Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiroko Nakashima Interview
Narrator: Hiroko Nakashima
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 15, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-nhiroko-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TL: Okay. Well, today's date is October 15, 1999. It's Friday at 10:00 a.m. My name is Tracy Lai. And I'm wondering if you could start by stating your full name, including your maiden and married name?

HN: My name is Hiroko Nakahara Nakashima.

TL: When were you born?

HN: I was born April 15th, 1927, in Spokane, Washington.

TL: Okay. And do you have any brothers or sisters?

HN: I have one sister named Meriko.

TL: And how about your parents' names?

HN: My father's name was Umekichi Nakahara, and my mother's name was Ayako Nakahara.

TL: What do you know about what brought them to Spokane?

HN: My father, he came over when he was very young. He said he came over when he, gee, after fifth or sixth grade, and I think he went to Montana to work in the railroads. And then he went to Spokane and started a restaurant, but first he went to cooking school. And then he went back to Japan and married my mother. And then they came over to Spokane.

TL: Did he go to cooking school in Spokane, or did he ever mention where that was located?

HN: I think he went to school in Spokane. I'm not quite sure.

TL: Perhaps. And when he went to Japan, did he go back to his home village, or how did he meet up with your mother?

HN: I'm not quite sure. But he lived in Yamaguchi-ken, (Basara) a little town. And my mother lived in Yamaguchi-ken, too, (Shinjo) another town. So it might have been one of these, call it, nakaodo marriage?

TL: What does that mean?

HN: Go-between.

TL: Were their families, your mother's family and your father's family, were they farmers or small business?

HN: They were both farmers.

TL: Both farmers?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: Do you suppose your mother expected to be a farmer's wife in the United States?

HN: I don't think so because she knew he was, he had a restaurant. So she came over with him.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TL: I'm wondering if you could describe some of your memories of Spokane when you were a young girl? For example, could you describe where your family lived and what that was like?

HN: Well, we lived in a hotel, the Saranek Hotel. But the restaurant was in, on Bernard and Main, so we had to walk down to the restaurant, which was about four blocks away. And we spent most of the time at the restaurant. So we ate and stayed there until the, my mother was finished working because she worked as a waitress. Then we walked back to the hotel and sleep there. Then we'd come back in the morning, we'd go down to the restaurant, eat breakfast, then we would go to school from there.

TL: Were there many other Japanese families that lived in this hotel?

HN: Yes. It was owned by a Japanese family. I can't quite remember their name, but I think it's still in Spokane. And there's another hotel across the street that was owned by a Japanese. It was, it was more like a Japantown, I think, where Saranek Hotel was and where we lived, I mean, where we had the restaurant. There was quite a few Japanese restaurants and laundry, barbershop, hotels. So it was more like Japantown.

TL: Did it seem like families who had those businesses -- the restaurants or the barbershop -- did they also live in the hotel, too, or did some of them live above their businesses? I'm trying to imagine what it looked like.

HN: I think quite a few, like the ones that owned a laundry or the tailor or the barber shop, they lived there in the back, and some owned homes and then some lived in hotels.

TL: For the people who lived, who owned their homes, was that very far away?

HN: I think it was walking distance. It wasn't too far.

TL: You've mentioned that the community in Spokane was kind of small.

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: Do you remember approximately how big or how small?

HN: I think they said there were only about 300 Japanese (people) there, back in the '30s.

TL: So in this hotel did you rent several rooms or one big room or --

HN: We had two rooms, and we had to go across the hall to go to the bathroom.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TL: What about some of your memories of going to school? What kind of a school, was it a, the one-room school or several buildings?

HN: No. It was a brick school. They, from first to eighth grade, Lincoln School. And we used to walk to school, which was about, gee, about six, seven blocks away. So it wasn't that far. I think we had fun kind of walking to school. There was quite a few of us that used to walk to school.

TL: A lot of children the same age?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: And all of -- these are the families that worked and lived in this little Japantown?

HN: Close by, uh-huh.

TL: What about the other students at the school? Did they come on buses from other parts of Spokane?

HN: I don't think so. I think most of them walked to school. But I remember we started from 1B and then we went to 1A. Instead of the whole year in the same class, we kind of changed after half a year. I started in 1B, and then they thought I, I was, I read too good so they put me in 1A. That's how I became in the same class as Molly Suzuki, and then there was a George Saiki and Kozo Nishifu. There were four of us that were Japanese. Rest were Caucasians.

TL: So you were actually kind of younger, but your skills were very good, so they put you ahead?

HN: Just a half a year younger.

TL: Now, were you, was your older sister also a good student, and so did you kind of learn from her?

HN: Uh-huh. She's two years older. And then at the restaurant we had an American waitress, and she kind of helped us with our homework and everything 'cause our parents couldn't speak English that well. But they had to know English since they were, had that restaurant.

TL: So was reading one of your favorite subjects, or were there other --

HN: Yeah. I think I liked math and reading and geography because the geography teacher was very nice.

TL: How about Japanese language school? Did you and your friends and your sister go to...

HN: Uh-huh. Right after school we had to walk to the Grant Street Church. And there we learned Japanese every day. And I had, Mrs. Suzuki was our school teacher.

TL: Was it a mixed-level class, so that the young children and the older children...

HN: Older, different...

TL: ...were all together, or were there separate classes?

HN: Yeah there were separate classes. And Reverend Goto kind of taught the older children. So we had to walk to the church. And from there we went home. So by the time we got home it was, must have been about 4 or 5 o'clock.

TL: Was the church located in the Japantown or a little bit separate?

HN: It was separate. It was on Grant Street, which is, oh, the east? I think the, east of Japantown.

TL: What about what you were studying in the Japanese language class? Was is it mostly the reading and the writing, or did you do other, other activities?

HN: I think it's mostly reading and writing. But I don't know if we really learned anything. [Laughs]

TL: Well, after -- this is jumping ahead, but when you did go to Japan, did you feel like those classes had helped you somewhat, or did you just feel a little bit lost because in Japan people would speak quickly or --

HN: I think it -- we were learning the katakana in the Japanese school, so that helped. The hiragana too. But the kanji, which is harder, I don't think we learned too much kanjis when we were here. But it helped. I'm sure it helped us a little bit.

TL: Since you went every day, was there still a lot of homework from the Japanese language class, or did you do it, do all the practicing right there in class?

