Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Iwahashi Interview
Narrator: Kazuko Iwahashi
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: May 26, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-ikazuko-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MN: Okay, today is Thursday, May 26, 2011. We are at the Woodfin Hotel in Emeryville, California. We will be interviewing Kazuko Oyamada Iwahashi and we have Dana Hoshide on the video and my name is Martha Nakagawa, I will be interviewing. So, Kazuko-san, let's start with your father's name?

KI: Okay, his name is Yoshio.

MN: And your mother's name?

KI: Shizue.

MN: What is her maiden name?

KI: Inada, I-N-A-D-A.

MN: And which ken were they from?

KI: Fukuoka-ken.

MN: Now your paternal grandfather came here first but they were... your paternal grandfather and father were supposed to come together. What happened?

KI: If I remember correctly, my father was... my father and his father were on the way over here. And when they got to the port of demarcation or whatever they call it, they found that my father had a eye infection. And in those days if you had an eye infection they wouldn't let you in the country, out or into the United States. So he went back home until the infection was over then he came. So I'm assuming then that he came by himself and met his father over here.

MN: How old was your father at the time?

KI: I think about sixteen.

MN: And where did your grandfather and your father land?

KI: I believe in Seattle.

MN: Do you know what they were doing up there?

KI: No.

MN: And then how did they come all the way to California?

KI: I think they did what a lot of people did. They just picked up work as they came down. And probably they wanted to come to California anyway and they just worked their way down.

MN: And I guess eventually they settled in the Berkeley area?

KI: Well, I don't know whatever happened to my father's father. I never thought of asking... I know he went back to Japan but at what point I don't know. So my father was on his own as a young man. And he travelled all the way down to Imperial Valley and maybe from there, someplace from down there they separated or something. But I know my father went down there and worked as a laborer and somehow he ended back up here. And I don't know if was because there were other Japanese here that knew him or his family, but somehow he ended up here in this area.

MN: Well, northern California had a lot of people from Fukuoka-ken, didn't they?

KI: Yeah.

MN: Could that be a reason why he ended up here?

KI: Could be, yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: Now can you share a little bit about your mother's background? Where was she born?

KI: She was born in San Francisco. She was born in San Francisco, her parents were from Japan of course and they somehow were one of those people, immigrants that went to Hawaii. And they worked as domestics for hakujin people and when they moved to San Francisco they took my mother with them. I mean they took my mother's mother with them. And then so she was born in San Francisco. So that's where she was born.

MN: Now after your mother was born in San Francisco, how old was she when she was sent to Fukuoka?

KI: Well, first I think the family did go to Berkeley because my mother talked about being in Berkeley and going to grammar school there and being there when the big Berkeley fire happened. And so I don't know the first time that she went to Japan probably she went... she probably went back with them when she was young girl maybe like five or six, because she had three older sisters that were also born in the United States. And so when they went to Japan the parents left them all there and they stayed there. But my mother, I guess they did go back and forth because my mother said she never finished school and she felt very inferior about that. 'Cause she said she would go to school here couple years and then she would go back to Japan, go to school couple years there and come back over here. And so she actually never graduated. So she felt... she says, oh I can't speak English, I can't do this and it's just very you know. So she was in Japan at the time that my father's friends were saying it's about time he got married, yeah. So it's kind of like a baishakunin, mutual friends says I guess it was... anyway he said, "I'm going to Japan so I will go to look see if I can find somebody."

MN: And both of them were from the same Fukuoka-ken?

KI: Yeah, just happened to be, yeah.

MN: And the same mura?

KI: Uh-huh.

MN: Before you go into where your folks got married though, you said your mother came back and forth. How were your grandparents able to afford bringing --

KI: That's what I can't imagine. I mean, I know my mother was not the only one that was going back and forth. I've heard a lot of people who said that they remember their sisters or somebody going back and forth all the time. And I'm pretty sure they went third class which meant down in the galley or whatever you call, it you know. But it's amazing that they went, I was always amazed at that so I don't know how they could afford it and yet they did.

MN: And then your mother, she went to school in America for a while and then in Japan for a while. What was her primary language?

KI: Japanese, yeah, Japanese 'cause she spoke with her parents in Japanese.

MN: Now you were saying that your mother also had sisters? Now how many sisters did they have and how many were born in the United States and how many in Japan and where did they all end up?

KI: My mother was the only one that lived in the United States, the rest of them are all in Japan. I think my mother, let's see, one, two, three... I think four of them, my mother was towards the bottom or three quarters of the way down. I think she was the last one that was born here in the United States.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MN: And then you said eventually your mother married your father through a baishakunin. And then when your Nisei mother married your Issei father, did she lose her American citizenship?

KI: I don't know. I don't know because now I hear that there was a law but I'd never heard of a law. I always just assumed that since she was born here that she was a United States citizen. And then to further that I thought well since the war, she must have lost her citizenship because she was married to an alien. And so that... because I remember that she had to take the class to become a citizen. So someplace along the line, but I don't know where or when, she lost her citizenship.

MN: But during the war you saw on her document it said a non-alien?

KI: Yeah, she was... I think in the thing she's documented as an alien or you know, not a citizen.

MN: And is that when you found out that she was not a citizen?

KI: Yeah, but I don't think it impacted me that much. I was twelve years old and I don't think it made any sense to me anyway.

MN: So you had this Kibei-Nisei mother and you have an Issei father. How do you identify yourself?

KI: As a Nisei really. Yeah, because with my mother being raised in Japanese and having a Japan raised husband I think some of that just my osmosis, I just think more like a second generation person.

MN: Now your mother and your father, do you know if they went through Angel Island to come into --

KI: I know my father did and I'm sure my mother did too but she didn't talk about it. She didn't say anything about it, but I remember my father just mentioning it briefly and I don't know under what circumstances were or what.

MN: Now when your mother arrived here, were your parents able to afford a wedding?

KI: I don't know. I know they have a wedding picture and I know they both had to borrow clothes to take the pictures ... I guess that's what they did in those days. It's a studio picture so I think they probably had a small wedding because my father became a Christian 'cause he stayed with some Christian people. So I have a feeling that they did actually have one.

MN: Was your father a Christian before he got married?

KI: Yeah, I think so, yeah.

MN: What about your mother? Did she become a Christian?

KI: No, she never became a Christian. She was always raised as a Buddhist and we always had one of those butsudans in our house, she always had one.

MN: Did she make offerings to the butsudan?

KI: Food, food type of things and stuff like that but she never actually went to the official services or anything like that. But I think she felt more like a Christian because I know later, very much later in life after we were married and everything, she would come to our church, you know, not necessarily to the services but to the activities at the church. And in fact I think she did go to... we did have a real nice Japanese-speaking minister and she would come occasionally. And so she was just included as part of the family, and in fact it was really funny because when she was dying at my house, it was our minister that came and visited her and said prayers for her. The Buddhist minister never came. It was mainly the Christian friends that came and visited us at home.

MN: Now your parents, how many children did they have?

KI: Four, there were four of us because I was the oldest and then I had a sister and then a brother and a sister. So one brother, and he and I are the only survivors now.

MN: Now where were you born?

KI: Berkeley.

MN: Were you born in a hospital?

KI: I was born in a hospital which was unusual in those days. It's the Alta Bates Hospital which was... it's still... Alta Bates is still on Dwight Way, I mean Ashby, it's on Ashby but it was... they said it was just like a house. In those days I guess they had a big mansion that was a hospital.

MN: Now you were born at the Alta Bates Hospital but your younger siblings were not.

KI: No.

MN: Where were they born?

KI: At home, yeah, because I have photographs of the midwife, I mean, she became part of the family she raised four... I mean, she delivered four of the kids you know, three of the kids, but I forgot what her name was.

MN: Do why you were born in a hospital but your other siblings were not?

KI: I have no idea. It's really amazing.

MN: And what is your birth name?

KI: My birth name? On my birth certificate I think it just says Kazuko Oyamada.

MN: Did you ever think about taking on an Anglican name?

KI: Sometimes playing as a child I would just... like playing a teacher or a mother or something like that I would call myself... I think I called myself Peggy for some reason, Peggy. But I never thought of you know... and my school friends never butchered my name or anything. They just accepted me as I was so I never thought of changing, I never thought of like some kids they wanted to be (hakujin) and things like that. I never had thoughts like that, 'cause I had some real good friends I guess.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MN: Now your parents, what profession were they in?

KI: Well, my father ended up being a nurseryman, did gardening and then we had a nursery. So he did both gardening and then sold plants and things like the plants, shrubs, trees out of the nursery.

MN: And then where was this nursery located?

KI: On University Avenue in Berkeley. It was just below Grove Street, it was between Grove and Grant. Grove Street now of course is now called Martin Luther King.

MN: How big was this nursery?

KI: To me it was huge 'cause... and then our house was a second, two floor house, three floors I guess. And it was all rented and it just seemed like acres... well, I know... I don't know what an acre is. But we used to run around all over my sister and I and just run around among the trees and the shrubs and the flowers and stuff like that. I would say probably it would take two house lots.

MN: Just on the yard?

KI: Well, the house was on the lot, on the front corner of the lot.

MN: That's a pretty big lot then.

KI: Yeah, it was a big lot.

MN: And I can't imagine a nursery on University right now, it's so different. What was University Avenue like before the war?

