Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: George Hara Interview
Narrator: George Hara
Interviewer: Loen Dozono
Date: February 5, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hgeorge_2-01-0027

<Begin Segment 27>

LD: If we could go back just a little bit to the train ride to Minidoka. What do you recall about the train ride? You couldn't see outside, but what about your feelings?

GH: First of all, you know, I missed seeing the scenery of the places that we were going through. Now they had, what do you call, the black... what do you call those people that work on the train, make the beds, serve the food? Car hop? Not car hop. Porters. And they had porters to each car, you know, we would go in the dining room and eat, sit down, silver dining room and march back. And the people that were going, the Isseis, were taking up a collection as a tip for the porters, you know, and here we're going to the damn concentration camp. [Laughs] Some of the things my mother felt was necessary to get along was typical custom in Japan, orei, give people money, oseji, playing up to a person, you know. Those are things she felt she had to do to get a good lease term. She would present the lawyer in charge of the lease signing, give him a nice necktie or give the doctor she was going to a necktie or something, something maybe they never even wore, you see. And she spent -- going to Meier and Franks. She was an extravagant lady, drove my father crazy. But she had this, you know, quirk, psychological thing that she liked to keep up. She wanted to be a part of the group. She wasn't a member of Fujinkai, she was upset, you know, and that was her goal, to become a member of Fujinkai, and then she was sort of snobby. [Laughs] You know, and those are the thing, you know, I resented. I could see what she was doing; whereas my father, I thought he was a saint. He put up with all this. And he's quiet, and yet he was a community leader and accepted. When he died, he had a tremendous funeral. I was so proud of him, and then I was also so happy that he saw me graduate medical school.

But all in all, you know, my dreams of becoming an established middle-class American, it was a goal, but I don't know how much satisfaction I eventually got out of it, but I'm happy that things worked out the way they did. But it did allow me some years where I lived extravagantly almost, you know, into another society.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.