HN: I think we had homework, and we took it home and did homework. And the English school, too -- well, we didn't have that much homework those days. But we had to do reading and arithmetic, and probably history and geography. It was a lot of memorizing.

TL: In Japanese school did they also teach history or about Japanese culture, too, or did you learn about Japan maybe from your parents and maybe the church activities?

HN: Gee, I can't remember if they taught us -- I know at church activities they used to have these Japanese movies once in a while. They, I think they came from Seattle, and they showed to it to the people in Spokane. And so we used to all go watch the movies. I don't think we understood anything, but we had fun getting together with everybody.

TL: I wonder what the movies would have been about. I don't suppose you remember?

HN: I think, we were kids, we liked the fighting. We used to call it chanbara, when the, with the swords.

TL: So very exciting, huh?

HN: Yes.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TL: You mentioned that both you and your sister took some lessons. You had studied --

HN: Koto.

TL: Koto?

HN: Koto. (A Japanese harp.)

TL: And what did your sister study?

HN: She did odori, Japanese dancing.

TL: But that wasn't through Japanese school. That was separate.

HN: Then we had to take piano lessons too. But koto, when they had this Japanese entertainment get-together at the church, we used to perform koto. And my sister used to do her odori. And then Mrs. Goto, she was quite active, and she started this club, Busy Bee Club. It was kids about our age, teenage, ten to fourteen year olds. We had a club. And she used to teach us like the Bon Odori dances, and we performed at, when they had that special day.

TL: That sounds like fun.

HN: Yeah. So she, and then we used to do talent show. That's when they had a lot of talent show, on that, when they had those.

TL: Did the adults perform also in the talent show?

HN: No, it was just kids.

TL: Young people?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: Did you wear the traditional kimono?

HN: Kimono.

TL: Who helped you get dressed?

HN: Oh, my mother. Yeah, I guess she still remembered.

TL: Did she have to send away for the kimono or did she make them herself?

HN: No. She sent away 'cause she had a sister living in Japan and her brother was living there. So we had relatives. So they sent the kimonos and things.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TL: Let's see. I'm wondering if you could describe your family's restaurant. What did it look like and...

HN: Oh, gee.

TL: ...what did they serve?

HN: Oh, I remember he had a counter there. And then on the side they had table and chairs, and some with booth. And oh, he served American food. But I remember my dad used to make dessert. I remember he used to make pudding and pies and things. And oh, when it wasn't busy, after hours we used to play card games and things in the booth with our friends, 'cause next door, and next-next door, had kids our age. And then, oh, I remember we had a slot machine back in the '30s. [Laughs]

TL: Oh, my. Uh-huh.

HN: When the gambling was legal then.

TL: Sure. Was that pretty popular...

HN: Oh, yes.

TL: ...with the adults? What was the name of the restaurant?

HN: It was the Sunrise Cafe. And then next door was the Sunset Laundry. And then the other side there was a tavern right next to us, Mr. and Mrs. Nishikawa used to own it. And then they made tofu in their back.

TL: Oh. Probably lots of people --

HN: Used to buy tofu there.

TL: Buy it. Did your father buy the restaurant from someone else, and did he kind of buy the name or did he start it out himself?

HN: I think he had a restaurant first on Main Avenue...

TL: Oh.

HN: ...when we were babies. And then he bought that restaurant on Bernard Street. So I don't know how he got the name Sunrise. I guess, kind of like the Japanese sunrise.

TL: Could you describe the kind of customers that would come?

HN: Oh, there (were), mostly Caucasian. But on Saturdays quite a few of the farmers, Japanese farmers, used to come and eat at our restaurant. And that time my husband's father used to come and eat breakfast 'cause they'd bring their vegetables to the market and then they'd come and eat. So I knew his father when we were kids. And I knew my husband faintly 'cause quite a few of the farmer boys used to come in, too. So that was back in the '30s.

TL: Was this mostly serving breakfast and lunch or did he go all through the day through dinner?

HN: He had dinner too.

TL: Wow. Made for a long day.

HN: I know it. He was working all day.

TL: So your family ate all their meals there too?

HN: Uh-huh. Then we'd have to walk home to go to the hotel to go to sleep.

TL: Did he ever ask you and your sister to help in the kitchen, or were you a little bit too small?

HN: I think we were kind of young, so we never -- 'cause he had a waitress and my mother waitressed. And then we had a dishwasher. So I don't think we did much. We had to do our homework and we had to practice our piano lessons. We had a piano in the restaurant.

TL: Oh. Well, that's kind of unusual. Did anyone else come to play, or was it there because, for you girls to practice?

HN: And then they had that -- it was more like that play -- that piano where you could put the tape in?

TL: Oh, like a player piano?

HN: Player piano. It was a player piano.

TL: Oh.

HN: So we could just play, practice, and then if we felt like it we'd just stick the tape in and --

TL: To listen.

HN: Uh-huh. Or pretend like we were playing it.

TL: So the customers could even play music for entertainment.

HN: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TL: Okay. I'm wondering about when you first learned that you and your sister would be going to Japan. Do you remember how you found out or what you were told?

HN: Oh, my sister had finished grade school, eighth grade, and my mother said she wanted us to go to high school in Japan. And she said she wanted us to get a Japanese education. I guess she was kind of lonesome too, she wanted to meet, see her brother and sister in Japan. So it was during the summer. We thought we were just going to go back for summer vacation or something. But it ended up we had to go to school over there. That was in 1939. And since our Japanese wasn't that good we thought we should learn more. So our uncle, he was a former school teacher, and he taught us some Japanese during the summer. And then we started grade school that fall.

TL: Before that trip had you ever been out of Spokane? Had you at least gone into Seattle or --

HN: Oh --

TL: Other cities?

HN: We went to Japan when I was about two years old.

TL: Oh. To visit the same relatives? Your mother's family?

HN: Yes.

TL: Had you visited your father's family, too?

HN: I think we did. But my father, he lost his parents when he was quite young. So he had a older sister that lived in Basara, and she took over the name and the land. My father, he had to give it up when he came over. But we went and visited them, too.

TL: Did you, when the trip was being explained to you, was it clear that your mother would also stay with you while you were going to high school, or did you kind of think that you might be just staying with her relatives and she would return to help your father?

HN: No. She wanted to stay over there. She didn't say she wanted to stay there indefinitely. But my father, he came back with us, too, and stayed for about, couple (of) months. Then he had to go back. In the meantime, the war started in 1941. That was when we were in high school.