KI: There were businesses. I think we were between two large garages where people bought in and there were just huge garages. And then there was another store, going up towards the campus there was another business I don't know what it was but on the corner was a laundry, McFarland's Laundry I think it was called. And then going west there was another residence and then another house on the corner that had a big lot. So I would say it was mixture of actual homes and businesses and then of course above Grove Street was all business because two blocks above that was the UC Theater. So there was nurseries and there were drug stores and paint stores, key stores, just all these little stores going all the way up to Shattuck.

MN: Now at your parents' nursery lot, what did they grow?

KI: Well, he had what they called bedding plants, like they have like the color spots now, they have these little box, individual things of plants. I think I remember him calling them bedding plants 'cause they were little starters, they were little starter plants. So on one side he had that and then on the back side, back side of the little store we had the shrubs, little samplings, trees, that kind of things.

MN: And then most of these plants, were they... 'cause your father also did gardening, was it for his gardening business?

KI: I was trying to think about that the other day after talking to you and I think I don't... of course I wasn't home all the time so I don't know if... I'm sure he took it up to his customers when he did gardening but I don't recall people coming in and actually buying it off the street or something like that. But they could have 'cause like I wasn't home and I wasn't aware of those kind of things in those days. The store itself was called University Avenue Nursery and had a little storefront on it, I mean, glass panes and stuff like that. And in that he sold cut flowers. And I remember vaguely going with him to San Francisco or to Oakland to pick up those plants. You know how they still go early in the morning? And I have a vague remembrance of doing that because we never grew flowers but we didn't have a lot. Enough where I guess you could continue selling it. But I remember the biggest thing about the store is since we're so close to the UC campus and when the big game season came my father -- and I don't know if he made it or whether it was made for him -- we had those great big yellow chrysanthemums with the big C on it and it would be out in front of the store and people would buy it.

MN: And talking about the UC Berkeley campus, were you able to go on campus at all?

KI: Oh, yeah, we just walked up there. My sister and I used it as a place to go hunting and playing and hiking and we hiked up to the hills where the big C is now and it was just... we used it just as a place to go to. And it's funny, just think in those days I was probably ten years old because my sister is two years younger and to think we used to walk up there. I don't think you would see kids that age walking now. I don't think their parents would let them. And then to go on the campus, gosh, you don't go into that campus, there's too many people, weird people. But my sister got lost up there one time and we had to call the police 'cause I don't know if... I can't remember if I lost her when we went up there together or if she wandered up there by herself. But I remember her picture got in the newspaper. [Laughs] Anyway, so the campus was more of a playground rather than an educational object for us.

MN: Now I imagine the campus looked a lot different than it does now then? The way you're describing it to me.

KI: Oh, yeah, the basic old buildings are still there but then all the new ones, they just weren't there. Of course the Campanile was there and Wheeler Hall and the library, just the old buildings. But like I said if we walked past them, it didn't make any sense to us and mainly I remember walking under the trees and along the streams crossing the little bridge.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MN: Now going back to your parents' nursery, did you have to help them out as a child?

KI: No, yeah, you hear so many stories about kids helping their families out and either they didn't need my help or I refused or I was too busy with my friends or for whatever reason. I know my mother would help. My mother would help and perhaps business wasn't that busy where they needed somebody other than my mother.

MN: Now how many days a week did your parents work?

KI: I think every day except Sunday. Now you asked how my mother did and I think before the war she was just a mother and a housewife.

MN: She had a lot of kids to look after.

KI: Yeah, we had the four kids 'cause the baby, my younger sister was two when we left for camp. So even before that then there would have been the three of us.

MN: Now, did your parents grow any Japanese vegetables in the yard?

KI: I don't recall. I don't recall any vegetables there.

MN: But you did have this big pond in the backyard. Can you tell us about that?

KI: It was an oval shaped one and it was probably about the length of this room, a big oval one. I and I remember seeing the lily flowers with the, with the big leaves around it. And I think there was probably fish in there and I don't know how long it was there, it was probably there when we got the place. But at some point my father drained it, I don't know if it was mosquitoes or it was too much upkeep or whatever it was, so we no longer used it for, to keep flowers and the fish in it. My sister and I used to play in it.

MN: When you say you played in it, what did you do?

KI: Well, I guess we roller skated and played games.

MN: Now did you attend Japanese language school?

KI: Yes. I cannot remember the name of the place but the sensei used to come and pick us up, and I can't remember if my sister went. I think I was the only one that went, I think I was the only one old enough where they said that I could go. And I can't remember if it was after school or on a Saturday morning but it wasn't, it wasn't every day. But he used to pick us up and I remember the exact location. I can still remember... see the classroom and picture the whole thing. And it was apparently a Japanese center of some kind and the front part could have had some apartments or some offices, but our particular class was downstairs in the front section of this group of buildings, and the back had big stairs that went up into this building that was like an auditorium. And that's where we held our recitals where we read our stories. And then there was a section there where you walk through the arch and place where we used to play Kick the Can and Prisoner's Base and all those fun games.

MN: Now I've heard Kick the Can but what is Prisoner's Base?

KI: Prisoner's Base if I remember correctly is that it's like Hide and Go Seek. You go hide and then if the prisoner... if you find somebody, but if they make it back to the home base they're considered free. So it's a fancy Hide and Go Seek. [Laughs]

MN: Now you have to go to this Japanese school, your hakujin friends didn't have to go to something like this.

KI: No.

MN: So how did you feel about going to Japanese school?

KI: I don't know. I just went because my parents wanted me to go and I don't think my kids, it made any difference with my so-called, playing with my classmates because the days that I didn't go or when I wasn't with them, I don't think it made any difference. But I always went to my friends' houses and I only knew maybe one or two people, kids that came to my house. And I guess it's because I was on the outskirts again because Washington School was further down the... quite a ways down actually. So it was easier like for after school to go to their house rather than for all of them to come to my house, I think. 'Cause I didn't even think of the fact that maybe their parents didn't want them to come to my house or anything like that. I just thought well I live so far out and it's easy just after school to go to these boys and girls houses and play with them there and the parents always accepted us.

MN: And when you're talking about your friends, you're talking about the hakujin friends?

KI: Yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MN: I want to ask you a little bit about your musical talents. When did you start playing the piano and is this something that you asked your parents, that you wanted to play piano?

KI: I don't remember. I don't remember. All I remember is that... and I don't remember, I think I started maybe when I was in about fourth grade or so, about fourth grade. There was a piano teacher that taught piano across the street from the school in a basement of a church, and I think she probably came to the school and asked for students. 'Cause that's when I would go, after school just hop across the street instead of going home, go to lessons and then walk home so that's when I started.

MN: Now was this teacher a hakujin teacher?

KI: Oh, yes.

MN: Did she have a lot of Japanese American students?

KI: I don't know. I never saw anybody coming and going.

MN: So after school you'd just go over there like once a week?

KI: Probably once a week or twice a month or something like that, yeah.

MN: Now after you started taking lessons did you get a piano at home?

KI: No, we had a piano and amazingly, a lot of Japanese families had pianos. And I think that was one of the luxuries that the parents wanted to have. But in those days it seemed like everybody was taking piano lessons, at least to me it felt like it. And if there wasn't... if they didn't take lessons at least they had a piano in the house.

MN: What did your piano look like? Was it an upright?

KI: It was an upright, it was a big one of course, yeah and in the living room as you walked in I could see it. Yeah, but it was a big one.

MN: Were you the only one who took piano lessons?

KI: I think my sister took a little bit, just a little bit because I still have some of our music books from before the war and it has her name on it. And most of the pieces that have her name on it are the popular music that like Chickory Chick... well, I don't know the names but it has her name on it, on the top so I know that she was... she knew something.

MN: Did you have any favorite pieces that you played before the war? I know you were still very young.

KI: I don't think so. I don't think so. I was just probably beginning to like popular music, though because I have a lot of the old popular music songs that were popular at that time. But my piano lessons I was able to use at school, 'cause they asked me to play for the school assemblies for people... I don't know how other schools did it but when it was assembly time the pianist would play and all the classes would march into the auditorium and take their seats, well, that was my job. And then I was part of the school orchestra, I played the piano in the school orchestra. So I can't imagine what kind of music we played, I guess... I know we had a lot of fun and a lot of kids in my class were musical too so we had a little ensemble so to speak in our own classroom.

MN: And this was in Washington Grammar School?

KI: Yeah.

MN: It sounds like you were pretty good to be asked?

KI: I know I can't... I think, my gosh, was I that good? I guess I have to feel proud of myself that I was.

MN: And I was thinking about, 'cause you told me you piano teacher didn't teach at that church anymore.

KI: Yeah, I don't know at what point she stopped or if she still taught there... it must have been after... it must have been just that one year after or not even that long. Because when I went to grammar school, sixth grade, I was going to the church, right? Gosh, because at some point on Saturday morning I was walking to her house to do it. And I can't remember if I was doing both after school and on Saturdays or if I just went on Saturdays.

MN: But I get the impression that she wanted you to continue with your lessons.

KI: Uh-huh.

MN: Now if the war hadn't disrupted your life, do you think you would've pursued piano more seriously?

KI: I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't know. I have no idea. I don't think I was... I just don't think I would have thought of going on to music.

MN: Did your parents play any musical instruments?

KI: No.

