Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Peggy S. Furukawa Interview
Narrator: Peggy S. Furukawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: San Jose, California
Date: March 20, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-fpeggy-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So, Peggy, I start by just saying what today's date is. So today is Tuesday, March 20, 2012, and we are in San Jose at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. And so, Peggy, I'm going to start with the first question, can you tell me when you were born and where?

PF: I was born March 30, 1928, San Jose, here.

TI: And where in San Jose? Was it like in a house or was it in a hospital?

PF: Went to the San Jose's doctor's place, we were born.

TI: And what was the name given to you at birth?

PF: Japanese name Sachiko. And then they put me "Betty."

TI: Betty?

PF: Betty. And then when I went to kindergarten, there were three Bettys, and they couldn't change their name because mine was not on the birth certificate, Betty. And so they gave me Peggy.

TI: How did you feel that they changed your name so easily from Betty to Peggy. Okay?

PF: It wasn't... Peggy, but I didn't like to write. I liked to write Betty better, but they put Peggy.

TI: Before you started school, what did people call you? Did they call you Betty or Sachiko?

PF: No, Betty. Some Japanese people called me Sachiko, but Betty was my name.

TI: And where did "Betty" come from? Was there a special reason to call you Betty?

PF: No. I guess the farmer, when my father was working for the farmer, well, they named our sisters and brothers.

TI: So they gave 'em, like, American names.

PF: Yeah, American. Roy, Tom, Elma, like that.

TI: So let me ask first about your father. What was your father's name?

PF: Isao.

TI: And where was he from?

PF: Japan.

TI: Where in Japan?

PF: Okayama.

TI: And tell me a little bit about his family. What kind of work...

PF: He was a farmer, and he had four brothers. Two in Japan and two in America. See, my grandmother came late, so there were seventeen, eighteen year different.

TI: And why did your father come to America?

PF: I guess my grandfather came first, I think 1900 my grandfather came and he called. My father was only sixteen and he came. And then when he got twenty-six, then he went Japan and married my mother.

TI: Okay, so he was in the United States for maybe ten years and then he went back.

PF: Went back and then married, yeah.

TI: And you mentioned two of his brothers were in the United States.

PF: Yeah.

TI: Were they older brothers or younger brothers?

PF: No, they're younger. Eighteen years different than my father's age.

TI: Oh, so they were quite a bit younger.

PF: Yeah, because my grandmother was with my father until he got to be sixteen. Then my grandfather came earlier, yeah.

TI: And then the two older brothers, they stayed in Japan?

PF: No, they came here. My father was the oldest, and then the second is my uncle, and then eighteen year, two boys came.

TI: I see. So your father was the oldest, and then the two next came, and there was a long gap.

PF: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

PF: My grandmother had those two, so I guess that's why they sent 'em to Japan. My father wanted to go back maybe, I don't know, but the war broke, see, that's why.

TI: Okay, so we'll get there. I want to ask a few more questions about your father. And when your father and your grandfather, when they were in the United States, where did they live?

PF: San Jose.

TI: And what part of San Jose, do you know where?

PF: Oh, around four or five mile away, around here, yeah.

TI: And what kind of work did they do?

PF: Farmer.

TI: Do you know what kind of farming?

PF: Vegetable and berry, horse, they had a horse and buggy that time, yeah.

TI: And what was your father's last name? Isao...

PF: Omori.

TI: Omori.

PF: Omori.

TI: Okay, good. And so he went back to Japan when he was twenty-six to marry your mother.

PF: Yeah, uh-huh.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So let's talk about your mother. What's your mother's name?

PF: Saye.

TI: Do you know her maiden name?

PF: Kajihara.

TI: Kajihara. So you have a good memory. [Laughs] That's good. And do you know much about her family, what they did?

PF: I stayed with her mother, my grandmother was alone, so that's where we went, my mother's mother.

TI: And where did they live?

PF: Okayama.

TI: Okayama.

PF: Nakashima, Okayama, Nakashima.

TI: Good. It's good to get all this history. And how old was she compared to your father? Was she younger than your father?

PF: No, they were around four year apart.

TI: Okay, so pretty close.

PF: Yeah.

TI: So she was like twenty, about twenty-two years old.

PF: Yeah, when she came, I guess, yeah.

TI: Your father was maybe twenty-six and she was about twenty-two. Did she ever tell you what it was like for her to come to America? At twenty-two did she ever --

PF: No, she wasn't living with her mother, she said, she was living with somebody else, church people or something like that. And she didn't go school too much. That's what she was saying. But I don't know her feeling, she didn't tell us how she felt.

TI: Did she ever say that she liked it better than Japan or she liked Japan better?

PF: No, she like America. She said she's not going back, yeah, she liked America.

TI: And why do you think she liked America better?

PF: Well, the convenient I bet. Because in Japan, water pumping and the bath is right there in the kitchen. You know, that's why I went, to her house, I went. And America, faucet, bath, and washing machine we had. So it's way different in Japan, you have to wash and scrub.

TI: That's good. Now tell me about brothers and sisters of yours.

PF: Mine?

TI: Yes.

PF: I have sister and I had brother and me and my younger brother. So my father had four.

TI: Okay, so tell me the names of first your sister...

PF: Elma.

TI: Elma? And how much older was Elma than you?

PF: I think she was around fifteen or sixteen year older than me.

TI: And then the next one's your brother.

PF: Yeah, brother, Roy. He was one year different.

TI: Okay.

PF: And then I was two year, I was born after Roy. And then two year later, I had a younger brother, Tom.

TI: So why was Elma so much older? She was much older...

PF: She was the firstborn.

TI: She was fifteen years older than you? How much older?

PF: No, three or four.

TI: Oh, just three or four years older.

PF: Because, see, my sister was born, then my brother was born the next year.

TI: I see. And then two years...

PF: And then two years later I was born, yeah. So she's around three year older. That's it.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: And so you're born in San Jose. Do you have some, like, prewar memories of San Jose, growing up in San Jose as, like, five, six, seven years old, do you remember?

PF: No. I remember around seven, eight years old, my father was a farmer, and I liked to help him gopher trap or irrigate and take care of the horse. So my father didn't like that. I was too tomboy.

TI: Oh, because you liked doing that.

PF: Yeah, I liked to do it, take care of the horse, you know, and then I ride 'em from the back and front, he don't kick, nothing, and I feed him water and hay. Eight, nine years old I was. Take care of the horse, you know, and then my uncle was a mechanic and I helped him. Tell me to go get the hammer, wrench, and my father said, "No, no, no, you can't do that."

TI: Now was that the same thing like your older sister and older brother did?

PF: No, my older sister, she'd just hear a radio and crocheted and all that. I never played with her, my sister. But I played with my brother, two brothers in between, we played baseball, football and shoot pool and all that stuff I did. But I never played with my sister; I don't remember.

TI: Because she was more inside...

PF: Yeah, she'd hear radio and crocheted. She liked sewing; I don't like that. And I liked to help my father irrigate, and that time, the water, you have to tell him it's okay when it goes to the end, and then put the dirt there and cover the plot. You had to help.

TI: So I think your father maybe liked that. Didn't he like the extra help?

PF: No, no, he liked me to do it, but he don't want me to do that. He wanted me to be like lady. And I said, "I don't like lady things," you know, kitchen and sewing and all that. I'd rather wear a hole stocking than patch it. No, no, he said, "No, you have to be sewing and this and that." Then they decided to send me to Japan.

