Haruye “Haru” Nakamoto
Haruye Nakamoto, Fran Ikehara,
and Jean Fujinaga, interviewed by Arlene Ching
(Note: Arlene misprounces Haruye’s name as “Hatsuye” at times.)
Today is Friday, June 29, 2007. My name is Arlene Ching and I will be interviewing Haruye Nakamoto at the ‘Aiea Intergenerational Center. (Tape recorder is turned off. Tape recorder is turned on.) (Speaking to Haruye) I gave my name. I gave your name and I put today’s date on it.
Haruye: That’s it.
I also mentioned that we have two other people today. It’s taping it right now.
Haruye: You have done that already?
It’s starting right now. I just need to mention that Fran Ikehara (FI) and Jean Fujinaga (JF) are also here today. And today’s date is June 29th, 2007!
Haruye: Twenty-ninth, um-hmm.
So Mrs. Nakamoto, tell about this map that you’re holding here. (Arlene gave her an enlarged copy of the Hawaii Herald map of downtown ‘Aiea in the 1930s from the article “Journey to ‘Aiea Town” by Ron Oba.)
Haruye: This map brings back plenty memories, memories really long time ago, when I was a young girl, growing up in ‘Aiea plantation town.
You mentioned that you see Stable Camp there. You said, Stable Camp is near Forty-Niners?
Haruye: Where’s the Stable Camp (on the map)?
Is it on the right side? Near Moanalua Road? Or Kamehameha Highway?
Haruye: It says “Kamehameha Highway.”
Is that what the road was called when you lived there?
Haruye: I don’t remember those things…
What did it look like in those days?
Haruye: Narrow dirt road, you know, t wasn’t paved like this!
Haruye: When it rained…you know how muddy it can be! I lived around here too (pointing to Stable Camp)… there were about six or seven homes there. . . Regular plantation cottage, you know. Two bedroom, you know. Furo outside. We all had chicken coops. Everyone raised chickens.
Everybody had chicken coops. So, no fences in between then?
Haruye: No fences. Everybody know what’s going on.
Did you have your own “yasai” (vegetable) garden?
Haruye: My father used to plant a few things, onions, you know? String beans and all those things. Every this stuff.
How big was your family?
Haruye: My family? My sister, we had two girls, two boys, our family. Two girls (including Haruye) above, then two boys below me.
And your sisters and brothers names?
Haruye: My sister’s name was Nobuye. She passed away already.
And did she marry?
When she was born, her last name was Morayasu.
But when she married, what was your sister’s name.
And did she live in ‘Aiea?
Haruye: Yes! She married ‘Aiea boy.
And your other sister’s name?
Haruye: No. Just me.
Haruye: Two girls. Two sisters. Two brothers.
And your brothers’ names?
Haruye: Seichi. He was below me. He went into the 442nd army. He came back. The younger one, Haruo. He went to Korean War and passed away. He’s living in Punchbowl now.
Oh. Oh. That’s a way of putting it.
Haruye: Yeah. He’s living in Punchbowl.
And did your brothers marry?
Haruye: Seichi got married late, pretty late. He married a Korean girl --- nice lady. But she’s deceased now.
Oh. Do you remember her name?
And then your brother Haruo?
Haruye: He wasn’t married. He was 25 when he passed away.
Oh. So your brothers both went into the military.
Haruye: They went military.
Your father came from Hiroshima. Did your mother come from, at the same time?
Haruye: No, I don’t think so… Before my father came from Japan to Hawaii, he went to see a fortune teller (in Japan), they read palm, yeah. That palmist told him you’re going to die young. So when he came home, he said “what the heck, I’m going to die young.” He went to every island. He might as well see the world! He was past thirty. His parents said “Eh, he’s living! He need a wife!” So I guess, he went to get his wife, my mother. I think he did. They didn’t say picture bride, my family… His stories were very funny. We used to enjoy listening to them. The whole family listened to them, and say “tell some more, tell some more.” He was a very interesting talker.
So how old was he when he passed away?
Haruye: He was eighty-four, eighty-five.
Is he buried here in ‘Aiea?
Haruye: We have his ashes in Hawaiian Memorial. My mother too, all over there.
What did he do? It says “sugar mill worker.”