TL: So you mentioned that you went back in the summer, and I'm wondering if you remember, oh, what kinds of things you packed.

HN: We took the piano back with us.

TL: That must have been hard. [Laughs]

HN: I know. But all the kids around there kind of envied us 'cause we had a piano. And we made friends, and they wanted to come and play on the piano. And when I was in grade school, when the, the school used to have a gathering and the kids used to sing, they wanted me to play the piano. But we didn't take lesson after that, after we went back to Japan. It was too expensive.

TL: So you took the piano. And did you take all your clothes and all your favorite things, or did you have to make some choices about what could come and what had to stay?

HN: I think we just took our clothes back with us 'cause we didn't really have that many furniture, since you live in hotel. But after the war started my mother had to sell the piano for, since my father couldn't send the money. He was sending money back for, so my mother didn't have to work. But after the war started she had to sell the piano because we didn't have any income. And we moved up to where our aunt lived in the country 'cause they, they had a guest house. So we moved up there and lived there during the war.

TL: Could you tell me a little bit about the first house that you stayed in when you did have the piano and when your father helped you settle in?

HN: Oh, that was a nice home. It was right in town of Yanai. It was right by a temple. And there was a Yanai River, a little creek like, what they call the Yanai River, that ran in front. And the people that were living there were in Korea, so I think this was more like their second home 'cause they were businesspeople. But they came back after the war, I mean, during the war. But it was close to school, and we, we only had to walk about three, four blocks to school. So we had to give that house up. And when we moved up to Basara, that's kind of like a suburb of Yanai, it was, must have been about a mile and a half from town. So it was far, when we had to walk to school.

TL: So in Basara, this was your mother's sister?

HN: No. This is my father's --

TL: Oh, father's.

HN: -- older sister's place.

TL: Okay. And were they farmers, and at that point did your mother then kind of --

HN: She kind of helped.

TL: Helped out, as a way of...

HN: Earning money, extra money.

TL: Sure.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TL: I'm wondering if you remember anything else about the trip over to Japan with your family because, oh, it must have been exciting and a big ship and --

HN: Oh, no.

TL: No?

HN: We got seasick.

TL: Oh.

HN: Because it went up towards Vancouver. It goes up north, and then it comes down and land in Yokohama. So I don't remember too much about the ride, but I know everyone was sick 'cause it is quite rough.

TL: Bad weather, perhaps?

HN: Bad weather.

TL: Do you remember if there were other Japanese families, or were you, kind of, there weren't too many other passengers?

HN: I can't remember. I remember the food wasn't that good.

HN: Well, and you probably weren't feeling too well either. What about when you arrived in Yokohama? Do you remember who met you and did it take a long time to get through customs or anything like that?

HN: I, I can't remember. It must have taken quite a while to go through custom. But we had to stay in a Yokohama hotel. And we thought, it's so different.

TL: How was it different?

HN: Because you had to go in one of these bathhouses. It wasn't private. You're in there with other people. And I remember we used to sit there and look out the window, and we see these school kids walking to school with uniforms on. We thought, gee, really different 'cause in America you just wear any clothes, but in Japan all the students were uniformed from kindergarten up to high school, through high school.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TL: Did you and your sister have, were you worried about other things about school or fitting in, being accepted?

HN: Yeah, we were kind of worried because we couldn't speak the Japanese language that well. And after we went, got into school, well, Yanai's a small town. It was. It's a city now, but it was a small town. And I guess we were kind of big compared to the Japanese children there because they were kind of shorter than us. And they kind of looked at us, and said, "Amerikajin," which means American. But they didn't really make fun of us that much. I guess they kind of got used to us. They were kind of curious. They wanted to know about America and this and that.

TL: What were they curious about, like what it was like there or what you ate?

HN: They were curious about, oh, they were curious about everything. And, well, I think it was because we had that piano for a while. That was before the war. And they wanted to come in, play the piano 'cause hardly anyone owned a piano over there in Yanai. And kind of made friends that way. But I guess they were kind of, thought, how America was. And we used to tell them we could go to movies any time and we could, the food that we were able to eat, like milk and ice cream, things like that. Because in Japan the milk was warm. You couldn't get cold milk. And not too many people had refrigerators or anything. And well, they ate rice. And we told them we had to eat bread and meat and things like that. And in Japan they didn't have too much meat. They ate fish. And, gee, I can't think of anything else.

TL: Was the food kind of a little bit of a shock for you 'cause you'd grown up eating --

HN: American food.

TL: -- what your father made for the restaurant.

HN: But my mother used to cook some Japanese food for us, too, especially during the New Year's in America. She used to make all the New Year food. So we knew what sushi and sashimi and all that was. So the food, that didn't really bother us, the Japanese food.

TL: Sometimes other young people like yourself who went to Japan and then stayed a long time, they talk about realizing how American they were, even though they were also Japanese. And I'm wondering if you or your sister ever talked about that or thought about that?

HN: Oh, we always talked in, in English to ourselves.

TL: To each other?

HN: Yeah. But we always said, oh, we want to go back to America after we finished high school. But then the war started, so we didn't, we didn't know how long the war would last, but we always used to talk about going back.

TL: Is that how you maintained your English? Because I know that some Japanese Americans said after a while they kind of stopped using it altogether.

HN: Oh, no. My sister and I, we always spoke to each other in English. That's how we probably didn't forget our English.

TL: Did your mother mind that? Did she insist that you always speak Japanese to her or, she didn't talk about that too much?

HN: No, my mother, she knew her English quite well, too, since she had to waitress at the restaurant. So we spoke English or Japanese to her. But they were teaching English before the war in high school. So quite a few of the kids had, they used to ask us how to read and write in English. But after the war they stopped teaching English. The war started in '41, so I think we were, must have been a sophomore when it started?

TL: When you say that the Japanese schools had been teaching English, do you mean that your mother might have learned some English that way, too, or are you just thinking of your classmates?

HN: I think -- I don't know when they started teaching English in high school there. It must have been, gee, I don't know. It must have been in the '30s. But it was, it wasn't the American English, it was a British English 'cause I know the teacher, if we kind of had that American accent, he kind of corrected us because he wanted us to talk more like the British. But otherwise the writing was the same, except for spelling. They were a little bit different, some of the words.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TL: What are some of the other differences you remember about going to school in Japan in this little town?

HN: Well, we had, all had to wear uniforms.

