Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Nobu Shimokochi Interview
Narrator: Nobu Shimokochi
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Date: 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-snobu_2-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

NS: My name is Nobu Shimokochi, spelled N-O-B-U, S-H-I-M-O-K-O-C-H-I. And I was born in Los Angeles, and both my parents are from Hiroshima, Japan.

RD: Okay, where did you go to school?

NS: I went to grade school at the Euclid Avenue grade school, elementary school, in Los Angeles.


RD: So you were taken right out of high school? Tell me about the day that you found out you were going to camp.

NS: Well, we heard that everybody of Japanese ancestry had to leave the West Coast. And people were being shocked by the short time they had, like six days of warning to pack up and leave. So my parents sold their store at a big loss, we got rid of everything. I think we had... my sister had a piano, and there was a young man that wanted that piano, and he was going to pay twenty-five dollars for it. But he didn't have the money, so he said he was gonna borrow some money from his relatives. Well, it turned out that he couldn't get any more money, so he got the piano for ten dollars. And that's kind of the way the story went as far as losing all our other belongings.

RD: What was your father's store? Tell me where it was and what it was.

NS: My father's store was called the Sun Market on 2311 Central Avenue. And it was a mom and pop grocery store, and they worked at it real hard just to earn a meager living.

RD: What kind of neighborhood was that then?

NS: It was almost all black.

RD: Huh, still is. And so did you have any problems with being Japanese and being in that neighborhood at all that you recall?

NS: After Pearl Harbor, after Pearl Harbor.

RD: "After Pearl Harbor we had..."

NS: Well, after Pearl Harbor we'd be walking to school and we'd get a lot of nasty remarks. That's kind of a typical attitude of the whole community. All of a sudden we were saboteurs. And we never understood why we were considered saboteurs, but that's how the whole country was led to believe.

RD: And were you getting those remarks from both white people and black people in your neighborhood?

NS: Probably more from the whites. But I don't remember real clearly.

RD: What did your parents tell you about why you were going to go away? I know that you know that they were going to be evacuated, what did they say about it? How did they react? What were they like?

NS: Well, my parents, they didn't say much about why we were being persecuted. It was... well, we pretty much read it in the papers that we were... what do you call it, a national security risk and that's why we were leaving, that we were being concentrated into these camps.

RD: Did your parents become citizens again?

NS: My parents were not permitted to become naturalized citizens, and consequently they were not able to purchase property. And we had to purchase the store by using the name of a friend's eldest son.

RD: Now why were they not allowed to become naturalized citizens?

NS: Well, the Japanese... well, America was very racist and they were... it was a white country. And there was a lot of prejudice against non-whites, the blacks and the Asians particularly. And, well, beginning from the gold strike in California, the Chinese came over to take part in the search for gold, and they were forbidden to be a part of that. And they also cut them off. They were no longer allowed to come over, and the ones that were over were restricted in their work, their employment. So for the most part, all the Asians had to either go into farming or open up their own business, or do menial jobs like domestic or gardening.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RD: So you took off to Santa Anita and how old were you when you got on that bus?

NS: I was thirteen years old when the evacuation came. There was a posting that was placed on the utility pole that said, "All people of Japanese ancestry," and the one that applied to us delineated the borderline of our district. And it was dated May 3, 1942, and the date of the gathering at this site, staging site, was May 9th. And we had sold our store and we had moved to Japanese Union Church on San Pedro Street, because we wanted to be incarcerated with our church friends. And so we left from the church, and I think that was the same day as when Kaz was evacuated.

RD: And you didn't know Kaz before.

NS: No.

RD: So we talked about everything that happened when you were in Santa Anita except for the one thing. You said you heard something at the end of the riot, that there was a different reason, when we were talking earlier?

NS: Oh. I wanted to mention the fact that because of the riot, there was an investigation, and they wanted to dig into all the facts about why there was a riot. And during that investigation they found that the whites were stealing the meat and butter and sugar, all the ration items, and stuffing it in the trunks of their car and selling it on the black market. They also found that we were supposed to be getting a small allowance for essentials. And one of the nicest things that happened was the elimination of, every Monday, shakedown inspections. We no longer had those inspections after that riot.

RD: Okay, so then you were in, how long were you in Santa Anita?

