Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Shig Kaseguma Interview
Narrator: Shig Kaseguma
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-kshig-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

SK: But in the summer, of course, when we were old enough, twelve to fourteen years old. In the summer, we went to pick berries, I think probably Victor told you about that, too. We all, all the kids went berry picking.

RP: Oh, yeah. Where?

SK: To Auburn. Some to Kent, (...) also Sumner. We went to Sumner.

RP: Sumner, where is that in relationship to Seattle?

SK: Seattle, it's about thirty miles. They would pick us up and then we'd go for the whole summer. We'd go to the barracks. My mother went, too, because my father was gone anyway during the week. And consequently took our family, the girls and the boys, one boy.

RP: The whole family went to pick.

SK: And we would pick strawberries, pick peas after that. And then we didn't do potatoes or anything like that, because they didn't grow any of that. And blackberry was just beginning. But school started and so we had to come back. So we made enough for buying clothes for the winter.

RP: And that was your, that was your first work experience?

SK: Yeah, first experience in work.

RP: And the entire family lived in a barrack room?

SK: Right, and she cooked. And...

RP: Oh, so you had a kitchen in the...

SK: Not really a kitchen, but a stove.

RP: Just a stove.

SK: There was a very old barracks, you know. But we had a community bath, so it was great.

RP: Oh, you had a bath, too.

SK: Oh, yeah.

RP: And so you probably, did you bathe every night?

SK: Yeah, we bathed every night. As Japanese custom, men go first.

RP: Oh, the men go first.

SK: Yeah, I don't know why that is, but the ladies have to wait for the men to take baths first.

RP: You have to take a shower, too, before you bathe?

SK: Then there's a shower was there, we didn't even know what shower meant. In those days, a shower, now they're prevalent.

RP: Right, it was always a bath.

SK: I don't think that many people used, even the Caucasians didn't have showers then. It was usually a bath.

RP: So this is kind of maybe not a fair question, but, how did the, your accommodations at the berry picking farm compare to your barrack rooms at Minidoka?

SK: Well, it was pretty close. Of course, on the farm, when you think you're only going to be there for two months or so, if you had a place to sleep, that was it, and something to eat, that was great.

RP: You knew where you were going afterwards, too.

SK: The accommodations at "Harmony" was, of course, pretty bad, 'cause fleas were prevalent. Because it's a fairground, no matter how you look at it. We were in Camp C, where the, right now, that's the main place where they have the rollercoaster and all that. We were in that place, it was Victor and us, so we were all there. And the other was the Camp A's and all that, they were more in the parking lots.

RP: That's what he told us, yeah.

SK: So we had the place to hang around and the grandstand, run in the horse track for the horses. So our day was pretty well filled. [Laughs] We had a lot to do. Boxing.

RP: Oh, boxing?

SK: Oh, yeah. We had boxing matches between the camps.

RP: The different sections?

SK: Yeah, sections.

RP: Were you a boxer, too?

SK: No, I wasn't much of a boxer.

RP: You were a watcher.

SK: I was watching.

RP: Watch people beating each other up.

SK: Yeah, some guys like to do that, but that's not my prevalence. [Laughs]

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.