[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]
<Begin Segment 1>
BN: Today is April 23, 2012, and we're here at the Tea House at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. And I wanted to start by asking you about your parents, if you could tell me a little bit about...
SI: My parents?
BN: Yeah, their names and...
SI: Okay. My father's name is Ryoki Kashima. My mother's name is Fumi Kashima.
BN: And where were they from, where were they born?
SI: They're born Okinawa, same village.
BN: Which, the name of the village is?
SI: That's Kanegusuku Ahagon, that's Shimajiri, that means north side. They're born same village, my mother and father. They know each other when smaller school time, they know each other. Actually, they are related also. [Laughs]
BN: Which was pretty common at that time. What did their families do?
SI: They was farmer, making the vegetable and potatoes and have a rice spot. So when I was small time, I was also helping. Those days we had to put on the head, carry to the breakfast, lunch, and early in the morning, give to them breakfast and send to the farm, whatever they plant the what you call, rice, and I had to cook at home and carry those for workers lunch, put on the head, carry to the, how many miles? Maybe one mile carried to bring to that for their lunch.
BN: How many workers were there?
SI: Maybe about ten, around there. The families and friends, relatives, they're all helpers.
BN: So it's a lot of lunches.
SI: Yes. [Laughs]
BN: How big was the farm? How big was the farm that your family had?
SI: Gee, kind of big, though, acres... not all one place there, different place. Maybe one place, three, four acres, they moved to the other side, not all any one place.
BN: I see. Where were you in the birth order with your brothers and sisters?
SI: We are same village there, my brothers, same village, I born same place at my mother's, my father's same place, same village.
BN: And how many brothers and sisters did you have?
SI: I have six brothers and two sisters.
BN: And where were you in the order?
SI: Above the... my big sisters, two big brothers. I'm next to them, and bottom... so three brothers, and my nephew's also together, living together.
BN: So you're kind of in the middle.
SI: Yes, I was, below my sisters.
<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 2>
BN: And you remember working on the farm as a child?
BN: Everybody did. Did pretty much everyone in the village also do farming?
SI: Oh, yes, all farmed. They helped each other.
BN: How big was the village? About how many families?
SI: That's, my village was kind of big, though. Actually... I'm sorry, I don't know. My village was kind of big. Eight village combine to the one school, so it's kind of big.
BN: Can you tell me about the school that you went to?
SI: I went to the school, the Kanegu school those days is, now called shogakkou, but those days, different... I got to think about this. [Laughs] Oh, see, long time, so I don't use the word. [Laughs]
BN: That's okay. More what do you remember about it? What kinds of things did you, what kinds of subjects did you learn?
SI: Oh, lesson it was doing all Japanese, reading, writing, speaking, and the shakaika, we have to learn the history and when come to the fifth grade, sixth grade, we're learning the sewing. And when war come, which I trying to go in another high school, which I applied and sent to my application, but we never have chance to go the test. But I never, even the test, but it come to me that, "you pass." I said, "I didn't go the test, how can it be I'm passed?" [Laughs] It was war, we don't have chance to go to there. And the school was, Japan army took over our school, so we have to study bottom of the trees. No chairs, no tables, we're sitting on the ground, we go study that.
BN: This is during the war period?
SI: Yes. I was, those days, sixth grade.
Off camera: Your school hours were long, too.
SI: Yes. Only Monday to Friday, that's long hour, Saturday was only half day.
BN: So you went six days.
SI: Yeah, long hours those days.
BN: Like from when to when?
SI: Eight o'clock start, those days four o'clock finish.
BN: Wow, that's a long day.
SI: Yes, long days. They called it hachijikan, eight hours.
BN: Now, the school was all taught in Japanese, right?
BN: Did your family speak Japanese?
SI: All Japanese or Okinawan.
BN: At home, which language did you speak?
SI: Okinawan. That's called hougen.
BN: And then at school you were taught in Japanese?
SI: Go to the, yes, Japanese.
BN: Did your parents speak Japanese well?
SI: Oh, yes, my parents can speak. But only thing, Grandma and Grandpa, they cannot speak. My grandpa and grandma was, when I was before school they passed away so I don't remember them.
BN: But your parents went to school during the time they were... it was already taught in Japanese.
BN: But they also spoke Okinawan?
BN: And you did also?
BN: What about amongst your friends and your siblings? What language did you speak?
SI: We're talking about, at school we're talking the Japanese language, but when we come home, we talk about, they call it hougen, Okinawan, they speak a different way.
<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 3>
BN: Did you travel, ever travel much outside of your village, or did you pretty much stay? This is before the war.
SI: We have, those days we have, only just, we called it picnic, but we called it, in Japan, ensoku. So we had to bring to the, make own bento, teachers bring. Actually, next village or school, we're walking to go the next school. That's for we're visiting. But those days, we were so happy going out from the school.
BN: So this was a school activity?
SI: Yes, yes.
BN: In school, did you learn much about the rest of the world, about the west Europe and United States, and was it mostly focused on...
SI: Yes, those days was teaching at school, when war start, the school teaching to us, "Never speak to them. When you see them, you have to go run away, because when they catch you, they're going to cut you." So we were so scared. That's what the teaching was. In the morning, we all, before start school, everybody together on the ground.
BN: And the "they" is Westerners? I mean, the people that you were taught to be scared of would be just Westerners, European Americans?
SI: Oh, that's because they were teaching, in those days, teaching we were so afraid, scared.
BN: Was there a sense of... I mean, what was the attitude towards the Japanese from mainland Japan? I mean, was there any sort of...
SI: I'm sorry?
BN: Yeah, I'm asking about, because Japan kind of occupied Okinawa, and I'm wondering if amongst your village, amongst your friends, what their attitude towards people from Japan was, if there was a resentment or they were treated like everybody else or if there was fear?
SI: Oh, because those days is the war coming, they knew was war come to Okinawa, really strong kind, so they're trying to save their student, the young people. They have to send to the... but who would volunteer one day to go, go put in all, to send to Japan. But when Miyazaki and Kumamoto, most of the students went to there, go there to, trying to save the young student. Most of, those days, fifth grade, sixth grade, they're trying to save the student to there, keep 'em there. But one ship was, went before war reached to there, one drowned in the ocean. Some cannot reach to the Japan.
BN: And this is, this would be during the...
SI: The wartime, yes.
BN: At what point, or how old were you when...
SI: This, I was twelve years? Oh, no, thirteen, sixth grade.
BN: I see. That's when the war came directly to Okinawa.
SI: The war starting to the Okinawa, I was sixth grade, October 10th. And those days, we never see the airplane. So American airplane going to the city side, they're going there, going to go out. We thought this is Japan plane, hi, hi, we're so happy, so we're raising our hand, all went outside. But this was an American airplane. We never think about that. First time we see that, that started, they called kuushuu, all city side, was leaving the country. At that time, Naha, all going to be all burned.
