Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Gloria Toshiko Imagire Interview
Narrator: Gloria Toshiko Imagire
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: October 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-igloria-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: And then you returned back to...

GI: California.

RP: California. Where, specifically?

GI: You know, when we first moved back, we moved back to a labor camp kind of a thing. It's in the delta near Walnut Grove, my uncle, my uncle again, you know, was there, and my aunt, and we all lived there for a bit. And then we moved to Fairfield, near Vacaville, and they farmed. I mean, they worked on the ranches. But my father was in Sacramento. I think he was trying to start another gambling place. [Laughs] So we'd live there and he'd come home on weekends. But he lived in Sacramento, and then he finally called us over there, and we moved to Sacramento. But by then, he had started his gambling place in Lodi, because I remember he used to go there during Lodi season. And my mom said, "You know, in his time, he really made a lot of money. 'Cause he always bought a brand new car, and my cousin, years later, he said, "Boy, I used to think your dad was it." He said, "He always had those three-piece suits and smoked a cigar, and bought a brand-new car every year. He says, "Compared to all those other guys that were gardening or doing all this," and I says, "Well, I guess so." I hadn't thought of it in that way. [Laughs] So that's how we got to Sacramento.

RP: What about your other uncle and grandfather at Tule Lake?

GI: They were, they went to, you know Seabrook Farms in New Jersey, they relocated there out of Tule Lake. And then they eventually drove all the way across to California. Then he was farming along the delta doing pears and whatever. And eventually he was growing radishes, he was always farming, that uncle. And he was growing radishes in west Sacramento, and he eventually got a grocery store. Then he went into gardening. But my folks, my father had that gambling place, and then he eventually started in the old Japanese part of town, he had a little, it was a soda fountain. But in the back, he had the card room. [Laughs] And so, you know, I always used to say, "It's like a front. He's doing his card games back here, and we're doing the fountain."

RP: Oh, you were running the...

GI: Well, I mean, we worked in the soda fountain, and then they got redevelopment. So he got kicked out of there, and then he ran a little hotel for a while. Then they moved to Carson City because my great uncle and great aunt had the cleaners. And so they helped them there for a few years. By then I was married, so my one brother and sister lived with us, and then my folks went there. Then they eventually came back to California and retired.

RP: This soda fountain business was located in Sacramento?

GI: Uh-huh, right...

RP: Japanese...

GI: Yeah, in section, Fourth and between N and O.

RP: What was left of that Japanese town when you returned or were working there?

GI: Oh, when we first came back, they had quite a Japanese town. But after redevelopment, that thing got rid of all of them. So all the, some of the business went down to this Tenth Street downtown. But, and then it scattered. We don't have a Japanese town in Sacramento anymore.

RP: Did you, when you lived in Vacaville, did you visit Japanese town on occasion?

GI: The one in Sacramento?

RP: Uh-huh.

GI: Yeah, I think we did. But I don't really remember too much about that.

RP: Right. It sounds like Japanese towns all over California, similar thing, redevelopment.

GI: Yeah. Well, San Jose is still going strong, and San Francisco has one, but it, all these other new groups, you know, who are... you know how Japanese Americans are dying out, we're all, all out-marrying. There aren't very many of them, but the Koreans and the Filipinos and immigrants, Chinese, they're all strong. So I think they're gradually taking over. I think that's what's happening to the Japantown in L.A., and that's what's happening to the -- 'cause we always say, "Well, they're just, those restaurants are all Korean and whatever," we think we're purist and we want to go to a real Japanese restaurant. But it's, but I think that's the fate of all of them. I think maybe San Jose is about the only one that's really doing pretty well.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.