Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Toshio Moritsugu Interview
Narrator: Toshio Moritsugu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 2, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-mtoshio-01-0007

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TI: So now I want to talk about some of your childhood memories growing up in the village. You mentioned your house being large and one of the things I read about was how, I think, every other year there was this offering of thanks by the fishermen. And I think every other year that was held at your house?

TM: Yes.

TI: Can you describe that?

TM: Well, as I mentioned to you, there were two fishing villages, and every other year the ceremonies and the party were held in our home, on odd years, in the neighboring fishing village. And in our home when we had that celebration, the whole village participated in it and in fact as I can recall, many of the counties, or actually the village higher people came. I recall, the police captain, you know, came over quite often. And business people came over so it was a big affair. And you had a Buddhist priest coming over, gave his (blessing), and then the party, right throughout the night.

TI: And tell me what was there in terms of food, entertainment, what did people do?

TM: Well, entertainment wasn't much. They had enough drinks for the older people. As for younger people, you had fruits, apples, oranges, grapes and meats, cold cut meats, and sodas. So the food was plentiful. In a way it satisfied, I think, just about everyone.

TI: And so what would the youngsters do? You know, when the adults are down there eating, drinking, talking, what would you, your brothers, your sisters, and probably other children do?

TM: Yes, other children. Well, the area was quite big so you can get out and play games, and if you wanted to play card games, you could play card games, but there were so many games that we played.

TI: Let's talk about that. You talk about games too and you mentioned Ala-wee was one game you played?

TM: Yes.

TI: Knife baseball was another game. Describe, first, Knife Baseball, what was... how did you play?

TM: Well, Knife Baseball meant that you have to get a knife, and the knife must have two blades. So you open the long blade, fully extended, and the smaller blade is open at ninety degree angle. So you have two blades at ninety degree angle, and what you did was that you flip the knife around and made sure that it stood on one of the blades. And the way it ended determined whether it was first base or second base. And when the knife stood on the large blade by itself, that was a home run. Now, when the knife stood on the small blade, that was second base hit. And when (...) both blades were on the surface, that was a first base hit. And when the knife flopped, that was a strikeout. So it was kind of a dangerous thing.

TI: And so you would just kind of flip the knife up in the air and then it would come into some kind of board and how it would stick would determine.

TM: Yes, well, you had a flat board. So when the knife was flipped, if you're good enough, it always flipped, stopped on the blade. And you have three strikeouts, so that you have three, you know, just like in a baseball game. You kept flipping until you struck out.

TI: So this sounds like a game that you would play against one other person. So it would be like one team versus the other team.

TM: Right, just one team against the other team or one person against one person.

TI: And then you would sort of track like if you had like a single or a double, then the next time you got another double and a run would score, if someone were on second base and... I got it, okay, interesting.

TM: So that was a cheap game because at that time all you needed was a knife.

TI: How about any other, like, group games? If there lots of people, what would you do?

TM: Yes, there was a group game we called Ala-wee, and (...) that Durham bag, you filled it up with sod. So you had durham bags, and had two teams across each other. And the object was to toss the Durham bag to hit a person. When the person is hit, he's out. And you kept on doing until only a single person was left. And so the game could have been quite long because you need to have an art in throwing the sod, and try to trick the other people because you had two groups, one on one end, one side, and one on the other side. And it was, you know, a makeshift sort of a game but we enjoyed it.

TI: And were these games, that if you went to another village, they would know the same games?

TM: I would think so. And you had marble games where you had the marbles in a pile and then you shoot what they call the header, and try to get the marble out from a huge circle and you kept doing until the last marble was removed.

TI: And like, you know, when you're growing up as a boy and like on weekends would there be a lot of chores you would have to do or would there be lots of free time to explore, do games and other things like that?

TM: Well, we had a lot of free time and even while going to school, the afternoons were sort of free, and the weekends were free, and as we got older, the boys had baseball teams. (...) And you have people from outside forming teams, and all barefooted.

TI: Interesting. I think about today and how when you see kids, you know, young kids, they don't have as much free time. You know, it's almost like they have classes or more structured events to go to, like music lessons and it sounds like such a wonderful kind of growing up experience.

TM: Yes, because the village was large enough so we had areas where you can constantly play games and then you didn't have to go out of the village to play. It was within the village, and you had enough young people, youngsters that could form teams.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.