<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 4>
BN: We're gonna come back to the wartime, but I want to ask you a couple more questions about before the war.
SI: Just the beginning, starting...
BN: Yeah, so we'll come back to that. But I wanted to ask you about the food. What kinds of... this is before the war now, not after. What kinds of food did you eat?
SI: Those days was, country was most of the potato, rice and potato, but country had most important, potato was. Of course, it has rice. We went into the school, slice the potato and put it inside a lunchbox, and try to make them nice to show, that's how they're making the lunch, slice the potato.
BN: Did you eat any kind of meat?
SI: Those days, we had the farm so we had, you know, pork, and then we're trying to keep 'em salt, those days, no refridge, so the salt keep 'em from... putting the salt. Because farm have the pig and, what you call, that chicken and young sheep. So we have the, keeping with us, they call it shiomomi, salt to keep 'em sent to the, family go to the, study at Japan, sent to that Japan.
BN: And you mentioned earlier that you would help prepare lunches for the workers, similar kind of food?
SI: Yeah, mostly we would make 'em... those days, the farm is enough to have enough food, 'cause we raised all the chicken and pigs.
BN: So you, on your own farm you had the animals that you would raise to eat. So you knew how to prepare the animals for...
SI: But I don't know how to kill 'em. My mother had to do it. [Laughs]
BN: You had someone else do it.
SI: My mother had to do it.
BN: That's one kind of knowledge that has been lost in the last couple generations. Our parents' generation all knew how to kill chickens, and our generation was completely hopeless. Were there, did your family attend churches or temples, any kind of religion?
SI: Those days, Okinawa, most of, really respect our past, they called it Senzo, Okinawa, most people respect that past. That's all, we never go the church. That's how many generation all put on the senkou in the morning, always change the water and the prayer. Okinawa was believe in that, so we're growing up that. In the morning put that, evening put that senkou.
BN: What were some of the big celebrations or occasions?
SI: Oh, big celebration is mostly New Year and Obon, right.
BN: What kinds of things would you do for New Year's?
SI: Oh, we would make our own tofu, mochi. I used to make 'em, sixth grade I had to make that rice bean. They're called usu, and take all the... what you call, wind to go take out the water and soak 'em in the water and make tofu. I started from sixth grade, I make all my own tofu. [Laughs] That's we had to do, make 'em own.
BN: Did you visit other families New Year's?
SI: Oh, yes. All the relative come together, go and visit to the close relative and friends, and we'd play the... what you call that one?
BN: Oh, the...
SI: You know that one?
BN: The ball and the paddle... what is that called? [Laughs] I don't remember either.
SI: Yes, to do the play together.
BN: I'll think of it in about two hours. And what about during the Obon time?
SI: Obon time, we have to be, go to the farm, sugar cane, cut the long one, put it on the... they called it senzo, that's for the, there's going to come to the family, so tsue, that means a stick to hold to the walk, that long one. Butsudan was big, so both side two each, and [inaudible] for the, call it gosenzo. And all the food is, all cook and put it on the senzo first, after we go to eat.
BN: Did you do the kind of Bon dance that they do in Hawaii?
SI: Yes, we did do that, going to Jikoen, yes.
BN: Is it similar? Is it the same or similar, what they do at Jikoen to what you did when you were in Okinawa? Similar?
BN: But it was just, it was just in July, whenever...
SI: July, and we have August, but we never have August, only for the... where was this? I forgot, long time we never have this kind. But most important is gosenzo, the dry. August one, not too much.
<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 5>
BN: What other kinds of things did you do when you were a child just for fun with your friends? Fishing or sports or movies? What kinds of other things?
SI: We played volleyball.
SI: Yeah, all together. Most of, play with, [inaudible] called ball, you know, maruyasobi, different kind ball, the play kind of thing, long time, we never see this kind now. Play with that.
Off camera: Once a year they had undou.
SI: Undoukai, oh, that the best one, the undoukai. This is October. Yes, undoukai.
BN: Was that at the school?
SI: At the school. All the village, too, they challenge it.
BN: What kinds of games or events do you remember from the undoukai?
SI: Oh, the relay.
BN: This is running relay?
SI: Yes. Form a group and then challenge.
Off camera: Water sport?
SI: No, we never had water sport.
Off camera: Swimming?
SI: No, water sport we never had.
BN: Were you close to the beach?
SI: Only beach is only friends to go and swim, only go down to the... oh, that's right, you said beach. March come, they called it Hamori Day, go to down the, we pick up any kind of... that's right. Long time I never see this kind. All come, water gonna come low, and we go to pick 'em up or dig 'em... I forgot that name. What you call the pokey one?
BN: Oh, sea urchin.
SI: And the inside was so... oh, I forgot the name. You open this, you can eat the roe...
BN: Oh, right. Sea anemone or sea urchin?
SI: I forgot the name.
BN: How far away was the beach? Walking distance?
SI: About one mile.
BN: So pretty close. To kind of transition to the war period, I'm wondering, before the war actually came to Okinawa, I'm wondering, did your village start to feel the effects of the war in other ways? Like I'm wondering, for instance, did men of the village get kind of drafted into the army?
SI: Oh, yes, uh-huh.
BN: So you started to see a lot of the young men...
SI: That time, well, okay, they called bokugou, they got to dig this underground, and we're going to hide in there in case kuushuu they come.
BN: Like a shelter.
SI: Yes, inside there. Long time this is... that time I never have our village. The time we went to the, you know, the, they called it Yanbaru, our side, war going to be strong so we tried, my father said, "Try save the children, go to the other side." Actually, I never do, our village, hide too much inside there. Most of the time live in the so-called north side already. Oh, I'm sorry. So they called it Yanbaru, we have to be... my father said we got to be, save the children, so we had to move to there. After that, we moved to the sokai, and then war coming strong. When we went to sokai there, they said, "You folks going to bring to the war, bring it over here." [Laughs] We got scolding.
<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 6>
BN: Now, how... when the actual war, Battle of Okinawa begins, where were you in relation to, I mean, what part of the island were you in relation to where the main battles were being fought?
SI: We called Yanbaru... wait.
Off camera: [inaudible] is north.
SI: Yeah, so we go, move to the south side.
Off camera: They were heavier in their area, the village.
BN: So you're escaping to the south.
SI: Trying to save to over there, have more jungle. So we went to move to there. My family, my two brothers hold responsibility for that, we moved to the...
BN: How much notice, or how quickly did this occur? Did you have to move within just a couple hours and have everything and go, or you had some warming?
SI: Oh, no. Those days, our group is big, so we went to go in the truck, they hire, I don't know how many truck. [Laughs] Because our group is over seventy, so big, not going to the bus, we went to go to truck. Because so much luggage, two whole family.
BN: So you had a few days to gather up your belongings?
SI: All pack, just like moving, the whole family moving to the, we call it Yanbaru.
