Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fumiko M. Noji Interview
Narrator: Fumiko M. Noji
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: April 22, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-nfumiko-01-0006

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DG: And so did, so how many, well how many children. How many brothers and sisters?

FN: By that time there were five of us. See, my sister, my brother Yo and then myself.

DG: And did you have some responsibilities for chores or...

FN: Well actually, my brother Yo was telling me the other day, he said, "Fumi you know, you were only seven years old. You used to harness all the horses" and I says, "I know, I can remember that I did horses right, you know."

DG: So everybody pitched in.

FN: Yeah, but everybody pitched in and so, when you have a large family, you're always with, with your brothers and sisters too. There's always something to do.

DG: And you said, you grew up between a bunch of boys. So what did you play?

FN: [Laughs] We used to do all kinds crazy things. That's what I said I was more of a tomboy than an average girl. But...

DG: Did you play baseball and things?

FN: Yeah, well we played baseball and hockey, whatever there was around.

DG: Did you have any celebrations like Christmas?

FN: Well I...

DG: Did you celebrate Christmas at all?

FN: Well I, I don't, I don't recall too. We, we must, Mother must have had. Yeah, because Mother, Mother was more or less like Helen. She loved to make friends with the neighbors and so forth. So we actually had, it was surprising how many friends, friends in that neighborhood we had. Uh-huh, so actually we were all going among Caucasians really. Because see in the high school, I mean in grammar school we had no Japanese at all.

DG: So did you think of yourself as American?

FN: Well, I don't, I don't know whether we thought of ourselves...

DG: Or did you, were your -- ?

FN: Well we didn't even think.

DG: Were they planning to go back to Japan?

FN: No, we never, never had the thought. And my mother never had and she never returned to Japan, even all these years. She said no, she couldn't leave her kids. And so she never went back to Japan and left her kids like some other parents mothers, left half of their kids in Japan. And that, that was really broke the families up, but mother said, no, she wouldn't do that. She was gonna' bring the kids up by herself. But some way we managed, you know. We grew potatoes and there was a lot of chickens that we had, food was plentiful.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.