NS: Four months, starting from May 9th to early September.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RD: Okay, so then in September you found out, how did you find out where you were going, or did you know?

NS: You know, I don't think I knew where we were going. Although it might have been published in the Pacemaker. But anyway, we got our belongings, which wasn't very much, and boarded the train. But see, backtrack a little bit, at the stating area, they told us what to bring, your bedding, your mess gear, your few personal belongings, but only what you can carry. Our parents very carefully selected what they were gonna bring. We had no idea what our future environment was gonna be, and we just selected things very carefully. And then stuffed it in a bag and took it to the staging area, and there was a bunch of GIs there with rifles and fixed bayonets, and they told us where to drop our bags, and they motioned us on to a Greyhound bus. And we got onto the bus and it was all dark with the shades all pulled down. And we walked past women who were trying to stifle their crying. And as I walked back I kind of choked on a lump in my throat, and we sat further in the back. And you know, it wasn't that far from the center of town to Santa Anita, but it seemed like an awful long time we sat on that bus. And perhaps we sat on it for quite a while before we left, but it seemed like it took hours and hours to get there. And probably it only took maybe an hour and a half or two to get there. Of course, we didn't have these highways then, and there was a lot less traffic. But that's my memory of the evacuation.

RD: So then you got from the bus, then all of a sudden you're on the train.

NS: Yeah, four months later we got on the train. And we were, I guess, about three days on the train, and they were all coach seats, and so they were kind of hard, uncomfortable seats. And our parents tried to make us as comfortable as possible at their expense. And I recall that the... what do you call 'em, stewards, or the waiters on the dining car? They were very unhappy because they weren't getting the tips. And, of course, they didn't understand the circumstances, and we didn't have the money, and we ate a minimum. I don't know if there was any free food provided or not. But anyway, I recalled the waiters being real unhappy about not getting tips, because I guess they were paid dependent on tips.

RD: And they would have been mostly black waiters, wouldn't they have been?

NS: Yes, they were all black waiters.

RD: Little did they know, huh?

NS: Right.

RD: So tell me what the train ride was. Like you said you had a lump in your throat. Were you afraid to go?

NS: Well, you know, it was kind of a sad event. We lost everything we had, and we were going to lose our freedom. I mean, we became instant POWs, we got captured by the GIs. And when I got into Santa Anita, I'm lying there on this cot with a straw mattress, and I'm thinking, "You know, I thought the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were supposed to guarantee our civil rights." And I was really puzzled. What am I doing in a concentration camp? And even today, when I see the word Constitution or Bill of Rights, it reminds me of a concentration camp. It seems like a strange combination there, but that's the way it was.

RD: Well, let me ask you this. Were you aware then of the German constitution?

NS: No. No, absolutely not.

RD: What was your reference to a concentration camp? Or is it just now that you...


NS: Concentration camp. Well, everybody used that term, "concentration camp." That was the word for these camps at that time. I mean, the meaning of the word has kind of changed since then, but at that time, not only the Presidents Roosevelt and Truman used those terms, the politicians, the media used the term "concentration camp," and that was the word for our camps. And today, they never use that word.

RD: When do you think it changed? When did they start being called internment camps?

NS: I think in the '50s when the, lot of the wartime media people were kind of fading out and the new media people, the younger ones were moving in. I think that's when a lot of it happened.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RD: Let's move forward to Heart Mountain. So you're on the train, and the shades are down.

NS: Yeah, but we kind of lifted them up and opened the windows, and we kind of looked out. But boy, that let in a lot of soot. And by the time we got to Heart Mountain we were really dirty and needed a bath.

RD: Did you get a bath?

NS: Yeah, there was a shower facility. And here we came to this camp, just another concentration camp. But everything was so much nicer than Santa Anita that we felt good. [Laughs] If you can imagine that.

RD: And then how about when you first saw snow?

NS: Well, you know, when I was in Los Angeles, we didn't have a whole lot of smog. And in the distant mountaintops you could see snow, like Mt. Wilson in the wintertime, there was snow up there. And my parents, my dad, he took us up there one day to play in the snow. Yeah, I don't know what year, how old I was then, but you know, I saw snow from L.A.

RD: Little different when you saw it in person, wasn't it?

