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

<Begin Segment 1>

DG: So let's get started and talk about who we are and today's date and things. So today is April 22, 1998 and we're here with Fumi Noji, Fumi Maekawa Noji, and I'm Dee Goto and we're going to start, talking about your life and a little, and in general we, one of the reasons that you've been selected is because you lost your citizenship when you married your husband and then we want to know about raising your kids and going to camp with them and things. So how many children do you have?

FN: Three.

DG: And how many grandchildren?

FN: Six. Grandchildren, I have six.

DG: Uh-huh.

FN: No five, I, I'm sorry, I have five.

DG: Five, one's a great-grandchild.

FN: Yeah.

DG: Oh, you have two great-grandchildren.

FN: No I have. Now, now you got me mixed up.

DG: So.

FN: Well, Rick is the only boy in the family. And Arlene has two girls, and Betty has two girls.

DG: That's it, and then, and then, you have two great-grandchildren.

FN: Two great-grandchildren.

DG: Your, when were you born?

FN: 1909.

DG: 1909. And where, where was that?

FN: I was born in Bellingham, Washington.

DG: What was the name of the place, the community?

FN: What was that?

DG: What was the community? In, it was outside of Bellingham you said.

FN: No, it was right in Bellingham.

DG: In Bellingham that you were born, oh, but then you lived?

FN: Well that, that, actually we lived in Bellingham for about five, five or six years.

DG: Okay.

FN: After I was born.

DG: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

DG: And so let's talk about your parents and when they came.

FN: Well my, my father came over to the, he was brought here by a general contractor. Labor contractor with a lot, quite a few young folks from Japan. And not being able to come directly to the U.S., he went to Canada.

DG: And so what part of Japan?

FN: He, he came from Shigake. Hikone is the, the village.

DG: And he was how old when he came?

FN: He was nineteen.

DG: And then he, so he worked in Canada for a while?

FN: Well no, they, some of them, they were there just shortly.

DG: Okay.

FN: And, and they came across, through Sumas, where Sumas, Washington is.

DG: Oh, right.

FN: They came through there and they settled in a village called Clipper which was a lumber, had a lumber mill. And that's where they worked was in the lumber mill. But...

DG: Oh, so they recruited specially for like lumber workers and things?

FN: Yeah, they must have because that's the way he came. I couldn't understand how he was able to get to the U.S. so easily, but they were able to come.

DG: And you said this was around 1909 or...

FN: No, 19...

DG: I mean '01. I'm sorry.

FN: 1901.

DG: 1901, right.

FN: And he worked there at the lumber mill about 'til 1905. Then he went back to Japan and got married and, but he came back to Clipper to work again. And my mother, I don't know whether she landed in Seattle, or whether she came directly to Bellingham but, but Mother came to Bellingham because they had a Japanese boarding house there. And several Japanese were living, were living there. And among the people that were living there was Yamaguchi-san of North Coast, he was there. And he was a student. And he was the only one that was studying English and so forth. [Laughs] And so he, he was friends with mother for many, many years.

DG: And so your mother brought your sister who...

FN: Mother brought yeah, my sister was only about ten year, ten months old. And mother said it took so long to come across by boat that she was seasick all, all the while over here.

DG: And it was a freighter, it wasn't.

FN: It, it was by freighter. With those, how those freighters are. [Laughs] And I think it was in, in the fall. So, I don't know whether it was too stormy or not, but she thought it was quite stormy, of course they're never been, being on a boat or anything.

DG: So then your father. You lived in Bellingham and your father continued to work at the lumber mill.

FN: Well, he worked at Clipper a little while. And then see, my brother Yoshi and I was born in Bellingham and then after settling in Bellingham for a little while, then they moved to Mt. Vernon where Dad was hired as, in a farm. But I, I really don't know how he could go from lumber to being a farmer, but he did. That was where he learned how to... he raised potatoes and thing like that. And actually from there, he moved several times right in that area, in Skagit County. And finally...

DG: Well in those days, it seems like everybody was always moving around a lot.

FN: Yes. I, I was surprised, when I went back on the history, I thought, "Gee, Dad and Mom sure moved around a lot."

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

DG: So do you, do you have some memories starting...

FN: Yeah, well see by that time when they moved to Burlington I was about six years old and I had, several memories of that, that were quite interesting because that was I think during the World War, the first World War.

DG: Oh, okay.

FN: Yeah, during the first World War. And so I can remember 'cause we were really good friends with a German family and (Yoshi) used to have a real good friend. They used to be together all the time. But the Germans at that time, they felt a little discrimination, people were, calling them. I, I don't remember what they called them in those days, but they had a word that, it wasn't too pleasant. And, so I can always remember that. And then also, I remember that during that time we were on the farm that they, that they had that bad German flu and so many of the neighbors passed away. At that time it was really a bad flu and so many neighbors passed away. And...

DG: What, were there very many, any other Japanese Americans or Japanese. Well it would be Japanese at that time?

FN: Well, I, I don't recall. There, there weren't too many.

DG: So mostly you had hakujin friends, white friends.

FN: Well yeah. And, and, and the neighbors were, were quite friendly too, that, that. They, I don't remember other Japanese.

DG: So, so growing up in your family...

FN: Well we, and then we, we moved into Burlington and that was where I went to school from the 1st grade through 6th grade. And there was, there were no Japanese there going to school, so... but some way, we, we all got along. I can still remember my 1st grade teacher's name and that's the only teacher I remember. It's odd. [Laughs]

DG: Who was that?

FN: Ms., Ms. Allen, her name was Ms. Allen. And she was, to me she seemed like an older person, but I, I can imagine she wasn't very old.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

DG: So your father was farming then.

FN: Yeah well, at that time Dad was able to lease the farm, which was quite a nice farm, but he, he had to do a lot of. In those days there was still those big tree stumps and things that were growing, in the fields and so Dad, my brother was telling me that Dad had cleared all those tree stumps.

DG: So how do you, how do you clear it?

FN: I don't, he said he don't know how in the world he ever did it?

DG: With a horse?

FN: Uh-huh, he cleared the land for growing things. And there was, it was, there were horses. They had horses there.

DG: Did you own any horses?

FN: Well we, from where we moved from the Mt. Vernon area, we had, Dad had a few horses and he brought those and cows, to the farm, to the farm that we moved to northeast of Burlington. And on the Scott farm we lived there for quite a while, but then the Alien Land Law passed and then, see, Japanese weren't able to lease land anymore so then we had to go out, leave it, leave the farm. But in those days it was, Dad raised, I mean while we were on the Scott farm, he raised cattle and thing like that and we were only six or seven years old, but we were milking cows and I don't know how we ever did it really. [Laughs] Those kind of things I, I can still remember. But. And then...

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

DG: Well like in, in your. Let's talk about the, your household. Like what kind of food did you eat?

FN: You know, well, if you live on a farm you eat potatoes.

DG: Or did you have Japanese food at all?

FN: Well at, at that time the Furuya family used to send, you know, travel. Come about once in a month or once in two months, just to sell rice and miso and that kind of thing.

DG: With a, with a truck or...?

FN: Huh?

DG: With a pack, kind of a...

FN: I don't know how he...

DG: Car or truck or?

FN: Oh, they must have had a, oh yeah.

DG: Oh and so.

FN: Old truck so we were able to get around in an old truck.

DG: Okay.

FN: We, we even had to drive horses in those days. After all, it was 1900.

DG: Right.

FN: 19...

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

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.

<Begin Segment 7>

DG: Well there weren't that many Japanese up in the Bellingham area, so did you have, did you have picnics like.

FN: Yeah, oh yeah, we did get together quite often. Uh-huh.

DG: With.

FN: In, when we were in Mt. Vernon there was a Japanese there, a bachelor that had a small farm. I don't know what exactly what he was doing. But he did have a small farm. But we did get together with people from Bellingham too that my, my folks had made friends with, you know. They...

DG: Oh, that's right, you said that North Coast people.

FN: Yeah, in those days there was the interurban, interurban that came from Bellingham to Mt. Vernon.

