Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Arthur Ogami Interview
Narrator: Arthur Ogami
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 10, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-oarthur-01-0028

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AI: Well, before we get there, I wanted to ask just a little bit more about any memories you had of Bismarck camp, or Fort Lincoln camp, actually, is the formal name, and for example, what might be a typical day in Bismarck? What might it be like, like from the time that you were woken up?

AO: I didn't know what to expect. But there were activities. The Romanians had made a skating rink ready and they had skates available. So we were able to borrow the skates and skate around this rink that they had made already. See, the Romanians are good skaters. And we, we never had skates before. And so we had fun. And during the warmer days we organized softball team and so we played softball. And I wasn't a very good baseball player so they put me in left field, let's see... I believe it was right field, yes, right field, it was right from the batter. And so I had problem judging the ball to catch, but I did alright. And occasionally I had forced a hit with the baseball, and I did get on bases and I was... and it was fun. It was a good pastime. And there's one pitcher, younger pitcher, and he was good in the windmill pitch. You know what a windmill pitch is? And his balls would come by real fast. And he needed someone to catch for him. And I had the courage enough to sit behind with the catcher's glove to catch it. And I was kinda worried about not catching his balls. [Laughs] But I managed to catch 'em. And he and I was a pretty good team for his practice. And he would show me how he could pitch a riser and pitch a inside curve and outside curve. And he'd place his knuckle on the ball so that it would spin certain ways. See, the spin of the ball will determine which way the ball's gonna go. And so that was fun, good pastime.

AI: What... did you have very many other organized activities? For example, you mentioned in Tule Lake there were the Japanese language classes and there were the exercises and so forth. Did you have similar kinds of activities at Fort Lincoln?

AO: At Fort Lincoln we had to study Japanese language individually, but there was some help. They had books. So I spent most of the day studying the Japanese language. And I went from one book to the next book, lesson book. And I would copy what I read. And I would practice writing the kanji. And within the few months, which is approximately one year, from early, from February to December. Then the month of December we got our notice to board a train. And the train was, destination was Portland, Oregon.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.