Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Shoichi Kobara Interview
Narrator: Shoichi Kobara
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: November 18, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-kshoichi-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: And so what kind of shape was Salinas in, the assembly center? Was it, what did it look like and what was...

SK: Well, lot of what they made this tarpaper cabins, I guess, like all of 'em, same kind of thing. But then they had someplace with the horse stalls and stuff, we had to clean that up, 'cause that used to be rodeo grounds. So did whatever they told us to do, we were doing it.

TI: And then what was it like when people started arriving? I mean, how did that feel, or what were some of the images that you saw?

SK: It's, those days, it's not like if we had to go in camp this day and age how we're living now. The old days, lot of people lived in, like strawberry farm or something, it's like a cabin anyhow. Only thing wrong is they put us all in a barrack with one room, so we had to hang curtains, I mean, sheets or something to partition the room. Just like in Poston, same thing.

TI: And when you were at Salinas, did you stay with your family?

SK: Yeah.

TI: So it was your mother, father...

SK: And three of us.

TI: and sister. And so describe like a daily life in Salinas. What kind of things did you do when you were there?

SK: Well, you get paid, what was that, fourteen dollars a month or something when you get in there, to do those work. So you had to perform whatever they tell you to do.

TI: And what kind of work did you do?

SK: Carpentry work, repair and stuff like that. But they didn't, we didn't stay there, they didn't stay there very long. Went in April, I think, and by end of, sometime in July, they closed it down. But you don't have any privacy because you have to go to, take a shower, you had that shower place, and bathroom was on, you gotta go out. So it's completely different.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.