer this question, but do you remember what it was that made you say, "Oh, this is the special person?"

MT: Well, I really did. I... talking to the parents and talking to her and talking to sisters and my brother-in-law, I could see that she had the real quality that I thought that I would like to find in a wife. And so, without saying anything, I never expressed my thoughts to her, but I really felt that she had all the qualities that I would really like. So, I guess I was able to express all that through my letters until we were able to propose to her. So...

TK: And she accepted and sixty years later you're still going very strong. [Laughs] Very nice.

MT: Yeah, yeah, right. We're very fortunate.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.