TL: Can you describe those?

HN: It was a sailor, navy blue, kind of like a gabardine top. And the skirts were all pleated. And we didn't have to iron the skirts because we used to fold it, the pleats, and then we used to sleep on it.

TL: That's very creative.

HN: They sleep on the futons. That's how they used to iron their skirts. And every morning before classes the whole school had to go out to the playground. And I think we sang the Japanese anthem, and then we did our exercising. Then we'd go to our classroom. And they didn't have janitors over there in the schools, so all the kids had to do the cleaning.

TL: Oh.

HN: Like the yard and the school, even the bathrooms.

TL: So did they assign that to a class or to individuals?

HN: Yes. The classes, all different classes had to do certain chores.

TL: Was the school very much bigger than the one you had attended in Spokane?

HN: Let's see, the -- no. Probably about same. But we didn't go to grade school that long. We only went to grade school about a year. Then high school was four years. And they took -- you have to take a test to get into high school over there. And they only take 150, so there was fifty in each class 'cause they only had three classes for each grade. So that was 150, with four classes, 600. Six hundred students in the high school.

TL: And were these all girls, and the boys went to a separate school?

HN: Yeah. We went to a all-girls high school. And they came from all over. They came from, oh, cities, towns. Oh, they used to ride on the train and come, and they even had a dormitory for kids that lived too far. But it was a prefectural high school, they called it. Japanese girls prefectural high school, the one we went to.

TL: Was the exam to test in, was that a comprehensive exam and you had to get a really high score?

HN: I guess so because there's quite a few kids that tried to get into that high school, and they had to eliminate them by exam. But they never told us what our score was.

TL: But you and your sister both got to go.

HN: Uh-huh. I think they kind of thought we were from America, and they probably felt sorry for us, so maybe they let us in school. [Laughs]

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TL: Let's see. But this is still before 1941.

HN: Yeah, that was before war started.

TL: Okay. Although Japan was kind of --

HN: They were fighting.

TL: Yeah.

HN: Already.

TL: Yeah. They were fighting, yeah, maybe like in China, for example.

HN: China.

TL: Did you hear much about those activities?

HN: No, we didn't pay that much attention to it. I don't think we even read the newspaper. We didn't know how to read the paper anyway in, it's all in Japanese.

TL: How about your mom, though, 'cause she probably...

HN: She knew, probably.

TL: ...talked to the other adults. Yeah.

HN: Oh, we, we weren't thinking anything about war. We were more worried about our schoolwork because, oh, they had final exams and things. And we had to go to different classes, different teachers for each class.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TL: Did you have any favorite subjects in the high school?

HN: I think I liked music because the music teacher, oh, she, she was a little teacher, but she had a very nice voice. And she started a choir, and I was able to join the choir. And she taught us, they wanted us to learn the sounds of all the notes. And she would play a certain note, and we would say what that note was. So I think we learned a lot in music from her. And then the history was, it was interesting, too. We learned about the Japanese history. And, oh, we had reading, language arts. The teacher was from, he was a graduate (of) Waseda University in Japan. He was a young teacher, and he taught basketball. Yeah, so, oh, it was nice, before the war started.

Then after the war started, I think, from the, when we were junior, the war was getting pretty bad. And I think they figured Japan was losing. That's when they mobilized all the high school kids to go to this town, Hikari, to help out with the factory workers, making parts. I don't know what kind of parts we were making, but it must have been for the submarines or boats or something. So after junior, during the junior and senior year we didn't learn too much in school because we were working all the time.

TL: Did you still wear your school uniform when you went to the factory?

HN: Uh-huh. Then we had to take a train.

TL: Did that take a long time?

HN: I think it took about thirty, forty minutes to go there.

TL: One way, though, yeah?

HN: So eight --

TL: And then you spend, do you spend most of the day there in the factory, then take the train and --

HN: Come back again. And the school had this big field. And they raised rice, and they had vegetable garden there.

TL: Oh.

HN: So we kind of had to help out there, too.

TL: Was this the one way for the school to kind of help the war effort, by producing food, too?

HN: Food. I think so, plus for the dormitory.

TL: Oh, right.

HN: But we didn't do too much studying then because I think they were more worried about how they were going to try to win the war, I think.

TL: So once the United States and Japan were at war with each other, were you able to stay in contact with your father?

HN: No, no. No, we didn't have any contact with our father all during the war.

TL: And was there any news, for example, about the concentration camps in the United States?

HN: No, we didn't hear anything about that.

TL: So when is the first time that you were able to reestablish contact?

HN: With my father? Gee, it must have been right after the war, about 19 -- the war ended at '45, August, I think.

TL: Yes.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

HN: So it must have been about, probably the following year, 1946. But that was after we graduated from high school. And they were looking for interpreters at the train station. And our cousin was working there, and he said they were looking for an interpreter to work at the Yanai RTO, Railroad Transportation Office. And that's when he asked me if I wanted to become an interpreter. And I says, okay, 'cause they said they would pay. So we had to get a job to earn money because our mother, she was just doing farming, a little bit farming. And she didn't have that much income. And that's when I started working at the railroad station as an interpreter. And my sister, I think after, I don't think she went to the factory with us. I think she went to school, junior college or something. And she was in Iwakuni, which is another city north of Yanai. And she was teaching school there when the war started. Then after that she, I think she got a job at the Iwakuni railroad station, the RTO over there.

TL: What did RTO stand for?

HN: Railroad Transportation Office.

TL: Were the interpreter jobs considered kind of good jobs compared to perhaps other types of work?

HN: Uh-huh. I know because my cousin, he was saying the interpreters were making more money than the train -- the stationmaster or something.

TL: Wow.

HN: But, oh, we didn't know what the salary scale was or whatever. But we just wanted to help Mom.

TL: Who else was working in that office?

HN: Oh, we had, it was Esther and Tom. They were from California. And then there was another girl, Ruth Saiki. She was from Hawaii. And her, her younger sister went to high school with us, to the Yanai chuugakkou. And Ruth, she was older, but she was working with me, too. So there were, gee, about four, five, yeah. About four or five of us.

TL: Can you describe some of the work that you did as an interpreter?

HN: Oh, there was this occupation force. They were mostly New Zealanders and Australians that lived in Yanai. And if they wanted to go to, to a certain city or I guess on the train or things like that, then we would have to write out the tickets for them and tell them what train to ride on. And if they were sending goods or things like that we would have to write it out.