TI: Well, before you go to Japan, there are some things you mentioned I want to learn more about. You said you did gopher trapping?

PF: Yeah, yeah.

TI: So explain that. How do you trap gophers?

PF: You got this thing there like it goes and then the gopher get in, and catch 'em. And my sister don't like those kind of things, no. I liked to help my father do all that. No, he said, uh-huh. And then we'd get on the tractor, sled, we'd ride on the sled. No, those stuff my father didn't want me to do. He wanted me to help the kitchen and wash dishes and set the table. No, no, I didn't want to do that.

TI: With your brothers, what were some things you did outside of the home? Did you ever go out and maybe go swimming?

PF: In a ranch, they had a little ditch, irrigate, so we'd just get in there, but I didn't know how to swim, no. We'd just play. And then, yeah, I helped my brother do all that. And we'd play baseball and football, and then we'd make a swing out of rope and put a tire there and make a swing, and then our place was like this, driveway, so we'd get on a sled and slide down like that. Oh, about one house, two house, we'd go in the garage. But nobody didn't get hurt. And then we had a barn...

TI: So the sled was so fast it would go right into the barn?

PF: Yeah, barn, like that, because it goes like that and it's around one house, driveway. And the Bayshore came 1937, Bayshore, yeah. That was the street there, and we were living there.

TI: And so the sled had wheels?

PF: No, no, just wood. We had wood.

TI: Wow, that would be fast.

PF: Yeah. We didn't have those kind of fancy things. So wood, slide, and we'd hold on. And then sometimes we'd do with a tire, get inside tire and they roll us down and then go. But nobody didn't get hurt.

TI: Oh, so actually you'd get inside the tire?

PF: Tire, yeah.

TI: And you would go around and around?

PF: Hold the tire then...

TI: Then you'd get really dizzy?

PF: No, no, didn't get dizzy, no. And then nobody didn't get hurt, my brother and we used to do all that, yeah. And then play, and then we didn't buy no toys. My father buy wagon and bicycle, so the three of us get on the bicycle and we go friend's place.

TI: So it sounds like you and your brother were really close.

PF: Yeah, yeah. Three of us, we were all close. But my sister, I don't remember I played with her.

TI: How about your mother? Did you do much with your mother?

PF: Oh, my mother, we had raspberries, so she always packed the raspberry, so we have to help her pick raspberry. That time, buckets were only ten cents, yeah.

TI: So all day you'd get one big bucket, ten cents?

PF: No, the bucket's small like this, yeah. And then we do that, pick that, and then basket was paper, so we'd have to put in the crates, we'd help all that. So we were farmer, but we always had to work.

TI: How about outside the family? Did you have, like, playmates that you...

PF: No, no, we had to go places. They live all far, because we had forty-eight acres. So we had to go friends' places, kind of far. But we'd go with the bicycle, and I'd go, my brother, three of us ride the one bike and we'd go.

TI: And in terms of crops, what kind of crops did you have?

PF: We had pepper, cauliflower, cucumber, five kind of berries.

TI: Strawberries, raspberries...

PF: Loganberry, then little bit bigger than raspberries, there was one, yeah, like that. Yeah, there was five, yeah.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: So let's talk about school. Before you went to Japan, what was school like for you?

PF: Orchard school. I went to Orchard school, it was eight grades. And six and two months I went. I was sixth grade and two months.

TI: Okay, sixth grade and two months. And tell me about your class. I mean, were there very many Japanese?

PF: Yeah, there were a few Japanese, my girlfriend, two I knew. But they all, when I came back they're all tall. See, I went Japan, I didn't grow.

TI: So your Japanese friends got taller and you didn't?

PF: Yeah, yeah, because they were in America, you know, and I was in Japan.

TI: Oh, so they had maybe better food or something?

PF: Food, oh, yeah, better food, like that. Like us, we didn't eat rice all the time. So, and the food wasn't healthy, huh? But for myself, I thought I have to eat fish, so I used to go get fish. And my auntie used to boil it, and then I drink that. So I was there almost ten years, but I didn't get sick.

TI: Okay, good. Let me ask more about San Jose first, then we'll go on. How about things like Japanese school?

PF: Yeah, we went to Japanese school. Orchard school, and then we had to walk around, oh, three, four blocks, and then there was Japanese school, and then one hour, we stayed one hour, Japanese school.

TI: So every day after school?

PF: Yeah, yeah, after school. And then Saturday we had to go Saturday school, you know, because the reverend teaches.

TI: Wow, so six days a week you had Japanese school?

PF: Yeah.

TI: And then on Sunday, what did you do?

PF: We'd do farmer work.

TI: All day farm work?

PF: Yeah, all day farmer work, yeah, that was our job.

TI: How about church? Did you ever go to church?

PF: Yeah. I was going to this, it's a Konko church. And yeah, it was on Third Street. Yeah, we used to go to church. But we had to sit on the front row, you know, in that time. It's not like right now, front row we sat down.

TI: And you said Konko, was it like Buddhist?

PF: No, it's like, it's more like Shinto, Konko church, yeah.

TI: How about like in summertime, maybe picnics and things like that?

PF: Yeah, they used to have. We used to go to picnic, yeah.

TI: And where was that? Do you remember where you had the picnics?

PF: Maybe around... gee, we used to go to beach a lot, too, but yeah, we'd go to the beach. But I didn't know how to swim, though. I was scared of the water, up to here and that's it. But I didn't learn to swim. But we used to go to beach.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Now did you ever go to, like, the city, like San Francisco?

PF: Yeah, yeah, and then we went to the fair, San Francisco Fair. That was 1935, I think.

TI: And what was that like for you to go the...

PF: Oh, it was fun. My father would take us, four of us, yeah, we'd go there.

TI: And would you ever visit, like, the Nihonmachi in San Francisco?

PF: Yeah, yeah, we'd go there, and then right here in San Jose town, my grandfather used to come every week. But we used to come here, yeah, and see Japanese people. And then Bon Odori, the Buddhist church had every year Bon Odori, yeah. So my mother used to put the kimono out for everybody, so we used to dance. Oh, and I loved that. Sometimes we'd come one or two days, but practice, but you're young so you could do it. But right now you do it in ten days' vacation, you forget. [Laughs] But I loved to dance.

TI: And how big was Bon Odori back then?

PF: Oh, we used to do... not on the Fifth Street, on the Jackson Street. And the singer people would get on a truck. There was a truck there, and the dancer. And it's like one block like that and make a circle, yeah, couple of circle.

TI: It sounds like fun.

PF: And everybody could dance. It's nationality, right now it's all mixed. Yeah, it's not all Japanese, no.

TI: But back then...

PF: It was Japanese, more or less like it was Japanese. But now, it's all mixed. Again, the guys dance too.

TI: In the old Bon Odori, did they have lots of food and things like that?

PF: Yeah, yeah, they had food, yeah. And we used to wear that long sleeve, yeah. Everybody dressed. I loved that, the dance.

TI: It sounds like a pretty good childhood that you had.

PF: That I tell you a hundred percent, I was happy, yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: So let's talk now about... because you said your father wanted to send you to Japan?

PF: Yeah.

TI: Because you were too much like a tomboy, you said?

PF: Yeah. And then my girlfriend said she cried three days, so she didn't get to go. And I said, "I didn't even cry when I left my father and mother." We just said goodbye and we left.

TI: Oh, so say that again. So your girlfriend was supposed to go to Japan, but she cried...

PF: Cried so much.