NS: Yeah, but when we were in Santa Anita, we used to stand in the hot sun waiting our turn to get into the mess hall, and it was hot. Now, a few days later, we go to Heart Mountain and it's cool. And by mid-September, we had a snowstorm, and that was a real shocker. You know, nobody from California had clothes for that kind of weather. And they gave each family catalogs from Montgomery-Ward and Sears, and I believe Spiegel, and we ordered clothes from that. And there were certain items in that catalog that there were either out of stock of or we weren't allowed to order. And when we got to... when we got the orders in, everybody was wearing the same kind of clothes. You know, the schoolkids, I had this hat with earflaps, it was corduroy and a plaid pattern, black on blue, and there was another version that was black on red. But here we are, there's a lot of people wearing the same kind of clothes, and it was a funny situation.

RD: Do you remember what you weren't allowed to order? Cap guns, say?

NS: Ooh, no. I think the catalogs had markings in it, but I don't remember what we weren't allowed to order.

RD: How long did it take until you could make your barracks into a livable, or your parents could make your... do you remember it happening, how they made it livable? Because I've seen a lot of people put it together over the years.

NS: Yeah. Well, some people bought material, but a lot of the scrap lumber that was laying around, everybody wanted that, so that they can make a table or a shelf.


NS: Part of our furniture were apple boxes, and we just sat on it, like the seat. But we sat on our beds, too. There wasn't very much furniture around, but some people were very resourceful in being able to make things. It was interesting how people start making things out of scrap wood and carving pins that they wear, they made necklaces out of apple seeds, and later on when we got a lot of people from Tule Lake into our camp, they imported a lot of seashells because Tule Lake was a dried up lake, and there was a lot of seashells, like small snails. And they would soak 'em in chlorine bleach to soften them up and push needles through it to make a necklace. They did things like that, there were all kinds of little crafts.

RD: Tell me about the slingshots.

NS: Pardon?

RD: Tell me about the slingshots, making slingshots?

NS: I don't remember making slingshots, but slingshots were kind of a toy that we played with before going to camp. And what we used to do is make slingshots out of wire, so probably could use a clothes hanger to make the slingshot with, and use rubber bands. And we used to use paper wads, fold them a certain way, and zing. Before camp we used to have these little wars.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RD: Okay, so tell me about some of the activity. I know there was a swimming hole, I've heard there was sumo wrestling, and wasn't there a...

NS: Well, I took judo lessons. And the central device or place as far as activities went was the school. That's where we met our classmates, there was dozens of organizations, girls had their clubs and the boys had their clubs. There were intramural sports, there were all these, well, basketball, football, all those different sports on an intramural level. And then the big events were, of course, the interschool, interscholastic games, like when we played Sheridan. I think they had a baseball team and basketball team, football team. Baseball, softball, football, we did great. We beat 'em all. But when it came to basketball, I think we were very lucky to win half of 'em, because we're all so little. It's a wonder they just didn't walk through us in football, but somehow we beat 'em all. I remember a game with Red Lodge, 63 to nothing. And you know, I often wondered how the parents felt. You know, this region, the whole region, was full of tiny towns scattered through a wide area, a few scattered towns. And they had a small population, and so they would travel over a hundred miles to get to our school, and I'm sure the parents worried about the safety of the travel and going to a concentration camp, well, basically a prison. And then they would get whipped by these "enemy people." I was wondering, "I wonder how they feel?"

RD: Do you remember a little town called Byron?

NS: Byron...

RD: You whipped their pants in football and in baseball. But we're going to be interviewing a fellow named Ray Habern who played football, and he said the town was only five hundred people. And so they only had a six-man football team and they got reamed. And they said they felt that secretly you had a full sized team and just knew a lot more. Because they were like, "A play? All we usually do is run the ball." They got murdered.

NS: Yeah, we played a lot of small teams because that's all there were. And Powell wouldn't play us because they were champions of the Big Horn Basin and they didn't want to lose their title. So all we could get out of them was a scrimmage. They don't keep score in a scrimmage.

RD: Let me ask you about Powell. Did you go through Powell, particularly in Powell, and I suppose Cody, too, but in particular in Powell where they had all those signs that said, "No Japs, keep moving," and all that. Did you see any of that?

