Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: Mitsue Matsui Interview
Narrator: Mitsue Matsui
Interviewers: Marvin Uratsu (primary), Gary Otake (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 12, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mmitsue-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

MU: Tell us a little bit about the dining facilities. I mean, if we call it dining, a place to eat.

MM: The place to eat, it was all right, but it's the food that, at the beginning, that was rather poor. And from what I understand, we were to have the same sort of menu as the military, you know, price-wise, you might say. But eventually, when the Japanese people started cooking, then they cooked things that were pretty good from what I understand. But the trouble was, sugar was rationed, so was meat, and these things started disappearing.

MU: What happened?

MM: And we couldn't understand what happened. Well, the Caucasians who were working there were caught red-handed. As they left, they opened up the trunk, and sure enough, there was meat and things like that in the trunk of their car. That's what I heard.

MU: There must've been a lot of meat, and were they gonna sell it or use it themselves or...

MM: I have no idea, I've never asked about that, but anything that's rationed you would want, you know.

MU: Now, getting back to the -- I think they used to call it the mess hall.

MM: Yes, mess hall.

MU: Now, you went to the --

MM: It was embarrassing lining up like that.

MU: You had to line up for that?

MM: That's right. Everything was a line up.

MU: Now, your father was the so-called dannasan. In that dining room, was all the children of his family seated at one place?

MM: That was, that's the way it was supposed to be, and we did that.

MU: You did that?

MM: We did that. We always ate together.

MU: With your father as head.

MM: Uh-huh, that's right. We ate together.

MU: That's, was it unusual for the family to stay together to eat?

MM: Well, there were quite a few that way. But there were a few... I don't know how many that used to take off and maybe they'll eat here and then eat there, too. [Laughs]

MU: I imagine the children liked to eat with their friends?

MM: That's right, and you can't blame them either, I guess. But it was nice to keep the family in one unit, especially around mealtime.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.