Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura Interview
Narrator: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-keugene-01-0004

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TI: In moving to, sort of, Sheridan, I read in your writings how your father eventually got a hotel, he became a hotel owner?

EK: Uh-huh.

TI: Can you describe the hotel, where it was, and what kind of, like, customers? Just, can you just describe the hotel business for me?

EK: Hotel was near the railroad station. Not adjacent to it, but maybe a couple blocks away. And the entrance was up a long flight of stairs. And the, I don't know the nature of the people who came in there, probably transients and so forth.

TI: And do you recall, as a, like at the hotel, did you and your brother have to work in the hotel?

EK: No, no, we'd just play around in the hallways and so forth. For the simple reason that when I was six years old and my brother was eight years old, my mother and father, especially my mother, said that, "We cannot leave these kids here in the hinterlands. They have to learn the Japanese language and some Japanese culture." So that my brother and I and my parents moved to Seattle, Washington, because they knew there was a fairly large Japanese school there.

TI: Okay, so we're going to get to that a little bit later.

EK: Yeah.

TI: But, so going back to Sheridan, were there any, besides Mr. George Nishi, were there any other Japanese?

EK: Yes, there were, maybe a handful. But I was never introduced to them. I did not know their names at all. But in the neighborhood, neighboring area around Sheridan, yes.

TI: Okay. And the hotel building itself, was that owned by your father or was he renting or leasing?

EK: Probably owned it, I suppose.

TI: And in thinking about your early home life, before you started school, how did you communicate with your parents? Was it in English or Japanese?

EK: Strictly Japanese.

TI: And so before starting school, did you know English?

EK: Little bit, little bit. But I do recall that I may have had a little difficulty communicating, simply because the language that I used daily was Japanese.

TI: In those early days in Sheridan, how about churches? Did your family participate in any churches?

EK: Not that I know of.

TI: And besides your brother, do you recall any other playmates in Sheridan?

EK: No, I do not know. I think we, just the two of us played together.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.