Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yoshiye Handa Yasuda Interview
Narrator: Yoshiye Handa Yasuda
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 15, 2021
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-485

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

<Begin Segment 1>

VY: Today is Thursday, July 15, 2021, and we're here in the Densho studio in Seattle, Washington, with Yo Yasuda. Also in the room is our videographer Dana Hoshide, and my name is Virginia Yamada. Before we begin the interview, I just want to note that this is the first interview that we have conducted since our area was locked down from the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. So, Yo, thank you so much for sitting down with us for this interview today.

YY: You're welcome.

VY: Why don't we get started by having you tell us when and where you were born, and what name you were given at birth?

YY: The date and the year, and what was the second part?

VY: And the name you were given at birth.

YY: Oh, the name I was given is the same, it hasn't changed, it's Yoshiye Yasuda. No, Yoshiye Handa is my name. And I was born in San Francisco, August 26, 1934.

VY: Were you born in a hospital?

YY: No, with a... what do you call it?

VY: A midwife?

YY: Yes, a midwife.

VY: At your home?

YY: At our house.

VY: Do you know if all your siblings were born that way?

YY: Do I know what?

VY: Do you know if all of your siblings were born that way?

YY: I don't know, (but assume they were, too).

VY: You don't know? That's okay. Okay, and how about your parents, what were their full names and where were they born?

YY: I was born at home on Post Street, and what was the other part?

VY: How about your parents?

YY: My parents?

VY: Your parents. Do you know where they were born? Where your mother was born and where your father was born?

YY: They were born in Hiroshima-ken, and my mother in Mihara and my father was in Onomichi.

VY: And what were their names?

YY: My father is Sadata Handa and my mother, Kimiyo (Satani).

VY: That's okay, don't worry, it's okay. Don't worry. What do you know about their very early life in Japan before they came to the United States?

YY: The early life for my mother?

VY: Yes.

YY: Well, she was fairly young when she got married and came to the U.S. She was almost nineteen. And didn't really want to (...) get married, but I guess because her older brother (was married to the sister of the man she was to marry), she felt that she couldn't refuse and cause (...) problems between the two families. So she (agreed), even though she didn't want to (do so).

VY: I see. So her brother was married to your father's sister?

YY: My mother's older brother.

VY: Your mother's older brother had married your father's sister?

YY: Yes.

VY: Interesting, interesting. So she felt pressured to also get married at a young age. Do you know, was it an arranged marriage?

YY: Well, pretty much, I guess.

VY: Now, where was your father at the time? Did he already come to the States and then back to Japan?

YY: Well, he came back to Japan after being there for maybe over ten years in the United States, but he (came) back to get married and to bring a wife over (to America).

VY: How old was your father when he came?

YY: At that time, she was nineteen and he was about sixteen years older than she (was).

VY: So he was quite a bit older. How old was he when he came to America?

YY: I've heard him say sixteen, but I don't really know.

VY: What did your father do when he came to America?

YY: He was a carpenter by trade, and so he (started out taking small jobs until business increased, and in order to accept larger projects, he had to be licensed as) a building contractor, (which came later).

VY: Where did he go when he first arrived? When your father came to America, did he go directly to San Francisco or did he go somewhere else first?

YY: (He arrived at the port of) Seattle, and then he found his way to San Francisco. And actually, the Japanese community was in Mill Valley 9at that time), and so that's where he started, in Mill Valley, and eventually he moved to Alameda and finally to San Francisco.

VY: So where was he living when he came back to Japan to get your mom? Was he in San Francisco by then, or was he still in...

YY: (He was) still in Mill Valley.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Okay, so your mom and dad came to America and they went to Mill Valley and then Alameda. And when did they have children?

YY: Yes, they had their first child in Mill Valley, the second one in Alameda, and the rest in San Francisco.

VY: I see. Do you want to list your siblings by birth order?

YY: What about my...

VY: Your brothers and your sisters?

YY: I have three brothers and one sister, and I was the fifth one.

VY: And what was the age difference between you?

YY: Two years apart, all of them, except me. I'm seven years younger than my next brother, closest brother (in age) to me.

VY: What were your siblings' names?

YY: The first one was Kats, Katsunori, and the second one, Yutaka, and my sister was Mitsuyo, and my brother Takuzo.

VY: So when your parents came to San Francisco, did they buy a house? Did they own a property?

YY: No, they were renting still at that time. And after I was born, they moved to Sutter Street. I was about a year old when they moved, and that was the first house that they bought in my brothers' names.

VY: So they put the house in your brother's name?

YY: Yes, even though they weren't of age, but they were citizens and so therefore they were able to (put it in their name, I guess).

VY: Because this was probably in the 1920s when they bought the house? When did they buy the house?

YY: When? I was a year old, so I guess it was 1935.

VY: 1935. So that makes sense that they would have to put the house in your brother's name.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So let's talk a little bit about your early childhood. What part of San Francisco did you grow up in? Where was your house?

YY: What part of San Francisco, what?

VY: Where was your house in San Francisco?

YY: The one that's (listed) in the magazine, that's the first one, and only house that I knew.

VY: What was that area called? Was that in Japantown?

YY: Yes, yes, on Sutter Street between Buchanan and Webster.

VY: So this was (part of) Japantown, was this primarily a Japanese American neighborhood?

YY: Yes, it was, (but not exclusively). I don't really (know) when it started (...).

VY: So tell me a little bit about what a typical day for you was like when you were very young in Japantown. What would you do, who were your friends, what kinds of things did you do? Did you play games with your friends?

YY: (I attended Kinmon-gakuen, kindergarten, from age 3, while my mother worked. The building also housed classrooms for students through high school for their Japanese school lessons, which we were expected to attend after public school classes. Due to the beginning of the war, however, I attended only during my first and second grades.)

VY: What was your first language? What language did your parents speak at home?

YY: What was their first what?

VY: What language did your parents speak at home?

YY: What did they do?

VY: Well, yes, actually, what kind of work did they do, but also what language did they speak at home?

YY: Oh, it was always Japanese. My father spoke broken English because of (some) clients he had, but mostly he worked at the Japanese homes.

VY: So most of your father's clients were Japanese?

YY: Most of them were, yeah. But he had to (buy) lumber (and other supplies), so he had to learn (...) to communicate with everyone.

VY: And how about your mom? Did she also primarily speak Japanese?

YY: (Yes. That was all she knew.) When I was (about 3), she started working to earn some money because this was during the Depression, and it was difficult for (my father's) clients to pay their bills, too. So it was a difficult period (for everyone).

VY: What kind of work did she do?

YY: She (...) cleaned houses for an hourly wage, and I think at that time it was (about) sixty cents an hour, (maybe less).

VY: And what would you do while she was working?

YY: I went to nursery school.

VY: How close was the nursery school? Were you able to walk there?

YY: Actually, I didn't have to cross any street, I just walked around the block.

VY: Was that the same school that had the Japanese language school? Is that the same place?

YY: It was the same school that my older brothers and sister went to after their regular school.

VY: Do you remember the name of the school, the Japanese name?

YY: Uh-huh, (it was called) Kinmon Gakuen. "Kin" (means) gold, and "mon" (translates as) gate, so (it was known as) the Golden Gate school.

