Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Molly K. Maeda Interview
Narrator: Molly K. Maeda
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 17, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-mmolly-01-0005

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TI: And was some of that Japanese language, too? Did you have a Japanese school where you could learn the language?

MM: I only took three years and I hated it. [Laughs] I wished I hadn't... but the little I learned, I know more (than my two daughters who took Japanese courses at the U of WA).

TI: And this was, and the school was at the community center?

MM: Right there. They built wooden long tables, built them for us, so we always sat in (wooden) chairs, it was full. All the children came out.

TI: Yeah, so for a class, how many children would be at the Japanese school?

MM: At the Japanese school? Gee, there are different grades, but... oh, how much would I say? Maybe fifty.

TI: And then each grade, how many students would there be usually?

MM: I only went one, two, three, but they took, I think, about four or five grades. But by then it disintegrated.

TI: So if you had four or five grades, fifty, so maybe about ten students per, ten Japanese students per grade?

MM: About that many. I remember those wooden tables that the farmers built. They didn't buy them, they built them. But then we had wooden folding chairs, but they bought those. But I remember those rough tables. They're not polished tables, but they were substantial. We had a (...) potbelly stove for heat in there.

TI: Now, you mentioned you didn't like to go to Japanese school. Why was that?

MM: Oh, we used to think, "Gee, all our Caucasian friends don't have (to). (They) can go out and play on Friday afternoon, we have to go to school, go there from four to six every Friday." Saturday morning, nine to twelve.

TI: Okay. And the teacher came from Portland or something?

MM: Portland, California, different teachers. Mrs. Tsuji from Portland, Dr. Emi, I think he came from California, but different people. Then we had dance instructor, and then we'd also learn, what do you call that? Not calligraphy, but we learned sumi painting, we'd have that. And here's the big building, and here's a ditch (across the road) and here's our farm. So in our ditch we used to go there and rinse out our brushes, I remember. [Laughs]

TI: Oh, so that's where you and all the students would rinse?

MM: We could clean our brushes there. There was running water if we went downstairs, but...

TI: Now who would organize all this?

MM: Who would what?

TI: Who organized all these activities?

MM: (Teachers organized painting classes). Just like everywhere else, they had sort of a group of men. Somebody would be in charge, chairman or president. I remember a couple years my dad was, then Mr. Imai was, and Mr. Sato was. They'd take turns as the leader. (The parents found new teachers).

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.