DG: Oh, is that a bus?

FN: No, interurban, you know, trolley.

DG: Oh, a trolley, oh, oh.

FN: They don't, they call them interurbans then. In those days they didn't call them trolleys.

DG: Oh...okay.

FN: But that's the way that we traveled when we wanted to go to Mt. Vernon or to Bellingham. But...

DG: Did they have tulips there in those days?

FN: Tulips? Yeah, they had tulips.

DG: They did then too.

FN: We grew more tulips in the Bellingham area. But we did have picnic and we, I don't know how, what kind of. I guess we all jumped in the back of a truck and went to even to Mt. There's a Baker lake that we called it. It's east of Sedro Wooley and that area, we used to go. So, we did, did quite a bit travel, but how we did it, but I don't know. [Laughs] But of course just traveling back and forth from the farm it was horse and buggy too. [Laughs] Hard to think about that.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

DG: What kind of sleeping arrangements did you have?

FN: Huh?

DG: Who did you sleep with? Or did you sleep. Where?

FN: Well, yeah. The girls had to sleep together and [Inaudible], I don't know my mother ever did it though. With all those children and no washing machine, or nothing.

DG: Oh, so how did she wash?

FN: Well, she used to use, washboard and...

DG: Did you have to help?

FN: Well I don't recall helping too much. And then the hot water, no hot water. I don't know, she had the, they had those great big boilers. Stoves of course are the exactly same. Of course, we didn't have electric stoves even after married we had, would have the old kitchen stove. But, uh... some way or another. They, we didn't even worry about the neighbors and we didn't worry about anything. We didn't have to worry about things like that. So, but I often wondered how in the world we ever managed. I didn't think of myself, I thought of my mother how she ever managed and she was able to, even some of the Japanese came over and their life, their wife lived in, stayed in Japan but you know those, those are the type of people mother used to bring them over, have them come over and feed them and things. So we were close to very of the Japanese that lived in the Bellingham area too. So...

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

DG: So moving on to your high school years.

FN: Uh-huh...

DG: Then...

FN: Well high school, I... When I was in the seventh grade there was a Tsukimoto family that lived in Blanchard area. You know where Blanchard is, on Chuckanut Drive. They had a, they ran the oyster company there. And so they wanted me to come, come up there and kind of baby-sit their daughter, to take her to school. To walk back... she was only in about first grade and so I used to take her to school a lot. It was about a mile I think that we walked every day. And I lived there for, for a year. So I lived, I went to Blanchard School one year. And then from there I went in, the family had moved to Bellingham again so then I went to grade school in Bellingham.

DG: So was that hard for you to leave your family and go there?

FN: No, my family was up in Bellingham.

DG: No, I mean to...

FN: Oh you mean the first thing. Well, I don't know, it's just Mom said, "You can go," so, I just went. [Laughs] You know, things like that, I, I just didn't worry about know, just...

DG: Did what there was to do.

FN: And in those days like Blanchard School was compared to Burlington. Burlington there's quite a few students in the class, but there was only about seven, maybe sixth graders there was only about seven or eight or you know. And then the whole room only had at least fifteen or twenty at the most. So I was there one year and then...

DG: Was education stressed in your family?

FN: Huh?

DG: Was education stressed in your family at all?

FN: Well we, we never... we just. No... I don't think Mother and Dad ever thought of that the kids would go on to college, because well the family being as large as it was, it's pretty hard to even think of.

DG: Oh, and then you said that your older sister even quit.

FN: My, my. See and when we went to Bellingham as I told you, they, they had, they ran a noodle house. And since Dad was, at that time Dad had... at the oyster company there, there were other Japanese bachelors living there. So Dad went to live with them and Mother and my oldest sister, well, they ran the noodle house. That's...

DG: So your dad went to work in the oyster.

FN: In the oyster. Dad was, I don't, we don't recall where he ever learned to build buildings, but he was good at building. So he used to, at the oyster company they had to have scows to bring the oysters in from the bay and he used to build those things. And they're. I don't know whether, how he ever, you know, was able to construct. And then from Bellingham my mother decided that the noodle house was just a little too much for her, so she moved back to Blanchard.

DG: Now before we move back to Blanchard in the noodle house then, your sister and your mother ran the noodle house.

FN: Yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh.

DG: And your sister quit school to help her do that.

FN: Yeah she, she quit school. She quit school when she was, I think she went to sophomore. Sophomore year, but she quit school because Mom needed her help. But...

DG: Well it seems like a lot of families were having hardship and so you didn't, it, you didn't feel that that was. It's just something you guys did, right?

FN: Well,

DG: That you didn't think it was especially hard or special.

FN: No, we just all had to pitch in and do whatever had, had to be done.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

DG: And then, when, so when did she get married?

FN: Who was that --

DG: Your sister.

FN: My sister, well, she... after we moved back to Blanchard, after we moved back from Bellingham to Blanchard, at that time, I'm sure in those days it was all through baishakunin. So I don't know who. Somebody from our area and, that knew, knew enough of the family and somebody from Portland. It was surprised that she, she married in Portland.

DG: Maybe they were from the same place in Japan?

FN: Huh?

DG: Maybe they were from the same place in Japan or -- ?

FN: No, they weren't.

DG: Oh.

FN: I don't even know where he was...

DG: Oh.

FN: You know, Dr. Unosawa's wife, May, well she was married to him but her...

DG: Her brother.

FN: Her brother. Uh-huh.

DG: Well there's all these connections.

FN: Yeah, they had a grocery store in Portland.

DG: Well the reason I wanted you to talk about that is, that leads us up to when you, yourself and your plans for marriage.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

DG: Okay Fumi, tell me about this incident in 8th grade.

FN: No, what, what... you know, going to a small school in Blanchard, I was skipped a half a grade and I went from 8th A into the 8th. No 8th B into the 8th A. And I tell you, when you don't remem, have any learning from the first part of the book you feel kind of frantic. So it was really difficult for me to get started again. But, but then after graduating there I went to Whatcom, Whatcom High School.

DG: But you said something about a friend.

FN: Yeah, I had, yeah I made a very good friend. Her, her, her parents were English. And we were friends until oh, a few years ago when she passed away, passed on, but we were really good friends.

DG: All these years.

FN: Yeah uh-huh. All those years. Right, uh-huh...

DG: Now, did you speak Japanese in your house?

FN: No.

DG: You didn't.

FN: I learned very little from my mother that. But whatever I learned...

DG: Oh, no kidding.

FN: Huh?

DG: So you spoke English in your household.

FN: Yeah, we didn't speak very much English, I mean Japanese.

DG: Interesting.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

FN: And then during, during my high school years I was quite athletic so I was on the basketball team and I made the baseball team and so. And we, we thought nothing of participating. But socially no, when they, the kids had parties I never used to go to them. Even if they were invited, I, I...

DG: You're talking about the hakujin...

FN: Yeah, I'm talk, talking about.

DG: The hakujin parties.

FN: Yeah, see there were mostly hakujin.

DG: Right...

FN: Because there was no Japanese in the school at all, even in the high school, so.

DG: Did you want to go?

FN: Well no, I, I didn't think, think anything if they didn't invite me. They, you know, well I knew, I had, I had a feeling in the background because I am Japanese and there, there were very few incidents. There was one time when one young boy, we were in history class and they were talking. They were talking something about Japanese, but the subject came up and, and the boy and the boy piped out and says, "Oh, I remember those Japs living in those squalie houses in Auburn." You know Auburn and they had a lot of farmers living in that one area. He says I, and then he, he the minute he knew, said that, he knew I was there. So he felt quite bad. But otherwise there was no, no incidents in school at all. So we, we just don't recall that if anyone did say anything. Because even during the tulip, you were talking about the tulip festival. I was maid to the queen one year. And so, we, they just really, we didn't feel that we were different than the rest of them. Now...

DG: So what, what did you think Japan was, or where it was at that time?