VY: So what was your relationship like with your parents when you were very young? Do you remember?

YY: With who, my parents?

VY: Your mother and your father. What kind of memories do you have of your father and memories of your mother when you were very young, before the war?

YY: I was very close to my mother because I was with her all the time, especially during those first few years. And my father was always working, he was away, and I only saw him at, he would come in for lunch sometimes, depending on where he was working. And so usually it was dinner time that we all got together.

VY: Where was his actual shop?

YY: Downstairs in the garage, that was the shop.

VY: Did your brothers or your sister, did they also work?

YY: Did they what?

VY: How about your brothers and sister? Did they work or were they still too young?

YY: They were always in school, and then they'd go to the Japanese school, so by the time they'd come home, it was usually dinner time. [Narr. note: After graduating from high school, my two older brothers worked with my father until we left for the assembly center. My youngest brother delivered newspapers and earned enough to buy his own bicycle, which enabled him to take on longer routes.]

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So it sounds like you spent a lot of time with your mom.

YY: Well, I went with her to grocery shopping or whatever she had to do.

VY: What kinds of things did your mom talk to you about?

YY: During the day it was so busy we didn't have much conversation, but usually when I went to bed, or if we were in bed -- we were in the same bedroom -- so we would talk about different things then.

VY: Did she like living in San Francisco or did she miss Japan?

YY: I think by the time I was born, she was (getting) used to it and kind of resigned to the fact. But before that, when I was maybe about two or three, I would always hear her saying she wants to go back to Japan, that she was homesick (for) her mother (and family).

VY: Did she have an opportunity to go back to Japan to visit her family?

YY: Actually, she took four of the children, my four older siblings, to Japan in 1933, I think (she thought of not returning to the U.S., but) was worried about having borrowed money and felt obligated to) pay that back. She (fell) ill during that summer (in Japan), and (her family) didn't think she was going to make it. (She did recover, however, then felt determined to make the return trip to the U.S.)

VY: So that's interesting. So she took her four children with her to Japan, and she was planning to stay there. Do you know why?

YY: What?

VY: Do you know why she made that decision?

YY: Well, she felt she wanted to go back, and she felt (the children) had learned to read and write (in Japanese). They thought she would, I mean, she thought they could adjust to living there (in Japan). She didn't discuss it with them. (She eventually) decided that she had to take care of her debts.

VY: Well, and what about your father? Did he know that she was planning to not return?

YY: No, I don't think so. I don't think she discussed that.

VY: So she was planning to leave him.

YY: Uh-huh. (Perhaps, I don't really know)

VY: I see. So it sounds like she was not very happy in her marriage at that time.

YY: She felt this was her only chance, because she didn't think that she would have a chance to go back again.

VY: Who did she borrow the money from?

YY: A friend, a family friend. And he was married in Japan, and he had a family there, but he came to the U.S. to earn some money (then he thought) he could go back. Which he did, actually, in 1958 he did. But all that time, he was alone.

VY: So he never got married? Well...

YY: Oh, he was, he had a wife (and child) in Japan, and he was sending money home to them.

VY: I see.

YY: I met his son. When he went back, we went on the same ship. My first trip to Japan was after I graduated from college and my mother wanted to take me because I was the only one who hadn't gone. And at the same time, this man decided (he was) getting so old that he better go back while he still can. And since we were going, he wanted to come with us on the (same) ship, so he did.

VY: Oh, interesting. What was his name?

YY: Mr. Doi, D-O-I.

VY: And what did he do that he could loan money?

YY: I'm not really sure what he did and how he made his money, I don't know.

VY: Did he loan money to other people?

YY: He always (seemed to be lending to others), we were (concerned he may not be repaid. But) apparently, most people did.

VY: So was he kind of a friend of the family as well? Was he a friend of your father's also?

YY: Oh yes, yes, I mean, that's how he knew us, through my father.

VY: So I imagine, if he was a friend of your father, he probably, when he lent money to your mother to go back to Japan for a trip, I imagine he probably didn't realize that she wasn't intending to come back.

YY: He was one who never tried to remind people that they borrowed from him, and so we were always afraid for him that people would take advantage of (him). But I think in most cases, they were pretty honest.

VY: Okay, so any other memories of when you were very little in Japantown in San Francisco? Did you have a lot of friends?

YY: Uh-huh.

VY: Do you remember your friends? This was before the war still.

YY: Yeah, a lot of them were the same age, and therefore we were in the same class all through high school.

VY: Interesting. So...

YY: Of course, there were two or three high schools that you could go to. And in camp, we were always in the same grade, too.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Okay, so let's talk about camp. So when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, you were probably about seven years old? Do you remember that time?

YY: I remember hearing the big news, and people were worried. And at school, we started having these drills. When we heard the bell, we had to all go outside and line up and (then ushered to a safe area).

VY: Well, so after that, like a couple of months later, you had to leave, right?

YY: (Yes, it was in) March that we had about a week to leave. And so we all had to help bring things down to our basement so that they could pack it away. And we had a neighbor across the street, he was a moving van company (owner, a) small one. And he offered to keep an eye out so that no one would break in. But that's about it, we couldn't take too many things, just one suitcase each.

VY: Do you remember what you brought with you? Was there a special toy that you picked?

YY: Well, it was right after Christmas, so I had my first doll. Because I never got, really, presents before, and so I got to bring her. [Laughs]

VY: Was there something you wanted to bring that you weren't allowed to bring?

YY: What was that?

VY: Was there something that you wanted to bring but were not allowed to bring?

YY: Oh, my skates, roller skates. But (my mom) said, "No, no, you can't take that because we don't really know where we're going." You had to take it downstairs.

VY: So you took everything, you packed up everything from the house and took it downstairs into the basement. And then what happened to your house while you were gone?

YY: We had a lawyer and he said he would rent it out for us.

VY: And did that rent money help pay for the mortgage on the house?

YY: Did we what?

VY: Did that money help pay for the house while you were gone? Did it help you pay your bills? Maybe you don't know, because you were very little. That's okay. Okay, so your parents owned this house in your brother's name. And while you were in camp, a lawyer took care of the house and rented it out. I want to talk a little bit about camp, but before I do, when you came back, was the house still there and was it still in your name, in your family's name?

YY: Well, the lawyer knew that we were coming back, so (he) gave them notice.

VY: The renters?

YY: To vacate. And so we had to give them time to find another place, and then my father had to clean it up before we could move back in. So our friend, who had their own house, offered to rent the basement where we could at least sleep, (it was a block away).

VY: So how long, do you remember how long you stayed in the basement before you moved into your house?

YY: Just a (month) after our renters moved out. My father cleaned and painted (...). Because my brothers were scattered everywhere, (...) my father, my mother and I (returned to S.F. in August 1945).

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So when you were sent off to camp, where did you go? What camp?

YY: When I went to Japan?

VY: Sorry, when you went off to camp.

YY: Oh, to camp.

VY: When you were sent away, what camp did you go to?

YY: (...) First we went to (the assembly center, Tanforan, a horse race track a few miles south of SF, and then to Topaz, the relocation center in Utah.)