NS: No, but we saw some of it in Cody as we were going to Yellowstone. But you know, we were all excited about Yellowstone. Wow, I mean, that was a huge thrill. And no other camp had an opportunity like that. You know, Cody was such a small town, and they had such a small space to display their anger, their hatred, they had such a short time. And by the time we passed through and they got out of sight, we forgot all about that.

RD: Do you remember what the signs said?

NS: Pardon?

RD: Do you remember what the signs said?

NS: No, I'm not... I'd be guessing now what the signs said.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RD: So tell me about Yellowstone.

NS: Well, we went there and we helped build a footbridge across the Nez Perce River. And I guess it took all the Boy Scouts to do it. We made a wooden structure for the support midway across and filled it with rocks, and we laid the horizontal members across, and we were surprised to go there about sixty years later and it was still standing. What's his name, the ranger there? What was that ranger's name? Anyway, we contacted Yellowstone and they dug up the archives and found the correspondence between the Park Service and our camp director, and we were supposed to get a CCC cabin and bring it to Heart Mountain. And Guy Robertson, our director, asked if he could send some Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to Yellowstone to use that cabin before they tore it down and brought it to Heart Mountain. And while we were there, I guess we were there only a week, but there was a lot of things to do. They had... well, we got an orientation from the rangers about, especially about the bears.


RD: Okay, so back to Yellowstone, did you only go one time?

NS: Yes, yes. And you know what's surprising about our trip there? You know, normally millions of people go there, right? When we were there, we were the only ones. Because people couldn't come, gasoline was rationed. So we had the run of the entire Yellowstone park.

RD: Did you see buffalo?

NS: Pardon?

RD: What did you see? Did you see buffalo or bears?

NS: Yeah, we saw all the animals and we saw all the main terrain features, all the geysers. It was a real treat. I mean, you know...

RD: Tell me what you thought of the buffalo. I say this because I have some great buffalo shots from my other movie and I'm dying to use them.

NS: But, you know, there was no huge buffalos. They were kind of survivors and the hunters killed off all the big ones. But the bears were a problem. We were sleeping in the cabin on the floor, and the bear alarm came on. And we were told when the bear alarm turns on, run to the protected area around the mess hall. So we jumped into our pants and shoes and ran to the mess hall. And we realized our scoutmaster wasn't there, though, so they shouted... oh, his nickname was Chisel. And we shouted for Chisel, and finally he comes running out with his pants in his hands just as the bear entered the cabin. And everybody got a chuckle out of it, but Chisel was embarrassed. And there was another event that I almost completely forgot about. But somebody reminded me about the time that I was walking down the side of the cabin and the bear was walking down another side, and we met at the corner. And you know, the bears, when they're walking on their fours, they're kind of like an overgrown Great Dane. But when they get up on their two legs and raise their paws, boy, I mean, they're like eight, nine feet tall. They're huge monsters, and boy, I turned around and went one way and the bear went the other way.

Off camera: Sound like [inaudible] was the lucky one.

NS: Yeah, but you know what gets me is these guys were watching this event about to happen and they didn't warn me. Nice buddies. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RD: So did you make a lot of friends with the other kids that you kept over the years?

NS: Yeah. Well, you know, when they closed the camp and everybody went to the four winds, it was a big struggle to survive. And not only that, but with everybody leaving the same time, we never had an opportunity to exchange addresses, so we lost track of a lot of our friends. And being so busy trying to survive, you kind of... all the memories eventually just faded away. They were dear friends while we were in camp, but we weren't able to maintain our relationship.

RD: And a lot of you got together because of the Boy Scouts again later, right?

NS: Yes, because of Kaz. He did a lot of research and started looking for the troopmates. And he called me and I... oh, he tried to call me but my number was unlisted. So he sent me a letter, so I called him, and that was the beginning of our relationship. And that was, what, fifteen years ago or somewhere in that neighborhood. And he asked me who else I knew, and I had run into Sam Nakagawa, who was our assistant scoutmaster or maybe the last scoutmaster as we left the camps. And anyway, everybody knew somebody. And one of the main people we couldn't locate was Stan Yoshida. Nobody... he seems to have vanished, nobody knows whatever happened to him. But he was well-loved as a scoutmaster.

RD: Do you have a picture of him?

NS: Pardon?

RD: Is there a picture of Stan?

NS: I think there's a picture somewhere.

RD: You know, we have all this, your yearbook from Heart Mountain.

