Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bo T. Sakaguchi Interview
Narrator: Bo T. Sakaguchi
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 6, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-sbo-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

JA: What was the first thing you saw when you got off the bus there?

BS: I... gee, I think I remember just seeing the rows of barracks, dirt all over, no plants or greenery. And it was later in the afternoon or late evening, so they, they had groups who took you to where you unloaded from the bus and they took you to the assigned apartment. That's all I remember. I don't remember... all I remember is at the time we were put in a barrack, there were six of us, and since housing was tight they put in an older couple to share this small room with us, which I felt very sorry for because here they were a reverend and his wife, and they had to share a room with our family. And so the only thing they had was, they put a little sheet across to separate their beds from our beds.

JA: Would you say that -- at least in the early days, weeks -- you sensed a real lack of privacy of this nature?

BS: Oh, there was definitely no lack -- there was definitely a lack of privacy. You'd go to the bathroom and the commodes are all lined in a row. And, of course, we had a common urinal for the men, and a common shower for the men and a common shower for the, for the women. The showering didn't bother me, but it was the non-private commodes that bothered me the most. And then, as far as privacy in the rooms, it didn't affect me at all. I was with my family, that's all that... but I felt sorry for the older couple who had to share this room with us. But it lasted for a few months until they built enough rooms, and then this older couple, reverend, was able to share a room with their daughter and son-in-law in another barrack later on, which, which made it so that there were only six of us in that room with just the beds.

JA: Talk to me about the mess halls and the meals.

BS: The mess halls, well, it was a new experience lining up to go to eat. Families were all separated now because you went to the mess hall with your friends, your school friends. So, but because we were already teenagers, it wasn't so bad. I felt sorry for the younger kids who had, who also did the same thing, so they weren't having their meals with their parents. But for us, we were adult -- well, we were young, seventeen, sixteen, seventeen, it didn't matter that much. And I remember the food wasn't the best in the world. One thing I will never eat today is Vienna sausage, which they gave us in our early arrival. I had never seen a Vienna sausage before in my life. And apple butter, I will never eat an apple butter today because that was the only jam they gave us. It was something I just didn't enjoy. Other than that, I guess we had pancakes and toast, I'm sure they had mush, but I don't remember other things. I know we -- I don't think we had bacons and sausage or things like that. Occasionally we had fried eggs or boiled eggs, but I didn't, I don't recall that. The worst part I hated was we were all required to take... was it typhoid shots or whatever shots were that made us sick. Gave us the diarrhea and you'd have to go to the bathroom out in the open without no privacy. That wasn't enjoyable. But I guess it protected us from future illnesses, I don't know.

JA: Did this separation of families relative to meals and things, was that upsetting to the parents in families?

BS: I, I don't know. I don't know, because my parents certainly didn't say too much about it. By then, I was the youngest and I was sixteen, seventeen, but I felt sorry for those families, say, with seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. They needed the parent guidance; they were no longer eating together. Those with little babies ate together because they were fed a separate, in a separate section of the kitchen. I'm sure it didn't help the family unit per se over the long term, though I don't believe they caused problems while we were in camp themselves, maybe postwar.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.