Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Shig Oka Interview
Narrator: Shig Oka
Interviewer: Kim Blair
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 1, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-oshig-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

KB: So here you are in camp, now, what's your day look like? What do you do when you get up?

SO: Get up and eat breakfast.

KB: At your mess hall?

SO: Yes. You had to go outside to go to the mess halls to eat. Food wasn't that great. Breakfast isn't so bad, but everything else, they just give the cooks what they want them to do with it, I guess.

KB: And how many meals a day did you have at the mess hall?

SO: You have three meals.

KB: You had three meals. Was it at a set time so everybody had to go at the same time?

SO: Yes.

KB: So if you missed it, you missed it.

SO: That's right. [Laughs]

KB: Were you one of the ones that went to the other mess halls because the food was better over there?

SO: [Laughs] I hear that that happened quite a bit. The cooks, I guess, in some mess halls were better, and they probably had a restaurant before.

KB: So you didn't do that?

SO: No.

KB: So you get up, you have breakfast, then what do you do?

SO: Go out and play if the weather was nice.

KB: And what kind of things did you do to play? Did you play baseball, softball?

SO: Yeah, there was a lot of baseball and softball. There was, they built the basketball court on the hard, just on the ground. On our block there was a basketball court on the side.

KB: How did they make the hoop, do you remember?

SO: No, I think the older kids did that.

KB: Were you able to play basketball, did they let you?

SO: [Laughs] At twelve years old, I don't think I got to play that much.

KB: Did you go to the swimming hole?

SO: Yes, I did. They did build a swimming pool. From the canal they diverted into a pool.

KB: So you could spend some time there, you knew how to swim so you were...

SO: Learned how to swim.

KB: Learned how to swim there. Did you check in with Mom and Dad or were you just gone pretty much all day and came back when it was time for dinner?

SO: That's about it. [Laughs]

KB: Did you make new friends?

SO: Yes.

KB: Were they friends the rest of your life?

SO: Well, everybody went different ways afterwards. A few of them, yes.

KB: So what did your mom and dad do while they were in camp?

SO: I guess my dad helped at the kitchen. My mom, she didn't do a lot. She didn't work or anything.

KB: Did she do things with the other women there?

SO: Yeah, she got to have friends there, too.

KB: Did she participate in ikebana or any of the art shows?

SO: No, she wasn't that talented that way.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.