Haruye: I don’t know exactly what he was doing, because we don’t go up there to watch them.
So when he come home from work, it would be time to go “furo.”
Haruye: Furo, take a bath, eh, then he read the newspaper. Then dinner time. In those days, no more television. After that, you just talk story and go to bed. You got to go to work the next day… Oh, he liked hanafuda! Oh, we all learned from him! My children learned from him. My kids would say, “Watch grandpa; he’s going to cheat!” (laughter) “Grandpa’s cheating! He’s winning too much!” He liked to play “sakura” so we all learned from him, “sakura.”
Did he use to sing?
Haruye: When we go to parties, they always made him sing. He had a high voice for a man. They always make him sing.
And your mother?
Haruye: My mother was tone-deaf, nothing like that.
Opposites!! Real opposite, quiet! (laughter)
Haruye: Opposites. My father liked sake. That’s Japanese for you. Every night after dinnertime, ake and sashimi, because fish so cheap that you could eat everyday. . . The market was close by. We had Ohara Market on our street, just across the street, my mother used to go. (Haruye talked about moving from Stable Camp to Filipino Camp, and then to Middle Camp. As she looked at the Hawaii Herald map of ‘Aiea in the 1930s, she refers to ‘Aiea Heights Drive as “Heights Drive.”)
How come you were living in Filipino Camp?
Haruye: Had plenty Japanese there. Had the Japanese church there (Hongwanji).
You remember going to school then. What’s the age difference between your sister?
Haruye: My sister was two years apart. . . Then my brothers, three years.
So Seichi was three years younger than you?
Haruye: Three years younger.
So you were the oldest child?
Haruye: My sister was older than me. I’m second.
All four of you went to school same time. ‘Aiea went from first grade…
Haruye: First grade to eighth grade.
Haruye: Not that I know of. Those days, they didn’t have kindergarten.
Did you learn how read there, or did you learn read before then?
Haruye: My parents Japanese. We don’t talk English at home. So how would we read? Once we get to school, then you get to reading. We had good teachers. I think I learned from them.
You did. You liked school.
Haruye: Was good. I liked that. I’m talkative, that’s why! I get into everything. I take part in anything. Dance, anything.
What do you remember about school?
Haruye: Was good because in those days, we had to work cafeteria. Once you become I think, fourth grade, everybody worked the cafeteria…I think once a day. I enjoyed that.
What kind of food did you have?
Haruye: Lot of stew. Those days, not fancy kine like now! The kids nowadays have tacos. They have pizza. Those days, we had rice. We had stew, vegetables. We had milk, the small one (carton).
How much was it?
Haruye: Twenty-five cents.
And then if you worked in the cafeteria, you got lunch.
Haruye: Free lunch. That was good. (Eat) what you want. . . School finished at 1:30.
So you had plenty of time to play. But after school, what would you do?
Haruye: Japanese school…. I went to the school right here, Dokoitsu, Japanese language school, where the old theatre was. … We all had to go.
And did you learn?
Haruye: I think I did, so I can talk a little bit now. (laughter)
Oh, then you never forget then?
Haruye: I guess so. We spoke Japanese because my parents never talked English.
But the kind of Japanese you learned, was it different than the Japanese you spoke at home?
Haruye: I guess, a little bit different, not exactly. Not like the book, eh?
Yeah. And were the teachers stricter in Japanese school?
Haruye: They were good, good teachers.
And the teachers, were they also living in the plantation camps?
Haruye: I think some of them did. I don’t know if the rest of them did. (Turning to Jean Fujinaga) Yamamoto sensei. Mrs. Yamamoto, the teacher? That’s where I learned “musube” everything from her.
What’s that? Is it like tai chi?
Haruye: Japanese exercise. Yeah. Raise your hands upright. Touch your hand. I do that exercise, senior citizen, every so often, in Japanese. The Japanese teacher taught us that. … Sing and perform.
So you’re clenching your wrist.
Haruye: Clap your hand. Raise your hand up, side, forward, down. They know.
You do it at ‘Aiealani Seniors?
Haruye: Yeah, ever so often.
You call it musume?
So you learned that in Japanese school. So you also learned songs and, I’m trying to think, what else did you learn in Japanese school? What else did you do, recite, read?
