Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Yoshimi Matsuura Interview
Narrator: Yoshimi Matsuura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-myoshimi-01-0027

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TI: You mentioned, now you went to Tokyo after?

YM: Yes, went to Tokyo. And I was assigned to the information section, which is a lobby and visitors lounge and a few other things that goes along with it. So I met quite a few of the Japanese natives who came there to visit. One person in particular was a person by the name of Mr. Hayashi who was with the Central Railroad, Railway. And he sent a limousine over to pick me up and take me over to his house for a dinner. Went to his house for dinner, he had a couple other of his friends there. And while we ate, his wife sat off to one side, didn't join them, (...) sitting off to the side all by herself. I was very uncomfortable. Don't dare say anything, because that's their custom, I guess. And I felt so uncomfortable with her sitting there all by herself watching, supplying drinks, supplying food. It's just unbelievable.

TI: And why was it that he invited you to dinner?

YM: Well, I met him, and he asked me at one point during the conversation, and I said, well, it looks... they were bombed out, Tokyo was bombed out and all that. We were close to the moat and the Imperial Palace area, and the headquarters, MacArthur's headquarters and so forth, the NYK Building. And women, the WACs were stationed across from us in the Keio Building. And we were in the, what they called the Marunouchi area, which was not bombed out, but just beyond that was all leveled out, firebomb. But this person says, mentioned something about planting flowers. So I wrote home and I told my wife, "Can you send us some seed, packets of seed? Some fast growing plants, annuals?" So she sent me a box of seeds, and I gave it to him. That's how he got to know me. He's the one that invited... my immediate supervisor was a provost marshal by the name of Lieutenant Owens. He's the one that invited us to a Kabuki theater. We go to Kabuki theater and I have to have a translator to tell me what's happening. [Laughs] Which was an experience. But I felt, here again, I felt uncomfortable because while the program was going on, here we come marching down the aisle, or not marching, but walking down the aisle, right up to the front where a seat was reserved for us. And we were there for a short period, and here we were leaving while the thing is still going on. It was not right, but that was planned that way. I felt, I felt it was awfully rude to do that, but what can you do? We also were invited to a tea ceremony (by) this person. We went to a tea ceremony, so I took part in the tea ceremony. And of course, we took pictures and so forth. He was supposed to have given me a tape of that, but I never got it because (...) I left Japan before I had a chance to get it. But anyway, they gave us flowers, bouquet of flowers and stuff. And on our way back to our base, our room, we had a jeep problem, so we had to find transportation. (...) Lieutenant Owens gives me the bouquet of flowers, "Here, you can have this." [Laughs] So I found the first Japanese native walking by, and I gave him two bouquets. [Laughs]

TI: That's a good story.

YM: He was happy.

TI: Oh, I bet.

YM: Boy, he was happy. He bowed about ten times, and I thought, "Oh, gee, good. Found somebody that really appreciated this." I wasn't going to go back to the barracks with the flower, and he wasn't either.

TI: That's a good story.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.