MN: But it sounds to me your mother loved music. You were telling me she had a lot of records. What sort of records did she have?

KI: Well, the songs that were popular in those days. Of course one of the ones I remember was the "Shina no Yoru" and then was the one, oh gosh, it's still very popular. At least the Niseis know the tune, something about a castle, "Moonlight on the Castle" or something like that.

MN: Is this an American song?

KI: No.

MN: Japanese song.

KI: It's a Japanese song. And then she had records that... children's songs, so that's why I used to hear these Japanese children's songs. And she used to teach it to us but I remember actually her playing the piano. She would play the melody with one hand and of course she never had music lessons. She would play the melody with her right hand and then just play some notes down... a chord or just an octave down below just to accompany it and she used to sing while doing that.

MN: So you grew up with a lot of these Japanese songs?

KI: Oh, yeah, right, because we also went to these Japanese, I don't know if it was once a month or what, but down at the, there was a place called Finnish Hall on University Avenue down by San Pablo where they showed Japanese movies, they had talent shows and things like that. See, that's where the cultural things came in and when it was emperor's birthday there was celebrated the emperor's birthday with programs and stuff like that. So yeah, so I think I still had... and then of course my parent's friends were, we had a mixture of Japanese and I mean Christian and Buddhist friends. I mean, we never even thought of being separated that way, so we used to go to these Buddhist things and they would come. I remember us going to the Buddhist things but I don't remember them coming to many of the Christian things. But then when you come to a cultural thing it's mixed up anyway.

MN: Now you were mentioning how you said there were some activities at this Finnish Hall and some talent shows. Did your parents participate in any of them?

KI: I don't remember them participating but I'm sure that's where the first place I saw my Japanese samurai movies. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MN: So what is the first language that you learned?

KI: It had to be Japanese and I don't think I started speaking... well, I went to Sunday school so I might have picked up some English there. And then going to kindergarten and then my playmates that lived around the corner were hakujin so I think it was just a mixture. But I think it had to be Japanese as a real young kid, young toddler type of thing.

MN: So at home it was all Japanese speaking? Now, you had these opportunities to see a lot of these samurai movies, did you go see American movies?

KI: Oh, yes, my sister and I used to just like on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon we used to just walk up there and look at the movies. My parents just gave... I don't know how much the movies were, maybe five cents, ten cents at that time but they didn't have any qualms about us going up. In fact, that's where we were on December 7th, my sister and I were sitting in the movie and all of a sudden these (words) come on the screen you know. So it was really convenient like on Saturday mornings they would have kids programs, Tom Mix and Flash Gordon and all these adventure films and we used to just go there all the time.

MN: You're talking about the (UC) Theater?

KI: Uh-huh.

MN: Now, you had mentioned that your mother was a Buddhist and your father was a Christian. Now, did your father attend church?

KI: Uh-huh, he's very active in church.

MN: And so did he take you along with him?

KI: And that's why he took us to church with him.

MN: Which church did you go to?

KI: The Berkeley United Methodist Church.

MN: And was this a Japanese Christian church?

KI: Yes. We didn't have... at least when I was going, remembering before the war, we didn't have a strictly Japanese speaking... English speaking minister at all, I think it was a Issei. I remember Reverend Fujii and I think he might have been bilingual but he was hired mainly for the Isseis. But then we had a big Sunday school too before the war.

MN: Who was teaching these Sunday School classes? Were they older Niseis?

KI: Uh-huh, and some Isseis.

MN: Who spoke English?

KI: Uh-huh, broken English. My kindergarten teacher Mrs. Yusa, yeah, she always wore a hat, she had glasses and she... I just remember the one thing about her class when she passed around the offering plate, she used to sing this one little song that I still remember. And she used to sing it in both English and Japanese.

MN: What kind of song?

KI: It was called "Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean, something-something-something." It was really... some of those memories are so vivid.

MN: Now you were going to this Christian church but you also shared about being in this Buddhist parade? Can you share about this experience?

KI: That's because our closest (family) friends lived across the street from us who were Buddhists. And when I was writing one of my papers for my writing class I came across my picture, my sister and my picture of us wearing this kimono with this little head gear on and things like that, so I was trying to find out more about it. Well, apparently what it was it's the tenth year anniversary since the beginning of that Buddhist church. And so from the old church, I think from the old church they say that this group of people paraded down to the Oregon Street church. I don't remember the walk itself but I must have walked it because I have the actual picture of us wearing the costume. And my friends, they have the same exact picture except that they're... my sister and my pictures is really informal 'cause it's in the backyard and we're sort of laughing and standing and facing each other. But my friends, who were the Buddhists, very serious and it's an actual photograph and you could see the little dots on their heads, and on our picture of course it isn't there. But so that's the only thing I could remember is the wearing it but I don't remember walking it or anything or the reason for it until I started inquiring about it this many years later. But I thought it was because it was the opening of the new church and the way it was but they had broken away from this other church and had started this new church or it was the tenth anniversary since this church began in this new location.

MN: On Oregon Street?

KI: On Oregon Street.

MN: Is it still there?

KI: Oh, yeah.

MN: Oh, which Buddhist church is this?

KI: It's the Otani, it's the Otani and the one up on Channing is called Sangha. And I don't know one is called I always get mixed up, one of them they call it the Buddhist temple and... one they call the Buddhist temple, of course they both got the same thing inside but one is called a temple and I forgot what the other one is called. But they call it Nishi Hongwanji, Nishi and what's the other word? The east and the west.

MN: There's the Higashi and Nishi Hongwanji.

KI: Yeah, only it's reversed for some crazy reason. The west one's called the other one. [Laughs] So I always get it mixed, it's easier to just say Otani Church or the Sangha Church. I know Sangha oh, that's the one on Channing and Otani's the one down on Oregon. But I never knew the one up on Channing Way. My father used to also go to the Buddhist church on Oregon Street, was next to a big Japanese nursery, Fujii Nursery, and they had lots of bedding plants and I remember going with my father there to go there and then remember seeing the church next door.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

MN: Now I want to ask a little bit about the kenjinkai. Were your parents involved in the Fukuoka Kenjinkai?

KI: All I remember is just going to the picnics, but I don't remember any of the other activities if they did, but we did have the picnics. And I can't remember where they were if they were... yeah this had to be up in the Albany hills.

MN: Now, describe to me what the Albany hills looked like before the war.

KI: I think it had a whole bunch of trees, maybe eucalyptus trees. They were really tall trees, just like going to a big park, and a lot of space, barren, but there were also hills. I remember walking up those paths and things like that. 'Cause I have one picture of several of us holding hands and walking up the hill. And I guess we played games and stuff but I think mainly we went just to eat.

MN: Did a lot of people show up to these picnics?

KI: I think so.

MN: How would you estimate how many people?

KI: I couldn't, I could not estimate. It just seems like, when you're little it just seems like lots and lots of people.

MN: Did you participate in any of the talent shows or games they had?

KI: I think we probably did some races but I don't think at the kenjinkai in the picnic part I don't recall talents or anything like that. Maybe the guys, the older people played baseball or volleyball or something like that, but I wasn't when we were growing up with that. And this was when I was five or six years old so by the time we were ten, eleven, twelve years old, or eleven twelve years old, I don't remember going to those things. So maybe they did other things other than picnics by that time. Maybe one of those things going to this Finnish Hall, maybe that's one of them could've been that too. It could've been the different kenjinkai getting together and putting it on. It'd be interesting to research, I don't know how but so many of the people that are that part of the history are gone. So I even had trouble with trying to find out about that parade 'cause I called Dick and he says, "I don't remember," he says, "the people who are gone are gone, the questions that you're asking." I said, well, so he just told me the best he could, what he remembered.

MN: Now going back to these kenjinkai events, do you remember your mother preparing foods for the obento?

KI: I don't remember.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MN: Now I'm going to ask you about your school. I know you went to George Washington grammar school. Can you tell us what the ethnic makeup of the Washington grammar school was like?

KI: At that time my sister and I were the only Japanese. All I remember is one other girl that was Filipino and I think there was one black girl I think it was but the rest was all white.

MN: How did you feel as you were a real minority there? How did you feel about that?

KI: I didn't feel anything. I was just accepted from day one from kindergarten and we just went through all the way through sixth grade together.

MN: Did you ever feel embarrassed that your parents were not like your hakujin friend parents?

KI: If I did I don't remember. I think maybe in a way, yes, because they couldn't speak English enough. But my mother used to, like when I was in kindergarten she used to walk me to school so I guess she mingled with the parents there. But I guess in those days they didn't have... I know they had PTAs but I wonder if they had the parent and teachers meetings like they do nowadays. I don't know. They might have. Maybe that why the association was started.

MN: Now during school you're with your hakujin friends, what opportunities did you have to mingle with the Japanese American community?

KI: I guess mainly church would be on Sunday, and then I did have a few friends that were living fairly close to University and where I lived, so we would go to each other's house and play games or play jacks or go to the library or something like that. So, yeah I would have to say, yes, I did have some Japanese friends that I associated with during the off school time like on the weekends. And maybe sometimes even during the week, but I would say mainly on the weekends.

MN: And then you were sharing with us earlier how you would go to your hakujin friend homes and since your house was farthest away, they didn't come to your house too much.