Haruye: More reading than anything else.
What time did Japanese school finish?
Haruye: All depends. First bell, second bell. Younger ones---We didn’t have much room. So the teachers have so many group. They called “First Bell,” “Second Bell.” The lower class, I mean, you young, you go first class. You go home early---the older ones go second class. I think 4:30, we finish. Meantime, we’re playing!
So after Japanese school, then all the kids leave! Did they go home? Did they do chores? Did you help make supper?
Haruye: Yes. Fold the laundry, whatever.
Did your mother---was she a housewife?
Did she work for the plantation?
Haruye: I don’t think so.
Did she do side jobs?
Haruye: She used to laundry for the single people. You know, laundry.
Did you have to deliver it?
Haruye: No. They come to the house. They bring and they pick up.
Nice! So, first, Stable Camp is where you grew up. Then you went to Filipino Camp.
Haruye: Then we went to Middle Camp. That’s where I married from that place.
Oh. But you lived in Middle Camp with your family.
Haruye: That’s when the war was on.
OK. So next to helping fold laundry. which was your mom’s side job, what kinds of other things did you do?
Haruye: Nothing much because had to study, had homework you know!
Changing the subject, sorry to ask, but did the camps have electricity?
Did you have clean lamps?
Did you have flushing toilets?
Haruye: Outside. Plantation kine. Before, old days, they bring, pick up the toilets. After that, running water.
Did you have running water in Filipino Camp?
Haruye: No. Outhouses. I remember this one place, where they released the water, the water comes out, you know, not the flushing kind, but somewhere there’s an outlet where they do it.
Did they have that at Stable Camp?
Haruye: Stable Camp was different.
But Filipino Camp was a bigger camp, more people.
Haruye: Yes, plantation was a little modern then (laughter).
Do you think that’s why your family moved up from Stable Camp?
Haruye: No, no, no. I don’t know why we moved there.
But you moved from a smaller camp, with horses….
Haruye: There were more Japanese in that area, in Middle Camp.
But Stable Camp had six or seven families…
Haruye: All Japanese. All Japanese. Fujimoto. Kuromoto. Tano. What else? The barber shop people. Sudo.
OK. Could I get those names again?
Haruye: Fujimoto, Kuromoto, (turning to Jean Fujinaga) she lived on your street, Tano, T-A-N-O. That’s how many, three? Sudo, S-U-D-O, then my family. Five.
At Stable Camp, what kind of animals were at Stable Camp?
Haruye: Plantation needs horses to pull things, yeah, the plantation horses. And the big boss going to ride horse, too, look around, oversee.
Who was the boss at that time, do you remember?
Haruye: Mr. Alvah Scott. The school was named after him.
Haruye: That’s the one I remember.
What did he look like?
Haruye: Nice man. Very nice man. Humble man.
Did he wave at people?
Haruye: Yes. He would nod.
And the other people who rode the horses, the lunas?
Haruye: The lunas, the harvesting lunas, all kind of lunas.
OK. Do you think that the Fujimotos, the Kuromotos, the Tanos, the Sudos and your family --- do you think they were living there (at Stable Camp) because they were working for the plantation?
Haruye: Yeah, yeah. Not for the stables. Just plain plantation.
OK. So when you moved, your family moved to Filipino Camp, did these other families move?
Haruye: Some of them moved to other places. We got scattered.
OK. So that’s nice that you all lived together---
Haruye: You know, another thing, when we were all living in Stable Camp, we were pretty high, that place. Below us had the piggeries. … just below Stable Camp. Between that street. Stable Camp was pretty high. Below we had two piggeries. Mizusawa and Takahashi. We all went to school together.
Were the piggeries run by the plantation?
Haruye: No, individuals.
You know, that ridge that you’re talking about, Stable Camp, after it’s been developed, was the ridge lowered?
Haruye: After that, they leveled the place. I think so. You could see the piggeries below.
(turning to Jean Fujinaga) Do you recall that?
Haruye: You folks don’t know. She’s younger than I (laughter). They wouldn’t know.
Well, you know, the high area that’s left is the cemetery.
Haruye: What cemetery you talking about?
