Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Pearl Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Pearl Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ypearl-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

CN: So it sounds like you had a fairly active social life. Did you have to work a lot on the farm too?

PY: Yes, we were able to just hang around with the kids until we were ten years old, and then from ten we were all sent to do some chores in the field. I grew up with the Ida kids and we used to just tramp around the fields and hills and creeks and have fun together. But after we were ten years old, that was it, we had to go to work on the farm.

CN: What kind of social life did your parents have?

PY: Well, they got together with some of their neighboring Japanese friends, and especially two families, the Okadas and Takahashis, and they had about three or four children each about the same age so when we got together on... oh we would go to picnics together or on New Year's we, all the Japanese families, which consisted of about five or six families, we got together. And they built a social hall later on and so we would gather there and have a potluck and have a real good time and they would sing and do the traditional Japanese things.

CN: I can remember my grandmother getting these rather violent films from Japan, the samurai films, did your families do that?

PY: We went to Portland for movies and films, Japanese films, they would have it in their halls. I can't remember if it was the church hall or just a community hall but they would have programs and so we would go there on weekends, you know.

CN: Did they do things like have mochi on the holidays?

PY: Oh, yes. We got together with the two families that were closest to us and my mother would be the one that turned to mochi over between the slamming of the mallets.

CN: Mochi is you would cook the rice for a long, long time...

PY: Steamed it in our woodshed and they made a little, I can't remember what they called it now, but with a log, a little usu, I think they called it usu. And then they made the mallets. Two fellows would pound that rhythmically and they would sing. My mother was, loved singing so she would...

CN: Was it easy to get some of the traditional Japanese items like food because Oregon I would have thought you would have.

PY: Portland.

CN: Portland.

PY: They had a little Japanese town there and they had a fish market and restaurants and variety store and so I don't think they had any problems in getting a lot of their food products.

CN: So they didn't feel too isolated?

PY: No, if it wasn't for Portland, well, we would really be stranded for good food.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.