KI: Yeah, and I had forgotten all about this but I think it was last year, two years ago, I found a classmate of mine that was in the sixth grade with me and she said she had been looking for me for fifteen, sixteen years. And she went through, you know, through the internet and everything trying to find me and she said she finally found this thing with my brother's name on it. And she says, "I remember you had a brother about that age," that this thing said on the computer so she got the address and wrote to him but he never answered her and he never told me about it. Until finally I saw it on the computer, on the internet, so I got connected to her. And then she said to me, she said, "I saw you when you came back from the war in high school," and she says, "I wanted to renew our friendship," but she says, "I chose to be friends with my friends who were in the sorority because I was in the sorority with them." And she says it haunted her all these years that she never renewed her friendship with me. And the reason she said she was looking for me is that she came from a divorced family, and when she came to Washington school I was the first one that befriended her. And she says she would never forget, she would never forget me, and little girl with bangs. And she said I used to take her to my house because her mother was a waitress and she would be working and she would walk home to an empty apartment, so she would come over to my house. And she says, "I remember your mother being so warm and offering me food," and it was just really nice to come to my house. And she said, "You even taught me how to play the piano." And I says, "I don't remember that," but things that you don't remember the other person does and we finally met, we finally met, she lives down in Pacific Grove and she's still the same girl that I remembered. And the funny thing was I think two years before that or a year before that, our nursing class had our fiftieth anniversary down at Big Sur which is just outside of where she lives. We could've walked out the back gate of the... what's the name of the place that we went to... it's a conference ground down in Monterey.

MN: Asilomar?

KI: Asilomar, yeah. And so if you come out the back gate of Asilomar, her street is right the next one. And she was living there all that time and I didn't know it and I could've visited her. And so it was really strange, but oh we had such a good time when we finally my son went and he took me down there to meet her and we rehashed old times. So I remembered her and she remembered me and it took all this time to get our stories together. It was really something, so I have these little stories about hakujin friends. But some of the ones I was really disappointed, you get disappointed even as a young kid that certain people have not acknowledged you and stuff like that. 'Cause you grow up with them for all these years, six years of concentrated school and doing things together day in and day out, holidays, birthdays, we always went to each other's birthdays and so it kind of hurt but I think I just let go of it. But when you talk about it, when I think about it, yeah I guess I was hurt. But then we just went down and celebrated Ramona's eightieth birthday, it was a surprise and I guess she talked to her children so much about me that they got my address and everything and said, "You've got to come to her birthday party." So I went to her and she was really surprised to see me there. So that's a real nice story that I like to remember.

MN: After all these years.

KI: Yeah, gee.

MN: So actually it's through the internet that you were able to reconnect.

KI: Yeah.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MN: Well, I wanted to get into Pearl Harbor actually. How old were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked?

KI: I was... let's see, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen... nine days short of being twelve, yeah 'cause it was December 7th and my birthday is on the sixteenth.

MN: Now how did you hear about this?

KI: At church.

MN: And how was the atmosphere different in church that day?

KI: It just seemed like it was quieter, it was quieter and I can't remember too much really except that it was quieter and there was... people seemed to be talking in quieter tones. And it must have sort of reflected on us because I guess we weren't running around as much as something. Or maybe they heard, maybe the kids, people heard about it, 'cause I heard about it when I went to pick up my girlfriend to go to church and she's the one that told me.

MN: And when she told you at that point did you think it was serious?

KI: No. All I know is that all I remember thinking is hey, mom and dad's parents are over there. And of course my father didn't know about it until I told him after I told him after I came home from church.

MN: What was his reaction?

KI: He was angry, he was stupefied. I mean, he says oh, I remember he just kept saying, "Japan wouldn't do such a baka thing." Then he stomped into the house and I don't know what happened after that. But then my sister and I went to the movies after that. [Laughs] So it just... we were so far removed from it and I remember knowing about Japan because we used to collect gum wrappers and this was when Japan was fighting China so we had to support Japan and send them all this wadded aluminum foil so they could do their airplanes or something. So I knew that there was kind of thing going on that way. And then culturally because of things that we did as Japanese, but I wasn't scared to go to the movie, we just walked up there. But then coming home was another... felt a little more intimidated. I don't know if that's the right word but knowing that what was on the screen and then knowing that... 'cause I don't think on the screen it didn't say anything about Japan bombing Pearl Harbor, it just said for the servicemen to report back to their stations. But I knew that Pearl Harbor had occurred, so on the way home I think we just came straight home whereas we usually would've dawdled and maybe walk around a little bit and stuff like that, pretty straight walk.

MN: And you didn't get harassed on that walk home?

KI: No, going inside the theater or coming out, nothing.

MN: Did you go to school the next day?

KI: Yeah, kind of felt funny, I felt kind of funny, you know.

MN: Now you had shared that you walked to school with a hakujin friend but this day you didn't.

KI: For some reason I didn't pick her up and maybe that's because I was scared, yeah.

MN: Now at school, how were the students and the teachers? Did they treat you any differently?

KI: No, to me, I don't remember anything bad or anything different, anything hurtful or anything like that at all. We just... to me life went on same as before.

MN: But you had this incident also where you were normally invited to birthday parties but what happened?

KI: Yeah, well, I didn't hear about the party until the next day and I remember thinking, well, gee, I never heard about the party. And I guess the kids were talking about it during recess or something you know. And I remember thinking I think just quickly that oh, maybe it's because I'm... because of the war, because Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. But I don't know, that was the only experience that I felt and nobody came out and said anything that, why I wasn't invited or "why weren't you there," or anything like that. But that's, I guess it was kind of, I think real -- like I said -- real just fleetingly that I was hurt, that moment that I heard that I wasn't going, that I hadn't gone to that party. But I think I dismissed it. I didn't take it home with me or it didn't fester in me or anything like that. So I don't know why I didn't react more but I didn't at least outwardly. And either I suppressed it or all these big psychological terms that they use nowadays, I just let it go. But I remember that girl, her name was Barbara, blue eyes, blond curly hair, tall, yeah, one of my classmates. Funny now that we're mentioning birthday parties, I don't remember ever inviting... having birthday parties at my house. Maybe we couldn't afford it or something. I think maybe we had family birthdays but I don't remember having kids' birthdays.

MN: Well, I know culturally having birthday party is not a Japanese --

KI: No, it isn't. So I think probably maybe just as a family we did it or maybe just invited the family across the street or something like that.

MN: I know growing up -- my mother's from Japan -- we didn't have birthday parties.

KI: That's what a lot of people say, yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MN: Now after Pearl Harbor, did the FBI take away any of the Japanese American leaders in your community?

KI: They did but I didn't know who they were. I didn't know who they were because I didn't know who the leaders were. But I think I heard them saying they took our Japanese school teacher. I remember hearing that but they didn't... I don't think they took away our minister because he was Christian. 'Cause I remember going to church until we were evacuated.

MN: Then you mentioned that Berkeley instituted a residential restriction?

KI: The war did, yeah.

MN: For Japanese aliens? Now how did this affect your family?

KI: It didn't affect us at all because we were in an area where it was still okay to live.

MN: Now is this when another family moved into your --

KI: Well, I think it was just at night they would come and sleep because the hours, it was something like after eight o'clock they couldn't be out. That doesn't make sense.

MN: Something about University was the dividing line.

KI: Yeah, University was the dividing line on the south side of Berkeley and anything on the north side was restricted. Although people were living there, there were several families living all the way up University on the other side up to Vine Street and things because I used to go play with them. And I don't know what the other families did but since the Kamis were right across the street and the mother and father and the two youngest came and stayed with us at night. But I don't remember anything about it, isn't that funny? I remember them saying that they came and that they were coming but I don't remember where they slept, if they ate with us, or it's just a complete blank. I should ask my girlfriend 'cause my girlfriend and I still, 'cause we're, classmates we still keep in contact. I should ask her 'cause she's the one that reminded that her parents used to come to my house. (Narr. note: I have since found out that the Kami family parents stayed at our house the duration of the restriction. They only went home a week prior to being illegally evacuated to pack and prepare for the move. The restricted are was north of University Avenue like I said, and also west of Grove Street. That explains why my mother friends and their families probably remained in their homes until evacuation.)

MN: So technically they would sleep over at your house.

KI: And then go back during the day.

MN: And go back across the street during the day so they were legal.

KI: Yeah, I'm sure they didn't stay with us all day 'cause I would've felt that. I would have felt it and would've seen them so they must... I have a feeling just because of what I just said that they came, they ate, they did everything at home during the day, they ate their dinner and then they came over and slept at our house and in the morning went back. But I will have... just out of curiosity I will have to research that more.

MN: Well, let me ask you though, they had also American-born children right?

KI: Yes.

MN: Now did they stay on the other side?

KI: The older, yeah. Well, even the young ones, all the kids were American-born, but I guess they didn't want the two younger ones staying at the house.

MN: So the American-born older ones stayed on the north side of University 'cause they were --

KI: American citizens.

MN: But their parents and the youngest ones had to come over because of --

KI: The youngest ones didn't have to because they were American-born, but I think the parents just wanted them to come with them.

MN: Now did your family participate in those blackout drills?

KI: Oh, yeah.

MN: What did you do?