BN: How did you find out? I mean, who told you to evacuate?
SI: Oh, no. Those days, the government and trying to save the children of, they call it minkan, the whole group that could go. My brother, two brothers, responsibility. My father said... my brothers, they didn't want to go because their age is, my two young brother was, age was trying to help the government. So they didn't want to go, but my father said, "No, you have the responsibility to this group, bring to the safe place. So you have to take them to..." wait, I mixed up. Yes, they called it Yanbaru, south side, we're going to move to there.
BN: So you said something like seventy-eight or something from your village?
SI: Yes, yes, the village.
BN: And you got into trucks, and then...
SI: Truck, yeah, because all of, too many luggage, families, seems like family moving to the south side. So my brothers, two brothers. The time was... after war, that's the Shima Kiyoshi-san, he's a really big shot senator, came to the, went to move to Japan, he came to center. He was taking over two... our parents was too old already for them, so he's going to take care for them, there was grouped together with us to the south side.
BN: How much were you allowed to take, or how much could you take? Yeah, how much of your belongings could you take with you? What did you have to leave behind?
SI: Only in our... couple of months' canned food, and families... because we would live over there, so blanket, everything, kind of big luggage. I don't know how many those, those kind, my brother, them going to be my big sister, my two brothers, taking care of all that.
BN: You have to leave some things behind?
SI: Oh, yes, because my father have to stay the home. My father have to stay watching.
BN: I see. So the family without the father left.
SI: Yes. Father have to watch the home, so my father said that two big brothers have the responsibility for the, take care of those, all groups.
BN: Right, because he's staying behind.
BN: Where did they take you then? You have your belongings, you're getting in the trucks, and then where did you end up?
SI: Oh, okay. We went to the south, we have to look for the, where live in the house. They was ready for one cottage already, when reach there, for my family was all one cottage. Some, not same houses, each different houses... my family take the one cottage was. That time we was appreciated because only for my family for that.
<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 7>
BN: About how far, do you remember how far you traveled?
SI: Oh, mileage?
BN: Well, not necessarily mileage, but even just time. Couple hours?
SI: Oh, no, all day long.
BN: Oh, all day?
SI: Yes, all day long. Because this north to the south, end to end, so all day long.
BN: So quite a... you moved pretty far.
SI: More than, yes.
BN: And then the place you moved to, is it like a camp or is it just houses?
SI: We was, get houses.
BN: Like a town, another town.
SI: Yes. Not camp, was houses. When we was there, I think it went to there March, and April 1st, Americans, they came over Okinawa and they came. So they were getting, "Oh, you folks bring, enemy bring over here." [Laughs] One month later they did.
BN: So you were there for about a month.
SI: Yes. And we have to be there in the jungle. Only one month there.
BN: So for that month, were you provided for with food and so forth?
SI: Oh, yes, because we went, bring at that time, bring from our own things.
BN: You brought your own.
SI: But after that, we went, the war coming more strong, we'd have to go into the jungle. [Laughs] And then after that, go to, in the jungle, my brothers and my big sisters, they have to go get, sometimes go get the vegetable.
BN: When you kind of left and escaped into the jungle, you stayed together, though, your group of seventy-eight?
SI: Yes, all together. So they have to be, cut the bushes and make temporary houses, make own, each family make own.
BN: So you kind of created your own shelter.
SI: Yes. Make 'em own.
BN: And you foraged or looked for food?
SI: But still we have to keep 'em for rice, just like our trade for that.
BN: And then the other day you were talking about a couple of occasions, you mentioned you hid for a time in a grave?
SI: Oh, yes, that's right. Oh, the time, when we... before we want to go in the jungle, we don't have, we don't have, we moved to the south, we don't know where to get the cave, so we opened the grave. Grave door is about half of this tatami, half of that, and then we go inside, everybody hide, how many hours.
BN: It was big enough that everybody could fit inside?
SI: Yes, everyone inside there. We don't have the cave, went to the south side of Sokai, we don't know where to go, so we're inside. All the people said, "No more place, you folks got to hide inside." [Laughs] But all jichan, bachan got to pray first. "Gomen nasai, gomen nasai." Go inside there.
BN: And how long did you have to hide in there?
SI: Only maybe a couple of hours, until the airplane, Kushu, going to be quiet, then we go out.
Off camera: Is that on your way to the mountains?
SI: No, no, this only, before go mountains. Before go jungle that happened, Kushu. And then this Kushu too much strong, we cannot stay there, so we went to go in the jungle. Too many, you know, every time go Kushu, this and that. We're going to the, went to the jungle... went to hide in the jungle where, up side of mountain. So we can see the American soldiers coming to the... what you call it? The south side, starting from, take over the south side. We can see there was ocean there, all coming up.
Off camera: See them land? Land on the beach?
SI: Yeah, we can see, it was high, they're coming.
BN: And you were, at that time, still very scared of the American soldiers?
SI: Oh, still scared those days, because how was teaching it at school, never, never go them, they're going to cut you. At school they're teaching that.
BN: So how long were you kind of in the jungle trying to...
SI: Jungle, oh, about three month, I think, the jungle. Not in one place, always going to be move around, more war come strong, move to more inside. Cannot stay in one place. Because when we was low side of jungle, one day the American soldiers came to the... stay over here. One old man know how to speak English, because he came from the Hawaii, Shima Kiyoshi-san's father was, know how to talk to them. So they're trying to. They're trying to, taking us to the camp, American soldier. That's, old man talk to the... "you please came back, ready for tomorrow, so please come back tomorrow. We're not going today." They believe, okay, they'll come tomorrow. But they went out, American soldiers go out, want to go another jungle to run away. So American soldiers, they get mad, burned there, all it was, make 'em, each temporary kind houses, they all burned it. Because the old man talked to them, "Come tomorrow." But come tomorrow, we're going to go away from there, so they would get mad. And then we cannot stay, so we got to move to the different place. One man was, know how to speak language for us.
BN: He was the only one, though?
SI: Yes, only one person.
BN: Who had come to Hawaii.
BN: You mentioned a couple times that you said one of your brothers was...
SI: Oh, that's after, way after. Went to go in the, go hide in the jungle, go inside, more inside. That was the daytime, three men, this is the other family's father, they have three men, bang, bang, bang, my brothers heard that. But the time, I was small, so I never hear, but my brother heard that. He was taking, always carried my sister in his back. He put that in the bushes, he going to hide. Those days, back in the war, bushes inside, they are so, he hide 'em inside, and the American soldier step, he hide underneath, and his legs, step his leg, but they don't know what is that, the shoes, the soldier's shoes. So he stepped, American soldier stopped on my brother's feet, but they don't know who's hiding in there. So my brother was safe. But three men, the same time, they killed the three guys.
BN: The three members of your group.
SI: That time my brother was hiding, step only. His feet, "Oh, this was American, big guy, step on my feet, and I was so..." you know, can't scream or anything, just hiding in there. He was talk story that. But us, we don't know nothing, we're so small.
