Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Cookie Takeshita Interview
Narrator: Cookie Takeshita
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: March 11, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-465-5

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

<Begin Segment 5>

BN: Okay, what about things like, you mentioned your dad was active with the kenjinkai. Were there... many of them had these annual picnics.

CT: Yes, exactly. The Fukuoka and Hiroshima-ken, Alameda, I would say, three-quarters were Fukuoka-ken, but they did it to get in the kens.

BN: Meaning, was from all other areas?

CT: No, just Alameda.

BN: It was just Alameda.

CT: Alameda had a big contingent of Japanese from Japan, yes, we did.

BN: But you mentioned the Fukuoka, a lot of the Alameda Japanese were from Fukuoka.

CT: It was Fukuoka or Hiroshima.

BN: So when they had the picnic, was it all from Alameda, or was it kind of the surrounding...

CT: No, just Alameda.

BN: Just Alameda?

CT: But there were a lot of Japanese in Alameda from Fukuoka and Hiroshima.

BN: Because I know in the Issei period, there were kind of, people from different prefectures had kind of a stereotype, or was there a Fukuoka stereotype?

CT: Well, I remember hearing they have certain things that people told, and they used to say the Fukuoka people are not rich because they spend all their money on food. [Laughs] I remember I didn't understand what they meant. And so my girlfriend said, "How come you get to eat so and so all the time? We have it once a month." And she was Hiroshima, but it never dawned on me. And I thought, "I don't know." But then I heard some Issei people saying one thing about Fukuoka people, we never get rich because we spend everything on food. I remember they used to say that, how true it is, I don't know, but they talked about themselves that way.

BN: Did your family eat well?

CT: We ate well. I think about it now, and we did eat well. And even if my mother was not a hundred percent healthy, my father had something connected from the kitchen into the dining room, some pipes, so he could get gas into the living room. And so when we had company from Japan or something like that, we had four burners on the stove making sukiyaki and things like that in the dining room. You know, we didn't have electric frying pans then, and so my father had this kitchen connected up to the dining room when we did have people coming from Japan and cook on the table.

BN: So who would come from Japan?

CT: Well, it would be, one of 'em was, we later found out, we think he died. He was like an admiral in the navy. And we got contacted by the, there was not a Japanese embassy, they would be in Washington. But in San Francisco...

BN: It would be a consulate.

CT: Yeah, a consulate, that's what it was, and they would call my father, and they said, would you come, and we're going to go. Or else they'd have them come to us directly, and I remember when my mother and father and three of us, we were little then, and the gentleman was an admiral from Japan. And he said he had heard about the fish area, what is it in San Francisco? I can't think of it. Where they have seafood.

Off camera: Fisherman's Wharf.

CT: Fisherman's Wharf, Fisherman's Wharf. And so we got all decked out, and when we went to the first place that was supposed to be the finest, they refused us service. And so we went to another restaurant and then we didn't get in. And my brother remembers that, and he said it was DiMaggio's. You know, we had a Joe DiMaggio there, and they were from San Francisco, but one of them opened up a restaurant, and my brother insisted it was DiMaggio's, and I don't remember that. But I do remember we were not allowed, and we went somewhere else at Fisherman's Wharf, and we were served. We just never realized. But we did have those things that were very silent. But you know, Isseis were not prone to go out to eat in restaurants anyway. If there was a Japanese restaurant they might go there, which was in town, but we took this gentleman to Fisherman's Wharf. And I never forgot that.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.