FN: Well, well... I don't know, I, I. So naturally even to this day I'm not really, you know, a real Japanese in my way of thinking. Because culturally I really never learned how ikebana or flower, flower arrangement or anything. So I feel myself not a very talented person. [Laughs]

DG: But I think that's a real good indication of when you were in a community where you were among --

FN: Uh-huh... right... uh-huh.

DG: -- whites...

FN: We always had neighbors that were white and always got along. And also we, we never thought of any other way, you know.

DG: But the Japanese seem to get along in --

FN: Uh-huh, yeah.

DG: -- in those kind of community. Why do you think...

FN: Uh-huh. Yeah.

DG: Why do you think you were able to get a long so well and easily?

FN: You mean.

DG: Like, like, being Japanese, you were what, quiet or -- ?

FN: Uh-huh.

DG: Did you learn manners and things? Did your mother teach you how, anything? Or -- ?

FN: Well, we were all respectful to, you know --

DG: Well see, and that's why.

FN: Uh-huh.

DG: Why were you respectful?

FN: I don't know. Just, just the way my mother was, I think my mother.

DG: I think so.

FN: My mother taught us to be. So... even among the five of us that we tumble around, we were. And with, with the brother and sister we've all been friends too. There's no, no real enemies among us. Some brothers and sisters can maybe hate each other, but we've always more or less been a close family.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

DG: So how old were you when you, your marriage was arranged? Let's talk about that.

FN: Well, see I. It was in 1929 that I married, but it, it, it was during...

DG: So how old were you?

FN: Huh? I was, I think I was nineteen when I, when I first. See I was, I was, born in 1909 so I was married in '29.

DG: So...

FN: But, but...

DG: How was it arranged?

FN: Well it was arranged because, see... there's a friend of the family in Bellingham that worked for a pharmacist. And he, you remember King Kalow, the restaurant King Kalow. Well that, Wakamatsu. Mr. Wakamatsu was a good friend of my, my folks. So they made the arrangements.

DG: And you didn't mind?

FN: Well, in those days you just, you just didn't even think. You just didn't even think it was arranged or, but. 'Cause you really didn't have boyfriends like they do now days. The kids run around... We had no, no.

DG: Did you?

FN: We didn't even think, think of boyfriends. [Laughs]

DG: Did you have a choice, I mean at all, I mean. Did you get a chance to meet him or?

FN: Well yeah. I got a chance to meet him. And, you know...

DG: Could you have refused?

FN: No. [Laughs]

DG: So what did... so your sister married a Nisei though, right?

FN: No, my, my older sister. No, he was a...

DG: Oh...

FN: He was a alien too.

DG: Oh, he was too.

FN: He was a Issei. Yeah, he was an Issei too.

DG: Oh, I see.

FN: Yeah, uh-huh, he was an Issei.

DG: So most of the girls your age.

FN: Yeah, that, that age, they, they were. Uh-huh, most of them. Very few. Well maybe there's some that married. Even the Niseis were arranged too, you know.

DG: So what did you think when. So tell me a little bit more about getting married then, how... how did you go about... what, when did you first meet him, what was your first so-called date? Maybe it wasn't a date, but.

FN: Well I think, it was first, when he, he did come up to Blanchard. And Blanchard is a small town. And...

DG: What was your impression when you first met him?

FN: Well you know, my husb -- you knew my husband, didn't you.

DG: Right.

FN: He was a very, he was always a real gentleman, really, even to the very end. He was always that way. So, so I, I think we, we just you know, made a good impression, both of us got along real well. So there was no problem there at all.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

DG: And where did you get married?

FN: We got married in a Methodist church here in Seattle.

DG: Oh, in Seattle.

FN: Yeah. And had quite a big wedding and that was in the old Methodist Church there on Main Street. I used to remember what the Reverend's name was. I don't recall.

DG: And where did you have your reception?

FN: Oh, at King Kalow.

DG: Okay. And about how many people came?

FN: Well there, it was just packed. You know, in those days there was, you invited even people that weren't your friends. You know how business part, because my husband knew a lot of people. So there was a lot of, I couldn't say how many it was. But there was plenty.

DG: Like 400?

FN: Well I don't think that quite that many.

DG: 300, 300?

FN: No, no...

DG: So did you have a honeymoon?

FN: [Laughs] That was, we were married in March the 17th and that being the busiest time for the greenhouse people because he was growing lilies. So you know, we just. I think we went, went to Tacoma. [Laughs] And that was it. So...

DG: And so what did you do, just come home and go to work?

FN: No I did, I didn't really work at first at all. And after all I moved in with a family that they had a great grandma. Great grandma, grandma, father and sister. So I moved in a family of four. Boy, I tell you. [Laughs]

DG: So that was, well, of course you came from a large family yourself.

FN: Yeah, I came, I came from large family so it, it wasn't a problem, but learning to cook and things. Because I wasn't too much of a cook yet, you know.

DG: Oh, were you. So is that what you did.

FN: I, I really cooked for the family. But I didn't do the greenhouse work for quite a, because mother was still, his mother was quite active yet. And so she more or less went down to the greenhouse to work, but I, but I didn't.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

DG: And so it was no problem for you to marry an Issei.

FN: No.

DG: And did you know that you were going to lose your citizenship when you married an Issei?

FN: Well yeah. Yeah we all knew that we were gonna lose it.

DG: And that didn't matter?

FN: No that didn't, no. But we, we, everybody didn't worry about those kinds of things. Just so, just so you like the person. But.

DG: So when did you get your citizenship back?

FN: Well it was right at, well it was soon after the Cable Act and I don't recall what year that was, but it was around the early '30s. And I, I went right down to the immigration office and they can tell American born from a person that was born in Japan. So he said, "Well you won't have any trouble," he says. And so he asked me a few quick questions and I was able to pass, and so got my citizenship.

DG: So was it important to get it back?

FN: Well it was, I think it was, yeah.

DG: I mean at that time, did you?

FN: Yeah, at that time, I really felt that. It was something that really, you know. After, when you lose your citizenship after all. And then Cable Act too, the Issei were. He, he was able to get his citizenship too, see.

DG: I thought they couldn't get their citizenship till later?

FN: Was it later than that? Well whenever, well he, he got his citizenship as soon as it was open to the Issei, but I don't really recall.

DG: I think that was in the '50s.

FN: In the '50s?

DG: Yeah, that the Issei could get their citizenship. But maybe he had.

FN: It seemed like, it seemed like it was sooner than that. But of course I don't know. '50, of course that's forty-seven years ago, you know. [Laughs]

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

DG: Before you started working in the greenhouse, you stayed home and cooked and...

FN: Well a lot of times when the kids were little too, I didn't do, I might have done the book work, but I, I didn't work down, down in the greenhouse until...

DG: Just... were you working there when the war started?

FN: When the war started?

DG: You had started working... before the war started right, before you were evacuated you were... or were you just taking care of your kids?

FN: Well in those days too the, he used to have quite a few people working for them. So I, as long as I did the housework and did the cooking and things, I didn't, I didn't go down to the greenhouse to do work for quite a little while. Uh-huh.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

DG: And so your, did you live the whole time with your mother-in-law and father-in-law?

FN: Well, well my father-in-law went back to Japan, to, and he lived back there, somewhere...

DG: And your mother-in-law stayed with you?

FN: Mother, mother-in-law stayed with me and she went, and she evacuated with us. She was with us until, I shouldn't say, written down the date when she passed away. But she was with us during the war years too, so...

DG: And then your husband had a sister and a brother?

FN: Had a sister and a brother that had a nervous breakdown and he stayed, he stayed with us. He, he was with, he went, he studied in Europe and, and graduated Massachusetts Tech and he went to Europe for a couple years. He was, he was a quite an artist. And, and then he, he just had to come back to New York and then he, he was working for a while but the job got to be too much for him and he had a nervous breakdown and so he came. He had to come back and live with us. And that was... right, not too many years before the war started, but...

DG: And then how long.