BN: What was the... well, I'm sure you were scared, but what were you thinking, what were you feeling during this time?
SI: Oh, those days, that time was most of the... sometimes only get musubi only, rice, only musubi. Sometimes, nighttime come, my brothers, big sisters, they're going down to the... those days, you don't know who's friend or not. Because have to, they come get the potato and vegetable for survive. They always group together and go, evening go down the village to go get the food. Oh, I think those days, my mother was... you know, the cheese, he was carrying, so happy to carry this, she thought this is soap. And my big brother said, "Mom, what you carry that for?" "Oh, soap, I found soap, so happy. I found the soap." He saw my big brother. That time, my big brother was, he know how to read English. So, "Mom, this is not soap. No, that's not soap, sagashite kita, no good, going to throw away." My brother said, "No, you no can eat kind. Go throw away." She was carrying for this soap, wash the soap. [Laughs] The triangle ones, he thought this is soap.
BN: What was it?
BN: Oh, cheese.
SI: You know, after the American soldier hiding there, and they move, the cheese was, my mother found that cheese from there.
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<Begin Segment 8>
BN: So you were about three months...
SI: Three months we was stay in the jungle, and no more food, no more food, and so more, each days we're going to be more inside, more getting to the deeper side, deeper side. So one day, okay, this is... American soldier, he was high-ranking, he was looking for our group. This is Shima Kiyoshi-san, now he came the really, Japan moved to the senator, but those days, he take care of our group. He was carry something, Japan soldier asking to him, just give to me because they don't have food for, he wanted that. But he said, "No, this is for my family, we cannot give you that." They give gun to Mr. Shima-san, wife come scared, oh, he's so beautiful lady, she came from Tokyo. She's standing, husband, "Oh, you kill my husband, you kill me," she stand like this in front of the husband. "You kill my husband, kill me," like this. And the soldier came scared, she's so pretty. After that, soldier came scared she's going make like this, and he realized that, what he's doing, and then after that he came to really friend with Shima-san, they shake hand together. Get really good friend, just like brothers, close together. After that, they always take care of us, lead us, go to that, always where the safety place where dangers, they check first and move to the, which side. The safety place, they're looking for the Shima-san, him always looking for that.
After, I think, three months, long time, everybody, whatever we carry, the saving, is not enough. Everybody, not enough food. So Shima-san, soldiers, two, they said, "We stay over here, and not enough food. Instead of you die in this kind of jungle, the camp, so safety over there." They went and check all which side the camp is good. We went to Ishikawa side, safety there, so safety, so we're going to the, down the, surrender ourselves. Nobody come to our, because surrender was, have to go all mountain, whole high mountain. Two of them, to check where the safety side, so high mountain, we got one each to slide from mountain to slide one. So safety side, one, one, one, they check in, "Okay, you go down, you go down." Over seventy people, one head, one head, all down. Went to the Ishikawa side, all group together. So when reach to the camp, American soldier come to all the, so hard, so they're sorry for us, so they bring the water. Oh, big tank, carry the whole heavy, "Oh, go drink water," they put inside a paper cup, bring the water. Old man said, "Oh, no, don't drink, that's poison, you know, don't drink. That's poison. No, no, no, don't drink." And American soldier, he know already, so, "Oh, okay," then he going to drink like this. Everybody, "Oh, okay," because so hot and thirsty. Everybody, "Thank you, thank you," old man said, "Arigato gozaimasu," like this after that. "Thank you, thank you," we were so happy that time. Because when... why they, the teaching was that's so bad, and they're making to us, so nice, so the old man said, "Oh, arigato, arigato, arigato." Teaching, and they're doing complete different way. So everybody's so happy.
BN: It's like the American soldiers knew that you were scared of them.
SI: Teaching, and that is a really complete different way. So everybody, "Arigato, arigato gozaimasu." Oh, how come they're so nice? Thank you, thank you. After that they go like this, "Thank you, thank you." They so appreciated, teaching to, all complete different way. All complete different way. The teaching was so bad, everything scared kind. [Laughs]
BN: So the place that you went to -- this is like...
SI: Ishikawa, middle of Okinawa, long like this. But middle, Okinawa is long like this, middle. Ishikawa, we went and stayed there.
BN: And this was like, had been made into like a camp, like a refugee camp?
SI: It was camp, yes, tent kind camp, tent.
BN: Just to back up now, when your group left your village, you said your father stayed behind.
SI: Oh, my father was behind. We went to the Ishikawa... we went to the, come down from the mountain Ishikawa together, and the camp, they give us the tent, all one family section, small, but the one section all each other. So we know where we're living over here. At that time, my father come to visit us. Oh, my sister was so surprised, "How he knows we stay over here?" Because we think the father stayed up Shimajiri, but we stayed Nakagami, middle of Okinawa. "How come he stayed over here," and then have here, be in the POW, over here. What is that? [Laughs]
BN: So he was captured.
SI: He was, the leaders was over there. So taking care of all, this group. But we didn't know that way until come. So Father was more, already, than us, when he was there.
BN: And then you were reunited.
SI: Yes. I said, "How he find out we stay over here?" That was a surprise. That's the time the family all come together.
<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 9>
BN: So the time that you were in the jungle, you didn't know what has happened?
SI: No, no.
SI: When come to Ishikawa and father come to visit us.
BN: So you were surprised.
SI: Oh, long time, six months already, that time when we see the father.
BN: So your whole family...
SI: Together already, the time.
SI: But the place is small, so my father went back to his place. And after that, I don't know how long was in this Ishikawa. After how long was over here? And after that, they sent to us the own place. But those days, our house, home is all burned, we don't have a house already. Get our own place, but no more houses. So went to, they sent to us one place, same group, different house to different house, we're trying to live there. But village is all our sonjin, same group. But cannot live together, only one house, so all divided, which house is go to, but everybody share each other one house. How many families in one house? Maybe ten families.
BN: So very crowded. When you were at Ishikawa, was the battle still going on, or was the battle over or was still going on someplace else?
SI: No, it was a small... finish already.
BN: War was over.
SI: Yeah, over. After finish, Ishikawa, after that, they sent to us our, trying own village, but no more house, so the one place, we got to stay, one place.
BN: So where did they send you?
SI: Ishikawa to the... we stayed middle of Okinawa, south and middle and north side, they sent to us north side.
Off camera: Back to your village?
SI: Yeah, but we don't have the house, burned, so mostly we stayed... it wasn't stayed not too long.
BN: But you stayed in another village or nearby?
SI: A different, nearby. Not own village but nearby the own, yes. Called same, they called it same Kanegusuku, all the same group, but different village.
BN: And you stayed together with the same group that you escaped with?
SI: Yeah. We stayed the same house as my other aunties, them all... yeah, all share, share kind.