VY: How long were you in Tanforan?

YY: (...) About three months. (We lived in the horse stables and slept on mattresses filled with hay.) Then my father and my two older brothers went ahead of us to (Utah to complete) the work on the barracks. My mother, (sister, and) youngest brother and I, the four of us, went together (on the train about three months later).

VY: Do you remember the trip on the train?

YY: I do.

VY: You do? What was that like?

YY: Well, I was wondering why we had to keep our shades closed, you know. But that was the rule. And I had a hard time understanding that, that we couldn't really look out.

VY: Did you ask your mom why?

YY: Yeah, she just told me that they want you not to open that shade.

VY: Did you know where you were going?

YY: Well, it scared me because they said it's in the desert and there are scorpions. And even though you see it, don't touch it because it can bite. And we didn't know anything about scorpions or things like that, so we were wondering where we were going. I remember being afraid.

VY: Yeah, I've heard other people, actually, talk about, especially people who were kids when they went to camp talk about...

YY: Hmm?

VY: I've heard other people who were children when they were incarcerated with their families talk about the scorpions and being afraid of them. So I'm curious, who was telling you about the scorpions? Was it your parents?

YY: I don't know who it was, but they read about it, and they said they're poisonous, so don't try to pick one up.

VY: Okay, so you arrived in camp. Do you remember the day you arrived?

YY: Do I remember...

VY: The day you arrived, when you arrived in camp?

YY: Arrived in camp?

VY: Do you remember what that was like?

YY: I just remember the desert, and the only plants I saw were the sagebrushes rolling around, and it was very dusty. Whenever the wind was coming, they said, "Close the window," because the dust would come through the screened windows (and it would be all white -- and we would have to sweep and mop the floor again and again).

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So in Topaz, did you live with your parents and all of your siblings all in the same block?

YY: I'm sorry.

VY: That's okay, I'm sorry. When you were in Topaz, did you live with your, all in the same room? Like you and your four siblings and your mom and dad?

YY: (We were given two mid-sized rooms. My parents, sister and I in one room; my three brothers in the other room. They invited a young man from Hawaii who was alone, without family, to join them. He remained a good friend after leaving camp. We were all together in Topaz, at least for a while, then one after the other, they left. Kats was anxious to attend college, so he left for Michigan, lived with a family and completed his freshman year. In exchange, he babysat, mowed the lawn, washed dishes and babysat, but his sophomore year never happened, he was drafted into the army. Boot camp in Mississippi, then to Fort Savage in Minnesota for Language School.) He went to the language school at Fort Savage in Minnesota, and then he went to the Philippines. (...) The war ended while he was in the Philippines (in early August 1945. Therefore) he was in one of the early groups (to occupy Japan.)

VY: Did he ever talk about that time? Like was that strange for him to be in Japan as an occupying...

YY: [Narr. note: As members of the Military Intelligence, they were prepared and understood their role in occupying a country. About a year or so later, the USSR started releasing the Japanese POWs, and the U.S. prepared to interview each prisoner as they returned. This was during the period of the "Iron Curtain," and the U.S. knew very little of what was happening in the Soviet Union. They were anxious to learn what they can from the returning POWs. My oldest brother was stationed in Tokyo for almost 2 years, returned to S.F. following discharge, enrolled at UC Berkeley as a sophomore majoring in Business Administration to prepare for handling the business end of the family business. My second brother left Topaz in early 1945 for Chicago, worked for a trailer company, building furniture for the trailers. He married and eventually returned to San Francisco to resume working with our father and brother in their construction business. When the war ended, the administration encouraged everyone to leave the camps, and then closed the schools. My third brother found his way to Michigan to complete his senior year of high school, then came home to San Francisco following graduation. He found a summer job, then enrolled at UC Berkeley, majoring in Electrical Engineering. My sister was in Chicago working when a family friend asked her to help with the opening of their restaurant in Salt Lake City. She moved to Salt Lake City and eventually married one of the workers.]

VY: Did she stay in Salt Lake City? Is that where she raised her family?

YY: (No, they eventually returned to California.)

VY: It's okay.

YY: I couldn't hear that.

VY: Your sister, she got married in Salt Lake City. Did she stay there?

YY: Actually, they all moved back to California after the war. The owner of the restaurant (left for) Stockton, (then) opened a restaurant there. (My sister's) husband was born in the U.S., (a Kibei). He went back to Japan to finish school (and just as he returned), the war started. My sister was very (fluent with the) Japanese language, reading and writing, (so they got along well).

VY: That's interesting, okay.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So after the war, you and your parents, just the three of you, returned to San Francisco.

YY: First, yes. And eventually, one by one, they all started coming back.

VY: Now, when you returned to San Francisco Japantown, were you one of the first families to do that?

YY: We were one of the earlier ones. (My parents) felt that I (should begin) school (on the first day with everyone else). Japan surrendered (...) in August. We had to come back before Labor Day (to begin school) after Labor Day.

VY: So were you nervous about going back?

YY: Yeah, I was a little hesitant. I wasn't sure what to expect.

VY: And you went back before most of your friends did, so did they give you any...

YY: They weren't back yet. And a lot of new students while I was gone, so I didn't know them at all. (They may have been curious), but they weren't difficult at all. They made it easy. They may have been prepared by the teacher, I don't know.

VY: Do you think maybe the teacher talked to them to make you feel comfortable about returning?

YY: Yeah.

VY: Well, I'm curious. So your friends from Japantown, that whole neighborhood, you and your friends all went to the same camp and you still interacted with each other in Topaz, and then you all, or not all of you, but a lot of you, ended up coming back to the same area. But you kind of came first.

YY: I think so, earlier than most. (But many didn't come back to the same area. Therefore, attended different schools.)

VY: So what did your friends tell you about going back? Like were they worried about you or did they tell you to be careful?

YY: Well, some of the close friends in the same block, they tried to prepare me by (saying) if they (taunt you), then I should say something back. [Laughs] That wasn't my personality. I listened to them, but I knew I wouldn't be (confronting them in that way).

VY: So you said when you came back, the students were different. I'm wondering about, was the whole neighborhood a little bit different? Because while you were gone, while you were in camp, did other people move in to the neighborhood?

YY: When I was in camp, what?

VY: When you were in camp, I'm wondering, after you returned to the same neighborhood, if it changed at all? Was it different, were there different people living there?

YY: Oh, you mean in our house?

VY: In your house, just in the neighborhood, in your school.

YY: Some of the old neighbors went back to their house because they owned it. But the people who were renting probably had to look elsewhere. They wouldn't be able to go back to the same house.

VY: So before the war, were most of the students Japanese, most of your classmates? Were they mostly Japanese American before the war?

YY: Yeah, but not everybody owned homes, even though they lived there. But the people who did own the home, most of them came back. Otherwise, they found other places to move to, and they decided to start a new life. [Narr. note: Only four or five Japanese students in my class before the war. Majority were Caucasians. Postwar majority were Blacks and Latin, a few Caucasians, Chinese and 1-2 Japanese in my class. There may have been more returning later, but I had transferred to a junior high school by then.]

VY: And what about your classmates? You had new classmates when you returned?

