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Title: Takae Tanino Walts Interview
Narrator: Takae Tanino Walts
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary); Barbara Yasui (secondary)
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: April 21, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-508-4

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Do you know any stories about your family when you first started farming in Bellevue, how they first got started? Was he able to get land or did they work for someone?

TW: Well, it's a mystery to me that they were able to have a 20-acre farm in Bellevue. I never, in fact, before my brother passed, I wanted to get some answers. And I said, "Do you know how Mom and Dad got this 20 acres? He said he had no idea, but that's what they had. It was a lovely farm, it had a river flowing through it, it was really nice.

TI: What river would be flowing through, do you remember? Was it like a stream or a river?

TW: Yeah, a stream, I should call it, it was a stream. We used to go down and catch salmon there.

TI: Oh, so you actually had salmon in that stream?

TW: My brother used to use pitchforks.

TI: Probably not a legal way of catching salmon these days. [Laughs]

TW: Well, they won't come after him. He'd get a pitchfork and my brother would throw 'em up on the bank my sister and I would get gunny sacks and put 'em in. And then we'd dry it like the Indians used to do and have it.

TI: Wow, so he would catch quite a few?

TW: Oh, yeah. And then the rest of it went to fertilizer.

TI: That's a good story. And was this, the stream went on your land?

TW: Yes.

TI: So you just went down there with a pitchfork?

TW: Yeah.

TI: Any other fond memories? Let's go back to the farmhouse. You said it was twenty acres, talk about the farmhouse.

TW: Okay, there was a main house. It was a big barn, there was a bathhouse, it was heated outside with wood fire. And alongside there was a sake house that my grandma made sake for grandpa. And then there was a greenhouse, and then there was another house that was for workers that came to work during the summer. Oh, and there was a big silo there, and I remember we had a black horse called Ichi. And Dad tied the silo to Ichi, and they knocked the silo down, and then it became a great, huge pond and we put goldfish in it.

TI: And did your dad do that intentionally? He had the horse pull the silo?

TW: Oh yes, he wanted the silo gone because it had no purpose anymore.

TI: And before, it held maybe water or something?

TW: I don't know, but it was empty.

TI: Oh, that's a good story. So it seems like it was memorable when your dad did that.

TW: Oh, yes, big excitement.

TI: And going back, it's curious. I haven't heard too many stories about sake houses. If you walked in there, what would be...

TW: Well, there'd be a big barrel there, and then a long pole and a weight. I don't know how that weight... but anyhow, that's how it fermented. And then Grandma would gather it up, bottle it up. You want some, Tom?

TI: Yeah, I'm curious. [Laughs] I'm a chemical engineer, so I always wondered, "How did they make these kind of things?" And so big barrel, fermented...

TW: They knew a lot of things that we no longer know.

TI: Well, they say they would brew it or something. Is it a brewery, sake brewery? So I'm trying to figure out they would do that. And so she would make this sake for whom? Who would drink it?

TW: For Grandpa. Grandpa drank a lot.

TI: [Laughs] Now, did she share it or he share it with other...

TW: Oh, friends.

TI: Other friends.

TW: Yeah, we'd have friends.

TI: And so do you recall that, that people would come over and drink Grandma's sake?

TW: (Yes).

TI: And what would they say about her sake? Was it pretty good?

TW: I don't know. [Laughs] I didn't get a taste.

TI: Now, when they would drink sake, when your dad or mom's friends came over, where would they drink?

TW: They'd be in the kitchen sitting, we had a four-by-six table in the kitchen because the family would sit there and his friends would come there and drink with them.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.