KI: My father... I remember my father putting up some kind of dark curtains on the window but that's all I remember. And then I remember also we would hide under the table, make a game out of it, yeah. And we didn't think anything bad about it, we were kids and we just thought it was kind of fun, I guess. I remember laughing and doing things under the table. But I remember very definitely the sirens and the putting up the curtains.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MN: Now how did you hear that you had to go to camp?

KI: I guess my parents must have told us.

MN: Do you know where they were getting their news? Were they getting it from the Nikkei papers or their neighbors?

KI: Yeah, I think my father was probably taking the Nichi Bei Times, but it had to be before that. I guess maybe church or maybe telephones and they called each other... called a meeting or something. It could've been a number of ways that that they got together. But my father must have... I don't know where he came in and actually told Mom and us that we were going to have to leave.

MN: And I know you were very young, you were still going onto twelve, but how did you react to having to go... move?

KI: I think the main thing was that I'm leaving my friends. I think that was the only feeling that I had is I'm going to lose my friends and go to a strange place. But other than that I didn't think anything more than that I don't think. I don't remember.

MN: Now there was a very short time where the government allowed people to move out of the restricted military zone where San Francisco, Berkeley area became. Do you remember families moving out of the Berkeley area to go somewhere else?

KI: No, personally I don't remember, and I don't remember my parents saying anything about anybody moving that they knew.

MN: Now how did your family prepare to go into camp?

KI: I guess they did all the work, I sure don't remember doing anything.

MN: Do you remember like wanting to pack a favorite toy or clothes, dress?

KI: No, and I don't remember Mom asking or anything either.

MN: What did you do with the piano?

KI: I don't know what happened to the piano. I don't know what happened to the piano, the victrola that we had, and the dining room tables and all that stuff. I don't know if they got sold or... I don't have any recollection of any of that.

MN: Did your family burn or throw away things connected to Japan?

KI: I know they didn't burn anything or that I don't remember them burning anything and I don't think they... if they threw anything away it was probably without my knowledge. But then she kept all those records.

MN: Did she take those to camp?

KI: No, I think what we did... well, our church, the Berkeley United Methodist Church, served as a holding place so a lot of the families put their things there and our family did. So that's where some of the things from prewar remained, and fortunately our church was not vandalized. I think everything was intact when we moved back in, when we came back to Berkeley. And so I don't remember... I remember my father advertising... it was so sad because he showed it to me later, much later when I was growing up and everything and family, that he had put an ad in the paper, the Berkeley Gazette thanking the community for their kindness and allowing him to be their friend and gardener. And I thought, oh, it's so sad that here he is and just no fault of his having to go out, but I saw that. So and then on this picture it has a picture of... I forgot what it says on it but he had to sell everything, right? So he had a sign put up above the store about moving sale or something like that. So but I don't think a lot of the stuff got sold, I think he just lost it. I think he just lost it 'cause they had to start from scratch when he came back.

MN: Now for your school, you were at Washington grammar school but in January you started a junior high school and then you were telling me there were three junior high schools in your area, the Garfield, Willard and Burbank? Now which junior high school did you end up at?

KI: Burbank.

MN: And this Burbank junior high school, what was the ethnic make-up of it?

KI: They were mainly minorities because it's in west Berkeley. our store was on University and Grove Street and the next big main street was San Pablo. And Burbank was just below, just before you came to San Pablo.

MN: So you were starting out with different students then?

KI: Yeah, a few classmates went to the same school, but most of them went to Willard I think. Most of them went to Willard.

MN: Now how did these new students... how did they treat you?

KI: No different, just like any other school. I didn't feel any different.

MN: Were you able to finish the semester at Burbank?

KI: I wonder if we did because we left in May and usually the school season ends in June. So I guess we didn't finish but I don't know. I have no recollection of asking for school records or anything like that unless my parents did, and if they did I don't know what they did with it. But I don't know.

MN: Now, the day you are leaving, where did you leave from?

KI: My house. Well, okay, a friend came to pick us up at the house and we took whatever we were carrying as far as we could carry to the Congregational Church in Berkeley and that's where the buses all came and picked us up.

MN: Now how did you get to the Congregational Church?

KI: This man came, a friend of my father's, I think he was Chinese 'cause we didn't have a car, none of us had cars anymore so he took us.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MN: So we were talking about how you felt when you were leaving to go to camp and your friends and your teachers didn't... nobody came.

KI: Didn't come, yeah, didn't come. So but I didn't think anything of it because I was too excited and probably seeing all these people at the church. And we're all in the same boat, but then hearing about it later, reading about people's stories where somebody came to see them off, then I think gee, where were they? Except it was probably a school day. I mean, that's my rationalization for why nobody came.

MN: Now at this departure point, were there soldiers and if there were, were they friendly or aggressive?

KI: I don't remember. I think I remember seeing pictures of soldiers being there but I personally don't remember any encounter with them.

MN: Now you were put on this bus, what do you remember of the bus ride?

KI: It's the first time I ever rode a bus. And then going across the bridge, that was the biggest thing, going across the bridge. I had gone across the bridge before in a car because we used to go to the Treasure Island, we went to the Treasure Island fair, the World's Fair when it was there but going on the bus that was an experience.

MN: And I'm assuming when you say the bridge, it was the Bay Bridge?

KI: Yeah, the Bay Bridge.

MN: Now you arrive at this horse track, what was your first impression of Tanforan?

KI: Tanforan? Oh, I thought probably what a big place and I guess it was sort of Hollywood-ish, because it was not a place that I would normally go to. And I see pictures of it now, I don't remember then what it looked like specifically my memory of then but then. But when I see pictures of what it used to look like I would think, yeah, what a nice place you know. But then once you get through the gate... and I don't remember that part. All I remember is after getting off the bus, then the process that we had to go through.

MN: What was that process?

KI: Well, there were people all lined up to... of course I guess dad was first to make sure that we got registered in and I guess make sure all the papers were correct. And then lining up and get shots and then from there I guess somebody took us to our barrack.

MN: And where did you folks live in Tanforan?

KI: I wish I knew the address or the barrack number. We were fortunate that we did not live in the horse stall, but we lived on the other side of it. The track is like this and then there was a fence here and then stalls were... horse stalls were on the other side. Well, we were on this side so the fence was right here, so we were one of the barracks along there. We lived on the end barrack, there was probably about six big rooms in each barrack.

MN: Was that hard for you to adjust to like the public latrines?

KI: I don't know, I don't remember feeling... I must have because, I mean, it's not normal to sit next to somebody who's... except well, of course now in Tanforan I can't remember where the latrine was or whether we all had to go to the one in the grandstand. Let's see, we were there from May, June, July, August. We were there three or four months and I can't remember where we ate and where we went to the bathroom and took showers and stuff like that. Whether they, like in Topaz and other places where we had a separate building that was all for a certain area, or if we all had to go to the main grandstand. Maybe the first day or two we did because I remember going this huge place to eat. It was huge. But after that I don't recall, funny.

MN: Do you recall going to classes at Tanforan?

KI: Going to where?

MN: Classes.

KI: Yeah, we had classes up in the grandstand or at least some of them, that's the classes I remember in the grandstand. I think maybe certain class would have it here and another class would have it there and another class here.

MN: So were you just sitting on the bleachers?

KI: Yeah.

MN: Who were your teachers? Were they the camp people?

KI: I think they were usually camp people. I don't recall any of the teachers.

MN: Now, did Tanforan have a library?

KI: Uh-huh, it was in the center of the racetrack.

MN: Did you go to the library often?

KI: Oh, yeah.

MN: What sort of books did you read?

KI: Probably Nancy Drew, I think that's one I remember the most. I liked to read. I've always like to read, but I think I read almost anything that I could. But those definitely I remember. Maybe even before the war I mean before we even went into the camp.

MN: Now what did your father do at Tanforan?

KI: I have no idea what he did except I remember he was not a block manager but he had something to do with the barrack, he had to make sure everybody was in their rooms or something like that, and then to spread news to them or something. He had something like that to do.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MN: Now while you were at Tanforan you joined a girls' club, and can you share with us some of the activities that this girls' club did?

KI: Well, in Tanforan I don't think there was a club but we went each section, there were several sections in Tanforan that had recreation halls and ours was Rec 2, we called it Rec 2, and that's where we had all our activities and they had activities according to your age and things like that. So that's where we did our, played ping pong or did crafts and sang songs and stuff like that.

MN: Is this a group also that put on the hula performance?

KI: Yeah.

MN: Can you share with us that experience?

KI: I don't remember much about it and I don't remember the dance at all, but we made our hula skirts out of newspapers, cut it up and then band across here at the top. And it was a talent... I guess every recreation hall had to present other talent show. And it was in the grandstand, everybody would sit up in the bleachers and then down in the walkway, in the grandstand would be the stage. So that's where we would perform, so it was very informal and... but I think it was fun. But I think in ours, the part that I remember in our section of course is before the dance was over, one of the girl's skirts split open where it was held together and I guess it sort of stole the show so to speak. But I don't think she was embarrassed by it, I think we all just sort of laughed and had a good time about it. Next time I see her I should I ask... remind her about it and see what she thinks about it. [Laughs] If she remembers at all, she probably does.

MN: Do you remember who the teacher was that taught you the hula?

KI: Uh-uh.

MN: Now you were also describing this garden and this lake that the Japanese Americans made in the middle of the track?

KI: Uh-huh.

MN: Where did they get all the material?