YY: The new what?

VY: New classmates, kids in school.

YY: Oh, classmates. They weren't Japanese, it was mainly the Blacks came into our neighborhood, so there were Black students and also the Caucasian students. And I think some probably came from Mexico, because there were... or South America maybe. I met a lot of new students from down south. I'm not sure (from) which country.

VY: Did everybody seem to get along pretty well?

YY: Yeah, they did. They were very friendly, maybe at that age they weren't... well, they didn't act prejudiced or anything like that, so I didn't feel threatened (...).

VY: Not what your friends prepared you for?

YY: (No, it wasn't the confrontational scene my friends prepared me for.)

VY: What about, did anything change? Like the center, the learning, the Japanese language school, did the name change while you were gone? Like when you came back, was it different?

YY: You know, I'm not sure, because I didn't see other kind of business except maybe a grocery store that was Italian (owned). All the others must have been owned by the Japanese because they seemed to have come back and started their business again.

VY: Oh, interesting. So a lot of the merchants were able to come back to their business?

YY: Yeah. Especially the grocery stores and the fish market. They were the same people who came back and restarted their business.

VY: And the language school, did that remain the same?

YY: The what?

VY: The language school.

YY: The language...

VY: The Japanese language school.

YY: No, it didn't. That was taken over by the Booker T. Washington community center, and therefore they had Black groups, but also Yori Wada, (who was an advisor to) the Barons, (joined) with the Booker T. Washington (staff). He was very involved (with everyone), and they all liked him a lot. (It was nice to see). �(Her persuaded) our age group to start thinking about politics (and eventual elections), and he had us delivering notices at election time (and encouraged involvement). We all (respected him).

VY: Interesting.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Tell me more about the group names, the group names that you had. So there was the group of girls had a name and the group of boys had a name? What were those names?

YY: The boys found a nice name, the Barons. But the girls had a difficult time finding one, so they just had a temporary name, but it never changed. [Laughs] We just couldn't decide what to call ourselves, so anyway, it stayed with us all this time.

VY: What was the name?

YY: It's the Stinkers.

VY: The Stinkers? Do you know why that particular name?

YY: No, I have no idea how it came up, anyway.

VY: But it just stuck with you, it never changed after that. Were there any other names? Were there any other groups?

YY: Yeah, they had the Links and Jinx... let's see, what are some of the other group names? Anyway... [Narr. note: These groups gave us opportunities to meet new friends, have new experiences, new knowledge, support. Several organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, provided free tickets to their performances occasionally, which was the first experience for most of us who grew up in camp.]

VY: So what were these groups? Were they just groups of kids?

YY: Groups that were about the same age. (...) Most of them were in high school (but there were junior high age groups and college age groups as well. Groups got together and sponsored picnics, dances or in smaller groups for bicycling, roller skating. We had fund raisers, learned to bake, none of us had a kitchen in camp so we never had that kind of experience before.)

VY: And you just got together and did activities together and that sort of thing?

YY: Yeah, and we had a leader, like Yori Wada for the boys, and Toshi Koba (...) for the girls, but there were (other leaders and groups, too. Some groups focused on sports, athletics, for example, basketball teams.)

VY: Do you still stay in touch with any of those friends from that time?

YY: We used to, a lot more (before). Now, everyone's pretty scattered, and several live in L.A. So when we were, used to get together every now and then, but it's been a long time now. We're all in our late eighties, so it's hard, but I think we're still saying one last time we should. So maybe next year or so.

VY: Where do you think that would be? Would it be in San Francisco?

YY: What was that?

VY: Do you think that would be in San Francisco, to meet up again? What city?

YY: Sorry.

VY: That's okay. I was just wondering, if you all meet again, where that would be?

YY: Oh, it would probably be in San Francisco, because most of them live there still.

VY: Let's see. So, okay, it's postwar, and you're growing up in the same neighborhood. And I'm wondering what your parents are doing during this time as all of your siblings have kind of left, so it's just you and your parents. Is your mom working more than she used to at this time?

YY: She was working several days a week, but there were activities for their age group, too, after the war, more so than before. [Narr. note: She had paid off her debts by then, and she was now in the senior age group and attending senior activities.]

VY: What was your house next to?

YY: What?

VY: The location of your home, what was it next to? What was next door?

YY: Location of the home?

VY: Yeah, do you remember what was next door to your home?

YY: Yeah, well, there was a Filipino family next door, and they were still there when we went back. And the other side, they had a little shop (or a small pool hall), but they were more the (homes for the) Black families, and across the street, too.

VY: So you lived on Sutter Street, so I'm wondering if you were near the YWCA?

YY: Yeah, that is still there, too. And our house, our house and the house next to us, they were, eventually the city bought it and they tore it down, and that's where the Japanese Cultural Center is now (newly built). (That building was closer to Buchanan, and our house was near Webster).

VY: Right, so that came later, like in the 1950s?

YY: Yeah.

VY: I'm just curious about the YWCA. Did your mom go there?

YY: (I heard, recently, that a group of parents of nursery school children were demonstrating to save the YWCA building from being demolished. They want to continue with the nursery school, whereas the other group plans to replace the building with their planned project.)

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Okay, and then you said eventually some of your siblings returned. Did they help your father with his business?

YY: Did they what?

VY: Your father's carpentry business. Who ran the business?

YY: I guess I didn't get the first part.

VY: Oh, your father's business, the carpentry business after the war.

YY: Yeah, I mean, it was still the same, people still needed help to fix things up or to add things. And a lot of restaurants started opening up, and they did a lot of restaurants in Japanese town as well as, like, Yamato Sukiyaki, they were more downtown, but they still worked for them. [Narr. note: My two older brothers continued to support my father with the business through the '50s and '60s, until retirement.]

VY: And did your brothers help with the business?

YY: Yes. My two older brothers were part of the group. And my brother, my oldest brother who went to Cal, had majored in business so that he could take care of that part of the paperwork, and taxes and paying salary or giving estimates and that sort of thing.

VY: And did the business always stay in the basement or did it move somewhere?

YY: Until the city bought the house and tore it down (in the late 1950s). My father was gone already. And they rented a place in the Mission district, and (used it just as a workshop). My two brothers have two sons, I mean, a son each, and they worked under their father. Four of them kept the business going (for a few more years until the city bought the house and tore it down in the late '50s. My father had passed on by then, so my brothers rented a workshop in the Mission district. They, with each of their eldest son, kept the business going until retirement).

VY: Do you know very much about the business itself? Like did their clientele change? When they moved the business from one neighborhood to another neighborhood, did they start getting different customers?

YY: Did they what?

VY: Did they start, were their customers different, did they change?

YY: No, not really, because they (kept) the same phone number (...), they didn't have much to do with the (workshop location). [Narr. note: The clientele remained basically the same, a generation younger perhaps. Location of their shop made little difference since it was used mainly for preparation and storage, and the actual work was at the clients' location, in most cases -- e.g. restaurnts and other businesses, private homes.]

VY: Okay, so one last question about your dad. Did he ever get a chance to return to Japan before he passed away?

YY: Who?

VY: Your father.

