July 23, 2008

Tom, Dana and I will be traveling to California next week to conduct interviews with Japanese Americans from Watsonville and Berkeley. It will be my last interviewing trip before I leave for grad school in August. Here is a preview of some of the stories we will be collecting:

Nancy is 94 years old and still going strong. A Watsonville native, Nancy’s family sharecropped on strawberry farms, and her husband, Charlie, operated a barbershop prior to WWII. She has great stories to tell about prewar Watsonville.
Chiyoko, 88 years old, is also a Watsonville native whose family worked in the strawberry fields. She was on her honeymoon when the war broke out and remembers staying in a San Francisco Japantown hotel that was being raided by the FBI. Chiyoko and her husband, Harry, opened Yagi’s Barbershop and Fishing Tackle Shop after the war.

Bob was born in Oakland to an Issei father and a Nisei mother. Bob’s father, who operated a photography studio before the war, worked as a photographer for the Topaz camp co-op. Part of the last graduating class of Topaz High School, Bob has great insights about student life and the education system in camp.