Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kiyoshi Seishin Yamashita
Narrator: Kiyoshi Seishin Yamashita
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 30, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ykiyoshi-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So you graduated what year from Auburn High School?

KY: Graduated in 1937.

TI: So I'm doing the quick math, so that would only make you seventeen when you graduated. So how did you graduate when you were seventeen? Most people graduated when they were eighteen.

KY: Oh. I skipped a class in the early grammar school, below sixth grade, maybe third grade, fourth grade, somewhere in there.

TI: So you skipped a grade, and still you were the salutatorian. So that was a... not only did you get honored for good grades, but you actually were younger than your classmates.

KY: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. I guess I graduated, yeah, a year earlier than my age people. That's right.

TI: So you decide to go, so your dad and your brothers talked, and they decided to send you to college. Were you the first one in your family to go to college?

KY: Yes, I was the first one. And the way it happened, I stayed out a year probably to earn money, and started the first year. Otherwise, I figured out later that, yeah, that I should be a year older. I went to eighteen, I should be graduating in, when I was eighteen would be 1938. Instead I graduated in '37. And '38 is when I started college, so, yeah, I stayed out a year. 'Cause '38, '39, '40, '41.

TI: And so what college did you go to?

KY: University of Washington, Seattle. That was the closest.

TI: And so from Auburn, that's a, you know, even today it's a pretty long commute.

KY: Yeah, about twenty-something, a little over twenty miles, yeah.

TI: And so when you went to college, did you live in Seattle or did you commute?

KY: Yeah, thinking about that, I'm sure commuting all the time would be most difficult because of the distance, and to have a separate car from... I remember batching with three other Nisei kids in Seattle, one of these rooming houses, we lived in the basement.

TI: I'm sorry, the term you used again was "batching"?

KY: Yeah, you used to say batching. In other words, group living in the sense that whoever was there, we'd take turns cooking evening meal. And breakfast, I guess, we'd eat whatever we wanted. But evening meal, you wanted something more solid, hefty, so that we'd take turns cooking the evening meal.

TI: And who taught you how to cook?

KY: I guess we all learned from our mothers, I guess, and cooked whatever we liked the most and the easiest to make and the cheapest to make, I guess. Yeah, nobody really taught anybody.

TI: That's funny because I interview lots of Nisei men, lot of them don't cook at all. [Laughs]

KY: Oh, in those days, you took turns cooking, yeah, I remember that.

TI: And what kind of things did these young men cook? I'm curious, what would be a typical meal back then?

KY: [Laughs] Once you ask like that, I'm really not sure. And I don't remember what I cooked, either.

TI: Okay.

KY: In those days, we didn't have instant ramen, so I'm sure we didn't cook instant ramen, but we probably cooked noodles, bunch of noodles, somen or udon. But not too much of that either, I guess. I guess mostly fried stuff, I would guess. I don't remember cooking one... I don't remember one dish that anybody cooked, including myself.

TI: [Laughs] That's okay.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright (c) 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.