Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Massie Hinatsu Interview
Narrator: Massie Hinatsu
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 22, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hmassie-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: And what was the food like?

MH: To this day if somebody said the word mutton, I would probably say please shove it away. We had mutton stew. The other one was tongue and I could still see the taste buds on the tongue. Those were the two food that... oh, and the other one was rice pudding. And we're not used to eating rice with milk and raisins. So those were the three foods that I remember being ghastly, absolutely ghastly.

RP: And there was, the mess halls were pretty large in there. I mean they...

MH: Yes. They served about fifteen hundred people and they had two sittings. Yeah, they had two shifts. Right. And I can remember going babysitting for one of our very good friends who had, who had a baby. And when they went to eat because they didn't take the baby with them. Right. And they ate at a different shift than we did.

RP: But during the whole time you were there with your family, you predominately ate together?

MH: Yes. As I recall, we always ate together.

RP: 'Cause that's one of the, one of the stories that you hear continually is that the camps contributed to this sort of social disintegration of the family.

MH: Right. Actually, yes, when we went to Minidoka, then we just ate with our friends. I don't think I ever ate with my mother 'cause she was working being a dishwasher. My brothers and sisters had their own -- and my brother actually did work at Hunt, at Minidoka, and he was a cook's helper. So they both, both my mom and... and yeah, we just ate with our friends. I think it was a real start of the family breakdown. We only spoke English. All the older people spoke Japanese. My Japanese was very, very bad. So I could speak with my mother but I couldn't go and speak to somebody else casually or anything like that. If they asked me a question I could answer, you know, hope they understood, but not to just sit and have a conversation. Yeah. It was difficult for me in Japanese. So, and I think the other thing is that we were trying to get away from speaking Japanese. And we wanted to be more like our Caucasian...

RP: Caucasian friends.

MH: Yeah.

RP: And did that, getting away from speaking Japanese as well as getting away from some of some of the old traditions and the Japanese style of... yeah, that's another story that, that kids especially share about, not necessarily rebelling but just wanting to emphasize everything else more than that.

MH: Right.

RP: So tell us about when you found out about that suddenly there's another move coming up and...

MH: Right. There were people who left before us and, and they had, at the Portland Expo Center, they had a rail stop there so we didn't have to leave the assembly center to get on the train so we were able to see our friends leave. We were probably towards the last to leave camp. And my mother already had heard from people who had already gone to camp. And they told her how desolate it was etcetera, etcetera. And so I was kind of excited 'cause I didn't, never had ridden on a train before, ever. And it was not a bad train. Gosh, it had velvet seats and seats that went back and forth, and the dining, dining train was immaculate. It had white tablecloth and silverware and, and so, but it was tedious. It was a very tedious ride on the train because we couldn't move anywhere but just to go eat. And I remember we had to keep our shutters down, all the way, until we got past probably the Columbia River. And so when we opened our blind we just saw this flat, flat land, scrubby bushes, etcetera. When we got to Pendleton, or before we got to Pendleton, they made us pull our blinds back down again for security reasons. And the guards were these peek, peek you know. And they would all be standing on the platform.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.