Now they say it’s the entrance to ‘Aiea, but across from St. Elizabeth’s Church, you know where they have the stadium and the freeway. It used to be covered up, but now it’s clear (of underbrush plants). That’s not what used to be Stable Camp?
Haruye: No, no. No.
Well, the good thing about living at Stable Camp, was when it rained, all the mud was down below, yeah, so the mud would run away.
Haruye: Yeah, yeah.
But when you moved to Filipino Camp, now, Filipino Camp was
Haruye: Filipino Camp was pretty good. By then, the roads were much better. Gradually, they started to grade the place, and not as bad as the old place.
Now, Filipino Camp, you were now playing with kids from other ethnic groups.
Haruye: Neighbors. Right next door were Filipino people.
So would you guys share food (supper)?
Haruye: No. Just friends, neighbors.
So you would have your different celebrations. Japanese style, New Year’s . In the summertime, the “kens” would get together?
Haruye: No, not that kind. The churches would have an association. The churches would go to Haleiwa Park. The church members like that.
So you belonged to the Hongwanji?
Haruye: The (‘Aiea) Soto Mission. My parents were Soto Mission people, so I’m still Soto Mission person.
They still have the Bon dances?
Haruye: Oh yes, they’re going to have next month. In August.
Then the parking (around ‘Aiea Soto Mission) gets jammed up!
Haruye: Crowded, yeah.
So getting back to living at the different camps, your routine was, you get up in the morning, go to school, um—you didn’t have to do any chore then---then school, then after school, your Japanese school was Dokoritsu?
Then after Japanese school pau, you’d go home, chores---
Haruye: Whatever had to be done. By then, my mother had dinner ready.
Then you’d go to bed kinda early?
Haruye: No television! We’d be tired, so we’d go to bed fast!
So how old were you on December 7, 1941? Were you already married then?
Haruye: No. How old was I? I was born 1919; 1941 (was when) the war (started)—so how old would I be? (laughter)
You were 22.
Haruye: I got married in 1944. So I was what?
Twenty-five years old.
Haruye: Yeah. Twenty-five.
So what was it like on December 7, 1941? What were you doing that day?
Haruye: I was working downtown, making sandwiches. There were some people who drove us down. These people said “You want to work for us? “ So, OK! That person was working for the Navy. Sandwiches for the Navy. So every morning, we’d go make, go back and forth. That was a Sunday morning. My brothers, my parents thought it was maneuver. Heh, what was wrong? Then they heard over the radio, was war.
So, you heard about it, the radio said “This is the real McCoy.”
Haruye: Bomb, Pearl Harbor got bombed. And we lived near Pearl Harbor, uh? Then they said, you folks can all go home. So we came home.
And you were able to find your family or they hadn’t already evacuated?
Haruye: No, they were at home. Then, later on, they evacuated.
Did they wait for the plantation to tell them what to do?
Haruye: No, everybody panicked and went on their own.
Yeah, because you’re so close to the bombing, the smoke.
Haruye: Yeah, you can see the burning, eh? Smoke going up. Get black out. Everybody get black out. They painted the window panes and put curtains. Covered up the place. I remembered one incident. My brother Haruo was still here yet; my other brother was in war, Italy. The army was taking over all over the places, the gym, and all around, they were taking over. At night, my brother said “I’m going” you know, outside right now. “OK, before I could turn off the light (tape stopped.)(tape one, side two starts)
Jean: They lived in … Four years older than me, same age as my sister. They lived in the Up Camp now.
Haruye: Who’s Sume-san?
Jean: Tano. Well anyway, he was my sister’s classmate, so I just wondered…
Haruye: Only one Tano in ‘Aiea.
Jean: I was just wondering if it was the same family. You lived in the Up Camp now.
Haruye: Right by the heights, when you go, in the corner house.
Jean: OK. OK.
Haruye: We had only one Tano in ‘Aiea.And Moriyasu was only one, too, our name.
Jean: I didn’t know Sudo family, and Mizusawa, was that Stella Mizusawa?
Haruye: That’s the Stella Mizusawa family. There’s plenty kids.
Jean: The Stella Mizusawa (telling AC). the ‘Aiea Copy Center wife? Judo Uno, the owner, the family, Mizusawa---
Haruye: That’s one of the people---
Jean: Stella is a Mizusawa, so, you see, they had a piggery, see, I didn’t even know.
