Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mas Akiyama Interview
Narrator: Mas Akiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: March 15, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-amas-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Now, do you remember any games or activities you did with those friends?

MA: Oh, yes. We played all kinds of games. There was a, there was a playground right next to the church there, and we used to play baseball and basketball and things like that, but that wasn't very often, 'cause we didn't have too much time. Our parents had all kinds of activities provided for us, they used to have picnics and they had memorial services, they had, oh, all kinds of different activities that we participated in. I got to be thankful for my parents for providing a lot of Japanese cultural ideals that benefited us after we grew up.

TI: So let's talk about that. So, like, the picnics that you would go to in the summertime, how many people were, were there? How large a picnic?

MA: Oh, there used to be about a hundred people, sometime a hundred and fifty.

TI: And so describe --

MA: The population at that particular time wasn't too large. I don't think we had more than, say, about five hundred Japanese people in Spokane at that time.

TI: And about what time? This is about the 1930 time period?

MA: Yeah.

TI: Okay. So at the picnic, you have a hundred people.

MA: Oh yes, there was at least a hundred. And they had all kinds of games.

TI: So tell me about the games.

MA: Oh, there were relay races for the kids where we would race and go after, pick up candies and things. [Laughs] There were games for adults, too, and there were all kinds of games.

TI: What would be a game that the Issei women would play? Do you remember any games that they would play?

MA: Nisei?

TI: No, the Issei.

MA: Issei women? They had shopping race, they were, they were lined up with shopping bags, and then they have all kinds of fruits and cookies and things at the other end, and they have a list that they had to pick up certain things, and then they'd rush there and pick these sort of things, but they'd come back, and then there were prizes for them, that had the best of the bunch.

TI: Oh, that's funny. So it was almost like a race to shop, they'd pick up these things and then...

MA: Bring them back.

TI: ...bring them back. What about the men, the Issei men? What kind of games would they play?

MA: Nisei men, I remember the kids used to participate, the men would be on the other side, and we would go race and go after, you know, I'd grab my dad's hand and then we'd come racing back.

TI: Oh, so it was like a kid-parent or kid-father race.

MA: And then we'd get little prizes for that, but there were prizes for all the kids. But it was a lot of fun in those days. But that was an annual event, and it's still carried on even to this day, the Niseis carry that on.

TI: So today, how many people go to the Japanese picnics?

MA: Oh, I think there'd be close to a hundred still.

TI: Now, do you play any of the old, the old traditional games?

MA: Yes, uh-huh. We still play those games. Nisei women play that shopping game now. [Laughs]

TI: And this is --

MA: There were all kinds of different kinds of races. Two-legged races and sack races where you, gunnysack race, you get, hop. [Laughs] It was a lot of fun.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.