TI: So the parents said, okay...

PF: "You can't go." But she tells me that after I come back here, not before.

TI: Well, when your parents told you that you were going to go to...

PF: Japan.

TI: What did you think?

PF: Then I thought, "Oh, Japan, yeah. That'd be nice." It didn't even dawn that it was that far or anything, but the history I know, Japan is so small. How come we're going there? To learn Japanese. So my father said, "You have to go." And then my sister and I, we went together with my uncle. My father's next brother, they took us. So we didn't even cry. We just said, "Goodbye," and we went. And then my mother don't hug us or everything like that, it wasn't like that. She said, "You go and you study," she told me that, and then I said okay.

TI: And how long were you supposed to go to Japan? When they sent you there...

PF: Oh, five years.

TI: So they said, "Okay, Peggy, five years..."

PF: Five years, and then if you like it, you stay there, or whatever it's gonna come out to be. And I said, "Oh, I'd like to teach Japanese when I come back to America." So I said, oh, five years. But yeah, the war started and that was terrible.

TI: So before we go there, so how old were you when you went to Japan?

PF: Eleven. I was eleven, March, and then before, after Thanksgiving we went, right away. So it must be December, yeah.

TI: So you just turned...

PF: I was eleven.

TI: Eleven years old. And how about your sister, did she want to go to Japan?

PF: We decided together, but she didn't say that she like it or what's she gonna do. We went, my sister and I. And then my... see, we didn't go alone, my uncle went with us. So, and because he had his wife and his daughter in Japan, so I said, "Okay, we go." But I didn't think about, it was that far, you know. Yeah.

TI: So tell me about the journey or the trip to Japan. How did you go and how long did it take?

PF: I think around thirteen, fourteen days, they say, but I don't remember. But I got sick three days on the boat. But it was nice. Oh, and then the boat, the captain said, "You have to go up the deck." See we have to practice up the deck. And then I told him, "If the boat go down, I'll go down." [Laughs] I wasn't scared at all. Yeah, he said that, "The boat gonna go down, and where you gonna go?" I go down.

TI: But he wanted you to practice getting --

PF: Yeah, go up.

TI: -- into a lifeboat.

PF: But I was too sick to get up there. And I said, "No, I'm not going up." And then he brought the food down, but I couldn't eat it, no. I was too sick. But when the boat stop and we went Hawaii, I was the first one get up. And then we look Hawaii, yeah.

TI: Now did you have anyone in Hawaii that met you?

PF: No, no, nobody. We told 'em we're going Japan. They said, "Oh, yeah, that's nice." The Hawaii people said that, "That's nice." Boy, but when I went to Japan it was cold. Hawaii was like that, but Japan was cold.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: And so where in Japan did you land?

PF: Yokohama.

TI: And who... was there anyone there to greet you?

PF: My grandmother, my mother's mother.

TI: Okay. But then you went with your uncle, your father's brother.

PF: Brother, yeah. He's the second one.

TI: Now were the two families close? Did they know each other?

PF: Yeah, they don't know each other, no, because we were one station, two station away from them, yeah. They met.

TI: But then it was arranged that you would stay with your grandmother.

PF: Grandmother, yeah.

TI: So you and your sister would go to your grandmother?

PF: Yeah. When we went there, oh, how many miles we had to walk to go to her house, country. And I said... then my grandmother bought me a bicycle, so we go town with bicycle. But my sister can't ride on it, so I have to give her a ride. Oh, that was something. You know, Japan don't have a road, it's kind of like a hill, tall like this house, and it's around this wide. You have to walk there quite a bit.

TI: And were you able to ride your bicycle?

PF: Yeah, yeah.

TI: So you had to be very careful.

PF: Yeah, uh-huh. You have to ride on that. Then Japan no doctor had the little car, a small car, just one person kind, he was going like that. And then they have jinrikusha, you know, that thing that you ride on the chair and they lift you? Yeah, that's what they had.

TI: Now how was it when you first got to Japan? What did you think now that you're in Japan? Was it what you expected?

PF: No, no. Everything's different. Living in the house, the hotel, we got, you have to change your shoe to that geta, you know, they got that thing to war to go to the bathroom. And then so the lady said, "No, no, no." So instead of taking my shoe off, I put that geta and I walked, and the owner said, "No, no, no." And then I said, gee, what a thing you have to do. Well, we came so we can't help it.

TI: So were you a little bit homesick or sad?

PF: No, no, nothing. It didn't make me cry, nothing. And my grandmother doesn't understand my broken Japanese, but my sister talked better Japanese. So she always used to call and talk to my sister. And my sister know more Japanese than me. So, wow. And then I said to my sister, "Gee, we got to live with her?" My grandmother looked so old, she was only sixty-five. But she looked... I was sixty-five, and gonna look like that, I thought. My auntie, too, was seventy, but gee, they looked old.

TI: So you thought that maybe their lives were hard life to make them look so old?

PF: I don't know. But Japan people look older than Americans. My grandmother was, she didn't look like that, yeah, my father's mother. "Gee, when we get old, we're gonna look like that?" I thought. And here I am, I'll be eighty-four. [Laughs]

TI: Well, you look really good. So when you, now, at your grandmother's place, did you have, like, chores to do, that you had to do every day? Kind of like at the farm you had to work pretty hard to help your father.

PF: Yeah, yeah. But she had a little farm, just like a lawn, big lawn like that, and vegetable planted, so we'd fertilizer, you had to use a bucket to fertilize. Yeah, you'd carry it like this, two of these, they're hanging on you, and then you have to go out. Yeah, human fertilizer.

TI: So it's pretty smelly.

PF: Yeah, are you kidding? Boy oh boy. And then the way you have to walk, because you splash yourself, you have to walk good, you know. Oh, all the thing I learned.

TI: So it was really very different for you when you got there.

PF: Yeah, oh, yeah. Everything. America and Japan, that's what I always say. Wow.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: How about school? So you're young, you were...

PF: Yeah, I went fourth grade, January I went to school the next year, so 1940, January.

TI: And what was that like?

PF: Everybody looked different. They all wear uniforms. See, that time they wear uniforms, and then the girl wear apron, you know, that apron. And then, oh, it was wintertime, so their nose is running. I always call it, two hanging down, I say, wow, the Japanese people are. Yeah. I was surprised. I was telling my grandmother, and then she said, I said, wow. And then the teacher tell me, "Stand up and read." And then I said, "How could I read that book? If I could read this book, I wouldn't come to Japan."

TI: And you said that to the teacher?

PF: Yeah.

TI: [Laughs] That's unusual, right?

PF: That's what my girlfriend said. They don't talk to teacher, you know, over there they don't talk, no. You can't drop pencil down, you can't do nothing. And then when the teacher come in, you got to bow. Me, I tell 'em, "I can't see their face," so I go like that, said, "No, you got to put your head down." Yeah, they tell me. And then I said, "Well, how could I see then?" The teacher said, "No, you have to bow, put your heads down." Yeah, every little thing you learn, you know. And then the window, it's all window. They line you up like how smart you are. So I just went in there. I had to sit in the front, I'm dumb, but they put me in the back because I'm too tall. That's why they put me in the back. And people think that I'm smart because I'm sitting on the back. But that's how they put you down.

TI: Because you were maybe a little bit older than the other...

PF: No, I was taller.

TI: Just taller?

PF: Yeah. Because when you're lined up, they lined the tall one like this, I was the second tall.

TI: That's interesting. When you were in San Jose, were you the tallest?

