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-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

MA: So moving on a little bit to your high school experience, what was the high school that you attended? What was the name of that school?

GO: I went to Commerce High. I did that because I knew that there was a school that taught anything about business that you could learn. I mean, there was a salesmanship class, I'm just trying to think, merchandising, anything that's commercial, you didn't have to go to a junior college. I mean, that was a school that taught everything, shorthand, specialty in shorthand. That's what I was taking, but I really didn't need that because nobody would ever dictate a letter to me. [Laughs] I'd have to write it, I knew what my father was saying in the letter in Japanese, so I just had to translate it into English.

MA: So did you choose to go to Commerce High or were you kind of sent there, did everyone go, or did you choose to go there because you were interested in some of the classes?

GO: Yes, I think I did, uh-huh. 'Cause like I said, I never asked to go to college, nor did my parents suggest it. I think they knew about the school, that I was planning to go.

MA: Did you have an interest in being involved in the miso business in your factory?

GO: Well, there was always a job in the office for a "secretary," quote. And so I knew that I would have a job there.

MA: When you were younger, did you ever work, like maybe after school or anything in the business?

GO: No, I was too busy, dancing lesson, music lessons, I was just a spoiled brat. [Laughs]

MA: In high school then, I'm curious about your, the sort of racial composition of your high school. Was it still predominately Japanese American?

GO: And Chinese. Now, this was, I don't know whether you know San Francisco's Van Ness Avenue where they sell all the car sales, businesses on that wide street. And it was, the Japanese had moved West of Van Ness before, the Chinatown is east of Van Ness. And so it, I don't know how and who started it, but little by little, there were more Japanese in that area.

MA: What was the relationship like between the two communities, the Chinese American and Japanese American?

GO: Actually, they were separate, entirely separate. Because to begin with, Chinese people, they had established their little town way before the Japanese did. And it was already an enterprising community there.

MA: So there was no social interaction or anything like that?

GO: No. I, mixed marriages or mixed, even relationships, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship was usually strictly your own, "stick to your own people."

MA: Who were some of your good friends in high school? What did you all do for fun?

GO: Well, you know, the schooldays were so long that there wasn't any time for anything but going to school, at least on weekdays. 'Cause it's one after the other: American school, Japanese school, and I went to music lesson every day, too, see. And we just, music was taught by rote, in other words, she'll play and sing part of a piece and then I'd learn just that part and then I'd go back and... I didn't even practice at home because every day lessons, it's just like practicing. So there again, I didn't have to spend extra time. That's the way she taught it, and we never used a music book, it was all memorized.

MA: So you took the music through high school, then, so a long time?

GO: Yes, when I started high school, though, I only went once a week Saturday reviewing. That's about all that I did.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.