Haruye: Right below us.
Oh. You know, every town has a piggery.
Haruye: Those days, yeah.
Someone had to do it.
Haruye: Later on, Mizusawa gave up; Hasegawa, (talking to Jean) remember?
Jean: Oh, so that’s when Hasegawa took it over.
Jean: I remember Hasegawa. He used to come around and get slop, yeah?
Haruye: Yeah, with his truck, yeah.
In those days, you could pick up slop and---
Haruye: Yeah, they have a can and yeah, they come and empty it. They bring the empty one and change the can, yeah?
Jean: Yeah, I remember Hasegawa.
Haruye: Those days, we didn’t have disposals.
Yeah. You know the sugar mill (refinery), you had that high smoke stack, working, and by the time I came back to Hawaii (1971), I don’t remember the mill (refinery) actually working, and smells.
Haruye: Where did you live?
I lived in Kapahulu and when you cam to ‘Aiea…all I remember is getting carsick whenever we would drive to ‘Aiea, it was like Moanalua Road was (moaning to indicate the winding curves of the road).
Haruye: Yeah, yeah, the Red Hill, the old road, yeah, winding roads.
I would look at the mill and go, “Oh no! There’s the mill. That means it’s going to be more winding roads.” You know, anyway, why don’t you and Jean talk among each other. You’re mentioning the families, and she mentioned that you had, you know, gone to dances, and--- you married in 1944. How did you meet your husband?
Haruye: He’s an ‘Aiea boy. We used to play volleyball, that why I fall in love with him. (chuckle) Our church, (on) Sundays, we played volleyball, right? Girls and boys. He was one of them. (laughter)
Your husband’s name?
Haruye: Shigeru (Nakamoto).
And did he come from a big family in ‘Aiea?
Haruye: No, when he came, he was (the only) one. The rest of his family had passed away. He came from a family of five sisters and he was the only boy, and the youngest.
He was the only boy.
Haruye: And the youngest.
And did he live in Middle Camp, the family?
Haruye: At that time, he was living Mango --- what’s that place---Mango Tree Camp, near the Soto Mission Church. So when I married, I went to Mango Tree Camp.
You moved to another part of ‘Aiea?
Haruye: Yeah. I sure moved around, yeah!
Was he also a church member? Did he also go to Soto (Mission)?
Haruye: He was. His mother was. But after I married, then he start going to church.
Now how did you get your job as a packing supervisor at Del Monte?
Haruye: Well, when I was single, I used to go during the summer. But after I got married, I had a sickly mother-in-law, you know, so, I couldn’t find a job that I can work every day kine. I didn’t want to be that kine, work one day, two days, then you got to stay mother-in-law, you see. So I went back to the cannery, because, there’s so many girls. You know, one person like me there---at the company, so I went back and the bosses, they recognize me, because I used to go every summer. So, when he went---they have a hiring line, yeah. (Turning to Jean) Your niece go down there, sit down and they come hire. He say “Eh! You come here.” He recognize me, because I’m talkative --- (laughter) he remembered me. “Go, go!” He gave me a ticket to go inside to get hired. So I worked---
So your time came.
Haruye: So I started to work, eh.
Jean had mentioned to me, that because your husband was the only son, you took care of his mother. She lived quite a long time.
Haruye: She lived until she lived to eighty-something too.
Thanks to your care, I guess. (chuckle)
Haruye: Yeah, that’s for sure! I used to bring---she had bad legs. Her legs were bad so she could hardly walk too well. So, three meals I used to bring to her in her room. When I go to work, I pack one lunch. In the kid’s lunch bag, sandwich, cookie and a pot of tea. Put on bedside.
So she could manage.
Haruye: Yeah. She lived to eighty-four, eighty-five. My parents, too, all lived to eighty something. Already, I passed (them). I’m eighty something too. I’m going to be ninety then! (All laugh) I’m going outlive all them.
Wow. And what do you think your secret is for living a long life?
Haruye: I don’t know. Just be humble, and carefree, I guess. No more worries. Don’t let it worry you…Don’t let it bother you.
As a packing supervisor, you worked many years, many years at Del Monte.