PF: No, no, no, we were middle. We were middle, San Jose, middle.

TI: In Japan, but you were the tallest.

PF: Yeah, first or second like that. And then the exercise, lined you up. So I was two.

TI: And how did your classmates treat you in Japan?

PF: They're nice, they talked to me. But when we sit down, my sister and I, we sit down, the guys come and sit down by us. [Laughs] They sit down by us. And then one guy went like that to my sister so I gave him like that. Oh, he looked and then I told my sister, "Don't let him touch you." And then my sister said, "It's all right, he doesn't harm." Said, "No." They get kind of fresh, huh? [Laughs]

TI: Now were they more "fresh" because you were American, or did they do it to all girls?

PF: They're kind of like, we're like museum people. Because it was kind of new. Nobody came from America or something. So they all want to sit down and stare at us. They stare at us, yeah.

TI: Well, was it because you looked different?

PF: Yeah, we looked different, we walked different. See, I was more straight here, and so our dress is like that. See, they were more smaller. And we walked different, and we talked different, see, so they liked to sit down and listen to my sister and I, but we talk English.

TI: Oh, that's interesting.

PF: Yeah, we talk English, because you could talk. But after the war, we couldn't talk. Before the war, we could talk English, my sister and I. And then I said, here's this guy coming, I said, "Watch it." He sat down, and then he listened to us because we'd talk English. Yeah, it was like that every day. And I hated to go school because... my grandmother said I have to go school, yeah.

TI: Now why did you hate going to school? Because you were treated differently?

PF: Yeah, all the time they come close to us, yeah. And I said, "Why don't they go away? We're not no animal." They look at us and everything like that, so we didn't like it. But after that I got used to it.

TI: Now were there any Japanese who were just curious about America, and they would just want to ask you questions about America and what happens...

PF: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They'll... "big nose, what are they?" Then I tell 'em they're all nice people, yeah. And then they got everything, so American, we don't have to buy things. Japan, you have to buy the pencil, the papers and all that, yeah. The teacher was nice, it was nice teacher, yeah. They said, "Why you came to Japan?" So we have to learn Japanese. Because we had a Japanese school, but our teacher don't go fast and we're just Book 1 or 2, you know. So my father wanted me to learn Japanese.

TI: Now during this time, before the war, did you get letters from your family?

PF: Yeah, yeah, we did. We'd get letters and everything like that. But after the war, they cut it open. But my father used to write to us. And I always write so big, like I use two paper and my sister could use half a paper, she writes it. Me, I write it big. My father always, I always have to write with two papers, let him know what's happening and this and that. And then he always say, Japanese say, "Shimbosei, shimbosei," like that. "Take care of yourself," like that, and, "study hard." And I said, "How long we got to stay here?"

TI: [Laughs] You always asked that in your letter?

PF: Yeah.

TI: Because you wanted to go back. You wanted to go back to the States?

PF: Yeah. I was not gonna stay there, no. I said, "To live, no way. I don't want to grow up like that."

TI: And how about your sister? How did she like living...

PF: She like it. She like it. She went to, they call it "bride school" and learn Japanese costume-making. She went to there. And so she get to sew and make things, yeah. And then they get to sell it like that. But not me, I didn't. I said, "I'm not staying here."

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: How about your grandmother? Did she like having you and your sister living with her?

PF: Yeah. We stayed there nine months. Yeah, she always called me, "Sachi, Sachi," like that. I didn't like that, but I can't help it. And then she'd always get mad because I tell her where the shoe, and go like that on the tatami, the floor, and then I don't want to change the shoe. She said, "No, no, no." [Laughs] I said, "No, I don't want to live like this, no way." And we had a stove in America, and over there, we burned wood. See, three hole, one for the hot water, rice, and the vegetables. And then you had to put wood inside. I didn't want to live like that.

TI: So it was too much work.

PF: Yeah.

TI: So you said you lived with your grandmother for nine months?

PF: Yeah, nine months.

TI: And then where did you go?

PF: And then she passed away, so we went, I went town, Okayama town, stay with my auntie.

TI: Okay, and this is your auntie on your mother's side?

PF: Yeah, my mother's sister. Yeah, those two are this way.

TI: What do you mean "this way"?

PF: My mother and her, two different kinds, just like my sister and I.

TI: So what was your aunt like?

PF: Oh, I used to call her, in Japanese, "kuso baba," because she was, everything she say is opposite. She said I made the foot mark on the wood, and my shoe was size five, and her son was this big. And I said, "That feet don't fit me." But I can't talk back, she gets mad. So she always used to blame me, and I said, "I'm gonna run away one day, and I'm not staying." Then my uncle is a second marriage, and he said he don't have nothing to do with us, because he don't know us. And then he said, "You didn't do it," but he know that son did it. Because I said, "Look at that foot mark. It's not mine." And then my auntie always say it's me. So why should I get the blame? Then I was glad I was sixth grade. My uncle, he treated me better, but I was good friends with a policeman, so I always go to the policeman. In Japan, policeman, it's a little house, and he sit down and he drinks tea, and I go in there and talk to him. I tell him how America is, you know. And then said, "You come and have tea." So I always go there, and English, I teach him.

TI: Oh, interesting. So he wanted to learn about America and English?

PF: Yeah, America, and I talked to him and all that, and he was nice. And I told him, "I can't trust nobody," I just trust him. And then I said, "When I finish school, I'll be happy."

TI: Now after your grandmother died, I'm thinking, why didn't your parents say, "Come home back to San Jose?"

PF: No, no, no. They brought my brother back, right after, my brother back, my oldest brother. He came, and then him and my sister lived in the country.

TI: With whom?

PF: With some kind of, that village no teacher. My father... and they stayed there.

TI: So let me make sure I understand. So after your grandmother died, you brother came...

PF: Yeah, came from Japan.

TI: Your brother came, and your oldest sister and older brother...

PF: Still together.

TI: And now with a family person, but with a teacher.

PF: Yeah, with a teacher.

TI: And so your family paid the teacher?

PF: Yeah, yeah.

TI: And then you stayed with your aunt. Now, why didn't they send you with the teacher, too?

PF: No, no. My father sent my brother. I think my father was, got a land there by the mountain, and he was going to come back. That's what I thought, but the war started. I think that's what his plan was, come back to Japan and build the house, because he had a land there, mountain.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So how long were you in Japan before the war started?

PF: Almost... oh, I was there almost ten year, but the war started right after I finished the second... when the war started, I didn't know when the war gonna start or something like that, but then they said, "America and Japan is having a war." And I said, "Wow." But we can't go home.

TI: But were you there maybe, I think, three years before the war started? I'm trying to remember... you were eleven, so that'd be 1930...

PF: '9.

TI: '9? And so '40, '41, so two years?

PF: So I was... '39, then '40, '41, '42, '43, '44, I think.

TI: But you got there in '39, so you were there at least two years before the war started.

PF: And then when the war started, wow, yeah.

TI: Yeah, let's talk about that. So when you first heard that Japan and America is at war, what did you think?

PF: I said, "We can't talk English." Then we didn't talk English, we were scared. But Japan people didn't do nothing to us, put us in a home or nothing like that, they didn't call us or nothing. But I guess maybe I was too young.

TI: Did the, maybe... now, the police officer, your friend, knew that you were American. Did he ever say anything to you?

PF: No, no, nothing. He didn't say nothing to me. He didn't say the war started or nothing. He didn't say nothing. He thought I'll be scared not to come or nothing, but I wasn't scared. Because as soon as the war started, I went to factory work, Mitsubishi, airplane.