FN: But see, by that time the sister had gone to Japan with Mother earlier and then Mother came back but the sister stayed over there. So that was just the mother that and the grandmother had, the grandmother was... She was one of the bent older ladies in the, a lot of the younger Japanese. The children wanted to come over to see her because they had never seen an older Japanese before. In those days the Japanese, maybe she was only in her seventies but she was, she looked like to us, she really looked old.

DG: Is this back in Shigaken?

FN: Huh?

DG: Is this back in Shigaken?

FN: No here.

DG: Oh, you mean your mother-in-law you're talking about.

FN: No, my mother-in-law's mother.

DG: Oh, she was here still.

FN: They brought the grandma over to Japan, I mean to America. And so that, that's what I married into. [Laughs] She was, she was, my, her, my sister-in-law would speak in English and talking and she would come up to us. She'd make, she would get so mad and say, "You two are always," -- she'd say it in Japanese -- "You two are always talking about me. We thought it was so funny. We weren't saying anything bad about her. But...

DG: But you continued to speak English.

FN: Yeah, we continued to speak English because I, I really didn't speak much Japanese at all.

DG: Well your husband, you said, spoke English.

FN: Oh, yeah.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

FN: See he came to America when he was thirteen. He had his younger brother, he brought, he and his brother. The mother, mother Noji, see, see Dad must have come. My husband came when he was thirteen so it was 1913. And so the family were over here so he, he came. He, uh, let's see, the mother and father and older brother were here and then they brought, had Mitsui and his brother come. And they were thirteen and eight.

DG: And what did they do when they came?

FN: Well after a few years they started a green, greenhouse up in Queen Anne Ave - up in Queen Anne area, I don't know what.

DG: This is your husband's father now we're talking about.

FN: Yeah, husband's father, yeah. And.

DG: Did he know how to do this from Japan?

FN: That's what I know, don't know how these Japanese were able to do a lot of things that they'd never really learned, but they. I don't know where, where they got it. Whether it was something that was easier for, easy for them to learn.

DG: Okay, now let's, let's set the scene again. Your husband's parents brought your husband when he was thirteen and his brother was eight.

FN: Yes.

DG: Okay, and they came.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

DG: But, your husband's father's father was already here, you said, right?

FN: Well no.

DG: Because your husband's grandparents.

FN: No.

DG: No?

FN: No, no. My husband's father and mother came over.

DG: Oh, first.

FN: With, with. They had a small son at that time. So. And.

DG: And then they...

FN: After living here maybe a couple of years, then they had my husband and his brother come over.

DG: Oh, okay. They came, they were born in Japan, but they came later.

FN: Yeah, that's right. They came later.

DG: Okay, okay.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

DG: And then so your father-in-law had already started working in the greenhouse.

FN: Well he must have started working in the greenhouse and then, then, up in Queen Anne, but then, this, this place was available in, where we are now, where I am now, that greenhouse. And that was in, around 1921. But since those days, citizens couldn't buy property. The youngest daughter, the daughter was born after the, she is the, they were able to use her citizenship. I don't know how they did it, but Isseis, a lot of Isseis did that.

DG: Well they assigned a guardian.

FN: Uh-huh, yeah, uh-huh yeah they did. Uh-huh, that's it and they were able to, to buy that greenhouse where I am now.

DG: And was it called Columbia Greenhouse then?

FN: I don't know what it was called.

DG: From the start?

FN: And the house that on the hill from us, east of us. That, the Nordstrom family used to live there. And so my dad was really, my husband was really friendly with the Nordstrom family. So every time we'd go in the store, grandpa, the father would, would say twenty, twenty-five years ago, the father would go, "Oh, how are you Mr. Noji." [Laughs] I remember that...

DG: Well so your, your business was a real pioneer business.

FN: Well in those days there was a greenhouse in Renton, right near Renton.

DG: Owned by Japanese?

FN: Suzuki, they ran Japanese and there was another greenhouse... south of us. There was quite a few Japanese running restaurants, running greenhouses. But that was the easiest thing for them to do, growing things.

DG: Well they couldn't own large tracts of land.

FN: No, uh-huh.

DG: And so maybe the Japanese, I read somewhere are really skilled at making use of the really small unwanted areas and things.

FN: Unwanted areas.

DG: So maybe greenhouse was a small area that you could...

FN: Because there were quite a few. The Kodamas ran a greenhouse too. But I don't know whether they started that early or not.

DG: Well do you think yours was, your husband's was one of the first.

FN: I can imagine they were among the first.

DG: Because I read somewhere that in, when the war started around, there were kind of like eighty greenhouses in Seattle and of them, fifty of them were owned by Japanese.

FN: Uh-huh, I know, I don't think there were quite that many.

DG: I guess there were.

FN: But the, but the -- I know they used to have a, an organ, organization.

DG: Just for the Japanese greenhouse owners?

FN: Uh-huh, Japanese greenhouse owners. They used to get together, yeah.

DG: It's supposed to have next to dairy farming, greenhouses were supposed to --

FN: Oh is that right, is that right...

DG: Uh-huh, have brought the most revenue in the Japanese community. Did you think it was a good business?

FN: Well it was always a good, we were able to do all right.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

DG: Tell me a little bit about your husband. You said that he was really good with talking to people in the community and --

FN: Well he, he was a... and then he belonged. Well in later, when he joined the Rotary Club in Rainier, so he always got along well with the Caucasian people, you know. So...

DG: And he thought. Did, did he, did he think that was important in business to -- ?

FN: Well, in business, you, you really, 'cause see years ago they didn't have these big wholesale houses so a lot of your products you had to go out by truck and stop at different, various florist shops and markets where they had, where they sold flowers. So you had to go individually around to those places. So he made a lot of friends that way too. It's a different business than it is today.

DG: You said that he had a lot of employees. Do you know about how many?

FN: No I don't, I don't recall. I know he had quite a, quite a bit and there's a lot of, he -- in those days there were a lot of Japanese young people that, maybe there, now they're doctors and quite a few of them that came and part-time jobs after school. In those days, high school kids used to come in and ask for them. But now days, high school kids don't even come close to the greenhouse. Nobody wants to work nowadays. They want the easy work. [Laughs]

DG: Did, did you have a lot of Japanese employees?

FN: Well there was quite a few, you know we, in the. I don't know, re, remember in those. We did because actually the Otanis after the war, the one that had the green, greenhouse. What do you call that? Greenwood Greenhouse, you know. They worked for us. They got their start in the greenhouse business. Kunio and Shig and the other brother. So. Yeah, in that way there was quite a few Japanese working for us.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

DG: And your mother-in-law worked in the greenhouse.

FN: My mother-in-law always, she was real good at making -- there's always little things that one has to do in the greenhouse. To this day I'm still doing it. [Laughs]

DG: How old, how old are you? Eighty?

FN: I'm eighty-eight.

DG: And, and you go everyday, right.

FN: Well I go, yeah. I, I don't miss many days. And, and I work eight hours a day. I just sit there and work eight hours. I don't know how I do it myself really but, it's just to get away from where I am to the greenhouse that, that. We, you know we ran for so many years and it's just going... I hate to stay there in that house.

DG: Right it's sad to see.

FN: To see every day.

DG: Well to explain the sad part. It's because the greenhouse and the house where your husband first built the greenhouse and all, you're gonna'... You quit operation, operating there and you've moved your operation to a different location in Kent.

FN: Yeah, well we've been out in Kent quite a, quite a --

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

DG: So let's go back now. When, 1920, your husband's parents started the greenhouse and then. So they were running the greenhouse all ready when you got married and you joined the family. And then so your mother-in-law and everybody was working at the greenhouse and you stayed home and --

FN: Yeah, I stayed home.

DG: And cooked.

FN: And did the cooking and the --

DG: And the housework.

FN: Housework, yeah.

DG: So you're children are born when? Betty was born -- ?

FN: 1931. Herb '34 and Arlene was born in '41. See, right at the war, war years. So.

DG: So let's. Did you know that the war was coming at all?