Haruye: Then I came first, during the summer, they opened a lot of tables. Off season, only a few tables, then in the summer, then they need a lot of help, so, the boss say to me, “You want to be full (time)? I’d say “Gee, I don’t know. Don’t know what to do. You see, you do what you’re doing. So I say OK. But when the new girls come, you have to teach them. Pieces, which pieces for what---we have red tray, yellow tray, green tray, black tray---all different grade, now, for the pineapple. From one pineapple, all different pieces might come out, so you have to teach the new girls, what is what. What goes in the green tray, what goes in the yellow tray.
And they got to work fast, because it’s on a belt?
Haruye: It’s coming on the belt, one after the other. But it was good to me. I enjoyed it. Then after that, the regular full head foreladies, they retired, eh. So she tell me, “You be next for it.” I say “No-oo. I’m scared to be. “ “Ah, you can talk your way out.” (laughter) I say OK. I tried. I did it for many years. (turning to Jean and Fran) You folks, when they were coming to work, I was already---
Jean: She was already a forelady.
Oh. Wow. And how did you get to work everyday. You drove?
Haruye: With some people driving to work would pick (me up). People, some people come from Pearl City. We’d catch a ride with them. We’d make arrangements. When my kids were young, I worked night shift, so that, during the day, when my husband come home, he take care of them during the night. Then, you know, that’s why I worked how many years, night shift. Oh---
What time did night shift start?
Haruye: About 2:30, to about 10:00.
So you’d have to go to sleep after that then.
Haruye: You’d come home.
This is not related to work. Don’t laugh if I ask you this! People say that there’s ghosts on Red Hill.
Haruye: That’s what they said, but I never seen one! (laughter) You know that winding road, lot of people say they see ghosts. Just like Nuuanu Pali.
I thought I’d just ask since you worked night shift. I thought I’d just ask.
Haruye: No, no. I didn’t see any.
Or pick up passengers.
Haruye: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nuuanu Pali, they said Pele used to ride with them.
But you didn’t see any?
Haruye: I didn’t see any of them. Good thing! Otherwise, I’d be so scared!
But uh, you’d come home and then (in the background, the Intergenerational Office phone rings), that’s the telephone. You’d come home, and your husband, did he stay up for you? Talk story?
Haruye: No, no. He was sleeping. He got to work too.
Would you then, like, do some of cooking or anything like that?
You’d get up the next morning, make breakfast, lunches for the family.
Haruye: I had only the girl at that time.
Oh, your daughter. Sharon.
Haruye: Sharon. She’s sixty-two already. (chuckle)
Your children were born home, or at ---
Were they born in the ‘Aiea Hospital?
Haruye: We had the plantation hospital at that time. She was born there.
Was it a good hospital?
Haruye: Plantation workers free, eh, those days. I stayed two weeks. I had complications.
Haruye: One. My daughter.
Oh. She’s the younger one.
Haruye: She’s the older one. My son was born in the Kapiolani. That one downtown.
Were you born in a hospital?
Haruye: I don’t think so. Midwife.
Midwife. And you raised your children in ‘Aiea. And you lived, Mango ---
Haruye: Mango Tree (Camp). I had my daughter. My son was born when I was living here, but we moved.
OK. When did you move, and why?
Haruye: You know why? There’s a stream behind us, where I used to live. (‘Aiea Stream) The one, you know, by the bridge.
Jean: ‘Aiea Stream.
Right. Now in a concrete culvert.
Haruye: One night, one time, when we had heavy rain, the water came way up to our house steps. Dangerous. So my mother said, “You folks better get out of there. “ One of these days. In the meantime, there was one place for sale. The lot was for sale. Right near where my mother lived. She knew the people, so she asked them if they would sell to us. So we moved. We built our house there and moved.
And that was when.
Haruye: About 1952, I think. My boy was born 1951. So I think ’52 or ’53. I’m afraid that river is going to overflow one of these days. One night, came way up to our steps. We were pretty far from the river.
Did you know, had there been a heavy rain? And did you kind of worry?
Haruye: Worry. I think up the mountain, rain hard. That’s why the water came rushing down. So that night, we couldn’t sleep. So I went up to my mother’s house to sleep with the baby. So she said, “Eh, get out of there, get out of there. One of these days, that thing is going to overflow.”