TL: So did you work in the railroad station office and these soldiers would come to the office, or did you accompany the soldiers someplace to help them communicate with other Japanese?

HN: No, they, they made an office for us with one of these empty train coach. That was our office. So they all came because they were in the Yanai outskirt, the soldiers. They were all over. And, well, that's how they, they had to come to the Yanai station. And I guess if they wanted to go on leave, they'd want to go to Tokyo or someplace, and they'd have to get tickets. So we used to write out the tickets for them and tell them where they were supposed to go, what station they were supposed to get off on.

TL: Did you or your co-workers get to know any of these soldiers a little bit more because they stay for a while and they probably come to recognize you?

HN: Uh-huh. Yeah, we had some -- like the head of the RTO, he was a, I think he was a New Zealander and one was a Scotchman. And we got to know them. And they used to give us candy and coffee and things like that. And there was one soldier, he was New Zealander, he used to come and visit our place. And then we would talk, and then he'd go back home. So they were very friendly. They were New Zealanders.

TL: Yeah.

HN: And then there was some Australians, too, around there, and the British. Because the Americans were occupying, I think, around Tokyo and northern part of Honshu. So that's how I was able to save some money, too, working as an interpreter.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TL: Could you talk a little bit about when your, what happened when your father was able to contact you? Was it a letter that he wrote, or how did he reach you folks?

HN: Yeah, I think he wrote a letter. And he used to send us goods, too, right after the war. And then I think he had, he must have went to the Reverend Goto and asked him how, how he could get me back to America. And they probably helped him make all the arrangement and everything.

TL: Did your father, was he interned or was he far enough inland so he didn't have to go to a camp?

HN: Yeah. People in Spokane didn't have to go to camp. They all just stayed with their business.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TL: When the war ended, did that make you feel hopeful that you could return to the United States, or did you think that maybe you should just stay with your mother and sister and keep working as an interpreter?

HN: Oh, no. I wanted to get back to America. But, well, my sister couldn't come back because she was twenty-one and she voted. And they said, "If you vote you're a Japanese national." So she was planning to come back with me, too, but she couldn't. So I had to go back by myself. But I met friends on the ship, too. They were all probably like what we were, Kibeis, going back. So it wasn't too bad going back by yourself 'cause you meet people on the ship.

TL: It seems that for some Kibei, they became more comfortable talking in Japanese. When you were on the ship did you find that everyone would switch back and forth, English and Japanese, or do you remember anything about that?

HN: They all spoke English. Yeah. Because we were, most of us were born and raised 'til we were at least -- what? -- twelve, thirteen years old. And then we were in Japan only about seven years, so English was stronger, yeah.

TL: So where did the ship take you? Did you leave out of Yokohama again?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: And from there where did you end up?

HN: I think it went to San Francisco. We landed in San Francisco and stayed there for a little bit. Then we had to take the train back.

TL: And where did the train take you?

HN: To Spokane. Yeah. I don't remember too well.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TL: Let's start talking again about when you were in high school, working in the factory, and the students were going to that, to work in that factory. And could you talk a little bit about when there was a bombing and what happened?

HN: Oh, it must have started, the bombing must have started when the war accelerated. And well, we used to have, they had these bomb shelters there all along. And one day the siren went off, and they said everybody had to run to the bomb shelter. And we were, didn't kind of believe that airplane would be coming. But then we saw the airplane actually, American airplane. And they started bombing. And later on we learned that one of schoolmate, well, she was a senior and I was a junior then, she got killed 'cause she didn't go into the shelter fast enough.

TL: So you can remember actually rushing into that shelter?

HN: Shelter. And we could even see the pilots.

TL: Wow. Flying so low.

HN: On the airplane. That's how, flying low. So that, that really scared us then 'cause we knew it was real, that they could bomb Hikari anytime since it was a factory.

TL: So in those bombing raids did the factory get damaged enough to close?

HN: Not that much because we still went.

TL: The next day?

HN: Yeah, went the next day. But that was almost near the end of the war because one day when we were coming back we heard on the radio that Hiroshima was bombed. And they said, A-bomb, but we didn't know what atom bomb was until later on when we kind of saw it in the news, what happened. And then after, we were still going to the factory. And then one day in August, I can't remember when, when it was, but it was in August I think when they bombed Nagasaki the second time, and then they said the war was over. Well, we felt relieved, so we wouldn't have to go to Hikari anymore. So I think a lot of people in Japan were kind of happy that the war ended, even though they did lose. So after that we were back in school. And quite a few of the girls, they went to college. And the ones that didn't go to college, we went for another year, like a post-graduate class. And we learned sewing and flower arrangement and things like that.

TL: Did they ever try to make up for some of that lost time? 'Cause you mentioned that since you were going to the factory every day there wasn't so much time to learn the other course information.

HN: No, they didn't, we didn't actually learn anything after that. But I imagine the other students in the lower grades, they were learning the same subjects and everything.

TL: I'm wondering if, the classmate who died, was there a public funeral or some kind of mourning, and did people talk about that very much?

HN: They had a little memorial service for her at school, but I didn't really know her personally 'cause she was the year ahead of us.

TL: Now, were you being paid anything for all this work in the factory?

HN: Yes. They paid us a little bit I think. But it was, well, extra money to give to my mother since she was having a hard time making a living.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TL: You talked about how things were difficult during the war, and I'm wondering, were you rationed in terms of the food, or how did you guys get along?

HN: They rationed the rice and things like that, but we were living in the country with my father's, his oldest sister's daughter, well, she was more like an aunt to us. And she had a farm, so she gave us rice and vegetables and eggs from her -- she had quite a few chicken there. So we were lucky that she helped us out. But otherwise, the people that lived in town, they, no one had all rice. It was all mixed with soybeans or with wheat or barley. So lot of people used to come out to the country to see if they could buy rice. But we -- they did a hardship over there. They were running out of paper, so a lot of times they didn't have toilet paper. So we kind of had to use paper from the, oh, that rice paper that we used to write on. We used to save those and use that as toilet paper. Yeah. It was, it was pretty bad in Japan when the war was ending, then after the war.

TL: You mentioned something about remembering that at one point you were eating dandelions?

HN: Oh, yeah. We had to eat dandelion and, see, all kind of, not grass, but like we, we had our own little vegetable garden.