KI: I don't know. Well, they probably got it from... to make the bridge? They probably got it from scrap lumber just like leftovers from making the barracks. I mean, that's the only thing I can think of. I can't picture in my mind right now what it looked like, but I know it was there and I know I saw it but I just cannot vividly see it in my mind right now.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MN: Now while you were at Tanforan, did anybody come and visit you or your family?

KI: I think when we first went there somebody, I think some people that my father worked for came and brought some food or something. Because I remember I don't think I went but I remember him going. But I remember sometimes walking past that area where people would come and I would see people talking to people through the fence. So if they brought him anything I don't know how they passed it through but obviously they had to go through administrative hands or army hands or something before it got to the person, even though the person's right there. Yeah, but I personally didn't get anybody that came and visited me.

MN: Now you were in Tanforan about three or four months and then you were transferred to a permanent camp called Central Utah or Topaz. What do you remember of the train ride?

KI: I remember them being very hot, stuffy, smelly, like... and I think the seats and things were made of this fuzzy corduroy or fuzzy stuff, and it smelled and because of the heat, it just was kind of unpleasant. I think we got used to it because you had to sit in it for two days, but I remember it being crowded and I don't think I thought it... again, I think I just thought it was something, that it was something that had to be. I just did it.

MN: Now it's crowded, did you have to sleep sitting up?

KI: Uh-huh.

MN: Where did you eat?

KI: I don't remember what we ate but I know we ate. I think the first day they might have provided us a lunch basket... I mean, paper bag lunch or something. I don't remember but there were also times I think I remember going to a dining car and I can't remember how many meals that was for.

MN: Do you remember who served you?

KI: No, but I think it had to be some black porters.

MN: So do you remember African American porters serving you? Or if they did, do you know how they treated you?

KI: I'm just... I don't know if it's just my imagination but I think it's... I mean, hearing so much at that time that that the workers on the trains were blacks, maybe that's where I'm just deciding on my own at that time that thinking back on it, that they were the black waiters. But again, I think I just went through the motions of having to do what you have to do, you know.

MN: But you do remember stopping in the middle of the desert?

KI: Yeah, that I remember.

MN: Tell us about that.

KI: Well, at one point they did tell us that they were going to let us stop the train and let us stretch our legs and that was about it. And then at that time, of course, the military police were out there watching us getting on and off the bus... off the train. And it was just nice to see other people because you're always, the ride over you're confined to this small group of people and I can't remember if I knew anybody that was around us, probably did. But the girls that I went around with, we weren't together. So that was the one thing, when you saw each other you just get together and hug each other. "How are you doing?" And then we had to get back on.

MN: Then you mentioned that like you knew when you reached Salt Lake City. And now how did you know you reached Salt Lake City and about what time did you reach Salt Lake City?

KI: I think... well, somebody came around. I don't know if it was the soldiers or the train monitor and they said, well, we're going to be coming to this Great Salt Lake so if you want... it was probably very early in the morning like four o'clock, five o'clock so if you wanted to look out you could raise up the curtain, the shades. But I remember looking out but I don't know remember, I don't, I thought what am I looking at? I didn't know what I what I was looking at.

MN: It was probably too dark anyways at that hour.

KI: Probably, it would have been just by moonlight or something.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MN: And then the train stopped at Delta, Utah, is that right? And then from Delta you boarded a bus and arrived at Topaz. What was your first impression of Topaz?

KI: It looked awfully dry. It looked awfully dry and then of course even before you even approach... as you approach it down the road you can see all these black buildings, black surrounding. I don't remember if I recall seeing barbed wires or anything though until we actually got to the camp.

MN: And what was it like stepping off the bus?

KI: Well, the ground was pretty soft, powdery, so it was kind of messy.

MN: Do you remember the barrack that you were assigned?

KI: Oh, yeah, I don't know how we got there. I don't know if we walked it or if a truck came and took us. I think we probably walked it. And then because of the baggage that everybody had, I think those were brought later on by army trucks. But we were, I'm pretty sure somebody escorted us to our barrack.

MN: Which block was that?

KI: Block 20 which was in the center part, which wasn't as far as having to walk way over to Block 42 or way at the opposite end.

MN: So when you arrived at Topaz, what were some of the first things you did?

KI: Probably went looking for my friends. [Laughs] I wasn't too... I don't remember being too helpful around the room itself but I must have done something. I was the oldest child, unless I was so spoiled and my mother and father did all the work I don't know. But I don't remember doing any hard work or saying something, oh, I don't want to do that. If I did anything I just probably helped make the bed or just something, there was no furniture anyway except the cots.

MN: Now how soon after you moved in did school start at Topaz?

KI: I think it started in September, so pretty quick, pretty quick because when did we leave? Okay, let's see... so that means that we had to whole summer.

MN: Well, the whole summer was at Tanforan, right?

KI: Yeah, let's see... May, June, July... yeah, I guess it was soon after the school did start in September there.

MN: And you got to Topaz about August or September?

KI: Yeah, it was hot so it had to be July, August, September, something.

MN: And now you're in junior high school. What was the junior high school at Topaz called?

KI: Topaz Junior High. [Laughs] Real original and the high school was called Topaz High School.

MN: Now which block was the junior high school located?

KI: Both the high school and the junior high school was Block 32.

MN: And was there a Japanese language school at Topaz?

KI: I think each of the... not a camp wide one but I know they tried to start one in our own block and had it in the recreation hall. Very small attendance, maybe three or four of us, but I don't know who it was that was the teacher but it didn't last very long. I don't think we were interested at that age at that time.

MN: Then let's see, you also joined the Girls Reserve. Can you tell us what the Girls Reserves club was and what activities you did?

KI: Girl Reserves is sort of like the Girl's Scouts but it had a different beginning and stuff like that. I don't know... our leaders were the Nisei women and I think we were the Junior Girl Reserves and I think there were the Senior Girl Reserves because there was a lot of kids those days. And we did the same thing that we did at the other place. I can't remember where we met though, I can't remember if we met at the school or at a recreation hall. And now that you're asking, me I can't remember anything specific we did.

MN: Camping?

KI: Well, except for that camping, but on a everyday basis during the rest of the year I can't remember what we did. I know we did things, obviously, but I can't remember if it was games, like baseball and basketball and doing crafts or what we did. But the big event of course was that camping because we got to go out of the camp.

MN: And where did you go camping at?

KI: It's a place called Camp Antelope and it's... I think it's an old, it was an old CCC camp or something like that. And everything was of course outdoors, we slept in pup tents, two of us to a pup tent, and had open dining hall. And of course I don't remember having hot water because I remember thinking gosh... we must have had it for taking showers.

MN: How long was this camping trip?

KI: Who?

MN: How long was the camping trip?

KI: Well, normally I think it lasted about month, I mean, not a month, excuse me, one week. But our group had to end up staying maybe two or three extra days 'cause I think something was happening in camp, I think something was happening in camp so that they couldn't get the transportation back up to us to take us home. But our group had the experience of having a little brush fire right on the side of the little swimming hole and we had to actually form a bucket brigade, take the water out of the pool and then put the fire out. So that was sort of exciting.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MN: Now you also mentioned that Topaz had a music studio. Can you share with us what this music studio consisted of and what sort of activities took place there?

KI: It is very strange because a lot of people didn't know that there was a music studio except the people who actually went there, and even some of those people can't remember the details about it 'cause I was trying to find out more about it. And I have a feeling it was either at Block 1 or Block 2 down by the industrial section where all the big warehouses were. And it was a part of a block I think, of an actual block, 'cause I remember several rooms had pianos in it, but that's all I remember. One room I think actually had two pianos in it but then also I had... people were playing things like trumpets, stuff like that, but was while I was there practicing my piano or having my lessons. And whenever we had a recital, we did actually have a recital and I think those were held at the auditorium at the high school, Block 32, I think. I don't remember.

MN: So how many pianos were there?

KI: I think there was probably a total of about three or four. They weren't always... some were being used for actually giving lessons and some people... 'cause of course our own blocks we didn't have pianos so I had to go down there to practice. 'Cause I remember my girlfriend and I used to go, when we weren't having our lessons we would go on our off time and just go down there and practice.

MN: Where did these pianos come from?

KI: Donations, they had to be donated. Everything that was... even the books and stuff like that for schools, everything was donated.

MN: So these pianos were they the upright pianos?

KI: There might have been some that were kind of... did they have those short ones at that time?

MN: Are those the baby grands?

KI: Not the baby grands because the grand piano would still be large, but they're the short ones. What do they call them? They're not the full upright, they're about half the size so you don't get the volume, the longer strings you have on a piano the better sound you get. That's why the grand piano always sounds so good. But actually there were quite a few pianos in the whole, because I know the high school had to have one because the church was also held there, churches were held at that the Block 32 mess hall. I remember going there for church.

MN: Now these lessons, your piano lessons at Topaz, how would you compare it to the lessons you received at Berkeley?

KI: Probably about the same. I mean, they were qualified teachers. My teacher's name was Rose Ishimoto and she was from Sacramento. I often wondered what happened to her but I remember she was my teacher.

MN: Did you learn any new musical forms there?

KI: Oh, yeah, I became more advanced.

MN: Did you have any favorite pieces that you played?

