Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Nori Masuda Interview
Narrator: Nori Masuda
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Fresno, California
Date: March 10, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mnori-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: So let's go to Jerome. So what was Jerome, Arkansas, like, when you went to Jerome?

NM: Jerome, Arkansas? Well, we went there, they said it's gonna be rainy and this and that, we prepared. It was okay. It is rainy, and then the clay is clay. You walk around in the rain, see, the camp is built, but they got no paths, walking paths, how to get to the kitchen. See, it's a block, there's two hundred fifty in the block. Assembly center was section, there was five hundred. So five hundred went, shift, two times to eat, and then all that, two shifts. Then same thing, two shifts, two hundred fifty in a box this time. But they have forty-six blocks. This one had only about twelve sections, that's about it, you know, assembly center. But everybody got along good, though. There was no fights, nothing. Thank heavens, you know. [Laughs]

TI: So how was it for you? Because you got there in November, so that's like almost wintertime, and so it was a lot cooler.

NM: Yeah. Well, see, we went in May, May the 2nd, volunteer went in first. And we met the first group that come in, they came in, they get settled, they get their own team to cook and do this and that. They choose among them who the chief is and all that.

TI: But then when you went to Jerome, in Jerome, that was November, around November?

NM: No, they started in... October, we're the last ones. October... November, I think I went to November 3 or something. May, June, July, August, September, October, yeah. October.

TI: Okay. So, but when you go to Jerome, Arkansas, it's getting pretty cool then, isn't it? Getting cold in Jerome?

NM: Cold? Oh, that place is kind of damp. The soil is clay, and then the walkway, there's nothing done about walkway, you had to fix it up yourself, or they have a crew to, they got workers to, among us. They work on the laborer, they do fixing like that.

TI: So what kind of paths did you create?

NM: Well, that's why this group is hired already, okay. They come in and they make the, kind of a path for you. Water, drainage... see, the block is all a creek. All the water run into that creek. You know, there's about forty-six blocks in Jerome. Over here was only twelve sections, see. But it didn't rain out here, in Fresno, so it was good. If it rained, it's just soft. But the assembly center, okay, see, there was ten... let's see. I think twenty. Ten and ten, twenty, five hundred people.

TI: Right. So at Jerome, what was your job at Jerome?

NM: Oh, well, you go see the job, what do you want? Like me, I was in the sporting section, you know, when I went to assembly center, so I was in charge of, sometime, sporting, basketball leagues, this and that, yeah. All from within the, our group. Inside, from where they come from, they're all... yeah, so there weren't no argument. And then when we went to Jerome, we're the last ones. So we had our own manager already picked out, so he did everything. So if you know the guy, we could talk to them, you get all, this and that, offered. So everybody go to the east manager, and then the manager go up to the office and they got, they're the city councilor. Like Fresno city, they got a council, something like that, see. And then we got our own police department, all within. [Laughs] But nobody...

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2010 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.