TL: This is on the farm or --

HN: Yeah. When we were living with my aunt. The sweet potato, I think there's one part you could eat, and we used to eat that. Any kind of grass or whatever; if it was edible we used to eat. We used to eat a lot of soybeans and seaweed and things like that. And dried fish, that little, they call it iriko. They use it to make the soup stock. We used to eat that too. Just kind of mix it with that miso, that soybean paste. And we'd eat, oh, even when we were in school they made us catch these grasshoppers. And then they would dry that grasshopper, and they ground it up like a powder. And then we would eat that.

TL: Would you eat it sprinkled on...

HN: Rice.

TL: ...rice or something?

HN: Yeah, so Japan was getting desperate.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TL: How did you feel, since you still strongly identified with America, how did you feel with the end of the war and Japan having to surrender?

HN: Well, I was happy that America won 'cause our heart was still in America. And, well, my friends, I even told my friends that I'm going to go back to America. Even when we were, during the war I used to tell them that. And lot of them kind of wanted to go back to America, too, the ones that lived in Japan all the time. They always, they said they always wanted to go to America and visit, or even go and live there. So I guess most of the kids had dreams of going to America.

TL: And what did they think was in store for them, or what did they, how did they have such a positive impression of America?

HN: The kids in Japan? Well, must be, they used to read the magazines and things probably. And they might have seen some of the movies long time ago about America and things like that.

TL: And then they saw your player piano. [Laughs]

HN: And the piano and stuff.

TL: In America, Japanese had their loyalty questioned. When you were in Japan, did you ever feel that you or your sister's loyalty was questioned?

HN: No. We didn't have anyone come to ask us anything, I guess because we were still going to high school. We were young.

TL: How about, not so much official questioning, but just the way other people treated you, maybe your friends' parents or somebody like that?

HN: No, I didn't feel that we were treated differently.

TL: So at the, in 1945, when the war ended, people seemed to accept you as Japanese --

HN: Japanese.

TL: -- even though they might know that you were really born in America.

HN: In America.

TL: They just accepted you for who you were?

HN: Uh-huh. Well, maybe it was our town. Maybe the people were nicer because maybe some other part of Japan they could have been different.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TL: Okay. You've already talked a little bit about returning to America and the boat ride and meeting the other Kibei. I'm wondering if you can now focus on how you got placed with that family and -- the Wilson family -- and your experiences there?

HN: Oh. Well, first I went to meet the Gotos because they were still, Reverend was still the pastor at the Grant Street Methodist Church. And he was telling me how I could get into school, high school, in Spokane at the Lewis and Clark High School. Because he said if you graduated from the school in Japan, probably you could get into high school and just take certain classes, especially American history. And then probably I could get my diploma. So he took me to the Lewis and Clark High School. They called it the continuation high school. It's for foreign students. And he talked to the teacher there, Mr. Jansen. And he said, oh, I think she just takes certain courses that he would give me credit for what I had done in Japan. So I went there about a year, and then he gave me my diploma. Lewis and Clark continuous high school.

TL: Was it a hard transition to go into this American high school?

HN: Well, he taught most of the classes, Mr. Jansen did. And then we went to, oh, I went to some other classrooms, too. But I didn't feel different or anything because English was my first language. Never forgot that language. And my sister and I kept it up. So I didn't think it was really that hard.

TL: And who were some of your classmates in this continuation high school?

HN: Oh, there's Paul Toba, he was going to continuation high school too. And he was in Japan. Let's see, he was born here, and then his parents took him back. And I think he was raised by his grandmother. Then he went to boys high school in Okayama, then he came back after the war. And he got credit for what he did in Japan. And after he graduated he went to the UW here, became an engineer at Boeing. So I see him once in a blue moon. [Laughs]

TL: Now while you were attending this high school, were you living with your father?

HN: No. That time I was living with the Wilsons because as soon as I came back, my father was still just living in a hotel, and I didn't want to do that. So, well, he knew this Mr. Wilson because he owned this restaurant, the Wilson Cafe. And it was quite a large restaurant. He was famous for his steak. And he, I think they were looking for a girl to stay at their home and kind of baby-sit the grandmother -- I mean, the mother, Mrs. Wilson, and do housework and get paid little bit. And I went over there, and they wanted me to start working right away. So I was able to stay there and then just commute to the high school from there.

TL: So how long did you work for them?

HN: Gee, it was about two years. Then I, I was going to Kelsey Baird, that be a business school in Spokane because I kind of wanted to get, well, learn typing and shorthand and maybe go back to Japan as a civil service 'cause one of my girlfriend did that. So she got a good job back in Japan. And I thought maybe if I went back I could see my mother and sister again. But in the meantime I met my husband. And, oh, we dated and then got engaged and got married. [Laughs] And that's when I left the Wilsons.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TL: Do you think that your father was hoping you would marry a Japanese American, or did he ever talk to you about such things?

HN: No.

TL: How about your mother's expectations?

HN: Oh, I think she wanted us to marry a Japanese American.

TL: Well, or would she have preferred that you married someone from Japan?

HN: Oh, no, I don't think so.

TL: What makes you think that?

HN: Because, well, I was nineteen when I left. And that'd be too young to marry over there. But my sister, she got married over there because she was over twenty-one. So I think she had a arranged, one of those arranged marriage. So she ended up staying in Japan longer, but eventually she came over later on. And she tried to get her husband to come back here, but he didn't want to come. So, well, she divorced him. And then she just stayed over here. But oh, no, I never wanted to marry a Japanese national. Actually we didn't even know any boys. When you go to a girls high school, you weren't allowed to mingle with boys. So the only boys I knew were my cousins.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TL: Back in Yanai when you were, I guess you would have been a teenager, what are some of the other social things you did when you weren't studying and going to school?

HN: Oh, well, we used to go to the beach, walk down to the beach because Yanai was right on the shore, shore of Seto Naikai, Seto Bay, I guess they call it. Oh, no, Seto Sea. And we used to walk down there. It was quite far, walking. Maybe about three, three miles. Then we used to go swimming because from school they used to take the whole class, the whole school, to take swimming lessons. And we used to walk down there. And gee, there's really not that much recreation in Yanai. Can't even remember if they even had a park.

TL: Did you go to maybe some of your school friends' houses?

HN: Uh-huh. We used to go --

TL: Keep company?