BN: Was your village then rebuilt at some point?
SI: I don't know how long was there, but anyway, come to the own village, but we don't have the house. But we have no more house, but some... Monoki, this one small kind... just put on top of the tent, and have enough to... my auntie's family was getting together with them, come to the place, but so small. We don't have the houses, so we have to make 'em together, everybody crowded to sleep in there. Just like Monoki kind, I was...
BN: How long did that go on?
SI: Not too long. No more even one month. And my auntie, them go trying to go own place, the temporary kind of houses, make 'em, everybody... those days, uncle, them all come home, so everybody help each other, so they went their own place. And my place, the temporary kind of house, they make 'em.
BN: Were you able to start going back to school?
SI: No. After that, how long takes to go back to school? Oh, the time I have to go, I have the note came from, my pass, so I have to go Itoman High School. So how many miles I go walk to there? Everybody... anyway, school is no more table, no more chairs, you have to sitting down, and typhoon come, the building is so weak so knock 'em down. We have to carry the grass, you know, the tall grass, cut 'em the mountain, we have to put back, my back, go walk to the... how many miles? Go to the [inaudible]. Go to the high school, Itoman, walk to carry the grass. Because make 'em build the own school. Because those days no more chair, no more table.
BN: So you had to build your own.
SI: Yeah, build own. [Laughs] Those days, country people, everybody having to carry the grass go to there.
Off camera: The sand, the dirt?
SI: Dirt, yeah. They said we're gonna use it. Because no more notebook.
BN: And then when did you... was your family eventually able to build a new house?
SI: That time when I go to the school time, temporary, we want to come back to the own house, but the house not coming yet. Only make own temporary kind. And after that, make 'em, only temporary, got to make 'em good, big, use the tents.
Off camera: Nannen gurai?
SI: No, not nen, only a couple of months.
Off camera: And then you built your new house.
SI: Yeah, only a couple of months.
BN: It was like a tent or something?
BN: Now was it on the same, in the same place as the old house?
SI: Yeah, the same house.
BN: So the same area.
SI: Uh-huh. Because get water, everything get our own place.
BN: Was the family able to start farming again?
SI: First thing they go do the farmwork. [Laughs]
BN: So you were able to start growing your own food and so on. How were things different after the war, then, from before? What were the main things that had changed? Or did it go back to being a lot like it was?
SI: Oh, beginning was all, same way, too. After that, all come back to the, wasn't change, but beginning you have to be the, the farm is all same way to do 'em.
BN: I mean, did pretty much everyone from the village come back, or did some people not come back?
SI: Most of them, they come back, but some make their own, build a house, try to make own house, because all the houses are, everybody all burned it, you know, no more houses. How long takes? Because make 'em, the house was important, so no more, even six months, they started own house, the build.
BN: And recovered fairly quickly.
SI: Yeah, quickly. But only thing, at the time, we got to wait for the, look for the carpenter. [Laughs]
<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 10>
BN: Now did you, so you're back in your house, new house, and you're going to school, what did you do after you finished school?
SI: After school I went to the... before I go work, the first one I went to my father's friend's store, helped there. I don't know how long I was there, maybe six months, helped the store. And I went out to the... oh, I think... I went out Itoman city, I want go to help the... not the countryside, the city side, the help in my father's friend's store, help, and I met the one, my friend, and he interest me go to the, his place, this Naha... American, the soldiers' place. The Chinese was owner, owned shoe store. I went work over there. That was, I think he took me go to... you know the gun no shigoto. What's that one name? Naha? Those days, the [inaudible] Naha now. This is American soldier place, that I'm working for there. The Chinese man was the owner. And he talking to Japanese, I don't know. [Laughs] We're not talking, just working. We're not talking, because I don't know, I don't understand what he talking. Yeah, he's Chinese. But I wasn't working there too long. After that, where I working? Oh, after that I think I went quit over there. After that I go teach kindergarten. [Laughs] I quit over there.
BN: And you taught the kindergarten back in your village?
SI: Yeah, I teach in the kindergarten.
BN: Did you have much interaction with Americans in the years after the war? Did you see or, I mean...
SI: I was working inside American...
BN: For the Chinese?
SI: Yeah. This is inside.
BN: So it was on a, on the base?
SI: Yeah, in the base, in the base.
BN: But in your village, did you see, were there...
SI: No, we don't see.
BN: Not really, okay.
<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 11>
SI: Where the country is, I don't see any.
BN: You mentioned that there was the one person in your village who had been to Hawaii before.
SI: Oh, I come to here.
BN: No, I'm wondering if during, after the war, there was any kind of...
SI: Oh, because when I work into the store, working for, with the... this is my husband's cousin. She was a maid over there. I was working store, she was maid, so she would cook and clean the house, and just like she come, my big sister-like, I became friends with her, really friendly. And after I quit over there, she, "Come to, oh, asobi ni kita de." My husband came to the Hawaii to visit the family. He was six months stayed Okinawa was. You know, go back, come back to Hawaii, he taking time to, he get time, so my friend, "Oh, let's go play someplace," and then we will catch the bus, her, myself, and that time, my husband. That time, he's cousin, I don't know the time was, catch the bus and walk around. And then after he come back over here, oh, no, he was six months, we come to the friend, together, we were married. After marriage, and come over here, and I make three time, I think. Marriage celebration at Okinawa, and come over here. [Laughs] Then because he got interest everybody, they invited.
BN: So you got married in...
SI: At Okinawa.
BN: In Okinawa.
SI: Those days, ryojikan, we got married Okinawa. No, ryojikan. Naha... we got married at the Naha no ryojikan, marriage, then we go take picture over there.
BN: How long... so you met him through your friend. How long, how long went by before you ended up getting married? Because he went back to Hawaii, right?
SI: Six months.
BN: Six months?
Off camera: And then he came back. You came to Hawaii with him.
BN: And had you ever been away from Okinawa before?
BN: So this was the first... so you didn't know anyone in Hawaii either, or did you?
SI: Oh, my auntie.
BN: Oh, your auntie was...
SI: My auntie was waiting for me, '57, that time, her birthday, she was so happy, November. "Oh, thank you, my birthday, you came over here." [Laughs]
Off camera: You also came over... when you came, you came over with some friends that made Auntie...
SI: Hiroko? Same airplane? Yeah.
Off camera: [Inaudible], so I didn't know 'til later.
SI: Oh, after, yeah, that's right. Just like we go family --
BN: And came at the same time?
SI: Yeah, that's right, a family friend after that.
BN: So that must have been your first time on an airplane, too.
BN: What was that like?
BN: What was your impression of Hawaii when you first...
SI: Oh, that time, my two aunties -- oh, actually three. My auntie was so happy, just like, just like I was her daughter. She's so happy, always invite us to go... before, there was a pig farm. So if I don't have chance to go there, my uncle was, used to drive, so come to, I was living the apartment. She always come visit me, so I don't have the, just like, oh, homesick, I never have that kind of thing.