YY: My father? Actually, in 1950... (no, it was early 1954, he and my mom traveled to Japan for 3 months to reunite with families. It was his first trip since 1920, when he married my mother. He complained of not feeling well upon return, and within 5 months, he was gone. Diagnosis: CA, he was just 67 years old.)

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So, Yo, when you were a young woman, or I think maybe even still in high school, you started to work for Wayne Collins. Can you talk a little bit about that? How did you find out about the job, and what was it like to work for him, and what kinds of things did you do while you were working for him?

YY: I was a senior in high school, and a... no, she wasn't a classmate, but we went to the same school. And she was working for Takahashi Trading Company, and they got notice they're looking for some help at the office of Wayne Collins. But she already had a job at Takahashi Trading Company, so she asked me if I could work during this Christmas vacation, so I said sure. And I had no idea what it was, except I knew who he was because he was in the papers a lot a year before with the Tokyo Rose (case) at the courthouse in San Francisco. And so I knew who he was, but I didn't really know what I was going to be doing. So she gave me the address and told me to go over there and just talk to them. And that's how I started. They were just getting some mailings out to the renunciants, and so they were very busy, and they wanted some help. It really wasn't doing much, but just being on the mailing line. And that's how I started. And they kept calling me when they were busy, or asked me if I could work during the summer. So after I graduated, I worked full time (...), and that included not just the renunciants but other clients (as well). Learning how to type (a will) where you (...) erase anything (was a nerve wracking experience, especially) the last page or last line, (...) because you're going to have to type the whole thing again. [Laughs] It was a learning experience. (...)

VY: Did you meet any of his clients while you were there?

YY: What was that?

VY: Did you meet any of his clients while you were there?

YY: Did I meet...

VY: Do you remember any people that you met while you were there?

YY: People that, you mean his clients? Well, a lot of his clients were not in San Francisco, so it was a lot of mailing. But some clients, or some other lawyers who were working with him on cases, they would come in every now and then. It's mostly what he had to have typed up so that... so like Iva.

VY: Toguri?

YY: Now, she used to come from Chicago, when he was preparing her pardon, for instance. Then she would come in to the office with him and help out.

VY: Really?

YY: Yeah, so we got to know her too.

VY: Do you remember anything in particular about her?

YY: Yes, she was very easy to talk to, and friendly. She was like an older sister (to me, and a mother surrogate). Wayne and Margaret, they were six and eight years old when I first (met them, and they had lost their mother a few months before, so Mr. Collins was busy scheduling their after school activities as well as keeping up with his work at the office.). [Narr. note: She was serious, but warm and had� sense of humor. A good typist, too.]

VY: Were those his children?

YY: (Yes. A) few years ago, (the SF community was) honoring (Wayne Merril Collins, the son), and so I met him (in S.F.) for the first time in years. The last time I saw him, he was a freshman at Cal (and now he was a lawyer preparing to retire).

VY: That was Wayne Collins' son?

YY: This is Wayne Collins' son, yeah. And this time I said, "Oh, gee, I just remember you, you were six years old when I first started taking you to swimming lessons." He said, "I just turned seventy last week." [Laughs] I thought, wow, all those years passed by, I couldn't believe it.

VY: What about, were there any other things you did? Like did you ever translate, did you ever do any interpreting for Mr. Collins, like in-person interpreting in Japanese for him?

YY: You know, I didn't get the first part.

VY: It's a hard word. I'm wondering if you did any translation from English to Japanese or Japanese to English for Mr. Collins for any purpose?

YY: (No. If there was a need for translation, it would have been given to Chiyo. I only went to first and second grade Japanese school classes.)

VY: Did anybody ever visit from Japan?

YY: Oh, yes, (...) Mr. Collins would only speak English. Therefore, when he had a guest from Japan, he (invited me to converse with) them. He would just be driving. [Laughs] As I think I told you, when we went to Sacramento, because he, (the young visitor), wanted to see the capitol.

VY: Yeah, so talk about that. Who was visiting?

YY: You know, I don't know how he was related, but he was related to the emperor, I mean, (related to the) emperor's son. I don't know how that was, how they were related. But he was here just for a visit, and then we had to get back to San Francisco because there was a banquet for him that night and he had to be there. So we just had a few hours to go and come back.

VY: So you and Wayne Collins...

YY: And, oh, a friend of mine (who was helping us at the office). Eiko is her name, and she was a good sport and (joined with us).

VY: So it was the four of you, were in the car, you and Eiko and Mr. Collins and the young man from Japan. And in one day, you drove all the way from San Francisco to Sacramento and back again? That's a long journey.

YY: Right. In time for him to go to his banquet. (...).

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So what other memories do you have of Wayne Collins? Did he ever give you any kind of words of encouragement?

YY: Did I what?

VY: Your relationship with Wayne Collins, did he ever mentor you or give you words of encouragement?

YY: Are you asking did he question me?

VY: Well, I'm wondering if he... it seems like he was very loyal to the people that worked for him, and I'm wondering if you ever had a time when you were, needed to make a big decision and he might have helped you with that? When you were going to college, maybe talk about college.

YY: College?

VY: Yeah, maybe talk about your college experience.

YY: I was working for him full-time and (taking my prerequisite course at) night classes so that I won't have to take it when I do go to college (full time). I did that for (four) years, and I was able to get accepted at San Jose (as a junior). My father passed away just around that time, and I didn't think I could afford to go and find a place to live. So I decided I was just going to work and stay with my mother or she would be alone. You know Chiyo Wada, she told Wayne Collins about me planning this, and so the first chance he got, he called me (into his office) and gave me this (stern) fatherly lecture and said, "No, you're going to finish school." So he wanted me to go home right now and pack a bag, and (get) down there and find a place to live, so I did. [Laughs]

VY: Wow, that's great.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So did you move to San Jose?

YY: What was that?

VY: Did you move to San Jose to finish college?

YY: (...) This was in the summer, and so in September, I started.

VY: And what did you study?

YY: Occupational therapy, and so I got in as a junior.

VY: Why did you choose occupational therapy? What attracted you to it?

YY: Well, I knew I didn't want to be a teacher, you know, to stand in front of a class and just speak. But I enjoyed working one-to-one. And some of the things you do, thinking of ways to help them, the patient, then appealed to me, and you have to think of your own way. So I didn't really know because I never saw anyone work that way, but I just went with it until I graduated, and (after spending) nine months of clinical affiliation with various kinds of disabilities, then I really found (the work to be challenging and rewarding).

VY: Well, talk about that, what was that like when you did your clinical studies in the field? Where did you go?

YY: When I went to...

VY: When you, like what was your first job?

YY: Oh, first job? Well, one pediatric affiliation I had was with disturbed children. And so it just so happened they asked me to come back and work there during the summer. So I said, okay, (I can work) during the summer (...) until I (leave for) Japan with my mother because that was already planned. And so that's what I did. [Narr. note: There are four areas of disabilities we are trained in psychiatry, pediatrics, physical disabilities and general medical and surgical hospital patients.]

VY: And where was that?