HN: -- visit. Most of them lived in different towns, so we had to take a train to go visit. And then we kind of helped our mother in the field, the rice field, go out there and plant rice and vegetable garden. So I felt like we didn't really have that much time to play because after you walk home from school it's quite late, and then we had homework. Then over, in Japan we'd go to school (five) and a half days. Go a half day on Saturday, so only day off was on Sunday. So yeah, they kind of kept us busy when we were going to school.

TL: In Yanai, were there community festivals or celebrations that you had never experienced before, like back in Spokane?

HN: I think they used to have a celebration at the temples. I remember during the New Year's we used to go there and play, oh, gosh, they had this board that, you hit the little ball-like thing. And we used to dress in our kimono. And they used to do dancing and things. Other things, I can't remember what other recreation they had.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TL: When you and your husband got married, was your mother or sister able to come and be part of the celebration?

HN: No, just my father was here, and -- but let's see, my mother, my sister came back when, 1959. And we were married in 1950. So that's the first time I saw her. But my husband, he was in the navy reserve. And he had, they called him in December of '50, right after we got married. We were married in February, and he got called back to active duty in December. So they sent him to Japan, and he was able to meet my mother and my cousins and my sister. And he was over there for about a year and a half. So that was kind of nice that she, my mother got to meet my husband. And then I stayed with his parents at the farm in Veradale. It's an outskirt of Spokane.

TL: What kind of farming did they do?

HN: It was a truck farm. But he, they had mostly strawberry in the new, their new farm. But when they were living, when they had that farm in Hangman Creek, I think they had a big truck farm. But they had to move during the war.

TL: How does that fit in with, earlier we were talking about how people in Spokane didn't really have to move?

HN: But I think they (the government) wanted their piece of land to build housing, and that's why they had to move. But other farmers, they didn't have to move.

TL: Oh.

HN: So I guess they just wanted their land, so they had to (move).

TL: Now, your husband, he grew up in Spokane?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: And so he was very, fairly American, Americanized because of schooling and so on. When you were getting to know each other, did the fact that you had spent seven years in Japan, did that ever affect your relationship?

HN: No. I don't think so 'cause we kind of knew each other when we were kids. And I knew his friends and he knew my friends, so it didn't really affect that. And then he -- my, the Wilsons, you know, the people that I stayed with for a while, her nephew knew my husband. They went to Catholic school together. And that's why Mrs. Wilson kind of, I don't know if she kind of arranged for us to meet or what, but it was, it was kind of nice that she knew him. And she kept saying, "Oh, he's such a nice boy," and this and that.

TL: Also are your husband's parents, were they from Japan or --

HN: Uh-huh. Yeah, they were from Japan. And they both, they were living in Hangman Creek. And then they both moved to Veradale. And my husband, I think, yeah, he was commuting from Veradale because he went to Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University. So when he was in the navy I stayed with his parents, and I was helping them out with the strawberry, picking strawberry and things like that.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TL: And was your first-born, grew up at that farm a little bit?

HN: Yeah because I had a doctor's appointment that one Friday. I was driving myself to the doctor. And when doctor saw me -- I was pregnant at that time with my oldest -- and he said, "You're dilating. You better get into the hospital." So I went in, and that, I had him so many hours later. And no one knew where I was, so the doctor had to call and tell them what happened.

TL: Was it pretty far from the farm?

HN: Uh-huh, because the farm is outskirt and the hospital is the Sacred Heart Hospital in town. So that was a bad experience. No one was there.

TL: Yeah.

HN: But my husband was in Japan 'til, gee, he didn't get back until about a year, he was over there about a year and a half. So when he came back Ron was thirteen month old already. So that was, it was kind of a surprise. It's kind of sad because Ron didn't know who he was. He started crying. My husband tried to carry him. But everybody was happy that he was back. Then we stayed there for a while and, until he could find another job. Well, right after we got married he worked in Coulee Dam. And we lived in Coulee Dam. And then I guess there wasn't any opening with the Bureau of Reclamation, so he was able to get a job with the Army Engineers in Walla Walla. So we moved to Walla Walla after, and stayed there for a while. And then after Walla Walla we went to Bremerton, and he worked there. And from Bremerton we came to Seattle in 1954. And that's when our second boy was born.

TL: Were you able to stay in Seattle after that?

HN: Uh-huh. Yes. So we've been here ever since '54.

TL: Was it hard to live in those smaller communities where probably no other Japanese Americans?

HN: No, but our friends, the engineer friends that were there, like the Bureau of Reclamation, we met -- oh, we met, we lived in a trailer house, and we met some, one Japanese, his name was Nakahara. I think he's an engineer. I think he lives here in Seattle now. Tsu Nakahara, I think it was. And then he made friend with, we made friend with other couple, young couples. Then Walla Walla, our friend was there that my husband went to school with from grade school. So -- not Japanese, but he was a real good friend. But no, we didn't, there wasn't any other Japanese couple there.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TL: Do you remember when you learned about what had happened to other Japanese Americans who did have to relocate into the camps?

HN: Oh, you mean --

TL: Not from Spokane, but when you just, when you learned that for, like Seattle Japanese?

HN: Oh, that they were in camp?

TL: Yeah.

HN: No. Until we heard about Minidoka, and then they had, I guess they had movies and things. No, we never knew about the camp life that they had. But I guess people in Spokane, they kind of suffered, too, I heard, being Japanese.

TL: And what kinds of things happened?

HN: Oh, I guess they got called names and things. That's what my husband was saying.

TL: So in Spokane, even though before the war they might have been somewhat accepted after the war or during the war? There was some --

HN: I think there was friction.

TL: Yeah.

HN: But the true friends always stayed true, even during the war and after the war. Because most of my husband's friends, they were farmers. They lived around there and they're still his friends, so that's kind of nice.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TL: Before the interview you had shown some pictures of people that you went to school with, and I'm wondering if you were able to ever stay in touch or visit any of these former friends?

HN: See, my sister and I went back in 1981, and we met about three of our friends from school. They came to visit. Then after that I just lost touch with them. I think most of them got married and --

TL: Moved.

HN: -- moved. So we never kept in touch. Then we went to visit my teacher.

TL: Which one?

HN: She was our sewing teacher, but she was my homeroom teacher in first grade -- I mean, not first grade, freshman. And then she taught sewing when I went to post-graduate. So went to visit her. Yeah. That's about all I, I haven't kept in touch with the friends over there.

TL: And what made your mother decide to just stay instead of joining or rejoining her husband? Because they stayed married, right?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: They just --

HN: See my father went back to Japan in 1952.

