Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Grace F. Oshita Interview
Narrator: Grace F. Oshita
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ograce-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

MA: Did your father work in camp, in Topaz?

GO: No, no, he didn't. I know he was doing the bar -- I don't know what they call it, the single bar, anyway, and tried to build his body up a little bit so that he could work inside the factory. Says, "Now, I can't afford to just sit in the office, I have to be one of the boys, too, eliminate one job that I have to pay out." So that's what he did for, it took about a year to plan everything. They didn't go out just to find a place, I think they just took a chance and there were so many wanting to just come out of the camps and be out of the camps, that Utah was... well, especially Salt Lake area, Salt Lake and Ogden area, they were saying, "No more, no more, please," you know. They had to first go somewhere else, and then they found a Japanese family who operates a hotel in Cameron, Wyoming, and they took them in. And they helped whatever they could, you know, kitchen or restaurant or whatever, to pay their way.

MA: This is your father and your mother? Did they leave camp early to do this?

GO: Yes.

MA: So were you still with your grandmother in Topaz?

GO: No, we were... yeah, we were left behind. And so was, let's see, the brother's family and the brother-in-law's family, they were still, just the menfolks went out. When my, my parents are ready for them, at least they knew where the factory was going to be and so forth.

MA: I see. So your parents went out sort of a little bit earlier to try to establish something.

GO: Uh-huh. And then they couldn't come to Salt Lake immediately, directly, so there again, they had to spend a little time in Wyoming. And so this family that owned this hotel gave them at least a room, they worked for their room.

MA: How long were they in Wyoming?

GO: Not very long, not very long. I think maybe a minimum length of time, maybe there is a, there was a rule that said you had to stay in one, wherever you go out, to stay there at least a month or something like that. And it wasn't too long, anyway, 'cause they needed to find a place in Salt Lake, so they were fortunate that they did. And it was just the right size, it wasn't too big for them. And in the miso business, you have to have a hot room, a real moist, hot room where they activate the rice in order to make the rice to make the sake, actually. And then that's what they mix it with, soybeans and salt and whatever else that goes in there to make the miso.

MA: So going back a little bit to your, your parents initially couldn't come into Salt Lake City, is that right? Because the governor or whoever said they didn't want any more Japanese Americans coming into the state.

GO: That's right.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.