YY: (Philo is in northern California, between Cloverdale and Ft. Bragg. From Philo, you can drive or walk one mile to the ranch. It was an ideal setting for children who needed time to calm down and learn to control their impulses. Activities included scheduled chores. If they were feeling stress, they were able to visit the animals they care for or sitting by the calming water of the creek. Diagnoses for the children included autism, blind, deaf, schizophrenia, and acting out behavior in children.)

VY: It sounds nice. You said it was a ranch, did it have a name?

YY: What was it?

VY: What was the name of the ranch?

YY: Clearwater Ranch, and it was a small little (town) called Philo, California.

VY: And who ran the ranch?

YY: Hmm?

VY: Who ran the ranch, the program there? Who was in charge?

YY: Oh, Susan Richards was the director, and she's the one who (founded this treatment center). And she has a very interesting background, (...) it was after World War I (when she graduated from college) that she was in the Near East around, I guess, they used to call it Persia, (now Iran). And her father was a missionary, and so she was with her mother and father and therefore she learned the language, knew the people, and after graduating from college, she saw an ad for someone who could take these, I forget how many children, like fifty or a hundred children, who were orphaned because their parents were killed during this time. She took them by foot back to their village. And so she had this interest in children and their background, and that's how she got into this Clearwater Ranch program.

VY: Interesting. So she took what she learned and she created this environment for these kids that you then came to this environment and worked with the kids, and it sounds like she liked your work. So how long were you there?

YY: You know, when I came back from Japan, I was going to look for a new job because I had taken my exam and finished my clinical. But there was a notice from her saying if I don't have a job yet, would I come and help them for a while, so I did. I thought it was just for the summer or just for the winter, but I stayed about three years.

VY: Three years? Was it hard to leave?

YY: What was it?

VY: Was it hard to leave?

YY: It was hard because of her. She didn't want me to leave, and I felt bad, but I knew it was time to have some other kind of experience. But in order to leave, I felt I had to go very far. [Laughs]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So where did you go?

YY: A friend of mine (was also) leaving her job (from a state psychiatric hospital and) she felt (needed a break). We both decided (on a trip) to New York. But as we were looking through our journal, we saw a lot of openings for jobs, and we thought, well, if we went for a year, we'll see a lot more (on) the weekends or during vacation. And so we decided that's what we'll do.

VY: So you decided to move there?

YY: Hmm?

VY: So you decided to move there and work.

YY: Yes.

VY: And kind of tour on the weekends?

YY: It was in 1960, we went, but we stayed a little longer.

VY: Where did you work?

YY: Hmm?

VY: Where did you work?

YY: Where did we live?

VY: Well, yes, actually, where did you live?

YY: In Manhattan.

VY: And where did you work?

YY: At the Bellevue Hospital, in a psychiatric nursery.

VY: What was that like?

YY: Hmm?

VY: What was that like?

YY: It was difficult for these children who had no family, (and) most of them didn't have family. They (may have been left on) doorsteps (or rejected in other ways, so) they were receptive to attention, and (limits being set when they lose control). The youngest was eighteen months, and the oldest was about six. We tried to make it more home-like and give them some experiences, pre-learning activities and having meals together (at a) round table with other children. So it was a different experience.

VY: How long were you there?

YY: I was there from '60 to '63, so I guess three, I was there about three years.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

YY: But in the meantime, I got married.

VY: Let's talk about that. How did you meet your husband?

YY: It was on a ski trip. The various churches (of various denominations) got together, they were all Japanese Americans. And whoever had a car offered to drive. And we had about seven cars full of people, and they (apparently did) this every year, (...) but it was a first for me (...) to upstate New York for skiing. They had a house that (was available for use). We all (shared in cooking and cleaning chores), and they all taught us (to ski or rather, tried to. I did learn how to get up off the ground without removing skis first.)

VY: So you met your husband there, what was your husband's name?

YY: What?

VY: What was your husband's name?

YY: Oh, Tetsu. Tetsu. And that's my name, Yasuda.

VY: So tell me about your earlier life together. What kind of work did he do?

YY: He was a civil engineer, structural, and mostly (designed) piers, bridges, roads, buildings (...). He worked for this one company right after he graduated and took his exam. And then he decided he wanted to specialize in structural engineering. And so he went to night school while he worked to get his master's.

VY: So he worked for a firm in New York?

YY: Yes, and he worked for them for over forty years. I only know forty because he got a bowl, silver bowl. (...)

VY: And was he originally from New York?

YY: No, he was from Seattle, actually.

VY: So how did he find his way to New York? What happened? What happened to him during the war?

YY: What was that?

VY: What happened to him during World War II?

YY: What happened to him? Oh, you mean, after the war?

VY: Yes, and during the war. If he was in Seattle, what camp did he go to?

YY: He went where the Seattleites went.

VY: Minidoka.

YY: Right, and near Puyallup and then to Minidoka. And then when the war ended, the family didn't have a home here anymore. And so they went to New York, feeling that most of them would be able to find work more easily. (...) His sisters went (to NYC) and found a place for the family to live. (Tets) had graduated from high school by then and (...) in the army, (attended) language school (at) Camp Savage in Minnesota, and then I think they moved (the school) to Monterey so he finished up in Monterey, and then to Japan during the occupation.

VY: Did he have an opportunity to visit family from Japan while he was there?

YY: Yes, he did visit the family in Fukuoka. (...) Even after we married, we (visited) several times. (After his discharge, he attended Columbia where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering).

VY: Okay, so then by the time you met him, he was already working as a civil engineer.

YY: Yes.

VY: And how did you end up back in Seattle?

YY: How did he what?

VY: How did you both end up back in Seattle?

YY: From...

VY: Well, because you were in New York. He was originally from Seattle, but after the war, his family went to New York because there was nothing for him, for them in Seattle anymore.

YY: (The first time was shortly after we were married. TAMS, the company he worked for, got the job to design part of the freeway, from Southcenter to the International District. In his design, he had to level an area he grew up in, including the house in which he was born. This 9-month job turned into a 5-year stay, before we finally returned to New York City.)

VY: So he worked on I-5, it sounds like.

YY: (Yes, he did work on a section of I-5, but the Navy had problems they needed to solve at the Naval Port in Bangor, WA. They needed a drydock cover designed with a system to rapidly provide weather protection for refitting activities when the Trident submarine is briefly drydocked between tours at sea. Apparently, three other designs and concepts, developed by others, fell short of the naval criteria. TAMS unique cover met Trident mission requirements, and in the time remaining. Tets prepared to get the project of the ground. After five years, we were finally on our way back to New York).

VY: So it sounds like he worked on a lot of different kinds of structures and roads and bridges and piers.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Backing up a little bit, when you got married, what did you do right afterwards? Like did you travel?

YY: We traveled right after we married.

VY: Where did you go?

YY: Well, he took me around the world. [Laughs] So for four months we traveled.

VY: Did any of those places stand out to you more than others?

YY: What was that?

VY: What countries did you go to?

YY: Well, we started in New York and (flew) to Portugal and Spain and (traveled through Europe, traveled south to Egypt to see the pyramids and ride the camels.)

VY: That's okay. I was just wondering if, was it unusual for people your age -- you were pretty young then -- to be traveling around that much?