TI: How soon did you... when the war started, was it right away or was it maybe a little bit later?

PF: No, because... '48, '47 '46... '45 it started. Yeah. I was...

TI: Like did you finish school first?

PF: Yeah, I finished that. Fourth, fifth, sixth, then I went one, two. Then I went to work. So after five year, I went to work. But then the war started that time.

TI: Now when the war started between America and Japan, for you, did you think you were more American or more Japanese? Like what side did you think should win?

PF: Oh, I know America going to win. I know that, well, Japan didn't have the paper and pencil to go to school, and America had everything. And then Japan is this small and America is this big. How could Japan win? And then they're just starting to make the airplane? It was too late. And then their bombs don't even go up, American bombs fall down, I said, you hear all that and I said, "Nah." Yeah.

TI: But then the people around you, they probably thought Japan was gonna win.

PF: Yeah, yeah. I don't know how the Japanese people could win. That I couldn't understand. The big shot and everything, why they started the war when American... sure, if Japan was big like that, they could, but they don't have nothing. And I said, "Why they're fighting?" Well, atomic bomb, see, if they didn't drop the atomic bomb, they'll fight until, America and Japan people are fighting, they want to fight. But, see, they dropped the atomic bomb, that's why. See, the Okayama and Hiroshima is next door. Yeah, if they don't... that's what I couldn't understand. How could they do the war when they don't have nothing? And then we're fighting with wood, learning how to fight. I said, "When they come down, they got machine guns, they go boom like that and we're dead."

TI: But did you ever tell anyone this?

PF: No.

TI: So you were just really quiet.

PF: Yeah, yeah, I didn't want to say nothing. I said, "You can't." And why we're learning this? Who you gonna hit? And I can't understand why these Japanese people want to fight. They don't have nothing.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: As the war went on, what were the conditions, living conditions in Japan or in Okayama? Was it, like, hard to get food?

PF: Oh, yeah, no food. We didn't eat white rice, we get the rice like this, but there's beans or dried beans, anything you could mix inside, you don't know what it is. And then the man who serve us, he'd go, just threw the dish like that, and my girlfriend can't catch it, so I'm there catching their food and then giving it to them. And then I had to sit down and eat fast so I could finish with everybody, and then everybody have to sit down and everybody eat, then we say a Japanese word, you get to get your chopstick and say thank you. Then we all eat, and then when we finished, we had to wait for everybody to finish, and then we'd stand up and go. But we cannot walk. They let you run to the work, run to the bathroom, and you cannot talk to guys. It was strict like army.

TI: And this was at the factory?

PF: Factory, yeah. They were strict. And we worked sometimes all night, sometimes to midnight, all like that. And then I wasn't absent at all. And they, yeah, they treat you like you're army. Because my girlfriend would walk into the bathroom, she got... and then I said, "You can't do nothing walking. You have to run to the, go get your things, and then you can't say, "You stole my tool." I can't say that; that don't work. And you have to guard your tool and work every day. I said, "You know, everybody have to talk to yourself. You can't talk to people. It's not a party, you know."

TI: So just work, work, work.

PF: Work, work, work. But thank god I was healthy. And then when they bomb it, you can't run with one plane. If there were lots of them, then we'd go hide in the hole.

TI: And so they had like different air sirens for maybe one plane versus lots of planes?

PF: No, one, two, three, they got sirens.

TI: So what was the difference between one, two, three?

PF: The third you hide.

TI: I see.

PF: You don't hide with the first one, they're coming. The first one is coming, and you could see the airplane like this, small. And then they could come down and they shoot you, and then they go up.

TI: And so did you see the planes?

PF: Oh, yeah, you could see.

TI: These were American planes?

PF: You could see the person, oh, yeah. And then that's the funny thing, though, we all didn't cry, we all worked, and then nobody was shaking like this, can't move. No, everybody's working.

TI: Now did any of the workers ever get killed?

PF: No, no, not our group. Some of the other ones did, yeah. Because, oh, yeah, it's a big hole with a bomb... and then you could see it coming down. But I don't know, I wasn't scared or nothing. But you tell me now, I wouldn't work. You tell me to go there and do that, I won't do it. But oh, everybody worked, and nobody's crying, no.

TI: What did your factory make?

PF: Airplanes, that Mitsubishi B-2.

TI: Okay, so like different parts for the airplane?

PF: Yeah, it was like this wing, and there's another wing on the side, like this, so I adjust that pipe, so there's like this kind of pipe, like that kind of pipe, skinny pipe, they're all long, short, like that. I lined them up, and then this guy put it in. And then at the wing, there's a hole like this, you stick your hand in, and it rub here, but you can't see the pin. See, you have to open the pin, your pin like that and open it. But you can't see it with that hole like this. You do that.

TI: And you said there were both boys and girls working at the factory?

PF: Yeah, yeah, we worked together.

TI: So these were like, kind of students, or just graduated students?

PF: High school kids come, and then like we're volunteer, volunteer work. And there's a couple of men there helping us.

TI: Is this still in Okayama?

PF: Okayama, yeah, right in Okayama.

TI: Now did you still see your aunt very much during this time, or did you live at the factory?

PF: I live at the factory, that's why I didn't live with them no more. Yeah, I live with the factory, and then my sister was working on the side. But she worked for the big shot people, clean their room, clean, like a waitress, she cleaned everything like, and she wanted me to go there. And said, "Uh-uh, I don't want to work with them, and I want to be in the factory side." And she wanted me to come there. She said, "You could sleep eight hours, you could eat good food. I said, "Uh-uh, I don't want that."

TI: Now, why? Why didn't you want that?

PF: I didn't want that.

TI: 'Cause the food was better, the conditions were...

PF: Were good, everything good, but no, no. And then they could sleep eight hours, no, I didn't want that.

TI: Why?

PF: Huh?

TI: Why?

PF: Because I want to work with people.

TI: Oh, so your friends, your friends were there?

PF: Yeah, friend, my friend and like that, and work for those big shot people? No, you don't want to answer the phone and fix their bed and take care of them? No, way. I said I won't do that. My sister wanted me to come there, and I could sleep and I could do... I said, "Uh-uh, I don't want to do that." I don't want to be with you guys. The guy, he tells me, "You know, right here could sleep eight hour and you could rest." No, no, I said, "No thank you. I don't want to be with you guys."

TI: Now when you were working at the factory, did anyone there know that you were American?

PF: Yeah, they knew.

TI: And so would that cause any problems?

PF: No, no. They didn't bother me.

TI: Now did anyone ever ask you, because you could speak English, to ever use English, like for interpreting or anything like that?

PF: No, no.

TI: So that never happened?

PF: No, no. I won't... I said no. I won't do it. And that's why I told my brother, "Don't volunteer." I said, "They could draft you, but don't volunteer. Because he's the age.

TI: And so what happened to your brother? Did he have to go into the military?

PF: Yeah, but he didn't volunteer. He went, they call him. But he was just working in a, like a store thing like that. He didn't have to work.

TI: Now, did they, so the Japanese didn't use his English abilities?

PF: No, no.

TI: Because he could speak both...

PF: No, he didn't want to. I said, "Don't do that." Yeah, I don't know why. I was the youngest, but that's what I told my sister and them, "Don't do volunteering." Because we had to work. If you don't work, you can't eat, so we have to work. So that, I said okay, but don't volunteer. Because we're from America, we can't. I don't know what told me that, but that's it.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So earlier you mentioned how Okayama is next to Hiroshima.