TL: Okay. And so he rejoined her?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: I see.

HN: Yeah. And then they built a home over there.

TL: Okay.

HN: But he was here until my husband came back, my father. So he saw our first-born, yeah. Then he decided, well, he wanted to go back. I think he started getting social security. That's why he went back. Because they were able to get their social security even though they lived in Japan. So yeah, he stayed in Japan 'til he passed away in 1960. Then my mother, well, she didn't want to come back anymore, since they had a home over there and her brother was there and all the relatives were there. So I guess she felt more like a Japanese -- well, she didn't have her citizenship either because they didn't have it earlier.

TL: Right. They weren't allowed to get it.

HN: Then she came to visit in 19 -- gee, 1974 she came over, and she met all our kids. Yeah. And then she came back again. We went back, my sister and I went back in '81, and then she came over in '87, and she met most of the grandkids then. And then she went back. And then she passed away in '88, 1988. So she was able to see all the kids and most of the grandkids. Just one grand -- yeah, the youngest, our, youngest grandchild she never met, but the rest, she met all of them.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TL: You mentioned earlier that when she had told you and your sister that she wanted you to have a Japanese high school education, that she had these hopes for you. After you got to Japan and, of course, you did all that, you did the high school and, of course, there was the war, did she come around to accepting that you both still wanted to go back to America or did she hope that going to school would change your mind about that or did she just leave it to your choice?

HN: I think she left it to our choice because, well, I kept saying I was going back all during the war. I kept saying I wasn't going to stay in Japan. That's why she let me go. She said, "Okay, if you want to go back, you go back." But maybe if she knew if the war was going to start, I don't think we would have gone back in 1939 because it was all of a sudden when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. I don't think anyone knew because they were still negotiating or something, the prime minister in Washington, D.C.

TL: It must have been hard for her, not knowing what would happen and not being able to talk it over with your dad.

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: And just having to wait.

HN: Oh, yeah. Because no one knew how long they would last, the war. But after the atom bomb, when they bombed Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, I guess Japan decided it was about time we ended the war. The whole country was suffering. Yes. So I think, most of the people I talked to, the people in Japan, they were all really happy that it ended because I think the people in Japan were suffering more than the people in the United States, yeah.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TL: Did you -- this is a really different question, but I'm wondering if you remember when the redress hearings took place in 1981. Well, they had those hearings in a number of cities including here in Seattle. And I'm wondering if, what you thought about the kinds of stories that came out or if you had a chance to follow that.

HN: My next door neighbor, she was in camp. And she kind of told me what happened in camp. And my, my son-in-law's mother, they were telling us about camp and things. But I guess some of them enjoyed camp, I heard, because they were able to be together with everyone and they had, they were able to -- weren't they able to go to school and have their own clubs and --

TL: Yeah. I think --

HN: -- entertainment and everything?

TL: -- the younger ones have some very happy memories. It probably was harder...

HN: For the older folks.

TL: ...for the older ones. Little bit like maybe for your mom.

HN: Yeah.

TL: She would worry about...

HN: Isseis.

TL: ...some things that you and your sister weren't, probably didn't feel as responsible for, weren't thinking about it as much.

HN: Yeah. Well, Spokane, I think some people in Seattle during the war, they went to Spokane. But after the war some of them came back. But some are still living in Spokane.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TL: As you've raised your own children, did you think about how they might learn Japanese language and culture? Did you have any particular hopes the way your own parents did?

HN: No. [Laughs] I should have taught them Japanese because now they say, "Why didn't you teach us some Japanese," since I could speak Japanese. But we never did talk to them in Japanese.

TL: Do you think that just sort of happened, or did you and your husband talk about it and kind of make a decision?

HN: Well, maybe if they belonged to a different religion, like maybe if they went to a Buddhist church or something, they could have come to the Japanese school. But since our kids all went to a Catholic school it was kind of far trying to take them down to Japanese school downtown. But now they say, "Golly, why didn't you teach us Japanese?" But they, they've been renting out tapes, the Japanese tapes, and trying to learn that way. But probably should have taught them when they were younger, talk to them in Japanese now and then.

TL: Did you give them Japanese names as middle names or --

HN: Let's see. No, none of them has Japanese middle name. [Laughs]

TL: Does your husband have a Japanese name too?

HN: Uh-huh.

TL: Yeah.

HN: His first name's George. Then he has a middle name (Hidemaro). But my granddaughters, they all have Japanese middle names. And the grandsons do, too.

TL: Did they ask you to help choose names or did they just pick names that they liked?

HN: Yeah, my first granddaughter, they asked me to pick her middle name, Japanese name. It was Kimiko.

TL: It's a pretty name.

HN: Yeah. So it's, I guess they're getting into more, wanted to learn more about Japan, the kids nowadays.

TL: There's probably also just more interest in general. And Japan is a very respected country, an important business partner --

HN: Now.

TL: For the United States now. So it's kind of easier than at some other points.

HN: Probably they don't remember the war or anything like that. It was such a long time ago.

TL: Yeah.

HN: Fifty, over fifty years ago.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TL: Well, I have one last question -- I think it's my last question -- about when you look back and you think about spending those years, kind of formative years, because you're coming into adulthood and just sort of on the edge of making independent choices, how do you think that experience, how did that affect you? How did that change you? Have you ever thought about how it might have been different if you had just stayed?

HN: Oh, stayed here.

TL: Who you might have been?

HN: Yeah, I think it kind of taught you, well, you can't take everything for granted. You have to work hard. And that suffering we went through, I think it kind of made me realize you have to appreciate everything you have. I keep telling the kids and the grandkids, gee, always be thankful for what you have. Don't think that you should have more or anything. Just appreciate everything. I think that's the lesson I learned.

TL: You mentioned that all during the high school you still kept saying, "I'm going back. I'm going back." So do you think that part of the, well, 'cause you suffered, too, not that much food and, and all that uncertainty, not knowing about the war and what was happening with your dad, did that maybe make you value being an American in a different way because you wanted so much to go back?

HN: Oh, yeah. I was really determined to go back. And even my aunt told me, "I knew you'd go back because you kept saying you were going to go back." Yeah. So I'm glad I was able to come back, and I have a family here.

TL: Are there any other topics or other, other stories that you'd like to talk about that I've neglected to ask you?

HN: I don't think so.

TL: Okay. Well, thank you very much.

HN: Oh, you're welcome.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.