Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Ed Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-yed-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

SO: So your family had moved back to Sacramento?

EY: Oh, yes, and that's the one regret that I have is that my brother and I were not there to help move from Tule Lake to Topaz, from Topaz to California, Sacramento. And my dad had come down with tuberculosis so it was only my sisters that were to able to do, make this move. So that's one regret that I have for being involved in the military. But there's one thing too, my parents did not have, was not financially well off, so when I went into the service, part of my salary was sent to them and they continued on for two years, so that helped them tremendously. Anyway they were able to move back into the old accommodations, Fourth and O, the grocery store, and started the grocery store.

SO: Did someone save, how did that work? Somebody save it for them?

EY: Before evacuation, my parents wanted to buy the unit, which had the grocery store one level and the apartment building, apartments upstairs. Two stories, it's an older building, and since I was not of age, it required someone twenty-one or over before they can purchase any property. So they bought this, purchased this property under a name of an older Nisei, his last name was Osuga. And he returned to Japan, he had gone to Japan for education and the war broke out and the government took over the property. But during the war years it wasn't taken care of very well, it deteriorated to some extent. But when they came back to the same accommodation, they had to pay rent. Something that they purchased, and for many years they communicated with this fellow in Japan trying to transfer the title back. As a matter of fact, some of the Osuga family member went over there and tried to persuade him to sign and eventually he did turn the property over to my parents. But it took a lot of favors and money to do this.

So it's amazing, the grocery store is a small grocery store and we used to run around the store and when we get back there after we're adults, I said, "Oh my goodness, what a small area, how can we run around this place?" [Laughs] But it became for the Japanese community, it's one of the better-known place because there's a Buddhist church right across the street a little off the side where the community used to have Japanese movies there. And once a year they'd have Bon Odori, fall festival, where they would build a platform in the middle of the street and they would have taiko drummers and the girls would be dancing, the men too. And then here we are on the corner, so they would go there and buy pop, snow cones, popsicles and for occasions like that, or even for the movies, the Japanese movie shows, at this Buddhist kaikan, that's a gymnasium. So my parents even started what we call "chilly banana." "Chilly banana" is you put the banana on a stick, freeze it, you dip it in chocolate and we used to call it "chilly banana." That was one of the big item. And then also, my parents had enough foresight to take apples; you know, you see caramel apples quite often, that very common. Caramel apple. My parents did was put the stick on the apple and then dip it in candy, crispy candy, sugar, made out of sugar and some cinnamon flavor and whatnot, and it's coated in candy, not caramel. And we were known for that too. [Laughs] So when you bite into it it's crispy.

SO: Is the store still there?

EY: No. No, that area has been demolished and government buildings have been built on it. Even the church has been demolished, government buildings, apartments or whatnot. It's nothing like the old Sacramento that we grew up with.

SO: It's not a Japanese neighborhood anymore?

EY: No. No longer. But all of my sisters live in Sacramento. And my wife's one and only sister also lives in Sacramento. So we go out there every year and we drive all the way, to and from, every year. From way back in the days, the early '50s, those were the days where motels were scarce and didn't have any credit cards and we didn't have air conditioning, did not have cruise. [Laughs] But my parents really appreciated the effort we made.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.