PF: Yeah, yeah.

TI: How did you hear about the atomic bomb?

PF: Atomic bomb.

TI: Yeah, how did you hear?

PF: I heard that they dropped a bomb, but Japan, they got the hill. So when it drops here, this side's okay. And so Japan, one thing is they got lots of hills, so it's okay. So I said, "Boy," I said, "how come they're fighting so much?" Yeah. But that's... lots of people.

TI: But when you heard about the bomb, what did you hear? Was it like a special bomb, or did you know how bad it was?

PF: Yeah, they said it's a real bad bomb. It's not like our bomb, yeah, they said you get burned and everything like that they said. Yeah, it's bad. You can't... then I wanted to be a nurse, and I said, "Oh, no, I can't be a nurse." Helping the nurse, the bandage, no, I said, "Uh-uh," I don't want to be a nurse.

TI: Well, in the days after the atomic bomb, did you see any of the victims?

PF: No, no.

TI: So they were, none of them came?

PF: No, no, I didn't see nobody. And then my two sister was in Hiroshima, my sister-in-law. My two brothers married two sisters, yeah. And they had, their leg or something like that, and then the Americans sent 'em to Japan, to the doctor, yeah.

TI: So in Japan, you had two brothers in Japan, or one brother?

PF: One brother, but the other brother went from here. He was in the army. The young one. He went to Japan and married a sister.

TI: I see. Oh, so your brothers married sisters.

PF: Yeah, two sisters. That no good. Two sisters, two sister marry, they're not good, because you can't tell one sister something, huh? But I was good friend with my youngest one. I didn't like the oldest one. But they got divorced, the young one got divorced. See, it wasn't marriage, I said, "You didn't love each other and got married, you got forced from my brother," and then they got married, I bet. But he don't say that. I said, "No, you guys didn't get married like that." But see, they married seventeen year, but they got divorced. No good.

TI: But interesting, so your younger brother, Tom, so was he with the MIS, the Military Intelligence Service? As a soldier, did he come to Japan?

PF: Yeah, yeah, he went to Japan.

TI: So he was an American soldier.

PF: Soldier, yeah.

TI: During the occupation?

PF: Yeah, he went to Japan, and then my brother Tom, next.

TI: And so, okay, so your younger brother was in the occupation, and what was it like when you saw your younger brother? Because you hadn't seen him for a long time.

PF: When I came back from America I saw him, yeah.

TI: But did you see him in Japan?

PF: No, no, he didn't come. He didn't come. After I came home, he went to Japan.

TI: Oh, okay, later. Okay, I understand. All right.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So Peggy, I'm going to go back to right at the end of the war, so after the atomic bomb, Japan surrendered. And I'm curious what the Japanese thought, or what did they expect from the Americans? So when the war ended and the Americans were going to come to Japan, what did they think? What did they think about Americans?

PF: Well, my girlfriend was saying that first thing they were kind of scared, huh? But it turned out to be nice, American people all helped them and everything, gave them this and that. So they were surprised with that.

TI: So when they said, when your girlfriend said that she was scared, what was she scared of?

PF: Because they're tall, blue-eye, and like that, they're not big. But they were kind of scared. But they didn't know the colored people was born dark. And I said, "Don't go around with them, they're that color." Said, "Oh." See, Japan people don't know that. And I said, "But they're nice people, but it's just they're black." But when they're born, they're kind of light color, huh? But then as they grow up, they get dark. And lots of girls got... I thought, gee, after they lost the war, I guess people get like that because no food, and then they would be friend with the American people, you'd get food. Then the girls, it was terrible to see.

TI: So many of, some of the girls started going out with Americans?

PF: Yeah. And then the way they chew the gum like that, I didn't like that. And I thought, gee, that's how the war made people turn upside down. Then Japan didn't go the way they should go. It was sad, but that's what happened. I guess so. When you're hungry, you do everything.

TI: And how hungry were people? How bad did it get?

PF: No food, rice and like that, there wasn't any, yeah. But I wasn't skinny. [Laughs] I told my father I wasn't skinny. Because we boil the fish, I catch the fish, and my father said, "How you catch it?" I said, they swim like that, boy, when you're hungry you catch that thing, you know. You have to. And then boil the glass. We survived, and I said, "No, you have to stay healthy." Yeah, but it was kind of like sad to see the girls like that, but that's how the war made it. Everything they don't have.

TI: And how would the girls meet the Americans? Were there like special places to meet?

PF: Yeah, they go to the bar and they stand by the tree or something like that and they see them, or they worked for the army people and they'd get friendly. I know lots of people that got married in there. But I told my father, "I'm not gonna get married, uh-uh." And I don't have family, and I don't want to walk around like that, no. That's why my auntie put me way in the country, work in the factory, material factory, Kanebo, they put me there because I could talk English, to work with the army. And then I could make good money, huh? But no, I had to work in the factory, she put me in the factory.

TI: So she wanted to keep you away from the Americans?

PF: Yeah, yeah. Keep me away. And then I said, "I could sneak out and go out." But I said, "No, I can't marry." Sure I could marry American people and come back to America quick, but no, I better wait until my father sent me. And then he did that way.

TI: So talk about how you communicated with your family. You said before the war, you had letters that went back and forth. Then during the war, did you ever have letters...

PF: No, no, no letter, no letter. Then after the war, we started to get letter, yeah.

TI: And then so after the war, what did you father day in a letter?

PF: Oh, he says, "Just stay healthy and work hard and then I'll pick you up and get you home."

TI: Now in his letters, did he ever talk about what happened?

PF: No, no, nothing. Nothing, nothing. Because they opened the letter and you can't say nothing. You don't know what they're gonna read, so you just have to say you're healthy and you're there working, that's all.

TI: But that would be during the war, right? After the war he could say anything.

PF: No, during the war we didn't get no letter.

TI: But after the war they opened it also?

PF: Yeah, yeah, the top, they opened it. U.S. mail, they opened it.

TI: Now why... this is after the war, right? Why would they do that after the war?

PF: I don't know. The wartime we didn't get nothing, no letter. No letter, see if they're healthy or not. We didn't get no letter.

TI: Now after the war, did you ever see or meet Japanese Americans who were there during the occupation?

PF: No, no. We didn't meet nobody. We didn't meet nobody. After the war, my girlfriend came and see me, that I'm going home and she's gonna come later. And she did after.

TI: But for you, so you never worked during the occupation with Americans?

PF: No, no.

TI: So you worked in this other factory?

PF: Yeah, I worked in that.

TI: How about your sister? Did she do the same thing?

PF: No, she worked for the army. And my brother worked for the army.

TI: And what did your sister do for the army?

PF: I don't know what she did. She was [inaudible] she does home cleanup or nothing like that. 'Cause she didn't work in an office, no.

TI: And then your brother, what kind of work did he do?

PF: Yeah, he was inside... I think he was working in a snack shop at the store or something like that, yeah. They don't talk about it. We didn't talk about it too much. We didn't correspond like that, letter, no. He didn't write to me and I didn't write to him. But my sister told me, "I'm coming home," that's all. But we didn't talk to each other, letter like that, we didn't... wartime, and that time we were there in Japan, we didn't we, each was on their own, kind of like, yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Now how was it, the last couple years you were in Japan, so this is after the war, you're a young woman, you're nineteen, twenty years old...