YY: Not too many people were traveling at that time, but there were still some people either going home from an overseas job or... it was before a lot of the wars like Vietnam or Korea. It was way before that, so we were able to travel around without that kind of worry.

VY: Did you travel alone or in groups?

YY: No, we traveled on our own. I mean, Pan American at that time had an around the world ticket, and they gave you a year to use it, so you could stop wherever you wanted to, but we just had four months because we had to get back to work. And so we could change it as long as you're going in one direction, I mean, you can't go back, and they had certain rules like that.

VY: I see, to keep moving forward.

YY: You could go up and down as long as you're going forward, yeah, but you can't go back again, so you have to plan that.

VY: So this was the early '60s, the early 1960s.

YY: What?

VY: When you did this first round of traveling, it was in the 1960s.

YY: '62.

VY: '62? How do you feel like you were perceived by other people when you would travel? Did people see you as American, did it depend on what country you were in? Did you feel, like when you were in Vietnam, did you feel like you kind of blended in a little bit, or was it obvious that you were American and that sort of thing?

YY: Yeah, I think most people assumed we were from Japan. But there were others, I don't know, but I think that's the first impression.

VY: Okay, so you traveled. You got married, you went on your honeymoon and traveled for about four months and then you came back, and you ended up moving to Seattle for longer than you thought you were going to. During that time there was an earthquake.

YY: During that time what?

VY: There was an earthquake, right?

YY: Uh-huh.

VY: Do you want to talk about that?

YY: That was in 1974.

VY: Was it '74 or '64?

YY: Hmm?

VY: Was it '74 or '64?

YY: No, I brought you the book, and I found it was '74. So therefore he was working on that thing, but the reason we came back was because of the damage to the port from the earthquake.

VY: And why did they want him to come back? How was he involved?

YY: Well, because he designed one of the docks, and I think there were four. Three of them got damaged and (the) only one that survived (was the one he designed). Therefore they wanted him to be the project engineer for the repairs. And we were already back in New York. We just got back, and (he partners) were complaining because when we (left for WA), there were just (the) two of us, and when we came back, we had three children (plus their furniture, clothes, toys). [Laughs] They weren't too happy our going back again to Seattle.

VY: You mean his firm?

YY: We said we'll go and stay this time.

VY: So that was the big Alaska earthquake, it was very devastating. But during that earthquake, the one pier that he (designed) survived?

YY: Uh-huh.

VY: Interesting. Okay, so you came back to Seattle and then you went back to New York but not for very long, and then you came back to Seattle again. When you came back to Seattle a second time, that's when you stayed for good?

YY: When we came back, what?

VY: When you moved back to Seattle, the two of you and your family, the second time, you stayed here?

YY: Uh-huh.

VY: And you stayed here ever since. You never left.

YY: No, no.

VY: Tell me about your house. How did you find your house and...

YY: When we came back, we rented for a year, and we thought we would want to stay on the east side because the children were just getting ready to start school. And so that's when we found our house, and that was over fifty years ago.

VY: And the house, it's kind of interesting, the history of the area that your house is on, because it was a large plot of land. Was it like 12 acres?

YY: Yes. The people we bought it from, his parents gave him this land, and he made each plot an acre plot. And he built some of the houses, for instance, the house that we have now.

VY: And I understand it's in a very wooded area.

YY: Yes, and it has a stream in the back.

VY: And we recently had a pretty severe heat wave here in Seattle, but your house...

YY: Recently had a what?

VY: A heat wave.

YY: Oh, yes. Yes, we did, didn't we? [Laughs]

VY: But it sounds like your house did okay, it kept you cool because of the way it was built and planned.

YY: Yes, it did stay cool, but we still used a fan. [Laughs]

VY: Everybody did.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Okay, so you moved back to Seattle, you raised a family. During that time, the two of you did some more traveling. I think you didn't travel that much with your kids, but can you tell me more about some of the other traveling that you did later?

YY: Oh, you know, after the children graduated from college, we felt that we could travel again. And so he took a lot of the jobs overseas. The first one we did was to the Philippines, that was for one year. It was a USAID job, so that they were (planning and designing) markets and schools and buildings (...). He traveled all around the Philippines, and once in a while I got to go.

VY: What would you do when you weren't with him?

YY: When I what?

VY: When he would travel around the Philippines, you were also in the Philippines.

YY: Uh-huh. But he would go and assess the place and then he would come back to design. But, I mean, there were always things to do. [Laughs] [Narr. note: I joined the American Women's Club. It was a great source of information. Places to visit, where to volunteer, fundraisers when my daughter visited, we worked with teenaged girls at Mother Teresa's Home for teen-aged girls. I was always looking into projects which would add a few extra dollars to Ester's weekly income. One such project: roasted pine nuts which she flavored and roasted, packed in individual bags, and sold at the Women's Club. I arrived in the Philippines two months later, and by then Tets had hired a housekeeper two times a week. She did the wash and straightened up the apartment for him.]

VY: Like what, what kinds of things would you do?

YY: You know, they need jobs, a lot of the people who live there, because they live in poverty, a lot of them. And so whatever jobs you could give them, they're just really grateful for. So looking for things for them to do, they like, they enjoy that. [Narr. note: Ester was a mother of five, one disabled, and an unemployed husband. She worked for one American couple, and her salary had to pay for their groceries and rent. I added an additional day for her to give me cooking lessons of their native dishes.]

VY: And there's some other places that you traveled to, kind of work travel, right? You went there for your husband's work, like Lebanon?

YY: Yeah, Lebanon. That was the last job that he took, and he was there for about six months. I was still working, so after I retired, then I went and joined him just before Christmas. We were able to travel to Jordan, to Petra, and a lot of interesting places there. But he went to Korea, I mean, he wanted me to go with him so that when he's finished working there he would have company. So while he was working, I was planning trips.

VY: Good teamwork.

YY: Yeah. Then he went to South America and to Colombia several times, and to Chile.

VY: Did anything interesting happen during any of those trips? Like did you ever have any trouble or have any kind of exciting adventure?

YY: What was that question?

VY: I was wondering, like, for instance, in Colombia, if anything interesting happened while you were there. Was there ever any trouble?

YY: One of the trips we took after the Colombia trip, it was through the Amazon and also to Galapagos, that was interesting. Really enjoyed that. And in Chile we went all the way down to the end, the very tip of Chile. They were, we felt very safe there. Just in the cities you have to be more careful.

VY: More in the city?

YY: Because they're always looking to... I was walking down the street and all of a sudden, I had pierced ears then, they're trying to take that off of me.

VY: Wow.

YY: And I said... and so then everybody looked and then he ran off, but he wasn't able to get it because it was pierced. Or I would tell my husband, I said, "That man across there is looking at us," I said, "just be careful." And he went like this to feel where his wallet was. And so right away... and before we left, I said, "Leave your money at home, just put a dollar in (...) your wallet." It's a good thing I did that because sure enough, he saw him go like this, and that's where he went. When we went into the store, he said he took it. It was gone.

VY: Wow, just like that. Very skilled.

YY: So, you know you have to be aware, but he was telling me I was paranoid. [Laughs]

VY: But it sounds like you were right. When you did all this traveling, how did you, did you learn different languages?