BN: Because you had some family here.
SI: My aunties, visiting, I never have that kind of...
BN: And then what did you and your husband do for work when you came, first came here?
SI: Oh, he was cook.
BN: A cook?
SI: Cook, yes. He was a cook at Kuhio Grill.
BN: How long had he been in Hawaii before you got married?
SI: Oh, he was... he born in Maui but he was... after twenty he come, because Grandpa never like send to Hawaii. He try and keep him Okinawa.
BN: So he was born in Maui...
BN: And then grew up...
SI: And then he went, Mother took to the Okinawa. I think he, after twenty, over twenty he come back. Because Grandpa doesn't want to send him.
BN: Wait, so he grew up in Okinawa?
BN: So he was culturally more like an immigrant? His first language was...
SI: Oh, he was talking Filipino, Okinawan. [Laughs]
Off camera: Did he go back and forth?
Off camera: Before twenty, did he go back and forth?
SI: He was... no, Grandpa doesn't want to send him. He keep him... yeah, I think three or four time he went, yeah.
BN: So he kind of grew up in both places.
BN: Where was he during the war?
SI: Wartime he was [inaudible].
BN: So during the war he was in Hawaii.
SI: Yeah, yeah, was here.
BN: But he was an American citizen.
BN: He was born here. So he spoke English also, or local style English.
SI: [Laughs] That's right.
<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 12>
BN: So your husband kind of grew up in, kind of, both. So he had been in, he spent a lot of time in Hawaii, so he was already familiar with things. He already was working. You said Kuhio Grill?
SI: Kuhio Grill. And then after that, went after, come over here, he opened Times Grill. He was on, family friends, they make 'em together after he quit the Kuhio Grill.
BN: Kuhio Grill was the one in, right in Moiliili?
SI: Yes. Because while he quit over there is owner, Miya-san, pass away. He was really close to the, just like brothers. Really close. He was so nice to, owner was too close to him. After he passed away, he quit, he opened the Times Grill.
BN: Where was that?
SI: You know Columbia Inn? Kapiolani Boulevard, next to the Star-Bulletin. Oh, no, before that, he was, opened the Power Cafe. The time my children was small, so I never help anything. He got to hire.
BN: How many children?
SI: I have five.
SI: One boy, four girls. [Laughs]
BN: Were they pretty close together in age?
SI: Yeah. First, boy was first one. Next, Carol, only one year. And two year, two year different. Janet, two year different. And then Lynn was [inaudible]. She stayed [inaudible], last one.
BN: So, and then he was working at, or he had the Times Grill.
SI: Yeah. First one was the Power Cafe, and those days was so busy, wedding time three o'clock in the morning he got to get up to go prepare. But I never go because children was so small, and too busy. I think you doing work, you got to think about your health. You better go, if somebody buy it, you better sell 'em already. I don't think it's good for you. If you get a buyer, go sell 'em. [Laughs] Because it's so busy...
BN: It's hard work.
SI: Three o'clock and come home so late, you know. And then who was working over there, the waitress, so busy, so she wanted. Okay, good chance, go sell 'em. And then the waitress buy it so said when he, after he sold that, he went to the Times Grill, partner, looking for partner and opened the Times Grill. And then after they saw that, changed to the Columbian Inn. That one was him, last one over there, Times Grill. Oh, after retire, said, you don't need to go work, and he said, "No, I want to yard work, I better go help the George. I like help the George," and he went to go to the Eagle Cafe.
Off camera: But Violet's coffee shop was almost fifteen...
SI: Long time. Violet's coffee shop, fifteen years.
BN: And you were telling me that you helped a lot at the Violet's.
SI: Yeah, we was own that one, yes.
BN: Was he the sole owner?
BN: He was the sole owner of Violet's?
SI: Yes, he was own, that own.
BN: You were saying that that one is by, on King?
SI: King Street.
BN: King Street.
SI: Nearby the Tamashiro Market.
SI: Yes. All the Tamashiro workers and then the schoolteacher, especially city and county, before five o'clock, they open, waiting for the open the door.
BN: Four or five o'clock in the morning?
SI: In the morning, they was waiting.
BN: So what time did he have to get there?
SI: I was leaving the house four o'clock in the morning, and then opened five o'clock.
<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 13>
BN: And then you were mentioning you also were working for...
SI: I was still working there because reason why I work and go back to the Ala Moana Hotel...
BN: Yeah, Ala Moana?
SI: Yeah. First I start in the Hawaiian Village, and then I was starting from Hawaiian Village. Oh, no, first I was starting was [inaudible] over there have the... huh?
Off camera: Officer's Lounge?
SI: I was working, starting from there now, banquet one. And I asking for the cook, oh, tell me if you know anyone, hotel, banquet, I want to go to work for the hotel, the banquet kind. And he introduced me the Hawaiian Village, her wife and sister-in-law, and I starting from there, working the banquet. And then after that, Ala Moana Hotel, all over.
BN: Were you working full time or part time?
SI: Oh, I was full time, but after that, my husband... I was full time, really I enjoyed. And then my husband one day said, "Oh, I think I go open the coffee shop." Oh, no, why you open the coffee shop? I enjoy my banquet work. He never tell me, "I bought already," oh, no. He didn't tell me he bought... was close, the Chinen was on, but I think husband came sick and close it.
BN: This is Violet's?
SI: Violet's coffee shop. "How do you know they had a coffee shop?" He saw the newspaper and he went open, "Oh, why you buy this kind of dirty place?"
BN: And you said you kept working for Ala Moana part time?
SI: For a while I was stop, but when he opened the coffee shop, one day, I... I think I got hurt my finger, and I went to go the doctor. And that time, [inaudible] business association together, medical group, I went and joined that. But doesn't cover good. I said, "Oh, somebody going to come sick if I don't get this kind of insurance." No, no good. So that day, I went to the doctor, then I called the Ala Moana Hotel, the manager. "Tony, please don't take away my name. I want to come back to work, okay?" And I talked to the manager. "But please don't give me the full time because I have coffee shop." And he make it set for me, could work nighttime or... Saturday, Sunday you can give me eight hours, but other than that, evening only. Evening only that I will work. And sometime I finished two o'clock, I got to wake up four o'clock. Then I come home, take shower, sleep one o'clock, wake up four o'clock, oh my goodness. [Laughs] But I have to do it, in the mind, so I did manage that. But everybody cooperated with me so there was, I can do it.
BN: So all your children were helping out, too.
SI: Yeah, all cooperate. If not, I cannot do that. And that like this, and then my husband, he did retire. One day Janet, sister, said, "Mom, I cannot play the schedule." Okay, then, if buyer get, we're going to be sell. And after that we go looking for that buyer. Oh, that come fast. After that we sat in there. I told my husband, "You go work already, you go clean the yard, look at our yard, so dirty." He said, "No, I don't like yardwork, I better go to help George." This New Eagle Cafe. "No, I don't like yardwork, I better go help George." [Laughs] And he go work over there part time, for half day.