PF: I was twenty, twenty-one, yeah.

TI: Twenty-one. So what was life like that for you? Was it a good time?

PF: Here?

TI: No, this is in Japan right before you left?

PF: Oh, yeah. Oh, I had good time. After the war, you better believe it. I was living in Osaka and Kanebo, I was working there. And then I got a job, but they couldn't give me a job because my record was good because I'd never been absent in the school, in the shop, I wasn't absent, so I got a hundred percent. But I can't read and write because we didn't learn. We were in the school, but we had to go help the farmer or help the bomb, something making, and then we didn't study. But every day I went to school, so my grade was good, so I got this job. The boss said I can't read and write. But I opened the letter, and then I have to deliver the letter to my girlfriend so they mark it. So the big shot just read the read mark. And then I served tea, that's how I got paid. But the boss, I didn't rest, so they paid me good, you know, like secretary, but I'm not a secretary. But I was helping there. And then my father sent me a letter to come home. But I was having a good time. We'd go to the station and we'd sing the song, but, yeah, and then help these older people buy the tickets and lined up. So my girlfriend buy the tickets, I help 'em, lined up, and then that was... but the streetcar man, he know that we don't have money, so he'd call us and give us a ride. So we'd go to the station, around four or five station, they'd go to the train station and we'd do that.

TI: Just helping people?

PF: Yeah, yeah, and then they'd give us money.

TI: And you said you would sing songs?

PF: Yeah, we'd sing song and everything.

TI: Why would you sing songs? What songs would you sing?

PF: Because like... you know Japanese?

TI: No, but go ahead and sing it if you want.

PF: [Sings] I sing that.

TI: And what were the words?

PF: That was like you go to the station, and the station is Umeda, and then you could walk like this with the people you like, but you can't do that. But I do like that, I sing it like that. And I like people. And we used to goof around like that, and then work time.

TI: But at the train station you would sing these songs just to make people happy and help them?

PF: Yeah, yeah, these older people. And they're nice, you know. But we don't go all the time, but weekend, sometime we'd go. And then the restaurant, too, they treat us nice. But Japan people was nice after the war. We all got friendly. And I hated to leave, but I wanted to come back.

TI: So your father finally sent a letter and he said, "Come on back."

PF: Yeah. It took me three months to do the thing.

TI: Now, was it hard to come back?

PF: No, no, I was easy because I wasn't old enough, I guess. But my brother, people, they had to have lawyer to do the paper to come back. I don't know, my father said that San Francisco, they had that, because he was the age. But like me, three months. And then my auntie want me to get married because she didn't have no children, and they adopted a person and then I'm supposed to marry him. But the war started, thank god for that. I don't have to marry him. Yeah. No, no, I don't want to marry him. But the war started, so came back. No way, I wasn't gonna marry like that. But our time right now was when I got married, they liked to introduce somebody and then you get married. And then I told my father that, no, I want to look for my own. And if nice, fine. If I don't do it, it's my fault, not your fault. So that's how I found my husband.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: You're, after three months then you got the paperwork done, and so you come back to America.

PF: Yeah.

TI: And so where did you, how did you come to America? Was it by ship or is it by plane?

PF: No, no, ships. We came. Gordon, that was Gordon boat, yeah. It looked like you were in the water all the time, Gordon, third floor. But...

TI: And then would you go to San Francisco?

PF: Yeah, San Francisco, and then my father and mother came and picked me up.

TI: Okay, so tell me when you first when saw your, you were reunited with your mother and father, how was that for you? Because it's been a long time.

PF: Yeah, ten year, almost ten year, yeah.

TI: And you probably changed a lot. You were a little girl, and now you're a young woman.

PF: Yeah. And my father said, "Oh, you didn't get sick or nothing?" I said, "No." I was there almost nine and a half year, ten year, but I tell myself I can't afford to get sick, no doctor. So he said, "Oh, yeah." And my mother was surprised, yeah. Suppose I was weak and got sick all the time? What am I gonna do? But no, I was healthy.

TI: How about your mother and father? Did they look different after all those years?

PF: Yeah, my father got older, my mother, yeah. And then I said I'm going to stay with my mother until I get married, and go help them with the farm work. That's what I was worried about, they were farmers. So I had to help 'em. But I said I don't want to marry a farmer. [Laughs]

TI: Because it's too hard work?

PF: No, but I said I want to marry somebody who got a small farm, then I could marry. But lucky I married a watch repair man, and he was college education.

TI: Well, let's keep going on this story. So you meet your mother and father, and do they have a farm in San Jose?

PF: Yeah, they were strawberry. Small, three acre or something like that, we came home to.

TI: And there were just the two of them that lived there?

PF: Yeah, two.

TI: Okay, so you come, and then did they, at that point, tell you about Heart Mountain?

PF: No, no. My mother and father didn't talk about Heart Mountain. Because they're sitting in a place that no bomb. Like me, I was sitting where the bomb is, so I think my father and mother didn't like to talk about it, what I went through. So they never asked me.

TI: Oh, so they didn't ask you about Japan?

PF: No, they don't ask. They don't ask. If I pop it out and say something, but they didn't ask me. They never asked me how every day I was living.

TI: Do you think they felt maybe a little guilty or bad that you...

PF: I don't know how they feel, but what's past, past, I say. We were home together, so we do everything together.

TI: Now how about your other brothers and sisters? So did your sister come back to America?

PF: Eight years later, those two came back.

TI: Your brother and sister.

PF: Brother and my sister came back. Then, ten years later, my sister decides to go back again, so they went back with five kids. But I told her, "You know, your kid lost ten years coming to America, now you take 'em back," and then I said, "They're not gonna study Japanese." And she said they will because mother and father is with them. And I said, "Uh-uh. Mother and father with you, but they're ten year, twenty year different now." I said, "Think about that." That's why my sister and I, we didn't get along, because they took it back. And guess what? They didn't go school, they went one year, one and a half year, and then what? They're selling tickets, lunch, and train, and none of 'em have a college education. Who they got to marry? Korean wife and somebody. And she spoiled her five kids. And then now she lost her husband and she's herself there. Nobody can help her. The kids don't like it.

TI: But for her, she wanted to go back to Japan because she liked Japan better?

PF: No, because her husband want to go back. And the husband didn't want to learn English, and he say he can't go to the bar. I said, "You don't have to know English to go to a bar." I said, "You could have good time. Why you taking your kid?" I said, "Your mother spoiled ten year, we went to Japan, and then now you're doing ten year and you're spoiling your kid." I said, "Why you do that?" But he said he want to go back, so they went back.

TI: Now going back to your story, when you came back to San Jose, did you ever see some of your old friends from before? Before you left, like classmates from school?

PF: Yeah, few, few, but they're all gone now. They're all grown up. I was short, yeah. And then I said, "Oh, look at that," I told my father, "I could be tall if I was in America." No, but my, yeah, girlfriends, yeah, because we were same age.

TI: So did they ever ask you about Japan?

PF: No, they never asked one question. They didn't say, "How was Japan," or what.

TI: Why do you think that?

PF: I don't know why they didn't ask. If they say something, I'd tell 'em, but they didn't ask me, "How was Japan?" or what. I tell 'em, if they ask me, I'd tell 'em, but yeah.

TI: How about, did you ask them, especially the Japanese American friends, did you ask them about the war years and going to maybe a camp?

PF: Camp, they went to camp, huh? I didn't ask them.

TI: Now, why didn't you ask them? [Laughs] They didn't ask you and you didn't ask them, how come?