YY: What?

VY: When you did all this traveling, you went to so many different countries. Like you went to almost everywhere. Did you, how did you get by? How did you communicate with people, especially since you were mostly traveling just the two of you? And it sounds like several places you lived in them for a while, so that might have been a different kind of experience.

YY: I mean, most people could understand. Maybe not really converse, but (can) make you understand what you want, or what they want to know. People who work in, like in a hotel, pretty much can communicate. A lot of the people who come running up to you and say, "Can we take picture with you?"

VY: Why do you think they wanted to take picture with you?

YY: I don't know. [Laughs] I guess because at that time it was unusual to see different people because there weren't that many people traveling.

VY: Interesting. So are there any more, like, travel adventures that you remember that are worth mentioning?

YY: What was that?

VY: I was wondering if there were any more travel adventures that you wanted to mention. Like did you ever... I think you told me you rode a camel once or something? Did you ride a camel?

YY: Oh, camel?

VY: Yeah.

YY: Yeah, oh, yeah, I forgot to bring a picture. [Laughs]

VY: Where was that?

YY: By the pyramids in Egypt.

VY: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Okay, so you did have a couple of other jobs later.

YY: A couple of what?

VY: You did have some other jobs later, occupational therapy jobs?

YY: Uh-huh. What about it?

VY: Like in Seattle? In Seattle, I think you had a couple of different kinds of jobs.

YY: When we came back... oh, that was before children. I worked at the University Hospital in the psychiatric wards. They had a closed ward and an open ward, and I was there for about three years before I had children.

VY: You did a lot of work with psychiatric patients.

YY: What?

VY: You did a lot of work with psychiatric patients, right?

YY: I'm sorry, I didn't get that.

VY: That's okay. I'm just wondering, the kind of work that you did seems like it might be difficult to do for long periods of time.

YY: You mean with psychiatric patients?

VY: Yes.

YY: It really isn't. Some problems might be just repetitive, but mostly you want to get them out of this, being just within himself, and you want them to be able to relate to others. And so it was mainly activities, various activities. Or somebody might have, maybe she used to knit a lot and she wants to do something, and at least she's doing something, you can help them that way.

VY: I see.

YY: But it's mainly keeping schedules, being responsible, things like that.

VY: I see, kind of routine.

YY: If they're doing something that's inappropriate, you try to help them to come back. It depends on each person, it's different things you need.

VY: Okay. And then later in your career, it sounds like you started working with older people.

YY: Uh-huh. And after, I guess that was my last group of people that I worked with, was with the geriatric patients.

VY: Where did you work?

YY: Hmm?

VY: Where? What places did you work?

YY: In Seattle. I went to all of them. There was one for the Swedish, in that area, and then here in Terrace View was right here near Rainier Avenue. Then Keiro, and the Catholic one, St. Vincent. So there were many of them, and each one was different.

VY: Okay.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: So then you and your husband, Tetsu...

YY: Hmm?

VY: You and your husband raised a family, you traveled all over the place, and then later in life, your husband retired. And after he retired, not long after he retired, there was an accident. And I was just wondering if you wanted to talk about that particular time in your life and how your positive outlook, how both of you had such a positive outlook, how it kind of really got you through that time and how other people around you responded. Do you feel like talking about that?

YY: You mean after we retired?

VY: Yes.

YY: (Tets left for Lebanon in October in '99. I worked until the end of October, then retired, had surgery in early December, then flew to Lebanon two weeks later). And when we came back from Lebanon, then he retired. And he was in an accident. It was just a one-car accident where his (left front wheels) hit the median strip (which) jumped up and there was a (lamp post) there which the car hit, and it snapped back his neck, which caused his paralysis from that point down. And so he was a quadriplegic and he was in the hospital for almost (half) a year. Part of it was rehab. But he came back. Our house is, we live on one level, I mean, we have a downstairs too, but we were living on one level and therefore it was easy for him to maneuver around the house. So (he was able to live for) fourteen years after that, (and) was able to do just about everything on his own (as long as it was set up for him), with a little help, that's all.

VY: Was that hard on either of you?

YY: No, because it was what we would have done anyway, we would have been together. And he's always thinking of ways to do things better. And so he found that a challenge, and he could do a lot, quite a bit of it on his own just with certain things, he needed some help. Or I would get him different equipment so that he could eat even though he can't hold, you know, the fork is in there so he could eat. And he could hook his thumb (through the handle) to drink, and therefore he could take his pills on his own, everything. He did quite a bit on his own.

VY: I imagine your previous training...

YY: What?

VY: I imagine your previous training and the work that you did was helpful.

YY: Yeah, and I didn't even have to travel. [Laughs] I didn't have to commute in the traffic jam (to get to work).

VY: But it also sounds like he was someone who always kind of lived for the moment and didn't really have any regrets.

YY: What was that?

VY: It sounds like your husband didn't really have any regrets.

YY: Yeah. I mean, he was... it was almost as though he didn't know what has happened. I mean, I kept wondering if he was not facing the facts. But I asked him if he thought that he would be walking again when he first found himself in the hospital, and he said no. I mean, he thought he might be able to walk, he didn't know how serious his injury was. But in time, he said he realized that that was probably the case, but he accepted it and he said he always lived so that he won't have regrets. And he did whatever he wanted, when he wanted, and traveled where we wanted to go and do whatever we wanted to do. And so he really, he accepted it, and he made the best of it and always trying to figure out a better way. That's the engineer in him.

VY: Yeah, it sounds like the two of you were a good team. It sounds like you were a good team together and you both just sort of took everything in stride and just kind of moved forward.

YY: Uh-huh. And I think that's, I learned a lot from him, too.

VY: And raised -- sorry, go ahead.

YY: I just never saw him depressed or regretted anything, he just accepted it and made the best of it. I don't think I could have thought that same way. But he made it easy on me.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

[Ed. note: This transcript has been edited by the narrator]

VY: Well, and the two of you raised a family together. And do you want to talk anymore before we conclude today? Is there anything else that you want to talk about, about your time together or the life that you led? Sorry, I'm throwing too many words. Yeah, I'm just wondering, before we conclude, is there anything else you'd like to say?

YY: Not really, I don't know. I can't think of anything. I'm glad that my children are independent and they're all settled in their way. And so I don't have to worry about them and I could just... I don't have any responsibility now. [Laughs]

VY: How many children do you have?

YY: Three.

VY: And these days...

YY: Hmm?

VY: These days, lately, now, what do you like to do? What kinds of things do you do?

YY: What do I like, what would I like to do now?

VY: Yeah, or what do you do now?

YY: I just feel like I've done everything, but there's always things to do. I mean, we're on an acre lot, and a lot of weeds come up. [Laughs] So each day I try to do a little bit. But I don't have to if I don't want to because I keep saying it looks natural. But there's always things to do, so it keeps me busy. And right now I'm trying to get rid of things.

VY: Well, that's perfect. It sounds like you've always been the kind of person to just kind of roll up your sleeves and get things done, so that sounds just right. Yo, it's been such a pleasure getting to know you, and I really appreciate you coming here today to talk with us. Thank you so much.

YY: Thank you, you made it easy.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.