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-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

MA: How did your mother enjoy Salt Lake City, or how was her transition to living in a, in a new place that you noticed?

GO: Well, I think she's a big city woman, you know, she took over the business, but at least she could continue the way it was, there was nothing to change, and just keep using the same recipe and so forth. Packaging was changed and that was good 'cause it cost less to put it in a paper box than to put it in a... well... and of course, people didn't use that much miso because of the younger generation coming up.

MA: So your mother took over, when was that? When did she take over the business?

GO: Let's see. My father died in a fishing accident, actually... by golly, I forgot when, when he died. I know it was April... I don't think she was married to him for ten years.

MA: So maybe in the '50s?

GO: Yes, probably. Boy, I used to at least remember days of birth and death, but not anymore. [Laughs]

MA: So your mother took over the business after your father passed away.

GO: Yes. There again, there wasn't any change. The ingredients are same, and they used to buy it by the railroad car loads full, see, when soybeans was mature enough, she would, they would buy it in carloads, and they would do the same thing with the rice. 'Cause said something about, yes, the kind of miso we use is three times as much rice as there are soybeans in there. And, see, that's the activated rice, that has the yeast or whatever, that it creates, to make the miso ripen.

MA: Your mother sounds like a pretty amazing woman, able to take over the business and run it successfully.

GO: Yes, she was. I remember young Hirano -- what's his first name? Our young reverend, he mentioned what a modern lady she was, that he had never seen another Nisei, Japanese lady, wear a, not a fur coat, but fur trim coat as much as she did or something like that, you know. And the type of clothes that she wore, she could buy a cheap oversized suit because of the material she liked, and redo it to fit her, things like that.

MA: So she always looked very sophisticated.

GO: That's right. Always just immaculate. Of course, San Francisco people were always that way, hat and, hat and gloves, that's what you need in your wardrobe.

MA: Were the styles different in Salt Lake City, fashion-wise?

GO: I don't know. The department stores had different departments that... but she sewed a lot, too. She used to sew me a coat twice a year until one day she says, "Well, Grace, you're big enough now that you can make your own." "Uh-oh," I thought. [Laughs] But professional anything, doing anything, they're so fast, they don't think for a long time, thinking, "This should be this way." They go, boom, "It's done." But she used to make coats for my grandma and her mother. Her mother was always bent over like this, and she was getting tinier and tinier. But she always had a coat that fits her well.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.