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Title: Misa Taketa Interview
Narrator: Misa Taketa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: San Jose, California
Date: January 20, 2016
Densho ID: denshovh-tmisa-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Going back to the farm where the six families worked the farm, do you remember who owned the land that you worked?

MT: He was an Italian man.

TI: And do you recall the name?

MT: Well, I think in our conversation the other day and I think I said Desimone, but it was Desmond, I think.

TI: Desimone.

MT: Desmond.

TI: I think they pronounce it Desimone, D-E-S-I-M-O-N-E.

MT: I'm not sure, but I thought it was D-E-S-M-O-N-D, Desmond. I might be wrong on that, too. [Laughs]

TI: Now, as you grew up you talked about kind of the work you had to do on the farm mostly in the summer. Tell me about that. What kind of work did you do in the summertime?

MT: Well, a lot of it was bunching, we would peel onions and make them into bunches. We used... I can't think of what they were called, but it's the kind of, a weed that grows in water, and it was a place outside of Seattle in the country. Orillia, is there an area called Orillia?

TI: I think so, yes.

MT: Well, anyway, there was a Japanese farmer family that had this property that had like a pond, and this weed would grow in there. So every year my father used to go there and cut it and bring it home and dry it, and that's what we used to bunch onions, tie them.

TI: Oh, so it was strong enough after it dried out to be like a little tie.

MT: Yes, uh-huh, that's what we used. So we'd bunch onions, we'd bunch carrots, and our work was sometimes we'd have to weed new crops, whatever work needed to be done, we were asked to do or help out. [Laughs]

TI: And when you were done with your chores, or that work, it's summertime, and in the summertime in Seattle, the days are pretty long, I mean, it could be light until nine-thirty, ten o'clock. What would you guys do for fun after your chores were done?

MT: Oh, I suppose we got together with our neighbor friends and made up games when we were younger.

TI: Do you recall any games that you played?

MT: No, I don't really.

TI: How about -- and this may be because you're a farming family, you may not have done this, but do you recall any vacations? Did you guys ever go on a vacation someplace as a family?

MT: No, no. When we were out of school it was in the summertime when we were so busy on the farm. The only thing I remember is that Fourth of July was one holiday that my family, my father seemed to enjoy, and they used to have this baseball game at Columbus, is it Columbus Park or Columbia Park in town?

TI: In town? Yeah, there was a field, maybe on Columbia Street, but yeah, there was an old ballfield that my dad told me about.

MT: And they used to have Japanese teams there playing, and he really enjoyed that, so that would be the start of it. And then we'd go to this Chinese restaurant and have dinner before we came home or we'd go to the theater, see a movie, what was it, Atlas Theater.

TI: But this was like only the one day that...

MT: Yeah, that was kind of like a treat for us, so we look forward to every year, because it seemed like it worked out to be kind of a pattern.

TI: And when you would go to, like, the baseball game, was it pretty much, did other farmers also come into town and you had the city folk, was it pretty big?

MT: I don't remember seeing any friends that lived close to me that went to that. But my father, I think, is the one that kind of enjoyed it, so that's where we ended up. We looked forward to that.

TI: How about things like, in South Park they had the parks area, like a community center. Do you remember anything like that? Like basketball, things like that, a community hall?

MT: Well, I don't remember my family participating in anything like that, and I don't really remember too well what actually was there. See, my brothers never participated too much in sports.

TI: I interviewed the son of Gene Boyd who, that was his first job was working at that community center in South Park, so he remembered lots of the Japanese Americans there, so I was just curious if you remembered anything there.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2016 Densho. All Rights Reserved.