So, this is your mother or your mother-in-law?
Haruye: My mother.
So then you were able to buy the land for this house. Two bedroom, three bedroom house?
Haruye: We made three bedroom house.
Three bedroom house. Oh. That’s a good reason to move.
Haruye: Yes. Of course, I had my mother-in-law. I have to accommodate her.
She was living with you?
Haruye: Yeah, yeah. She needed a room for her, too.
So your children grew up with their grandmother living with them. And then, their other grandmother close by?
Haruye: My mother lived near by. So when I used to work cannery, my mother used to come every so often, check on her, bring something for her to eat and all of that.
Haruye: Yeah, it was very good. That gives you peace of mind, you know, when you know you have to be at work and be away.
So you used to work as a seasonal worker for CPC, for Del Monte. Then you became full-time, and you worked night shift, most of your ---
Haruye: During the seasonal time, yeah, yeah. But---
And then after your children grew up---
Haruye: No. We were intermittent workers. “Seasonal” was only the summer time. I was “intermittent.”
OK. There’s a difference.
Haruye: There’s a difference.
But when you retired, were you intermittent worker or full-time.
Haruye: Intermittent, yeah. But I used to go—whenever they had something, they always called me. Always called me. When the cannery’s not running, I used to go warehouse work. Over there, strip the… can. We worked on the belt, put back in the boxes and ship out.
And was that at a different place? Like Sand Island?
Haruye: Right next to the cannery. (Pause) I went work all over. They call me, I go.
(Laughter) Wow. You know, it’s too bad that nowadays, we don’t have jobs like that where people can work part-time.
Haruye: It makes a difference, you know. Lot of the kids dependent on that, for to go to college. We had a lot of kids going to university who needed the money to go to college, for tuition. But now the tuition is so high, they cannot make it. Before that, couple of hundred, eh.
They have to work several jobs to be able to have enough to live on, go to college---
Haruye: Buy the books and all that.
So as you were married, you worked hard. You had lots to do. What did you do for fun?
Haruye: What did I do for fun? No more time for fun! So busy! Everyday not working, job, we got at home.
Yeah. But it seems like you’re so friendly, nowadays, we call them “girlfriends,” but people that you could call on, do things with.
Haruye: We’re more family get together all the time. Even to this day, we still get our family get-together. Once a month, all our nieces, nephews, everybody, we go to one house, potluck. And we’ve been doing that ten years already. And the family’s growing. (Everyone laughs) Family’s growing.
Are you a grandmother?
Great-grandmother! OK. Tell me now. You have two children. Your daughter is the older one. And, um ---
Haruye: My son. He’s younger than her. He just retired from Board of Water Supply. So he’s home all the time with me now. So wherever I need to go, he takes me, because I don’t drive.
Um-hmm. You stopped driving---
Haruye: I never did. I tried to learn when my husband was living. You know, we’re driving, one car goes “wh-f-ff”! That when I got so shook up! So I said, “Forget it.” So I never learned to drive. (pause) I was a coward. (everyone laughs) You know, when the car goes whipping by, he say “Stay on your side of the road! Where are you going, in the bushes!” (everyone laughs) I gave up.
When did your husband pass away?
Haruye: My husband --- 1996. Ten, going to eleven years.
And up to the time he passed away, was he healthy?
Haruye: No, the last couple of years, he had a mild stroke. But he was alright. But just a month before he died, he wasn’t feeling too good so I took him to the doctor. The doctor said, “Take him straight to Pali Momi; he’s not well. You cannot take care of him at home.” Up to then, I can. One month’s time, he passed away. Pali Momi people were nice. They were very nice, very nice.
It’s good to have hospital close to home.
Haruye: Yeah. Until then, we had to go to Kuakini, yeah? The doctor said, “Where do you want to go, Pali Momi or---nearby, of course Pali Momi! I don’t drive. I can catch the bus, go to see him everyday. So Pali Momi was very good for us.
Good. So that’s good. You know, it’s like, ‘Aiea is really fortunate. We’re close to everything. We’re close to town.
Haruye: We’re in the central area….
What do you remember about ‘Aiea that’s no longer here. What got torn down, that you remember, that you have good memories of?
Haruye: No more the two theaters. Were two theaters. “Up” and “Down”.