NS: Yeah, I think --

RD: I wanted to talk to you about the, so we have something to go with that. Because it seems like it was just a normal school, seemed pretty normal except that everybody was Japanese, right?

NS: Yeah.

RD: So tell me about your life in school there.

NS: Well, you know --

RD: Did it get normal pretty fast? Because they had to have built all that and put it all together.

NS: Yeah. The first year, we had classes in barracks. And they pushed in, what, about twenty-four chairs with arms on 'em into a room, and some of those rooms were so small that it was really a tight fit. And I remember in one of those rooms I dropped my eraser. And the chairs were so close together I couldn't bend over to pick it up. And erasers were hard to come by, and not only that, but they cost a dime if you could find one. And, well, a dime was worth a lot back in those days, especially when your parents earned only nine cents an hour. Well, anyway, what I did was when the bell rang, we went out the door, and I stayed right near the door as everybody went out. And the last person went out, I went in, picked up my eraser, and ran out before the next class moved in.

RD: You had to dive for it, huh?

NS: Yeah.

RD: So did they have, they had proms and dances?

NS: Yes. Yeah, that's all in my yearbook.

RD: Uh-huh. Could you just tell me that so I'll have something to look at? Say, "Just like other schools, we had proms and dances."

NS: Yes. And we had class officers and the most popular student in that class. It was kind of interesting. We did a lot of events that kept us busy, kept our interest, and yeah, that was certainly part of it.

RD: It seems like there was a big focus on trying to keep the kids' life as normal as possible.

NS: Right. You know, the Issei, the first generation, was very concerned that they couldn't, with the new environment, it was kind of difficult to instill the traditional Japanese values. And character traits were very important to them, and that's why with the first generation parents, they liked the Boy Scouts so much, because that was about character training. And, well, for instance, the Japanese trait of ganbare or ganbaru, it meant to... it doesn't translate very well. It meant to persevere, persist, to do your very best, to just... the, what do you call it? Just do your very best and don't quit. Whatever you do, don't quit, don't give up, or never give up. Just to persevere no matter how difficult the situation was.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RD: Okay, so they closed the camp. Some people left earlier than others.

NS: Yes.

RD: And so did you stay after the actual closing?

NS: No, no. Nobody stayed after the closing.

RD: Well, Shig stayed 'til the bitter end. He stayed a couple months after everybody else. Well, they didn't have anywhere to go.

NS: Right. Well, nobody had anywhere to go. We went to Ohio because a friend of my dad's gave him a lead for a job. My dad's friend was a mortician, and he wanted to go back to California and restart his mortician business. And so he turned his job over to my father, and he was one of the very fortunate people who had a lead for a job. And you know, it was a case of, here's twenty-five dollars and a free train ticket, goodbye. [Laughs] And the people were terrified. I mean, you'd think that, being freed from a concentration camp would be an event of elation, but it wasn't so. They were terrified with the demobilization, all the soldiers and sailors were coming back from the war, over ten, fifteen million of them. And all the war production workers were laid off from their jobs, and here come the despised people looking for a place to live and a job. And like Kaz said, you know, it was really hard work to do those backbending, backbreaking jobs, picking beans and things like that.

RD: Which your parents had to do. So did he get the job in Ohio?

NS: Yes.

RD: And then what happened?

NS: And then he got a lead on a job as a caretaker in Royal Oak, Michigan. And so he left the other job and went to Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit.

RD: Okay, then so how did you meet Anna? Because she said it already, so you have to tell me.

NS: [Laughs] Well, my father, he was one of those rare people who kept in contact with everybody he, every one of his friends. So he always used to write to her father. And I guess he knew her father from way back when they'd first come to this country. And it turned out that he was working as a farmhand down near Monroe, and then for some reason he switched to a job in Birmingham, Michigan, which was practically a neighboring town. In fact, it was a neighboring town, Royal Oak. And I don't know, he got a stroke or a heart attack or something during that time, and at that particular time, I was overseas in Korea. And the family was destitute, there were, what, six kids, and no place to go. So my father took the family into his home. And when I came back from the service, her brother was pretty close to my age, and we... and I didn't have any friends, no friends around here, being gone for three years. And I came back and I didn't have any friends, so I chummed around with her brother. And he had a pretty little sister, and so I ended up spending time with her.