PF: No. Yeah, I said, only thing I said, that, gee, if I was here, I wouldn't be this short, I'd be taller. Yeah, and then I said, and then I'd be educated. I missed them. We weren't going to school, I didn't go high school. That I said, oh... yeah, we didn't talk about, we hardly talk about how Japan was, how we were there. We didn't talk about it.

TI: And so what kind of work did you do in San Jose, now you're back living with your parents?

PF: Oh, I was a strawberry picker. Yeah, doing strawberry, and then I said, wow, I can't get married if my father don't quit strawberry. [Laughs] I didn't want to leave 'em there. But my sister came back from Japan and lived next to my father, so, yeah, that's right. It was good, because I was married already.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: And so tell me how you met your husband.

PF: Oh, I brought my broken watch. My boyfriend, not friend, watch, broken, so I took it to him. And then I didn't talk to him about it, but one year later, I started to go around with him.

TI: So how did you start going around? So one year later, what happened? Did he ask you for a date?

PF: Yeah, yeah, date, yeah. And then I... well, he's smart enough, that's okay. But he can't dance good, but that's all right. And then I said, one thing I told my father, that he doesn't drink that much, and I don't want to marry somebody that drink too much or gambling like that, but he doesn't do that. And then he had four sisters I found out later. [Laughs]

TI: So is that good or bad, having four sisters?

PF: The four sister, and then the mother and father, and then we had to live together. And then I said, I told my father that, "Why I have to?" Yeah, but that's all right. I could live and I could do my way. I won't be like Mom, I'm gonna drive, and I could do, so it's all right. Then his father built the house and we lived together in camp. And then I thought, "Gee, four sisters, somebody will take care of the parents," I thought. But this is America, so the daughter usually... but they never took the parents to their home. And I said, "Gee, it's funny," because all the daughter does that. And that's all right. Yeah, when the four get together, they all talk together, and then I'm there, and then when it comes to my husband, they let the girl be all the boss. And then when it comes to my husband, he's a man, so my mother-in-law says he's got to be the boss. And then she let her girl all be the boss. But it didn't bother me, that's not gonna bother me. So I said as long as Mr. and Mrs., I'll never be the Mr. When they changed that "Mrs. and Mr.," then it's all right. That don't bother me. Then I could go out when I want to go out, and then my girlfriends say, "Hey, Peggy, you're making more noise backing up than with your high heels." Well, I hate to wear my high heels in the house because my mother-in-law and father-in-law could tell I'm gonna go out. So I take the shoe and go outside and put it on. But when I back the car, he's right there by the garage sitting down, my father-in-law. And then he know where I'm going.

TI: Because you're going to go, what, dancing?

PF: No, no, we'd go out and have lunch and this and that. But sometimes when I go out with my husband, we'd go restaurant, and then her and her husband stayed there, and then we'd go out the liquor side and go to the bar, Bamboo 7. And then the bartender knew me because I was in sixth grade and he was there, too. And so I know him. He said, "Oh, Peggy, you could dance with him." And I said okay, then we danced, and then I took my husband there one time, and then he stands up and says, "She doesn't know how to dance." Then I can't dance with nobody. So I said, "No, no, we're not taking our husbands, we leave 'em there at the restaurant." And then my husband said, "How come you took so long?" "Well, there was only two hole in the bathroom." And then he says, "Oh." [Laughs] And then I tell my girlfriend, "Hey, we got to go, we got to go." She look at the time and she said, "One more dance." I said, "Okay, then dance." Then we go home. Her husband is a little bit like that, he can't dance too good, but he dances. But we used to have fun with my girlfriend.

TI: Oh, so you liked to dance. Now, your girlfriend, did she also live in Japan, too?

PF: No, no, she didn't, she's American. I met her when my son was in kindergarten, so I knew her years. And then she was my best girlfriend. Yeah, she passed away three years ago.

TI: That's sad.

PF: Yeah. And then all my girlfriend that we used to go out with, they're not here no more, they passed away. But I had fun. My girlfriend said, "You go out?" I said, "Oh, yeah." I said, "I don't want to do, break the family, go around with your husband like that, I don't want to do that." But I did waitress six months, Okayama Restaurant I worked. And then that time, this girl was going around with this Caucasian, and then I said, "No, that's not nice." And I said, "She got two girls." But I said, "We're not doing that, we don't break up the family," so I said, "That's not nice, going out with this and that." And then one lady was going around, and she had a baby, too. And I said, "Uh-uh, that's not nice." I told my girlfriend, "We're not doing that, we're not breaking people's husbands like that." So when I go to the bar, said, "Peggy, that's all right, you could dance with..." okay, okay.

One time, my husband used to do that dance, Bon Odori dance, and touch the record, and somebody gave him noodle tickets, two ticket, and he was looking for me, but I was at the bar. Somebody in the bar was there, said, "Oh, she's in the bar." My husband came and he said, "Get out." So I had to get out with my girlfriend. But that was an Italian girl, she was with me, and she said, "Boy, your husband got mad." I said, "Yeah." I said, "I wonder who it was." But you don't know this Japantown, everybody know everything. Yeah, you can't go out. Because we were going bowling alley, and my girlfriend and I, we said, "You hit a strike and we'll buy you a drink." And we're doing that, somebody walked back of me and told my husband. And he was working that time, nine o'clock, but they said, "Peggy, you got two drinks." How do he know? He's working. Somebody walked back of me, told Bill, said, "Peggy got two drinks." Hey, you can't do nothing here. Everybody watching you. And then when I was walking to my husband's -- I live on Second -- and I walked to my husband's store, how do he know I'm coming? He's right there on the front door, standing up, waiting for me to come. Somebody in that Jackson called and let my husband know I'm coming.

TI: Now would that be very, is that different than what, if you stayed in Japan, would that be similar do you think?

PF: No.

TI: So Japantown here is different, kind of.

PF: Yeah, yeah.

TI: People really kind of watch...

PF: Watch. You don't know who's watching, though, that's it. You can't do... boy, I'm telling you, you can't do nothing. But I said, I have to learn how to drive and I got to go where I want to go. That's what I decided, so when I was married... but you know, my husband and I, we never argue, we never fight. But after he had the stroke, he got this way. He doesn't know he did sixty year of working...

TI: Right, he had the stroke.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: So, Peggy, can I ask you just quickly about your children? So how many children...

PF: [Laughs] I got three.

TI: And so can you give me the names?

PF: Boy, Kennet.

TI: Right.

PF: Kennet, Ken. And the girl, Jennet. You spell the "Kennet" way, but take the "J" and "K" out. And you spell the same way. And then May, Jennet May. And then the last one is Fay Lee.

TI: So there are four kids?

PF: No, three.

TI: Kennet, Jennet...

PF: Kennet, Jennet...

TI: And May.

PF: Fay. No, Jennet May.

TI: Okay.

PF: See I had 'em all apart, so I could enjoy each kid.

TI: How many years apart for each one?

PF: The first one is three and nine months.

TI: Okay.

PF: And then they're seven year apart, the last ones are seven year.

TI: So you had more time...

PF: Each one I could enjoy. See, I played cowboy and everything with my son, then he got three and nine month and I had the next one. But the next one started to walk early, so, but she's the bossy one, yeah. [Laughs]

TI: [Laughs] Okay. So I finished all my questions, is there anything else you want to say, a story or anything that maybe you want to share before we finish the interview?

PF: No. That's my life. [Laughs]

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.