Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Chris Kato - Yoshi Mamiya - Tad Sato Interview
Narrators: Chris Kato, Yoshi Mamiya, Tad Sato
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 14, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-kchris_g-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

SF: Another big kind of, I think, institution or event in the community were, were the Kenjinkai picnics. You can all tell us a little bit about those.

TS: That was an annual thing, huh?

YM: Yeah. Well, our Kenjin was so small, but we used to have picnics, family picnics as families. But after the war, we didn't have too many.

SF: Where did, where did you, where, like your ken hold their picnic?

YM: I can't remember. Like Lake Wilderness?

CK: Oh yeah, Lake Wilderness.

TS: Lincoln Park.

CK: Lincoln Park.

YM: Lincoln Park. Lake Wilderness was quite a ways out there. But Lincoln Park was just up on West Seattle. And Jefferson Park...

TS: Yeah.

YM: Which -- where the golf course across the street from it, where the Jefferson Field House is and where the, where the --

TS: Driving range is.

YM: Yeah. Right there, we used to have the picnics there, as well as Japanese school picnic was there, too.

TS: Yeah.

SF: What were the kind of typical activities that people would --

CK: Oh, tug of war, and races.

YM: Races. And...

TS: Ice cream cone on the head.

CK: Yeah.

TS: Batting.

CK: And tossing the egg, or things like that.

YM: Watermelon...

CK: Watermelon bust.

YM: Bust, yeah..

SF: Did the Issei women go to a lot of trouble?

YM: Oh, yes.

CK: Oh, yeah. Making bento.

YM: They'd get up early, maybe 4, 5 o'clock, and then make the sushis and whatever and bento and vegetables and so forth.

SF: So did families sort of go around and sort of sit on each other's blankets and share food?

CK: Yeah.

SF: Did many Isseis drink at those kind of --

YM: Oh, I'm sure they did.

TS: Oh, yeah. The men.

CK: Yeah. Very few women I knew drank.

SF: Were there a lot of cases of where the Issei guys would drink too much so it'd be an embarrassment to the family?

TS: Oh, yeah. That's happened.

CK: That was sometimes.

TS: Yeah.

CK: But not that often, I don't think.

SF: Was alcohol in general much of a problem in the community in those, those days?

YM: I don't think so. But I've heard one lady, acquaintance of our family, that her husband drank quite a bit, to the point of seeing bugs.

CK: Oh, really?

TS: My dad drank.

YM: But you don't hear -- they kept it within themselves.

CK: Yeah.

YM: Not too much. But...

SF: Do you think that those people who did drink too much drank because of something about their, their life there? That it was difficult and this was kind of a way to deal with that, or --

YM: Life was --

CK: Oh, it could've been, as a single people, being lonely, things like that. Well, what I think we wanna say is that you rarely found a Japanese Issei drunk on the streets, like some of the drunkards. I don't think, I don't think of, I can't think of a time that I saw a person that drunk that was a Japanese person.

SF: They just had too much pride to --

CK: I think so, yeah. Even though they knew they were alcoholics, they'd keep it within the house, I think.

YM: I know there'd be drinking parties at these Kinka Low (restaurant), and, upstairs of our store, and they'd have pretty happy times up there.

TS: They used to do singing.

YM: Oh, yeah.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.