Densho Digital Archive
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Chikaye Sande Azeka Hashimoto Interview
Narrator: Chikaye Sande Azeka Hashimoto
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: January 10, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-hchikaye-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: And where were you born?

SH: I was born around the L.A. Convention Center, Eleventh Street, by (...) Nomura-san.

MN: Do you have any memories of that business and that area that you lived in? You were very, very young.

SH: The only thing I know, that we lived -- there wasn't that many Japanese around, in fact, it was nothing like the Little Tokyo -- we lived in a predominantly white neighborhood.

MN: Do you remember playing with the local neighborhood white kids?

SH: No, but my father had a good friend. His name is Mr. Walker, and he had a barber shop right (door) where my folks had their cleaners. That was their best friend.

MN: And then from this Eleventh Street, your parents moved the cleaning business to Little Tokyo, or actually closer to Little Tokyo, I guess.

SH: On San Pedro Street near Jackson.

MN: And tell us a little bit of the, San Pedro near Jackson, what was that neighborhood like?

SH: That was predominantly Japanese 'cause we're in Japanese Town now. So I remember the Yamato Hall -- that's just around the corner -- and there used to be a Nagamoto Kamabokoya, I used to go play there and I used to go to Yamato Hall. There's no playgrounds or anything around, so you just kind of go around wherever anything is for me to play with. And I used to always just stay on that side of the street. They didn't allow me to cross the street, so I don't know who lived on the other side of the streets, but I just knew my area.

MN: Now, Yamato Hall, can you share with us what Yamato Hall was, and why did you go over there a lot?

SH: Well, they used to have a lot of these entertainers, and one of the programs that I really was interested was when the takarazukas came. And I would go over there and see them putting on their makeup and whatever, and I watched them with their rehearsals. I was really interested. I don't remember any other programs, but the Yamato Hall with the takarazuka, I do remember them.

MN: So you also mentioned that your father loved to drive.

SH: Well, I don't know if he loved to drive, but then I remember him saying that he used to drive a lot of rich people around. I don't know if he actually drove Charlie Chaplin around, but he would mention Charlie Chaplin. I can't remember any other person, but he said that he shortened his name because they would say, "On, James," and he would do the driving. [Laughs]

MN: But he also took the family out to drive on the weekends, right?

SH: Well, I don't know how often he took 'em, but from the pictures, he used to take us up to San Gabriel Mountains and (...) down to Tijuana and places like that. I don't remember the trips, but (...) he's one to like to explore things, whenever he had a chance, 'cause I see pictures of us going on horseback riding, and he would pitch tents up in San Gabriel Mountains (...).

MN: Yeah, and that's another thing I wanted to mention about, you do have these photos, and so your father loved to take photos of these trips.

SH: I guess so.

MN: And it seems very unusual because not a lot of Isseis of that time had the luxury to go out as much as I think, your father took the family to these trips to San Gabriel Mountains a lot.

SH: (...) We would go with other families sometimes, 'cause they're in the pictures too, so that's why I know (...) we wouldn't always go just our family. (...)

MN: And then you grew up in an era when there were no freeways yet. Was Western the main road down to the beach?

SH: I don't know that. I know now that you can take Western and (...) end up in Palos Verdes or wherever it was, but I didn't know at that time about freeways.

MN: Did your family ever take it all the way down Western?

SH: No, I don't remember that.

MN: What memories do you have of, like Oshogatsu, before the war?

SH: I don't have no recollection of Oshogatsu.

MN: You didn't go out into the countryside and watch the mochi being pounded?

SH: Now that you mention. But I remember we used to go in the country 'cause that's where all the mochi was being pounded. And one of the things -- isn't that funny -- that I know I should remember is because I loved that mochiko that they steam, and I didn't care if they tsuku the mochi or not. I wanted that rice. That rice was so good. I would sit there and watch them make it in these steam boxes, and then (...) make a little nigiri for me. And I liked the koge part too, so I would eat that and then I wouldn't wait for the mochi (...).

<End Segment 2> - Copyright &copy; 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.