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-02-0017

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TL: Well, why don't we talk about how you met George and kind of how you got to know him and the engagement.

AT: George came to Tule Lake from Fort Snelling where he was teaching Japanese language to visit his sister's family, Moriguchi family. Mrs. Moriguchi, George's older sister, and my father and Mr. Moriguchi were friends. They knew each other from way back 'cause they were both Ehimekenjin, but I think it was Mrs. Moriguchi kind of had the eye on me 'cause I was on the stage quite a bit, and she had seen me and maybe back of her mind it was, "This is a good wife for my dear brother or something." [Laughs] So when George came, Mr. Moriguchi brought some food from the mess hall -- he was a cook in his block mess hall -- and we were invited and that's when I first met George. And then next day he was to go back to Fort Snelling by train so he walked all the way to my barrack, which was opposite end of Tule Lake (Camp). They were way over in Alaska area, what we call it was the people from Tacoma and Seattle were there, and then my block 22 was on the opposite end of the camp. Anyway, he walked all the way to say good-bye and we just (said) good-bye (and shook hands).

TL: You've described that dinner that you had in the barrack when you met him, can you talk a little bit about what your impressions were of well, of the affair of the dinner and of meeting George. What kind of impression did he leave you with?

AT: The barrack that Moriguchis had... of course, there were so many babies and maybe four, five children and the diapers and everything was hanging all over in this little room. [Laughs] I thought, "Oh, my goodness, compared to my barrack..." They had to hang many washing in the room, but anyway that was fine. And next day George was to go back to Fort Snelling and he walked across the field to my place and just said good-bye and that was that. And then couple months later I received a ring from him and Mother said to me, "What did George do to you? What did you tell him?" So I said, "I don't know. I didn't make any promise or anything. We never talked about getting married or anything." But Mother said, "Well, this is engagement ring. I don't remember hearing any proposal." [Laughs] I think he did write to me maybe suggesting it, but he did very hastily. See, on the way going back to Fort Snelling from Tule Lake, he stopped in Spokane where his cousin Ed Tsutakawa lived and George and Ed went to jewelry store and bought that ring. So it came from Spokane to Tule Lake, which is a short distance, shorter (than) from Minneapolis. So he couldn't wait to get back to Minneapolis to send this, but it came from Spokane.

TL: Well, so since he didn't exactly ask you, how did you feel? When you read it, did you say to yourself -- oh, what did you say to yourself about this engagement?

AT: Well, my first impression of meeting him -- of course, I was so protected by my mother. She would not let me go out on dates or anything and so when I met him I thought he was very gentle and very intelligent and I kind of liked him. So receiving the ring I was kind of divided, but from Mother's point of view, of course, it was different.

TL: Did she want to introduce you to other men, or did she have in mind to try to arrange something else?

AT: I don't think so. I was too young then and until the ring came, I don't think there was any other person in my mind or Mother's mind.

TL: Did you have any concerns about his being so much older than yourself?

AT: I didn't think so. Wearing that GI uniform, I never questioned his age.

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