Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Art Okuno Interview
Narrator: Art Okuno
Interviewer: Kirk Peterson
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: September 1, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-oart-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

KP: So you went to college. Where did you go to college?

AO: UC Berkeley. Majored in engineering, and I finished my first two years before evacuation. So I went back after three, four years and graduated.

KP: So what was Berkeley like compared to high school and what was different?

AO: Oh, it was entirely different. I mean, it was, it took a lot of adjustment on my part.

KP: In what way?

AO: Well, everyone there was good. They were sort of outstanding scholars and, wow, I had to compete with them. It was really tough.

KP: So how would you describe yourself as a student? Before, before college.

AO: Before college? I was above average, I think.

KP: And then when you got into college?

AO: Oh, about average. [Laughs]

KP: So what did you like about Berkeley?

AO: I liked to go to the football teams, games. I'd look forward to that.

KP: Did you participate in any other kind of social activities while you were in...

AO: No, I was commuting from San Francisco, so I wasn't able to be involved in activities there very much.

KP: How did you commute?

AO: Pardon me?

KP: How did you commute?

AO: How did I do?

KP: How did you commute back and forth?

AO: Oh, they had the key system then. I'll take a street car down to the terminal on Third Street and then there's a key system that goes from San Francisco to Berkeley.

KP: What's a key system? I'm not familiar with that.

AO: It's electric cars. You just hop on and then you can study while the train is going. And it stops right at Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, but then you have to walk from there to campus.

KP: Did you make new friends at Berkeley?

AO: Let's see, yeah. Not too many because I was off campus, but we met them during class. I did.

KP: So in your grammar school, junior high school and into high school, you had a lot of fellow Japanese Americans in those schools? Or did you?

AO: Yeah. Well, I wouldn't say a lot, but I had friends there, too.

KP: Did you kind of stick together with, as a group?

AO: Yeah, I guess so. Well, no, you sort of stick in class because you know the... yeah.

KP: So with Berkeley, what was the makeup of Berkeley? What sort of, what was the ethnic makeup of Berkeley when you got there? Were there other Japanese students, other groups?

AO: Yeah. There were quite a few commuting every day. I used to bump into them all the time. And they had a Japanese students' club where you could stay.

KP: Did you belong to that club?

AO: No, I didn't. I was too busy. Gosh, engineering took everything out of me.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.