KI: No, but that's when I first started to learn how to play duets, my girlfriend and I played duets together.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

MN: Now you were twelve when you entered Tanforan and you were thirteen when you entered Topaz, and you're just at that age where girls started the menstrual cycle. And so can you share with us like how did you learn about this? Did they have sex education in Topaz? How did girls learn about this?

KI: I think from each other. I think from each other in most cases. I know I learned it from my friend too. And I don't know how it came about if she just said, well you know, maybe she asked me if I was having my periods yet and so she told me what would happen. So, and I checked with my mother and I don't remember much about the agonies of it or anything. I don't remember anything I have no good or bad or any recollections of what it was like to have a period in camp.

MN: So you were not one of those girls that had cramps?

KI: Oh, no I was so lucky even when I was going to high school after we came out of camp and my girlfriend said, "Oh, I can't go to school today I have a headache and I'm cramping and I have pain." So I think that way I've been lucky because even when I was going through the hot flashes it was maybe two weeks and it was over and it wasn't bad. [Laughs] So I was just very lucky that way.

MN: But when your body started to change, you are in this camp where there's a lot of people, very little privacy, did that make you uncomfortable?

KI: I think so but not to the... I guess because we were all, my girlfriends and I were going through the same thing at the same time, about the same time so I don't remember making a big issue out of it. I know that there were changes going on, our breasts were getting bigger and we're just feeling different.

MN: And then the females, where did you buy your feminine napkins?

KI: I don't remember buying it but I guess my mother did at the canteen. I mean, I know they had them both in Tanforan and in Topaz because females are females, they need it.

MN: Did you ever have any accidents in camp?

KI: Not bad ones, maybe a stain on the pants or something like that but nothing where it would run down the leg or big blotches of it and things like that.

MN: Was that pretty common in camp to see girls having some of these accidents?

KI: I don't think it was common if it was it was hidden. I mean, because it's embarrassing you're not going to make a big thing out of it. I'm sure there were accidents.

MN: Now I was mentioning to you I was looking at some of those photos in your book and your hair is done and a lot of the young girls have their hair done. How do you... did you give each other perms or how did you get your hair so curly?

KI: Well, I don't think my hair was actually curly but it had more of big bouffant or like a roller type rather than the kinky permanent type, 'cause my hair was... I've always had a lot of hair. It was hard to manage and we would roll it up, put bobby pins in it. But I didn't have a permanent. I don't think they had permanents in camp.

MN: But mainly the girls got their hairs curly from the rollers?

KI: Either rollers or I remember we used little, I don't know if it was then, but there were times when we used little rags, little strips of rags and you would curl, make a roll and then you would put the little rag through that and then tie it in place of a roller instead of a metal or plastic roller that you had later. But I remember doing, maybe for a very, very short time myself but I don't think I kept it up. But it was mainly clips and bobby pins and things that you did, kept our hair up and I don't think I ever... I don't think I wore a pony tail. I don't remember seeing many pictures of kids being in pony tails in pictures.

MN: A lot of the pictures I see, the young girls have their hairs up like a bouffant or it's really poufy.

KI: Yeah, I guess on the sides my hair was down but then the front part was, we called it a pompadour, different heights.

MN: Now I think you mentioned church in Topaz was Block 32, and before the war you were a Christian but did you participate in Buddhist activities like the Bon Odori?

KI: In camp, yeah. 'Cause it was just a camp wide thing and so we all just went out and practiced and then the big night, then we all danced together.

MN: Did you wear yukata?

KI: No.

MN: Did they have a big taiko for the Obon?

KI: I don't remember.

MN: Now let's see, what about movies, did they show movies in Topaz?

KI: Again, the ones that I remember, the movie house was in Block 32 but it was in the recreation hall. So we all sat on the floor, we all brought blankets or chairs, sat on our sweaters or something like that. It was very hot and stuffy in there even though it was in the evening, we had to open up the windows there. We did have them in the rec hall there and then after the big auditorium was built in the center of the camp, then we had movies there.

MN: Now, let's see, on April 11, 1943, Mr. James Wakasa was shot and killed by a guard. How did you hear about this incident?

KI: Probably just announcement in the mess hall, but I don't remember anything about it. I don't remember anything about it.

MN: So it didn't really affect you?

KI: No, and it wasn't, I don't think it was near our... it might have been... I don't know where, exact spot was that he was killed. And I know that they had a camp wide service but I didn't go to that or I don't remember going to it.

MN: Now when the "loyalty questionnaire" came out in 1943, did your father go to any of the meetings?

KI: I don't know.

MN: Was it an issue with your family?

KI: Not that I know of.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MN: Now yourself, you're getting older, did you start going to the dances at Topaz?

KI: Uh-huh, yeah, we had school dances and we had block parties where we had dances so that's when I first started to learn how to dance.

MN: What kind of dances?

KI: Jitterbugging and the regular, just the social, I guess we called them social dances. we didn't do things like the rumba and that kind of stuff or the cha cha chas and that kind of stuff. It was mainly jitterbugging and then the slow dancing.

MN: Lot of Glenn Miller.

KI: Yeah.

MN: Did the boys come in the zoot suits and the duck tails?

KI: There were few guys like that but generally no.

MN: So in Topaz how much were you exposed to the Japanese culture and the sports traditions? And I'm going to name a few things like flower arranging and tea ceremony, did you participate in any of those?

KI: I didn't, but then like cultural things like you said the Bon Odori and the... I remember going and watching the sumo, they did have a sumo tournaments.

MN: How about mochizuki?

KI: If they had it I never went.

MN: Do you think if you had lived in Berkeley you would have been exposed to a lot of these cultural things?

KI: I think so. I think as I got older I think I probably would have made more friends with Japanese people and did more.

MN: Now when you were at Topaz and also at Tanforan, who did you eat your meals with?

KI: My friends. It started out with probably family and I think most people did because, well, of course the first day you always wondered who's living in your block, you know. And then you find out whose living there and then you make friends with or maybe it is your old friends from before. But my question to myself, much, much later again, is my mother was a waitress in our mess hall, my father worked in the kitchen, who was taking care of this little two year old sister that I had? I wasn't doing it. [Laughs] So it's a real mystery. I can't ask her because she's gone. I can't ask anybody 'cause they're all gone. It's just seems like I led such a carefree, non-responsible, non-accountable life. And I sort of feel bad about it but I didn't in those days. 'Cause none of my girlfriends, we were all doing the same thing.

MN: But do you think these eating arrangements affected your family life?

KI: The camp life?

MN: The eating arrangements and camp life in general?

KI: I don't think it did. I don't think it did. It might have and I just didn't see it.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

MN: Now when did you leave Topaz?

KI: I left in July, July of '45. I think towards the end of the month.

MN: Who did you leave with?

KI: Myself.

MN: What about your father and mother?

KI: My father had already come out ahead a couple... maybe a month or two before I did and trying to find a place, house for the family. And he was unable to find something so I think he and Mom decided I should come out and start school in September. So Mom stayed behind with my three siblings and I came out by myself.

MN: So when you walked out those gates by yourself, what were you feeling?

KI: Nothing, I didn't feel anything except that I was going back home or I'm going to Berkeley going to... well, I guess one of the things is I was going to see my dad and I was going to go see my girlfriend who was already out there and that I was going to go to school. Just very superficial things I think. I didn't worry about where I was... I didn't think about where am I going to stay or things like that. I guess I just took for granted it was going to be provided and it was. I mean, I didn't have to worry about it. But I remember walking over to the bus and seeing my mother and sister and brothers on that side of the fence came to see me off, and getting onto the hot bus.

MN: Did you ever think you would return to Topaz?

KI: You mean between the time that I left and seeing my mother there?

MN: That the moment that you walked out of the gate, did you think you would return again someday?

KI: No.

MN: Now on your train ride back to Berkeley, were there soldiers on the train and anybody harass you?

KI: No, 'cause at that point I think I mean there was I don't think... I don't think there were any soldiers in the... since there was, I don't even know how people of us left at the same time on that bus, if it was four or five or if it was just me and if there's only that many people I don't think they're going to hire or have a soldier come in and watch us all the way back to California. So I have a feeling there wasn't any soldiers or we weren't under scrutiny, and I don't know what I did with my twenty-five dollars that I was supposed to have gotten. I don't even remember getting it but I must have gotten it 'cause they said everybody who left got... especially if I'm traveling myself I have to have some money but I certainly don't remember. I don't remember very much about the ride, it was much more comfortable I think because of less crowding and you didn't have all this babies crying and people scrambling all over each other. So it was much more comfortable I remember.

MN: How did you feel as you got closer the Bay Area?

KI: I could feel it. I felt more... I could feel that we were coming to Bay Area. It was a real odd feeling because I think it was... I don't know if it was Richmond or Vallejo or someplace, all of a sudden I just felt like hey, coming near home again, and it was just... I don't know if it was because of the time of year, we had left all this heat and stuff and Bay Area usually has a little different air to it and I think that's probably what I felt, that I remember that feeling of being in Berkeley before.

MN: Who met you at the train station?

KI: My father and my girlfriend. I saw my father first, yeah.

MN: How did you feel about seeing him again and your friend?

KI: Oh, it was really nice. I mean, it was really great that there was something familiar, something familiar, that I didn't feel stuck out by myself.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

MN: Now this is after the war and there's a housing shortage. Where did you and your father stay?