FN: No. Well it was odd because a year or so -- when we, we were building the house. Father came back from Japan, just, just for a short visit. And he said, "You people are crazy. What are you building a new house for?" He said. "Don't you know there's going to be a war in Japan?" That was the last thing that we ever even thought about. And we, at that time, we said, "How can Japan dare?" [Laughs] We were defiant in that way. So my husband really wasn't one, that was all Japanese by any means. He was always pro-American. Did I touch this scratching? Yeah, I'm sorry.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

DG: So, okay. So then he, your, your father-in-law came back and for a visit and this was probably then in around 1944.

FN: Yeah, that's it, 1944. He, he just came back for a short, short visit. But and then there was another, another thing that I should explain, too. That Father was one of, one of the Japanese that brought all those cherry, those flowering cherry trees to Seward Park and Greenlake. That was all, he and the Japanese. He was, he was, went to the Japanese Chamber all the time. So they got together and they brought all those cherries from Japan. He knew the source where you could get --

DG: Oh, this is your father-in-law.

FN: Yeah, my father-in-law.

DG: And his name was what?

FN: Isao. No, yeah. Isao. And then also the ones that are in Washington D.C. too. They, they had something to do with all that, too.

DG: Wow.

FN: So I thought that was. When I go down and see it, it's hard to imagine that they did at that time. That's way, in the late '30s.

DG: That's right.

FN: Maybe before that because look how big the trees are now, uh-huh. But that was one thing that Dad, my father-in-law did good. But they thought of that though that cherries would look, that blooming cherries would look nice around Seward Park.

DG: And Washington, D.C. That's wonderful. What a legacy. So did he bring them through the Japanese government association or just himself?

FN: Well that, that I don't know how they, how they made the arrangements to bring them here. But they, he was involved a lot in that, in them and I thought that's. That's the only part that I remember because I, I never went in detail how, how they brought all over. Because that was a lot of cherries.

DG: So when he went back to stay in Japan, he was basically retired.

FN: Well, well yeah. He retired early. He wasn't in the, after I was married, he wasn't in the business very long. I mean he didn't do much work. He was too busy doing other things in town. Like investing in gold and doing all that kind of setting. Maybe one day he would have been rich, I don't know.

DG: And your mother, your mother-in-law stayed here.

FN: Yeah, she stayed here.

DG: Here the whole time, right.

FN: Yeah.

DG: And she didn't want to go back.

FN: No, she didn't want to go back. She was a real quiet type lady.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

DG: So where were you when Pearl Harbor, you heard about Pearl Harbor?

FN: Well it so happened that Betty and I went, went to Fifth Avenue Theater. There was something interesting there. And then while we were sitting watching the movie, all at once, oh, they said oh, breaking news or something, you know? They said, Oh, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. Oh boy. And then we thought, "Oh my gosh, what should we do?" So we hustled out and came, came right home. But it was hard to believe a thing like that.

DG: What did you think would happen to you?

FN: Well, we, I don't know what we thought at that time but we sure hustled out of there fast.

DG: Then when did the FBI come?

FN: Well, I don't recall whether they came right away. But they did come to, they came as they did to most Japanese families. They came and searched the home and questioned, asked all kinds of questions. And the only reason my husband was -- of course he belonged to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce all that kind of thing. But my, his, his father used to subscribe to a magazine that was very pro-Japanese. Of course he didn't even read it. But it, it would come and that magazine was supposed to be really pro-Japanese. So then, right away he was one of the first to get taken. So. But of course he didn't, they didn't come get him. Didn't they all have to go? Go to the immigration. They didn't, they didn't take him.

DG: I thought. Oh.

FN: No, they didn't take him, they gave him.

DG: What did they do, send you a letter or?

FN: Huh? No, they all, Japanese, they all knew when they had to go at a certain time.

DG: You're --

FN: Yeah, so I was left with mother-in-law. And then my brother-in-law was still there, was still living with us, he'd been living with us. He's the one that drew the plans for the house. He was archi, architect. But he did well after he recovered. In camp he married and --

DG: Okay, let's stay with when your husband was picked up. Or when he wasn't picked up. He walked to the immigration. So what did he take?

FN: What did he take?

DG: Right.

FN: Oh. [Laughs] I don't know, just a suitcase with what he had, what he needed to wear. He didn't take...

DG: What did you think was going to happen when he left?

FN: Well, I don't recall much of that --

DG: Were you upset?

FN: Well what could happen, what could happen?

DG: I don't know. [Laughs]

FN: See that's what I mean, what could happen to you? You just have to take what comes, what comes. And in those days we were frightened, but there wasn't much we could do.

DG: Were you upset, were you mad?

FN: What?

DG: Were you mad about it?

FN: Well we wonder what he did was wrong. You know he never did anything that was really against this country. Why should they pick him up, but later I found out that was the reason why he was.

DG: Because of those magazines.

FN: Yeah, because of that magazine. I think that there was a lot of cases like that too.

DG: Well so did you expect him to come home right away?

FN: Well no. I didn't. I knew they were all going to Missoula, Montana.

DG: Oh, you did know.

FN: Yeah, we all knew that they were going, were all going to Montana. But he, he didn't stay there very, you know, they released a lot of them after so many months there.

DG: Well but he was there three months.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

DG: Okay, so then after he left then, did you know, start getting ready for evacuation yourself?

FN: Well, we all, we all had to.

DG: Right. And so with the little kids, what kinds of things did you think about that you had to take and...

FN: Well we, we're all, we all just allowed one big duffel bag. That was about all we could take is, is your clothing.

DG: And so without your husband, you said that.

FN: Yeah. Well Hiram (Akita), Hiram and Helen came.

DG: So Helen's your sister, your younger sister.

FN: Yeah.

DG: And she had lived with you for a while to finish high school.

FN: Yeah, she had lived with me for a year or so and graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle. So.

DG: Well so did they come and stay at your house?

FN: They stayed with us until we had to, to leave.

DG: Okay, and then you said Hiram kind of helped with the --

FN: Yes, he...

DG: -- Arranging the greenhouse. What did he do?

FN: Well, well we had to make arrangements what we gonna do with the, with all the... They kept telling, "Don't, don't quit growing, grow things..." They just encouraged you to keep growing. So we had geraniums and things for spring. It was, we left in May I think it was. So it was things that we had to grow.

DG: Well so it was a busy season that you still had to.

FN: Yeah it was a busy season. But of course on the growing part of it.

DG: Well so who was making all the decision at that time? Did you have to? Since your husband was gone...

FN: Yeah.

DG: Did you have to decide what -- ?

FN: Well and then, fortunately for us. We, we had a very good friend that, he, he used to be the keeper of the grounds of the Sick, when Sick Stadium when the Seattle Rainiers were out on the Sick Stadium and he, he sold his home and moved into our home so then really I had no worry on that part of it. But when people, the other people that didn't have place to go, they wanted to bring their stuff and bring it to my place, well that was, I know one of my, I think my uncle, they brought some things. But when we came back they were gone. He had stored them in the garage. But then we had to get rid of our car and things like that.

DG: So...

FN: We kept our truck. We, we kept the truck. So the people that stayed there were able to use the truck. And, and he was very, very good, good. He, we grew a lot of, we used to grow a lot of mums out in the field and he kept those kinds of things for us. Stored them in the greenhouse in the winter when it's cold and he kept, so he kept quite a few things going for us in that way.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

DG: So I'm trying to paint a picture here of what it was like when Pearl Harbor was bombed and your family and how it impacted your family and your business. So.

FN: Well yeah.

DG: Your.

FN: Naturally we were think, well what are we going to do with all this stuff. Some way or another. Well, having Hiram and Helen there too, that helped at least to. But all the Japanese were in the same position, they didn't know what to do with all it, everything. That was one of the main reasons was that for a lot of Japanese, they didn't know what to do with, what their... they couldn't very well leave the house empty and just store their things there. Of course at that, we were fortunate that, we had friends that did that for us.

DG: Did you think that this was something that was going to be permanent that you had to leave and you'd lose everything or did you think you'd come back?

FN: No, we always thought when this trouble was over that we'd be able to return so we left most things intact. So we didn't worry about whatever we left and how.

