Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: Mollie Nakasaki Interview
Narrator: Mollie Nakasaki
Interviewer: Jiro Saito
Location: San Jose, California
Date: November 1, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-nmollie-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

JS: So you stayed in Denver for four months, I believe you said.

MN: Four months, uh-huh, yeah, at the most.

JS: And then where did you go from there?

MN: And then, and then in meantime, while we were living in Denver, my mother and father decided to go take a trip to San Jose.

JS: And why was that?

MN: To see -- I don't know, just to see her uncle, to see her brothers. She had three brothers living in San Jose, so she went to see them. And then we get a telegram saying that we're, Mother and Father, they have, they have a, they're going to buy this restaurant in Chinatown in San Jose, so come back. So come back.

JS: And did, so you guys left?

MN: So, uh-huh, left, uh-huh. Well, but Lori and George, they, they just drove us, drove us. They wanted my two, my sister and I to come back to San Jose. So, so Lori and George, they brought us back to San Jose, and then this hotel, this restaurant had two stories, and then they had a lot of rooms upstairs there. So we, so we stayed up there, we stayed, lived up there with them, with them.

JS: Your whole family did?

MN: Uh-huh, yeah, whole family.

JS: And how long did that last?

MN: Then we finalized the sale and everything, and so we, we ran the restaurant. And Anna, Anna came back from Chicago, and she ran it, because my sister Lori was still living in Denver. So Anna ran it, and it was called Kiraku Tey at the time.

JS: Could you spell that?

MN: Kiraku, K-I-R-A-K-U T-E-Y. I don't know what T-E-Y stands for, Kiraku Tey.

JS: But it was a Chinese restaurant?

MN: Chinese restaurant, uh-huh.

JS: And the owner sold it to your mom, mother and father?

MN: Uh-huh, to Mother, uh-huh.

JS: Why did your mother and father want to buy a restaurant, because their background is in a grocery store?

MN: Grocery store, uh-huh. Like I say, they're business-minded. My mother's always been business-minded, and Mr. Ping, Lou Ping, the owner, knew my mother from before the war, and then he said my mother's an honest lady, and he wants to sell it to her 'cause he wanted to go back to China. That was his, his only, he wanted to go to China before he died.

JS: Okay, how old a man was he, then?

MN: Oh, to me, he looked about sixty-five. But then he was about six feet tall and about three hundred pounds. [Laughs]

JS: You said he knew your mother from before the war.

MN: Before the war.

JS: Why was that?

MN: Because when my, when we came to San Jose, we, we used to come to San Jose all the time, at least three times a year, to see my mother's brothers, 'cause she wanted to see them. And every time when she, we would come to San Jose, they would, my mother and my uncle would go and go to Mr., Kiraku Tey and have a drink or two, my mother and my uncles.

JS: And where is that restaurant located?

MN: It's, right now it's called Hukilau, right in Japantown.

JS: Okay.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2004 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.