BN: What were the hours of Violet's?
SI: Oh, Violet's, we leave four o'clock in the morning, five o'clock, six o'clock, after clean up, sometimes... but those days, you know trap, grease trap? Clean that, we'd go home, reach home ten o'clock. Not every day, but at least once a week, they clean all the trap good, even that all stuck in there.
BN: It was open from early in the morning?
SI: Five o'clock in the morning.
BN: And then it closed at six p.m.?
SI: Yes, p.m.
BN: That seems very early.
SI: Early, oh, we take only early dinner. It was mostly breakfast.
BN: Right, breakfast and lunch.
SI: Yeah. If breakfast busy, so...
Off camera: That area did not seem to do too well with dinner.
BN: Uh-huh. Later dinner.
SI: No one was thinking about the dinner that time. But who was even over there, early dinner, they come in, so they did six o'clock.
BN: But most of the peak was breakfast and lunch.
SI: Think was, most of the point was breakfast. Breakfast so busy, sometime no more chair, outside waiting for the... because the breakfast turn over so fast, that everybody working.
BN: You're in a hurry, you need, you have to get someplace.
<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 14>
BN: When you came, did you get involved at all with... there were a lot of Okinawan village or locality organizations in Hawaii, all these clubs...
SI: Club, that time, only it was involved our Miyowason. Yes, once a year, Shinnen Enkai, we always go show our [inaudible]. But, okay, Okinawa, Miyowason and Kanegusuku Itoman, they merged that time, and come to the... that's president, my son was come from president. And at the time it was merged, and maybe two time I went. Picnic every time, there was one time always one year, one time, this picnic we used to go. But long time [inaudible]. We used go to the picnic, the Shinnen Enkai, they was happy for picnic.
BN: A lot of other children, huh?
SI: They was happy for them.
BN: And then you mentioned you had an auntie who was already here.
SI: Oh, my auntie.
BN: And you remained in touch or close to them also?
SI: That's why I never think about the homesickness, and they were so close, and pig farm.
Off camera: I think every weekend we were out.
SI: Over there.
BN: Where was their pig farm?
SI: Other side.
BN: And where did your family live? Where did you live, what part of town?
SI: At the time, I was apartment, Kokei apartment.
BN: In where?
SI: Palama, apartment. And then she was there, "Mom, we cannot live this kind of place every time. No can live over here." Okay. And then at that time, have the...
Off camera: A bunch of them, the tenants that was living at the apartment put in for lottery to different areas. So our neighborhood, there's at least five families that we know that were from the apartments, too.
SI: Oh, they close...
BN: In the neighborhood you're in now.
Off camera: Yes. There's a good handful that...
BN: All came at the same time. Interesting. Are they also Okinawan?
Off camera: Not all.
SI: Not all, but yeah, Tamayoshi, Okinawa. Only thing, what you call, Noreen different. Yeah, Noreen different.
Off camera: When you got into the money-saving tanomoshi?
SI: Tanomoshi club no more, yeah. That was so good, boy. You know Tanomoshi club? This is, when we have that, really enjoy, you know. Because when you get money, I have to keep in this purse, you no can spend 'em. Tanomoshi you can no be late, you have to be the date. So this one, the first thing, got to take off the tanomoshi first. So you don't need extra spending. [Laughs] I like doing.
BN: What would you do when it was your turn to get the money?
SI: Hmm... what happened to that money? [Laughs]
BN: I mean, did you use that, is that what you used to purchase the business?
Off camera: I think we went on a trip once.
BN: Oh, stuff like that.
Off camera: Well, we hardly traveled, but there was one occasion where she took us girls to the Expo in Okinawa.
SI: That was good.
BN: Yeah, okay. Who was in the tanomoshi? Was it people from your...
SI: Old friends.
BN: Kind of informal? When did you first go back to Okinawa to visit?
SI: That's my mother, my brother, they're living, so what year? No, before... my mother came first, so I first, I went first. You folks first. You first, and Lynn... oh, Okinawa, what year was? '75. Oh, Okinawa festival, that kind.
BN: And you had not seen your mother or your siblings at that time, for a long time? Almost twenty years.
SI: Those days was good.
Off camera: She adapted fairly well because she went to learn English at the community when she first got here. Farrington, right?
SI: Farrington evening class. Evening class. I went to evening class, my husband come home, watch them, and I'd go evening class.
BN: Did you speak any English when you came?
SI: No. I don't know how to even write. [Laugh] And our first class, the Japanese teacher, she said Japanese town is very lazy town. But she was teaching good, she teach us, no forget, but others I forget. She was so teaching good.
BN: How long did you continue to go to the classes?
SI: Oh, no, only evening class. So I starting to work, I no more time to go.
BN: But once you started having children...
SI: Yeah, started. And at the time, my go watch, so I got chance to go after starting to work.
BN: Did you speak to your children in English then?
SI: All the time in Nihongo. [Laughs]
Off camera: Sometimes we couldn't understand, we chose to not understand.
SI: That's right.
BN: Do you still remember the Okinawan language?
SI: Oh, yes.
BN: Do you actually speak it? I mean, are there still people you talk to...
SI: No. When my husband was living, we can talk, but now --
Off camera: I hear you.
SI: Who? Talk to... Auntie Hiroko, only one small sentence. [Laughs]
<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 15>
BN: How many times did you go back to Okinawa to visit?
SI: After my brother pass away, I don't have feeling. [Inaudible] [Laughs] No, that's feeling different.
BN: Well, you go to see people, and they're not there anymore.
SI: Yeah. Different, brother pass away, pretty not like before. Mother and brothers living, yes, I want to go, I don't want to go Okinawa. I like go Okinawa.
Off camera: About four times.
SI: Yeah, four times. After that, after my brother pass away, I never go yet. I told my brother, "Oh, Niisan, you go come Hawaii, okay?" And after that we go back, so, okay, so okay, okay, then. He said, okay, okay, but after that he pass away. I never visit yet.
BN: You were mentioning yesterday that you do like to go to Las Vegas. How often do you go?
SI: Only last year I went.
Off camera: I think it's once or twice a year.
BN: Do you go with a group of friends or family?
SI: Sister and niece or nephew.
BN: How many... that's something we didn't talk about, is you came and you had your auntie here, then you brought over...
SI: Oh, my sister. Before, she was all complain about that kind, I think she got hurt, brother scolded her or whatever. I talked the telephone and they said, complain, so, "Okay, if you feel like that, why don't you come over to Hawaii then?" She said okay. So I told 'em, oh, let's go that kind for Sachiko come to Hawaii. That was so fast. And she came. Oh, you better go something, send to sewing school, and then excuse. For the meantime, she got married, so I don't need [inaudible] it's okay then.