DG: So did, like your husband made a lot of contacts in his business and so forth. Were, were they still friendly to you and all, and helped you out or did, did, or were some -- ?

FN: There was, there was one fellow especially in American Legion. He was a good friend of my husband's. And he, he, he said when the, when I told him that the FBI had taken, my husband has to go, and he said why would they ever take, think that Mr. Noji had anything to do with, to, to help Japan and all that kind of thing. And so he, he was one of the staunch reason too that someone that really helped us in a way. Otherwise, all other people...

DG: Were there any other people that you, you went to for advice or anything?

FN: No. I really don't recall that very well.

DG: Did you talk things over with your mother-in-law? Did she have...

FN: Well my mother-in-law was one of those ladies that she really was just typical Issei lady. No, she, she, she let everything fall where it dropped. She didn't think of things like -- [Laughs]

DG: So you had to make the decisions.

FN: So, yeah.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

FN: By that time though, my brother, my brother-in-law was recovered quite a bit from his, you know.

DG: Okay.

FN: Uh-huh, his troubles so...

DG: Oh, so he made a lot of --

FN: He, he was there so he was able to, to help too. So, but he wasn't good at going out and selling things or anything. He, he had nothing to do with it. He might have worked a little bit in the greenhouse, but very little.

DG: And so that's how Hiram got started in selling the...

FN: Yeah, so Hiram came to help, yeah.

DG: To the greenhouses and things.

FN: And then the Noji side of the family, see he was the only brother, the sister was still in Japan and I hadn't had contact with her for quite a number of years. So, so I don't know their, really their family history at all.

DG: So what did you tell your kids, that was happening?

FN: Do what?

DG: What did you tell your children?

FN: Well actually Betty must have been what, ten-years old and, Herb was six, six I guess. No he --

DG: Right, he was about six or so.

FN: 'Bout six-years old. And Arlene was just little, about two years old and you know she.

DG: So what did you have to do to get ready to take the kids to camp?

FN: How did I get ready? [Laughs] I don't know. That part of it I don't know we just --

DG: I guess you said that Helen helped you quite a bit.

FN: Yeah Helen, Helen.

DG: Helping, helping with the kids. And then you went to Puyallup first.

FN: Yeah, we went to Puyallup.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

FN: Well I remember we all had to go to Jefferson Park. The golf course, the south of the, I mean the north part of it there. And we all got on buses there. I always remember.

DG: So how did you get to Jefferson?

FN: Huh? [Laughs] Somebody must have taken us there.

DG: And you got on buses.

FN: But as you say, we only had one duffel bag, bag each. So it couldn't, couldn't have been.

DG: So what did you think when you got to Puyallup.

FN: Okay yeah, that was terrible. Yeah, all of us piled into those one little room houses, one stall should I call it? [Laughs] That wasn't the, the very best. Fortunately we didn't have to stay there very long.

DG: It must have been difficult leaving a new house and going to a stall like that.

FN: Well, it, it was in a way, and in another way we, we thought, we were not the only ones, everyone else had to do the same thing, were in the same -- some of the people were in really bad straits too, so we just took things in a manner of course that we just had to do it, so...

DG: You were telling about, when you got to camp, how the kids had trouble with the food and so what --

FN: What, when we got. One thing in camp it was odd, because our family being large, we had almost one barrack! My sister lived in room, I lived in another and the boys lived in another, so we had all 3/4 of a barrack and, and my sister Helen, she had her family in another barrack right next to us. So we --

DG: Now are, are, are we talking about Tule Lake now?

FN: Yeah, that's Tule Lake, yeah.

DG: Okay, right. Okay, so you went from Puyallup to Tule Lake.

FN: Yeah, that's right. We went from, uh-huh.

DG: Now a lot, lot of people went to Minidoka and why did you go to Tule Lake?

FN: Well the reason we went to Tule Lake because the folks up north were, had to go to Tule. Bellingham and that area, those people that lived in the Skagit County and them. So they, they, that's why we went to...

DG: And you joined them. You said you had a choice. You could go...

FN: Yes, uh-huh. They did.

DG: And since your husband was still in Missoula.

FN: Yeah, yeah, he was still in Missoula so we decided that we might as well go where the family is.

DG: And that's your family.

FN: Yeah.

DG: The Maekawas.

FN: Yeah. Noji part was the only one that had brothers.

DG: So you, so you took your mother-in-law with you to -- ?

FN: Yeah, my mother-in-law was with, with us all, all of the time.

DG: And your brother-in-law.

FN: Brother-in-law, yeah. So that's why we had the barrack whole. [Laughs] That was really funny because when you have almost three fourths of the barrack, you know!

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

DG: So tell me about the food situation.

FN: Well the food sit -- I think Arlene was eighteen months old when we went there. A child that age, age she just, just, she hated the roar of the people because she was used, so used to being in, at home where it was more or less quiet. But then, so Helen and I decided to, let's, let's get food from the what do you call, and bring it to our barracks to eat, for the kids to eat and they will eat better. Well, we did it for a while, but then we finally found out that a lot of people just really thought we were, it was terrible that we were allowed to do that, see. So we, we, we had to quit doing that. But things like that, little things like that. Of course, other Japanese you know, they were... So, when you, you, you aren't really familiar with Japanese, well a lot of times, that of course maybe they think, "Well gee, those people that are doing, taking advantage, too." So... but we thought we were doing right. [Laughs]

DG: So what you're saying is, is that you sort of grew up more hakujin style and things.

FN: Yes.

DG: And so it was different for you to go to camp and be with all these Japanese.

FN: Yes, that's it. Although we associated a lot with the Japanese and all our real good friends were all mostly Japanese. And in those days even like the Jap, Japanese on New Year's they would all get together and things, things like that. And go from family, from home to home. The men especially in those.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

DG: Now, let's go back just a little bit from Camp Harmony, you went to Tule Lake. So, you went how?

FN: We went by train. And that was quite a long ride. So I actually like my daughter, my youngest daughter, she just cried all the time. I had to go into the bathroom and carry her for so long, I never forget that. [Laughs]

DG: Yeah.

FN: Well, as I mentioned, we had a whole a car, what they call a car. But, what, there was only about maybe twenty-five or so Jap, Niseis that went from here to Tule. From, I mean Camp Harmony to Tule. So then, there's quite a few white Caucasians they, they came and said, "What are these Japs allowed this whole car while the rest of us are so crowded back there, we don't even have a place to sit down," and they kept just ranting and raving and, and. So then the WRA man went back there and he said, "You just keep quiet..." He quieted them down all right, but that was kind of an odd incident. One of the, among, among the very first that we, we had ever encountered. So... that, that was --

DG: Did you, did you know what was happening in the war at that time? What was in the headlines as far as the war was concerned, was Japan -- wasn't Japan sort of winning?

FN: Yeah, yeah they were in a way. And then also you remember they're thinking they might drop a bomb on Seattle or, and then we, we couldn't, we, we didn't, we couldn't go out. We couldn't go outside after eight o'clock or something. We had to stay at home and all that kind of thing. And they were afraid that. I, I suppose they're afraid we were going to signal or something or other. But... that I remember in Oregon, at Oregon they had a incident. But outside of that I don't recall too much. But, but, we, but it was. I don't know how long we, we were told we couldn't leave after eight o'clock but it was quite a while. Do you remember that?

DG: No.

FN: Or were you here? You weren't in Seattle.

DG: We weren't.

FN: Oh you weren't.

DG: In Seattle.

FN: Yeah, we were restricted. We used to go play cards a lot with friends. And we didn't dare to leave the house.

DG: Oh that's right. You were telling me about how the, you had a lot of people in and out and you used to.

FN: Yeah, we used to have parties here and there. But it, it was friends that we've had for years, doctor, Dr. Nakamura and his wife. As a matter of fact Dr. Nakamura have you, you, you haven't interviewed him.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

DG: So like in camp now when you went to Tule Lake and your family was all in this one barrack, 18, right?