RD: The rest is history, as they say.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RD: So let's talk about something that we discussed with Kaz, which was now that we know that the fourth generation doesn't know very much about what happened, what would you hope that all of the stuff that we're doing or that we're telling, what would you hope to impart to the Yonsei generation?


NS: Well, you know, if they're fourth generation, it'll be their great-grandparents that were in camp. And it was a very special part of history, it's never happened before or since, but to be in a concentration camp is a very special event in American history, and the kids, the fourth generation should know something about it. If you write it, it's unlikely that they will read the book or whatever, but if it's DVD, I think the chance that they will see it will be much better, and they'll have some kind of appreciation for that experience.

RD: Oh, I know. And why is it you're not bitter?

NS: Well, you know, I'm not bitter... well, number one, I don't want to be bitter and just ruin my life just being bitter and moping about something that happened years ago. No, that's not my style. Actually, it was a wonderful experience. You know, your experience molds you, your personality and your beliefs and the way you behave. And I think it was an experience that made me mentally tough. I learned to gambaru and also gaman. Gaman is to endure pain and discomfort, the ability to postpone your desires, delayed gratification, and it's a quality that makes you a better person. And look what you lose if you were bitter. And another thing, too, we were accused of being disloyal, we were a threat to the security of the U.S., were considered a security risk, and I just wanted to prove that they were wrong. And I volunteered for the army at age seventeen, first chance I could get, and I had my chance to prove my loyalty by offering my life for this country. And if that isn't proof of your loyalty, I don't know else, more you can do. Why should I be bitter? I like who I am, and that experience of the camps made me who I am. So I am not bitter, but I know that there were some terrible things done to us, but I'm not bitter. I pay my taxes, I don't cheat, I consider taxes the price of being an American. I don't always agree with how the tax money is spent, but a lot of people who call themselves Americans, they want to cheat on their taxes and do all kinds of things to be anti-authority. Today especially, they don't want... they're anti-government and anti-establishment, they're counterculture. Some of us have a streak of counterculture in our blood. It's not always bad.

RD: Did you want to say something about the high school?

NS: Yeah.

RD: I wanted to talk just a little bit, I don't know what you were going to say, but everybody looked so stylish. They looked way hipper than the white kids. Everybody's got those great haircuts and the right pants --

NS: But you know, in camp, we wore patched clothes. [Laughs] And we had to be very frugal. So we couldn't buy clothes just for the style or for the looks. But we tried to be, and it's the best we could do.

RD: Everybody looks cool, though. What kind of music did you like?

NS: Oh, all that pop music. And you know, when we were at Santa Anita, it just brought back memories. I could still hear Harry James' "Sleepy Lagoon," because I heard it over and over when we were in camp. And there was a bunch of other songs of that time that the young kids listened to over and over. We had a lot of idle time in the camps, and you know...

RD: Were you listening to the radio or where you listening to records?

NS: Radio. Yeah, we couldn't pay records.

RD: They had a radio for you?

NS: Yeah. We had to bring our radio. What we did is we had a, what do you call it, a shortwave radio, and that was outlawed. They didn't want you to have that, so we got rid of it and bought a smaller radio, and that's what we took to camp.

RD: Do you have something else you wanted to add?

NS: Well...

RD: About school.

NS: Yeah. You know, today we have all kinds of problems. We have drugs, violence, dropouts, teenage pregnancies, it can go on and on and on about problems in schools today. But we had none of that. Kaz talks about juvenile delinquents, well, they were, the damage they did or the bad things they did just was nothing compared to today. It was, I don't know, things that they didn't damage anything, they didn't write graffiti all over everything, we didn't break anything, it just, we were good kids. You know, compared to today, and oh, there was a little bit of bullying that went on, but we were, I think, great kids compared to today. We had a great respect for other people, especially elders, that we don't have today. Our teachers were called sensei, and sensei is a term of respect used for doctors, professors, pastors, government officials. So in other words, the teachers were very highly respected, and what the teacher said went, it goes. If you cross the teacher, we caught the dickens for that.

RD: From your parents?

NS: Yes. And not only that, but if you misbehaved, it was... it brought shame to your family, dishonor. So every time we went somewhere, we were reminded, don't bring shame to your family. And it's so different from today's society.

RD: Maybe this will help it a little bit.

NS: Yes, I hope so.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.