Densho Digital Repository
Katsugo Miho Collection
Title: Katsugo Miho Interview IV
Narrator: Katsugo Miho
Interviewers: Michiko Kodama Nishimoto (primary), Warren Nishimoto (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 2, 2006
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1022-4-1

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MN: This is an interview with Mr. Katsugo Miho on March 2, 2005. It's session number four, and the interviewer is Michiko Kodama Nishimoto. Before we continue with the interview series, I'm going to ask you some follow-up questions.

KM: You know what you can do? You can follow up from the jobs that I had done growing up, because I forgot one very important job that I had.

MN: Okay, so we'll start with that then. Okay, let's go back to the time when you were still on Maui and you were still a youth and you had some jobs on the side.

KM: During the summer especially. But one of the more important jobs that I did growing up, and I think this was in my senior year in high school. Somehow I was referred to the Bishop National Bank to work to replace the janitor who was going on a vacation. And I was asking if I would like to do the janitor's job or one-man job for the time he was out. I said, "Oh, yeah, sure." And that connotation of a janitor in that time of my life, I thought janitor's job is no big deal, you know, you just get out there and sweep or mop or whatever. I guess now when you think about it, I must have thought a janitor's job was the lower echelon jobs in any kind of a job you want to do, although this was a bank. But when I got on the job and the man that I was replacing for the, doing his vacation, took one day to teach me what to do. And to this day, I recall his instructions. He said, "You don't just mop any old way, there's a system of mopping the floor." And the Bishop National Bank was the biggest bank in Maui at that time. And it had tile floors, and he showed me how you rotate the mop section by section throughout the floor of the bank so that that you waste the least number of energy and time in doing the job on the floor. Also, one of his jobs was to clean the cars, so wipe the cars clean every day, because I think the manager and a couple other people had cars, and the janitor's job was to... and so even the cleaning of the cars, he told me, "You just don't wipe." He said, "You can waste a lot of time if you don't know how to do it." And to this day, I follow his instructions in wiping my own car. You go section by section. In other words, he taught me that you start off with the... whether you start off in the front fender or left fender or what. And when you wipe, you don't wipe in circles, in short strokes. Instead, one section of the fender, you start with the top and you go all the way to the end, the other end. One stroke, and you come back with the same stroke. And when you do it, and even today when I do it, I tried to teach my kids how to wash the cars because there was a system. Being a janitor, I had to reflect at that point it's not as simple as it sounds or you think. Even on the janitor's job, there was a method and system. But that was one of my early lessons that I had even before I graduated from high school.

MN: And that stayed with you all through your life.

KM: That stayed with me all my life. And to the extent that I tried teaching my kids how to wash and wipe the cars.

MN: How about mopping?

KM: Mopping there was a certain stroke that you used. It wasn't just back and forth, it was a stroke that you would wipe the floor and then you'd come back again. And even washing the squeezing mop, there was a certain way how you'd do it. But it was a tremendous lesson that I had.

MN: And how long did you have that job?

KM: That was for about a month, I think, that I did it on my own after one day of instructions.

MN: And the person who had that job, who went on vacation...

KM: It was a regular bank employee. Full time janitor.

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