FN: Yeah.

DG: So what was, so you, as far as your children goes. Now let's talk about your children. What about their schooling, were you worried about that?

FN: Well, naturally the, the daughter she must have been about 6th, 5th grade or 6th grade. But they started school, though. They had school for a little while, I don't know what it was. But...

DG: Did, were you worry, worried about what kind of school they were getting or?

FN: Well naturally we worried.

DG: Was it very good?

FN: Well, I don't know what they were learning. But of course a lot of Japanese, the Japanese were teaching so naturally we, we always respected them.

DG: And do you know anything about what kind of history they were learning or anything like that?

FN: I don't know.

DG: Did they.

FN: I don't recall ever asking about what type of --

DG: What they learned about America.

FN: Teaching, I really don't. Don't recall that part of it.

DG: So you, you didn't worry about it yet at that time

FN: Yeah.

DG: What about their social life?

FN: Well there was a lot of kids always run, running around. There's quite a bit room between the two barracks to, I mean from one section to another. So the kids used to play out there in the center a lot.

DG: Was it, was it easier to be in camp and raising kids or is, was it harder?

FN: Well I would think it was much harder.

DG: Okay and that's.

FN: A lot of times you don't have control over some kids.

DG: Right.

FN: Especially the boys. I know Herb used to run, run around. But of course never getting in any trouble with anyone. But it was hard to keep them quiet. Especially at that age.

DG: Well did you worry at all about entertaining them or directing them or?

FN: I don't think so. I don't know, it was just kind of everybody just giving up and, and doing what, whatever came of it. We just...

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

DG: And you said that you didn't stay too long.

FN: No, we didn't stay in Tule too long.

DG: Okay, and why was that?

FN: Well the opportunity came when they said that those who wanted to go out can go if they had a, a family or a relative.

DG: And, there was no question on your part that you wanted to leave.

FN: No, there wasn't. We, we thought well as long as, oh of course my brother Ken as I mentioned before, he worked in the hospital and he wasn't just cleaning and things. But he worked in a hospital in Emmett. And so he, he, he was living there for quite a while so he got this home that we first moved into when we got there.

DG: Okay, so now, he didn't ever go to camp?

FN: No, he went to camp.

DG: He, but he left ear --

FN: Well, they were among the very first to leave.

DG: Okay.

FN: He and his wife.

DG: And then so he settled in Emmett which is Idaho.

FN: In Emmett. From there he, he went in, he went into the army.

DG: Okay, so Ken and his wife had settled in Emmett. And so he found a house for you?

FN: He found a house, a house.

DG: And then your husband still had not joined you.

FN: But, he...

DG: He never came to Tule though.

FN: I don't, you know I don't even. Isn't that terrible, I don't recall that he ever came to. I don't believe he did come to...

DG: Okay.

FN: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

DG: And then tell me about the bus ride.

FN: Well on the bus, bus ride too, in those days of course the people traveling they were crowded, we were crowded. And so my sister and I, we had five kids. And the, the couple of fellows that were there were very, kinda' looking at us and kinda' saying, saying nasty words. And they said, "Oh let the Japs sit on the floor, they don't have to have a seat," or something like that, and things like that. So of course a lot of people said "Oh, don't tolerate." They quieted them down. But that, that left us with a kind of a bad understanding, we were going to face this all the way over again. Over, after we get into Idaho. But fortunately Emmett being that way, we, we had no problems at all. Even schooling or whatever. So...

DG: You said Emmett had a lot of...

FN: They were Nazarene. A lot, a lot of Nazarenes living there. As a matter of the fact the doctor was and the farmer that my husband worked for was Nazarene. So they, they treated us very, very well. We had no bad feeling about them. But my husband had to work hard. He used to get up five o'clock in the morning and go spray the apples and things. So he really worked hard, much harder than he had to, really. But there we didn't stay there too long either.

DG: Okay so now you went to Tule Lake in 1942, probably, in the fall of 1942. And you must have stayed until maybe the next spring or summer when you went to Emmett. And then, and your husband joined you in Emmett, probably.

FN: Well yeah, he, he join, he must have joined us in Emmett. And then we were able to move. As, as I mentioned before, the house that my brother had rented was an older type home. Then, then he found, we found a nicer home that we...

DG: And so how could you pay for all this?

FN: How could we pay for it?

DG: Right.

FN: Well we paid of our own, we had to pay it out of our own what we had.

DG: Right. And did you have mortgage payments and things on your house and things back in Seattle that you had to maintain?

FN: No, no we didn't. No we didn't, we didn't. We didn't worry about our home in Seattle.

DG: Oh, okay.

FN: And then during that time you were wondering about how he got the truck to Emmett. And that, that was one good thing about the whole thing. My sister-in-law was Caucasian so she was able to come back here and pick up the truck so she drove it all the way back to Emmett and, and so. That was our mean, means of transportation. But it was a, it was a, fortunately it was a nice truck. It wasn't one that, you know... [Laughs]

DG: And. So you stayed in Emmett for maybe the rest of that year.

FN: Yeah.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

DG: And then you went to...

FN: And then from Emmett we moved to Spokane. See that, when Dr. Nakamura was living in Spokane. And so somewhere, we stayed with them just a bit.

DG: Okay, and they were your friends from Seattle that you played cards with and things.

FN: Yeah, I, I'm quite sure they had moved directly. And so he had a business already. Yeah, he was doing dental, and so... we stayed there for a bit and then we were able to find a home too.

DG: What, one thing amazes me when I hear all these stories the, the network. Everybody seems to know where everybody went and things. Now, did you write to each other, or did you, was there telephone at that time?

FN: I don't know how we knew, knew that Dr. Naka, Nakamura was there. But it must have been some way of knowing because we went directly to their home. I know that we...

DG: So you definitely depended on family and Japanese friends at that time.

FN: Yeah that's right, yeah at that time we just about had to. And then while we were in Emmett as I told you, there was a couple of Nisei families that were quite well respected in that area. So that made a great deal of difference too for us. We were able to communicate with them and so on.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

DG: What did you think about the area, desert dry area like Emmett when you went there.

FN: Well Emmett was, is a very nice town. It's a little small community but it was very nice. Emmett and Nampa too. They're, they're nice, they're nice areas. So it wasn't bad at all, really.

DG: So you didn't feel like you were out in the desert or anything.

FN: No it didn't feel like we were way far away from things. But... then, then when we, after we moved to Spokane, my husband found a job in a greenhouse. And so he worked there for awhile, awhile. While I, well I went to work for a hospital. I don't even recall the name of the hospital. So we got, some way or another we got along even though...

DG: So you stayed in Spokane a year or two?

FN: We stayed there, well must be over a year, two, two years. I don't even recall when I came back, when we came back to Seattle. But I know I worked in the greenhouse too and I quit the hospital job and I went to work in the greenhouse. So...

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

DG: So then you came back after the war was over or before the war was over? Because you could come back.

FN: Just when this area was open. When, we could go back.

DG: Early in 1945.

FN: '45. Uh-huh. '45. So we were the second family I think that, the Kino, Kinoshitas I think were the first.

DG: Right. Oh, and you were the second family or so.

FN: We were the second family, to...

DG: So what was it like to come back?

FN: Well we just really felt we were, we were coming home, but...

DG: Your house was okay?

FN: Yeah, everything was okay. But on the train coming over. Finally everybody went to the dining room to eat while I just sat with the kids and I thought well we can -- we had a sandwich or something that we could eat and this porter came up to us and said, "Come on and you come with me and I'll take you." And so he took me, took us to the dining room and ordered. I, I can remember, never remember other, I may forget times like that where people go out of their way to be really... he realized maybe I was just feeling that I shouldn't, didn't want to go back to the dining room. And he came and said, "Come on now here, I'll take you over there." And incidents like that, it just gave us a good feeling. And then as I said the Caucasian friends that were in our home, they came to pick us up at the train station. So, and they had vacated the home knowing that we were coming, see. So everything was just all ready for us. So it wasn't bad, it wasn't bad at all coming home. And then --

DG: And so what time of the year was it, so that, did you start up the greenhouse?

