Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Kenji J. Yaguchi Interview
Narrator: Kenji J. Yaguchi
Interviewer: Linda Tamura
Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Date: April 20, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ykenji-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

LT: Let's talk about your family when you were growing up. There were nine of you all together.

KY: Huh?

LT: There were nine of you all together.

KY: Yeah, there were six of us to start with, then my father remarried to a lady that had two kids, a daughter and a son. Then they had one in between, so that made it nine.

LT: Okay. And you were the second to the youngest?

KY: Second to the youngest.

LT: So what was mealtime like in a Japanese family living in the United States in Fife, Washington?

KY: You know, we had a huge table, and we didn't use chairs, we used benches, clean around that. That was in Fife, and my mother used to do all the cooking. And after, then after that, my second oldest sister did all the cooking. And we used to, we ate good. Not bad at all. We all had plenty to eat, always.

LT: So you made use of the animals that you raised?

KY: Oh, yeah.

LT: And the vegetables on your farm?

KY: Oh, yeah. Then you know, you buy beef and pork and all that, chicken. No, we ate good.

LT: So what kinds of foods did you eat? Was it Japanese food, American food?

KY: I think it's Japanese food more. Because you had rice twice a day, and with cooked vegetables and meat, pickles, and all that. But we ate good. That's one thing, we ate good. Like breakfast we had ham and eggs, milk or chocolate. There was no problem there.

LT: Did you make mochi?

KY: Yes, once a year we made mochi. In fact, about five different, other families would get together at our place, because we had the facility to pound mochi, a stick and hammer. There was a wooden hammer. So we would spend all day long making mochi for five or six different families.

LT: And what exactly is mochi?

KY: Huh?

LT: What exactly is mochi?

KY: Mochi is rice, and you pound it... got, it got a real smooth consistency, mochi. You'd never think with rice, you could do that with rice, but that's what it is.

LT: And who did the pounding?

KY: We all did. First you use sticks. The hammer was used at the very end, you know, you picked it. My father or mother will take that and turn it, bang, turn it, bang, turn it, bang. You've probably seen it.

LT: And then where did you store the mochi after you made it?

KY: Well, after we made it, we had a cellar, a cool place. An earth, cellar made out of earth, and kept there, and it's real cool in there, and it will keep for months. Keep almost a year.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.