Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Don Maeda Interview
Narrator: Don Maeda
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdon-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

CN: So you attended elementary and...

DM: Seattle.

CN: Now were there many Japanese in your...

DM: No, very few. Very few, I grew up with mostly Caucasian kids and I had one good Japanese boy, we were friends, but there weren't many Japanese out where we lived.

CN: Did you attend Japanese school? Did your parents...

DM: No, they didn't send me. See, the Japanese was kind of in Japantown and I'd have had to take a streetcar after school so I don't think they were that interested in me learning the language, so I never did attend Japanese school.

CN: So, during that time your father worked as a dental technician?

DM: In a dental office. Not in a laboratory but in a private dental office.

CN: And then your mother, did she work at all?

DM: She was just a homemaker.

CN: So your father, you led a kind of a traditional sort of American life for a while?

DM: Yeah, it was, we were relatively fortunate. My dad learned a trade that, and he worked all through the Depression and so we weren't really hard put, I remember it as just being a nice, normal upbringing.

CN: And then you started into elementary school? Now here is a photo of your family, let's see, where are you in this photo?

DM: That's me right there, that's my mother. That's me right there.

CN: It looks like you have quite an extended family here.

DM: Yeah, see, my mother had three sisters and her sister that passed away, this was her burial, she had two children and Mr. and Mrs. Mimbu just had one so then, yeah, there were six of us.

CN: Because during that time did many Japanese families have such an extended family?

DM: As I recall most did not because they didn't have, their parents -- the Issei, not too many of their siblings came over. A lot of them were just the only one so I can't remember any of our Japanese friends having uncles and aunts and cousins like we had.

CN: Did you all celebrate the traditional...

DM: Yeah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.

CN: Did your parents have much of a social life? What was the name of the place you grew up again in Seattle?

DM: Rainer Valley.

CN: Did they participate in activities?

DM: You know, my mother went to PTA and then they belonged to a Japanese Methodist Church and that was downtown, in Japantown, so they had a lot of friends. They had a lot of friends.

CN: What was your life like when you got into junior high school? What sort of activities did you participate in?

DM: Nothing really, but I was not into sports. Just what boys do. Fly kites, ride bikes. [Laughs]

CN: Did you work at all and do odd jobs?

DM: Well, my uncle had a grocery store so when I was probably seventh, eighth grade, I helped, he had a small grocery store but he had people that called in with orders and he'd fill them and we'd deliver after school. And so I did do that, but that's about as far as working.

CN: During that time did your family go back to Japan, your parents?

DM: No. My parents went back after the war two times but before that, no.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.