FN: So then, then my husband had, we had the truck that we were traveling around in. He loaded it, our household with whatever we had and drove back the next day. So we, he, so I came home with the kids... but... no everything went along fine but when we came home, greenhouses don't last long in the winter if there's no heat inside. So the greenhouse were kind of a mess when we came. But at that time --

DG: Now was your mother-in-law with you all this time?

FN: Yeah, my mother, mother-in-law was with us, still with us. Yeah she was. She passed away here in Seattle.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

DG: So let's kind of summarize. What impact did camp have on these different people in your life. Let's start with, like how, how was your family different having had to go to camp, do you think than the average. Compared to maybe the hakujins that maybe we around. Well let's -- your business, we were talking about that. Because you were, you had a thriving business and it was interrupted.

FN: Yeah the business, what, you know, until we knew, we knew that about the war. But we didn't actually, what to do. Of course we kept growing things. But when we came home as I said, it was a mess. But there, then it was quite a few Japanese here and they, there were a lot of them that weren't working so. People that we knew came and helped us. So in that way it was always really good.

DG: How do you think it impacted your kids that they had, they went to camp?

FN: Well you know I, I was asking Betty the other day. I said, "Betty, how did that impact you?" And she said, "You know what Mom, the, wherever went, I never felt that, that we were discriminated against." She said, "I really didn't have any bad incidents in her school, school years." So. Even Herb, he was about that age where they're little brats and running round everywhere. The only incident he had when he went back, he was only in the second or third grade. I think he was in the third grade. The kids started to pick on him, a whole bunch of kids did. And there's one big kid, he said, he just got mad at them and, and he came and protected Herb. I think Herb will remember that to this day that that one boy has always been, was always really protecting him. So he, he got along, after that he got along real well. It just takes one incident like that to happen. And Herb also had an incident where he wanted to join the Cub Scouts and oh, the parents were all just against him. They weren't going to have any. So I got so mad I called the head parent and told them, I said, "What is your creed?" [Laughs] And by just saying those few words, they, they, they let Herb in.

DG: Where was this?

FN: In Seattle.

DG: In Seattle.

FN: It was after, Seattle, Herb was in about 3rd grade and the kids, all, all the other kids were all, you know. Cub Scouts, so, "Come join us." And he couldn't join. And the parents are the ones that really objected. You know in those days of course, there was a lot of parents that very against, even... so you kept, you more or less kept to yourself. But how can you keep a kid from. So. And mostly they were able to get along quite well at school too. And Betty, mentioned too that she was in the eighth grade. And she said one day they was at gym and they were all exercising and something and they made big ring like this and the girls all clapped hands, would go by each other and clap. And this one Chinese girl of all things came, came, when it came her turn to. She just took Betty's hand and slapped it like that. And Betty said that one incident in all her time in school that she remembered, you know, where that girl had... at home, she came home she told me, "Mom, you know everybody was real friendly but this once Chinese girl." And you remember those times that the Chinese were very, well they were against Japanese. Because a lot of people thought they were Japanese, see. And so, there was a little trouble there for a while after we came back. But, I don't, I'm sure the Chinese have forgotten about that. But we, recall it and that was what over fifty-some years ago. But that. And small incidents like that remain in your mind. But...

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

DG: What... I want to just talk about what the best parts of like living in America and earlier we were discussing about how things have changed as far as welfare goes and things. So let's talk about both the best parts and the worst parts as far as how things have changed. One of the things that you were saying is that it really bothers you to see these people taking welfare now.

FN: Yeah it does, it really does. Because when you think of our parents coming through all those years, you know? Really struggling to just keep alive and never thinking of receiving anything from anyone. And then when you see all this welfare business, oh, I think that's just terrible. And they expect so much nowadays, don't they? You know, much more than they're getting.

DG: What about this country as a whole, is --

FN: The what?

DG: Are you, are you glad you're an American?

FN: Well I always have been because I've never thought of anything else. I've never thought of...

DG: Even if they did the terrible thing to you like incarcerating you and...

FN: Well no. As I mentioned. To all of us, Japanese, no matter who we were, we had to, we had to go and so. I think maybe we were too obedient in our ways. We didn't protest nothing even the, the people that had a little influence, they didn't either.

DG: Would, do you think you would protest more now if you had to do it over again?

FN: Well I'm quite sure that the, the fourth generation would never allow a thing like that to happen? Do you think? I don't.

DG: I don't know.

FN: I don't think they would ever, no.

DG: Would you, yourself?

FN: Myself?

DG: Would you say more?

FN: What, feel that if they did that?

DG: Protest more?

FN: Oh, maybe now I would feel it. We have, we have our right, more rights than that. We respect, we expect to be treated like everyone else as we are. We...

DG: Well do you think it was good that everyone was obedient?

FN: Huh?

DG: Do you think that it's good that everyone was obedient?

FN: Was what?

DG: Obedient. You said that maybe we were a little bit too obedient.

FN: Well in a sense I think that.

DG: You think.

FN: Well in those days no one protested. And the, you read the, the Japanese Citizen nowadays, you read that and it says well the Japanese were just, were, we just all thought there was no use protesting. What's the use. Just the, just those very few you remember. But in these days, I don't know. I think that people would be a little more, you know.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

DG: Your gran, great-grandchildren. You have two of them now. What do you want them to know about what happened?

FN: Well you know, even our Sansei, I'm thinking about the great-grandchildren, even our third generation children. They're mostly, yeah, third. Arlene's children are third gene-, or fourth generation.

DG: Well Arlene is fourth.

FN: Third yeah, fourth generation. I don't think that those children, those kids know too much about it. And they never asked either. That's what all this is for isn't it?

DG: It is, it is.

FN: Yeah, they don't realize what all of the older people have gone, went through. I thought that was, when I saw that in the PI this morning about the Japanese American. I thought that was really quite an incident.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 41>

DG: Well I have a statement that I think is important. Betty says that what she appreciates the most about you is that you're a realist.

FN: A realist, now what does she mean about that? [Laughs]

DG: That no matter what happened, that you, you carry on with what's possible and just go on and not worry about what happened or the past.

FN: No. I really don't worry too much about the past because... try to, you know, try to do the best you can yourself, you know and --

DG: And I think you've done it with such grace.

FN: And then I don't, Even the children. Actually there's time that I would like to have said something to them but they go, oh, what's the use. You can become enemies to people too that way. So.

DG: Well is there anything else that you would like to add?

FN: Well the one, the one thing after we started to grow things in the greenhouse. Well there isn't too many crops that we could grow just right away. So that he grew cucumbers and tomatoes that we were able to raise from seed, see. And so when the time for marketing came, that was a problem again. Who was, who were we going to sell to. So he did go around to different stores and no one would even less, would take anything. They wouldn't buy it from Japanese. That attitude. And so, but finally down in the market role there was one Italian fellow that he said, "Don't worry Mr. Noji." He said, "I'll, I'll help you." He said, "Bring all your things to me." Well you know, things like that, so. Those are the kind of things that you really remember.

DG: You've mentioned a few of those points in your life like the colored man that helped you on the train and different people who have come out.

FN: Yes, there have been, different people have come out and done things. And those are the things that really remain in your mind. You don't think of the...

DG: Wonderful.

FN: Bad things, you can't think of the bad things, what's the use.

DG: That's good.

FN: And when we first came back too, since we had the truck, we used to go visit, there was Japanese living over in Bellevue, quite a few Japanese settled in Bellevue. When we first went over there, there was a lot of those signs yet, no Japs, no Japs allowed or something like that. And I said, "Those are the kinds of things that do stay in your mind." But that, that didn't last too long. There's good and bad. [Laughs]

DG: That's true. Well thank you very much for --

FN: I don't know I, what I've... there might be small incidents that I've forgotten. But those that remain in my mind I thought, well, I...

DG: Sure.

FN: Okay. Thank you for doing it. I don't know. [Laughs]

<End Segment 41> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.