Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gordon Hirabayashi Interview II
Narrator: Gordon Hirabayashi
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 25, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-hgordon-02-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: I should probably summarize for people that, that don't know the story. But, yeah, your first year you stayed with a doctor's family as a house boy, or school boy, and did these chores for room and board to help pay for your way.

GH: Actually, pin money -- six dollars a month or something -- six dollars a month doesn't seem like much but -- well, you know the bus fare was cheap in those days so, it wasn't much, but it was enough to take care of -- you know you had to have few change in your pocket. That did it.

TI: Right. And I believe your, your second year when you went to University of Washington you stayed at Eagleson Hall --

GH: Yeah, well, actually second year in my educational career. I actually went only two quarters.

TI: Good. Why don't you explain that, the two years, or two quarters?

GH: Well, University of Washington has a quarter system. I think theirs is still a quarter system. You go ten weeks usually, two and a half months, plus a week of final exams for those courses. And then, I think there's a week off, and then you start next quarter. So you have those quarters, and you had courses that were usually three credit courses or five credit. Five credit were five days a week course classes. Others were three times a week, or twice a week if they were Tuesday/Thursday classes. They used to have Saturday classes too, and, and in other -- a way of avoiding Saturdays, 'cause some students wanted to go home, or work, so then the schools changed to Tuesday/Thursdays you could have little longer classes. So that Tuesday/Thursday classes met for seventy five minutes instead of fifty minutes. Only twice a week so that they meet their three hour, three fifty minute hour, hundred fifty minutes. And Tuesday/Thursday classes would be seventy five minutes a session. So the same number of hours. And then, so I had those class programs and I generally carried the regular course load for fall and winter term. Fall term started beginning of October. So that meant I could work back home through September and come in --

TI: So the spring and summer quarter...

GH: Yeah.

TI: You went back and worked at the farm.

GH: That's right. Spring term meant after March, winter quarter exams. I went back to work. So I worked half year, six months and went to school six months.

TI: Right.

GH: Two years.

TI: Okay.

GH: And then I, I realized that there are a lot of interesting things going on spring term that I was missing.

TI: Okay, before we get there though, the, when I say second year, so it'd be the, the fall of 1938, you started staying at Eagleson Hall then?

GH: Yeah. Well, I think it was about '39.

TI: '39, okay. But the interesting thing, what I wanted to sorta come back to was that Eagleson Hall was very close, or about half a block away from the Japanese Student Club.

GH: That's right.

TI: And so getting back to your involvement in both. Why don't you talk about -- over time, you spent more and more time at the Y than at the Japanese Student Club. Why don't you tell us why you chose the Y over the Japanese Students Club.

GH: Well. I realized that there's certain amount of time -- I couldn't major in extracurricular activities. Main purpose of going to school is to get an education. And so I had to put in a decent amount of time on homework. But, out of my own interest, I wanted to spend some time on extracurricular activity. And of those things available, more challenging ones for me came from YMCA program, YM, YW programs. And JACL activities were more social oriented --

TI: You mean the Japanese, Japanese Students Club?

GH: Yes, Yeah. JSC.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.