Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Ishikawa Interview
Narrator: Joe Ishikawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: January 10, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ijoe-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

JI: So I went to Amache and started working in the kitchen. And I, I found the food so much better there. The Tulare people said the food wasn't as good as they got. And then it comes out that the head of our camp was arrested for selling meat on the black market.

TI: Oh, so at Santa Anita --

JI: Yeah, Santa Anita, our diet was almost a steady diet of heart, and I can't think of anything else that was, was served there. And in Amache we had a varied diet.

TI: And what were your impressions of Amache when you first got there?

JI: Rattlesnakes, I suppose. People used to go on rattlesnake hunts; rattlesnakes outnumbered people by several times. Maybe after the evacuees moved in, their, their rate diminished considerably, I'm sure, but it was all cactus. It was, Colorado was a beautiful state, but this was not very beautiful. Just, it was on the Arkansas River, which... in a town, I forget what the town was called, down below. But a lot of people don't believe me when I say that toward, at one point in camp -- I left early, but my father had to stay. But frequently, he would take the camp bus down to, to the river and would just watch the river and watch the trains go by, the train didn't stop there. And that was recreation for him. Or else he would walk down 'cause it was about three miles, and he liked to walk even at his age. And people that I met from other camps couldn't believe that...

TI: That they let people do that.

JI: Yeah. And, but anyway, I was there only a short time, matter of weeks. I hadn't received word about going to... even though I'd been accepted at the university, I hadn't been released by the War Relocation Authority. So I finally wrote to them and said, if it's because I had been in Japan, they should realize that I was really not, a persona non grata in Japan and gave them details. And so after I had moved to Amache, they, I got a release. And so I enrolled two or three days late, Nebraska had already started. But the, in a way it was advantageous to me because you had to pay your own way through the school, and Amache was a lot closer than L.A. would have been. [Laughs]

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.