Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: George Murakami Interview
Narrator: George Murakami
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mgeorge_4-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

SO: How many kids do you have?

GM: I have four children. Three girls and a boy, and they all live in Minnesota.

SO: When you were raising them, did you try to influence them as far as their Japanese heritage?

GM: I think we did, yeah, not only the food and the culture, but the other cultural parts too. In fact, they all took Japanese at the U. And they, three of them have been to Japan, a couple of them pretty extensive. My third daughter Lisa went to school there for a year out of St. Thomas, and then the oldest daughter Chris went there during a quarter break or whatever it was that they had, winter break, and with Lisa traveled up and down Japan as students. Chris also went on a church mission to teach English there for a summer. So I think they kind of like their heritage.

SO: And you've been to Japan too?

GM: Yes we have.

SO: How many times?

GM: Well, during the service I was there, and then our son Steve was working for a Japanese travel company in Minnesota. The Japanese travel company would send young boys to the Twin Cities here and give them practical training in shopping and simple English and stuff and then they would take a week to go travel to different cities that they wanted to... they didn't know how large it was, I think they wanted to go to like San Francisco, New York and Florida. But then I think the, I can't remember what year it was, but the travel business went down and they called him to Japan to service some the European tourists there. So he went to work there about six months, and that's when Judy and I went to visit him. We stayed with him while we went sightseeing and stuff. Then this November we plan on going again.

SO: That second time you went when you were with your wife, what was that like for you being in a country where everybody's Japanese?

GM: [Laughs] Well, my Japanese wasn't very good and Judy's is nil. When we visited restaurants and stuff, we'd look at the menu outside with all these plastic things and then we'd look at what we wanted and we'd check the price, and we'd go inside and there weren't any pictures but then we saw the price, so we ordered. We'd take train rides, and we noticed kids would swarm around Caucasian tourists there. Maybe they're trying to speak their English or practice their English while we sat there and just kind of watched. But when we asked for advice, they'd just look at us as dummies, you know. We couldn't speak the language. So that was kind of a different experience.

SO: And so this next trip will be the second time you've been there with Judy?

GM: Yes, but we're going with a kind of a tour group, a small group to see some of the more touristy places, I guess.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.