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-02-0025

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TL: I'm wondering about what kinds of interactions you had with the Japanese American community. For example, were you still attending the Nichiren Church or perhaps your children were enrolled in the Japanese language school?

AT: Yes. Children did go to Japanese Language School. I thought they should, but the Nichiren Church, no. I had no time to be involved with the church activities or anything, any other club thing that, I might have enjoyed it, but I was spending all my time taking children to language school or to their piano lessons.

TL: So it sounds like you learned to drive.

AT: Yes. It was necessity.

TL: I'm remembering what you said about your mother kind of shocking the village when she took over the rented car.

AT: Yes.

TL: Did you shop regularly in the Japanese stores?

AT: Not regularly. Japanese foods, yes. Uwajimaya was relative so that's where I went, but other food stuff was local supermarket.

TL: It sounds like George was very busy both teaching and making artwork. In your social life together, did you have many friends, or were your friends mostly in the artistic community?

AT: Yes. We did not belong to JACL or any Japanese organization because of George's work with the university. Most of our friends were related to his works and his teaching.

TL: I'm wondering if you were able to continue your interests in koto and dance and tea ceremony, or were you too busy being a mother to continue those?

AT: Oh, in those days, yes. I went up to Alaska for (art) festival and at that time I did brush up my classical dance, and I used my curtains and did performing in the festival in Anchorage, and besides I was teaching folk dance to native Eskimos' children. And they really liked that Japanese Bon Odori type of folk dance. They thought that some of the rhythm were so similar to their culture and they enjoyed that.

TL: How did you come to be invited to the Alaska?

AT: Oh, my husband George had a friend, a Japanese artist in Anchorage, Bill Kimura, and he had a sister in Seattle so he came down here, and that's how George got to know him. And so he thought it would be nice to have a Japanese program up there.

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