Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Roy Ebihara Interview
Narrator: Roy Ebihara
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: July 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-eroy-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: What are some other things that you did in Clovis? Like the Japanese, when you got together, were there any Japanese...

RE: Oh, yeah, we were also part of the -- there was a big event in the late spring, early summer, it was called the Pioneer Days. And you know, you would have horses clippety-clopping down the cobblestone Main Street. I mean, there were parades. In our Japanese group, they would always have a float, and it was called... what's the cherry blossom? They would, the men and the women would decorate these bare trees with artificial cherry blossoms, and then the girls would wear kimonos and they would be on the, riding on the float. And I remember that. That was always an annual thing that they looked forward to.

TI: And generally what was the reaction of the townspeople to the float?

RE: Oh, yeah, it was, they knew us. Everybody knew. But as long as we were kept in our place, it didn't matter. We were still part of the town in that regards. We were accepted but not welcome as part of the neighbors, no.

TI: So how about other Japanese, sort of, traditions? Things like mochi pounding and stuff like that?

RE: Yeah, we, that was, that was awesome because one family would be designated to be the family that, the menfolk would do the, making the mochitsuki, and then, of course, my dad was the only one skilled at making tofu. So I remember the kitchen always smelled like tofu steaming and stuff, with cheesecloth, wooden things. And us kids would use a hand grinder and grind the soy, dried soybeans into a pulp, powdery stuff. And then the women would also be involved in making sushi and all these things. So it was a big, big deal. The worst part was seeing my dad drunk the next day. New Year's Day, my dad would be polluted. I remember my older brothers used to have to drag him home, he'd be singing away, happy as a lark, but drunk, you know. But it was the big, big event of the year, yes.

TI: And so your dad, so he'd be drinking with the other Issei men, so they would go off and...

RE: Oh yeah, they'd drink sake until they were, they couldn't handle anymore.

TI: And so this was, like homemade brew that they would do, too?

RE: No, that was, Mr. Kimura would order all these things, so that was always a special thing, yeah.

TI: And so did the other Issei men also get pretty drunk, too?

RE: Pretty much, yeah.

TI: And did you ever kind of watch them sing and have interaction --

RE: Oh, yeah, what could to you do? We'd go from home to home, that was the traditional thing. We went to, everybody visited each other, and that's how it was. It was bad for the women, obviously, they had to take, keep control of the food around. We had other things, we had a furoya, the men built a furoya. Yeah, that was, that was always, we'd wear those wooden, handmade geta, you know, wooden things, and my dad would take us to the furoya. It was hotter than blazes; I hated that.

TI: How large was it?

RE: You know, from a kid's child's-eye view, you can almost swim across, but it really wasn't that big. I don't think it was more than about eight foot in diameter.

TI: And when, so after... so describe it. I mean, I'm guessing it's traditional to wash up outside the bath, and then people would go in. How many people would be in the bathtub at one time?

RE: Probably no more than about six people at one time.

TI: And was it pretty much by family unit, or would other families...

RE: No, people just come in there, someone knock on that little wooden door, you could see through the cracks, "Who's in there?" and all that. That's the way it was.

TI: But you hated it, you said it was just too hot and not much fun.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.