BN: She got married here?
BN: To a local?
SI: Yes. [Inaudible] it's okay. When I was, called my sister, my nephew answered the phone. Oh, no, my sister, he said, "Okaasan nakunatta," that's my big sister pass away. That's why you stay here? Yes. "Okaasan nakunattake kochi no oru," that means my big sister pass away. But after that, he was telling me, I was thinking about, I going to Brazil or something, talking about... what you talking about that far place you go? Okay, then you go come to Hawaii. You okay? She said okay, so I called my friend, he used to do this kind travel kind of, so you know, "My nephew want to come to Hawaii, so which way to faster?" "Oh, go from fishermen then." Okay, you take care of that, oh, that was so fast. Yeah, the fishermen, they came. And after that, he said, "I no like fishermen," he's working for the Nishimoto Trading, long time he work over there, over twenty years.
BN: How old was he when he came?
SI: He came over here only twenty... oh, before that he came over here. He was experienced, have the Okinawa, you know, the American government helping for the young Okinawan boys for the, training for the Big Island to the farm. Six months he was there, Kiyoshi. This was, he first went.
BN: So he was already familiar, so he knew he wanted to --
SI: Yeah, before I sponsor, he came...
BN: He was probably waiting for you to offer.
SI: [Laughs] He didn't talk about Hawaii, he was thinking, "Oh, I was thinking about I go to Brazil or..." why you go that far place to go? So now he get family and married.
BN: So you brought over your sister and nephew.
SI: Yes. And then her daughter come to pharmacy, he's doing good. He said, "Oh, Auntie, thank you for, you called me. Girls doing real good." He's appreciate.
<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.
<Begin Segment 16>
BN: So are you happy that you came to Hawaii?
SI: Yeah, so that's what I think for visit to this and that, I didn't think about my homesickness and that kind of. I never had feeling that it was.
BN: And then you mentioned after fifteen years or so, you sold Violet's, then your husband retired, then he started helping his friend at Eagle, New Eagle Cafe.
SI: Eagle, yes.
BN: What did you do after that?
BN: No, what did you do after that?
SI: I was still working.
BN: Oh, you're still working for Ala Moana.
SI: Yeah, I'm still I was working for that, because he go. And then when I finished work, he waiting for the bus stop, I pick him up. And after that, "Oh, okay, we'll go each lunch over there then." Used to have the split, half in the morning, four hours. You know hotel, the jobs that, most of the split kind of. And then eat lunch and then, oh, I had to go back to work, you know, and go back to work another four hours. I did enjoy that banquets.
BN: What did you, what did you do?
SI: Banquet, that kind. Banquet waitress, you know, they have meetings, sometimes, any kind, wedding.
BN: Well, we have that right here, so... so serving food and buffet.
SI: Yes. Sometimes attorney meeting, any kind.
BN: When did you retire?
SI: I retired... I think...
Off camera: Was it early retirement because my dad had a stroke, so she...
SI: No, not early.
Off camera: It was not an early?
SI: No. That time I was sixty-five already.
Off camera: Because she was still taking care of him between the job.
SI: But after the, but still I was going in to take care of him. Oh, that's right. No, yeah, that's right. Still I was working, take care of him and then working. That's right. That's right. 1990. 1990 I retired.
BN: And then you mentioned your husband had a stroke.
SI: Yes. That time, oh, he said, "I'm strong, I'm strong." I have to go take him go the doctor's, nobody home, and steps, I going help you, so we're going doctor, you know. Okay.
Off camera: He was pretty much wheelchair-bound.
BN: So you had to take care of him.
SI: Seven years.
BN: Seven years?
SI: Seven years.
Off camera: So Matthew, now you know why she's... I was telling Brian how she can be so impatiently so hard-headed. It's that survival instinct.
BN: Which is a virtue in many situations, many difficult situations.
SI: [Inaudible] Everybody, not only myself, everybody involved that.
BN: What do you do now? What do you enjoy doing today besides Las Vegas?
SI: Oh, we going to the friends, call each other, go sometimes lunch out. I'm busy, you know. They call. [Laughs]
BN: That's good, you want to be busy.
SI: But most of the time out.
BN: That's good. So before we finish up, is there anything else you want to add about your life or your experience that you want to pass on to people like, young people like Matthew, or maybe great-grandchildren that aren't even born yet who might see this and they want to know something about your life?
SI: Sou ne, tokubetsu ne, nani iute ika ne, mada. I think I got to think about it, from now, I got to put on, and oh, I have to go put this onto for them. I got to think about that.
Off camera: How, you described the change --
BN: That's right, we didn't talk about that, yeah, how your name, how you changed, the family name change.
SI: Oh, name change. Oh, that one is because when to the, old people went to the Sokai, to the Japan, or then were pushed down to them for Fukuro, and Mamebukuro, Nankenbukuro, they pushed on us, so we got to go have the, change our name, you know. We have all group, all together, we have to change everybody. Who the name, which one, everybody asking for the, what kind of namae we're going, this and that meeting. So I don't know whose idea that one was. Oh, mean one is we got to take out the Fukuro. We got to keep 'em, the Shima, keep 'em the one, not take out the everything, keep 'em the Shima, take out the Fukuro. So what are we gonna do? Okay, if we're going to be, take out the Fukuro, it's better, which way, which way? I think this is, you know, shigin, my big brother's side, I think. Kashima then, we're going to put Kashima, and then everybody had me, okay, so we changed the name. Oh, those change the name time, anyway, Okinawa have the all the name, book is all gone, no more already, so good chance to change the name too. Was easy to do it than the name, change the name, because never have the, all burned already.
BN: How old were you?
SI: The time?
BN: Yeah, at that time.
SI: Oh, I was school age that time, going to school, teenage I was.
BN: So after the war.
SI: Yeah, after war. So high school age. Maybe sixteen, seventeen.
BN: And then a lot of other families were doing the same?
SI: Oh, all the Shimabukuro, all change that. Never have the Shimabukuro now. Some of 'em was Shimane. They all take the Shima, but only thing, take out the Fukuro, everybody. Shimane and Kashima, and what other one was? Oh, one was, yeah, Hidata. Oh, never have the Fukuro. Completely change the Hidata. Well, our village, nobody have the Shimabukuro now.
BN: Then you come to Hawaii and you're surrounded by Shimabukuros again.
SI: Yes. I was, oh, my goodness, yeah. Come to Hawaii, all Shimabukuro. "Oh, my goodness." I was so surprised that. Because Okinawa, all the change our village, all, nobody have the Shimabukuro.
BN: And then you got married, so the name changed again, which is a very unusual name.
SI: This is, they never changed. This is from before.
BN: That's unusual.
SI: Not too many.
BN: No, I don't think I've ever... it's like my name. Okay. Anything else? Well, thank you for doing this. You've had a very interesting life, considering where you started and where you ended up.
<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.