KI: I stayed at the Berkeley Methodist Church because it was serving as a hostel until I could find a place to stay. Strange part of it is, it never occurred to me to ask my father where he was staying 'cause he didn't stay at the church. So I have feeling he was renting a room someplace and doing his work, 'cause he was doing gardening but he... I remember he had tools but he had to carry them on the bus to go to the different places. And one of his customers was this woman who worked for the university and he knew that she had an extra room upstairs, she was an old miss, and he asked if I could and live with her. So she interviewed me and I interviewed her so to speak and she said, "Yes, Kazuko can come and stay with me," so that was the first time I had a room to myself, nice sunny room upstairs and a bathroom to myself. And she was a wonderful lady, she was a wonderful lady. Since she was by herself we cooked together and ate together in a little breakfast nook. And my responsibility was when I came home from school on certain days I'd dust things off and clean things off and work in the kitchen with her. I mean, we did it together except for the cleaning of the house which wasn't very... it wasn't strenuous. I mean, she had a living room that was wall to wall books but I didn't have to go dusting every one. Some people I'm sure would've been really nitpickers but she says just make it nice and clean and livable and stuff. And I did have to clean the bathrooms was where I learned to do that kind of stuff, she had to teach me. But she taught me, but we cooked together and did the dishes together and she did her thing and I did my things, I did my studying. And she would take, sometimes she would take these field trips I was telling you about that she would off and otherwise she would... she didn't drive and the bus stop was right across the street from her house. So I'd see her getting on the bus with her little hat and her briefcase and she'd go down to the university.

MN: And at this time you're a high school student?

KI: Yeah, right.

MN: So which high school did you go to?

KI: Berkeley, Berkeley was the only high school in Berkeley.

MN: Was it pretty close to where you were doing the school house work?

KI: No.

MN: Schoolgirl, I'm sorry.

KI: No, I had to take the street car and the bus down to there and transfer. Yeah, I could never walk 'cause most places where they could afford schoolgirls were up in the hills.

MN: Now your family eventually reunited in Berkeley. Why didn't you return and live with your family?

KI: I don't know. I guess I just got into the lifestyle of going to school, and plus I guess maybe my friends were doing it. We had the little... it was sort of independence too and we were earning a little money while we're doing it. And I think some of us felt that we would be less of burden on our parents when they were just getting back. But since they were in Berkeley I could always come home on the weekends or holidays or whenever I needed to get off. But my mother and brother and two sisters, because they had no place to go when the camp actually closed, went to Hunter's Point in San Francisco where a lot of people went. And they stayed there a couple of months or I don't know for how long, but then when my father found the house then they moved over.

MN: And did your father open another nursery?

KI: No, he just worked out of the house, out of the home.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

MN: Now I know you were a schoolgirl for this university professor and a single woman, but did you hear other schoolgirls working in other families who got harassed?

KI: No. Well, the girlfriend that I told you that was out here first and met me she was doing schoolgirl and she didn't get harassed in that sense of being Japanese or anything, but her employer was... I don't know if I... was one of these that really was very demanding and so she left and she went back to San Francisco and lived at her home... by then her family had a home. But because Miss Decker was so undemanding of me, when I heard my girlfriend's story I could see why she didn't want to stay.

MN: Now you went to Berkeley High School. Were you able to keep up with the students there?

KI: Oh, yes, surprisingly I didn't have any trouble. I made good grades. I mean, I wasn't a straight A student or anything like that but I made good grades.

MN: What was the ethnic makeup of Berkeley High?

KI: At that time still mostly Caucasian. There were lot of Asians. There were some blacks. I think minorities were still minorities at that time.

MN: Now you eventually became a registered nurse. What influenced you to become a nurse?

KI: Oh, it was Miss Decker, yeah, Miss Decker, she said... and just like most... a lot of us when we came out of camp, everybody was becoming a secretary or working in an office so I gravitated toward that when I registered, signed up at Berkeley High School for taking secretarial courses. And then one day out of the blue she says to me what I really wanted to do and I says I don't know, I guess be a secretary or something. She says, "Well, why don't you try nursing? You'll probably make a good nurse." So then I switched to a... what do they call it? A pre-college, I don't know, they had a special term for going to that kind of school. So that's when I decided. I didn't know too much about it I was never a nurse's aide or I never was in a hospital or anything like that and I didn't know anybody who was a nurse, I thought, well, okay if she thinks so. Again it was something that I just hooked onto something that somebody said to do. I didn't regret it of course.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

MN: Now after the war, when was the first time you returned to Tanforan?

KI: I didn't return until they had that celebration. What was it? About four or five years ago they had the dedication or something?

MN: You live fairly close to Tanforan. Why did it take you so long to revisit the area?

KI: There was nothing there of the old place anyway. But I remember because it is across, almost across from the National Cemetery, and since my husband was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and on Memorial Day weekend we always have a Memorial Day service there. And I remember always telling him, hey, we used to live over there you know. But other than that never gave it thought of wanting to go.

MN: I know there's a shopping mall on that site now. Do you go and shop there?

KI: No.

MN: Why not?

KI: Why come way over there to shop? I just had no interest.

MN: What about Topaz? When was the first time you returned to Topaz?

KI: Probably... I can't remember the first time. I can't remember the first time if it was in the late '80s or the early '90s. I can't remember. I'll have to look that up.

MN: Do you remember how you felt that first time you returned?

KI: Other than the fact that, oh my gosh, we used to live here where it's hot and dry and things like that. I can't imagine we used to live here of all places. There was just nothing, there was still nothing out there. Yeah, I think the first reaction is I guess gee, we used to live here with a real... with a feeling like, gosh we used to live here? Instead of, hey, we used to live here. It's just that inflection that's different that really tells you that it's coming from inside.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

MN: Let me ask you a little bit about redress now. When talks of redress started to surface, how did you think about that?

KI: I didn't think too much about it at that time when it first started, but I think the more I heard about it, the more interested I got. And to see that the need for it or the justice for it or even just talking about it. And I really didn't think too much about it until I went to actually listen to one of the things when it was in San Francisco. And I went with a girlfriend of mine who is Chinese who was from Hawaii. And I said, "Annie, I'm going to go, would you like to come with me?" And she went with me and in the middle of it she walked out. And later I said to her, "Annie, why did you walk out?" She said, "I couldn't stand to listen to the people talking about how they were treated." And it didn't occur to me maybe until that moment how other people, if they heard other people talking about what actually happened to them, the hurt and the pain and the humiliation, that I didn't realize that other people were really doing that... were feeling these things. So I think that was good in the sense that people were beginning to really talk and it made me start thinking more too about what really happened to me, you know. And then of course as it came on later and later that the sessions were going on and on, and in the meantime my father died so he didn't get in on any of this. And my mother barely made it. And so later on the bitterness, the bittersweet is that the people who really deserved it, some of them didn't get it, the ones that really suffered.

MN: Now I know there was a little controversy with some people about accepting this money from the government?

KI: Right.

MN: How did you feel about that and what did you do with your money?

KI: I bought a car. [Laughs] I needed a car. The timing was just right when I needed a car so I didn't think anything about it. I didn't think anything about not accepting it. I says, I deserve it and I'll take it and I did. But at the same time I did feel bad that my father was not able to do it. My mother got it so late that she couldn't enjoy it. I forgot what she did with hers, I think she gave some of it to the grandkids or some of us or something like that. But I don't think she was able to do something that she really wanted to do and I don't know what that would have been but I think it was just too late in the game for her.

MN: Okay, I have asked all my questions that I want to ask of you. Is there anything that you want to add?

KI: Well, I think a lot of people my age sort of are apologetic because we're of an age when we were in school and we enjoyed ourselves. And I think there's a mixture of feeling guilty and wanting to apologize. Well, I don't think that's the right word but maybe a little... I guess maybe guilty would be the best word in a real broad sense that we see it as, at least a lot of us, I won't say all of us of course, that we see it as a phase where, yeah, we had fun. We had school, everything was provided for us, we made friends, we had a community of our own, you know, where we had library, movies and we were able to do all those things at our age. I mean, we couldn't... some of us could even get jobs and that's where I got my first job, my first paying job. So I have fairly good memories of camp and yet I could see the bad side, you know, I could see my mother having to cut diapers and washing them in laundry room, the dust storms that we had, the mud and the rain and the snow, things that we weren't used to living in and things like that. So I could see both... when you really sit down to think about those years just before, during camp and after, there's good... for me there's good and bad. And I am writing about 'em, different things in the different writing classes I'm going to and we share our stories. But my kids don't ask me too many questions but they all keep telling me, "Write your stories," but they don't ask, we don't talk about it. But they say, "You got to write so we can read about it later," or whatever. So I would say it's an important phase in my life. I can't say I don't regret it. The other side and the other part of course is that I didn't get to ask my parents a lot of questions I have now, that I've had the last couple of years after they've gone, after they're gone. So I think it's up to us to tell other people to write their stories or ask questions of their parents, because everybody's got a story. And I know people will say, "Oh, my story is not exciting," or, "it's not new," but when you really dig in and get to some of emotional parts and the nitty gritty, yeah, there's a story. And we're all human beings and we all need to feel loved and belonging, so friends and family are very important. And a lot of us had made lifelong friends in the camp and who knows, if we hadn't had the camp experience, I might not have made all these friends. All I can say is it was a very important part of my life. Thank you.

MN: Well, thank you very much.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.