Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayame Tsutakawa Interview II
Narrator: Ayame Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 5, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tayame-02-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

TL: Did your father want to restart his former business, the liquor store?

AT: Yes. Fortunately, he kept license, liquor license, so he was able to start this liquor store, and some of the boys who work for my father before, they came back and help with the business. So we had the restaurant and then we had the liquor store and we had an apartment on the same block.

TL: Now, did you go back to school or did you just start working to help out at the restaurant?

AT: I was helping my mother's business. There were many American soldiers from Hawaii, they were all returning from East Coast and different camps and because there was a long wait before they can ship back to Hawaii because of lack of boats, there weren't too many boats available for them to go back. So they stayed there for couple months before they could go back. They all came to the restaurant.

TL: So business was pretty good?

AT: Very good. They just stayed all day long. [Laughs]

TL: What kind of food did the restaurant serve?

AT: We had Japanese and Chinese food so mother's kitchen was very busy.


TL: We were talking about the restaurant that your mother started up again, and I was wondering if you could tell me about the size of it and the name and some of those details what it was like?

AT: It was not a very big restaurant. Mother found this place because it was near the apartment where we moved out (from camp) to. She thought of a place for our family to eat. So there was a counter and then maybe half a dozen booths and two large tables and then behind that was a kitchen. And it was near the pool hall so when Hawaiian soldiers came back from going home to Hawaii from serving in the U.S. Army, they were all stuck in north Sacramento camp because there weren't enough ships to take them back to Hawaii. All these GIs came to our restaurant so it was a very busy place.

TL: What were your responsibilities in the restaurant?

AT: Well, my mother started this business with my name, Ayame, and Ayame Shokudou, and then Iris Grill the translation of it. So I was supposed to be manager maybe. [Laughs] It was such a busy place because these boys just came and stayed all day.


TL: Did your mother hire other workers to help in the restaurant?

AT: Yes. We had a chef and a waitress and another person who did running around, yes.

TL: So if you were the manager, what did your mother do?

AT: She was always around looking after things, yes.

TL: And how long did you continue to do that, to work in the restaurant?

AT: Well, until George didn't want to wait any longer.

TL: Until you got married.

AT: Uh-huh. See, I met George in Tule Lake.

TL: Right.

AT: So he was waiting.

TL: Okay.

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