Jean: Movie theaters.
Haruye: One by Dokuiji, and one right over here.
And you’re pointing (to the Hawaii Herald map of downtown ‘Aiea in the 1930s) um, Middle---
Haruye: Mango Tree Camp place.
They had a theater in Mango Tree Camp?
Haruye: Not exactly. But on this street---right here, ‘Aiea Theater. Another theater, All Star Theater on the main road, Moanalua (Road). They had one tin can alley kine of theater.
What’s a tin can alley kine of theater?
Haruye: Made of tin can! It’s covered, indoors. All made of tin can those days, you know.
So when it rained, you could hear the rain?
Haruye: Put-a-put-a! (laugh) And this one, ‘Aiea Theater. They owned the soda water works.
Jean: Kaya. Yeah, Kaya family.
Haruye: Yeah, Kaya family.
And what kind of movies did you see?
Haruye: Any kine Japanese, haole, any kine.
Haruye: Only Filipino never get, I think, those days. There’s certain nights was Japanese show. Another time, the regular American, cowboy show. I saw a lot of good movies there.
And what else do you remember?
Haruye: What else?
Any grocery stores?
Haruye: Nagamine Store.
Jean: Speedy Market.
Haruye: Speedy’s Market. Used to be Speedy’s Market. The family already pau, already.
What was the market that used to be over here (‘Aiea Plaza)? Wasn’t that Speedy’s?
Haruye: Yeah, Speedy’s. (pause) Barber Shop. Ron Oba’s family. That guy. Ron Oba; he used to work cannery with me! We used to go together… Before the war. He was in the 100th. He married the reverend’s (Oda) daughter.
Um—um, the families that ran the stores---all ‘Aiea people?
Haruye: As far as I know.
And, did you used to go into town to do grocery shopping?
Haruye: We people? No, everything---we’re dependent on Santoki Store and Nagamine Store. We had Santoki Store.
So you could find everything you needed?
Haruye: Yeah, yeah. Everything.
And then, where would you buy clothes?
Haruye: My mother used to make. We used to make most of our clothes!
Jean: Tell her you also went to sewing school.
Haruye: Oh, my sister went to dressmaking. I went to the Japanese sewing.
Where? Here in ‘Aiea?
Haruye: Yeah! Down where they had the Soto Mission church? The previous reverend’s wife was very good seamstress, Japanese clothes.
So, Japanese sewing. Is it different than American style?
Haruye: Sure. Everything by hand.
Jean: She used to sew kimonos.
Haruye: Everything, you know, the kimono with the crest! The crest, all with the design. Yeah, with all the design. You have to match the design in the front, in the back, yeah. All hand sewn!
So you and your sister?
Haruye: No, my sister went to dressmaking. She went to learn that. I wished I had gone to dressmaking now. I don’t make use of Japanese sewing! Before the war, just Japanese people, when any kine occasion, they dressed up their daughters, eh. We all wear kimono, and so---kimono was needed then! So then, the people---lot of people cannot sew kimono. But the missus of the reverend was very good, so people come all to sew. I used to help sew the clothes.
So you were telling me---I didn’t have time to do other things. But you did a lot! (laugh)
Haruye: I live eighty-eight years now, so I did a lot! (everyone laughs)
So as a teenager, you were learning how to sew Japanese kimono?
Haruye: Yes, it was before I got married! Right after school. I graduated from eighth grade. That when my mother said. I wanted to go to McKinley. There was only McKinley, yeah? She said, “No, no, no, no. Girls don’t need to go school. “ Go learn how to sew. And we had to listen, hmm? So I went to Japanese sewing. My sister went to dressmaking. She used to sew the whole family’s clothes. She used to even sew my father’s pants. She learned everything.
That’s something. Nowadays, people don’t do that.
Haruye: Everything, go to the mall.
Would you go into town to get the fabric?
Haruye: No. People living in ‘Aiea. They need kimono. There were men people bring samples, all kine, you choose what you want. And then, they bring the stuff back. They bring to the church. Sew for me this. Sew for me that. They bring all kine stuff.
So did you continue doing that, once you started making sandwiches and going downtown to do that?
Haruye: (Making the kimonos) That was before I got married. The sandwiches (were) before I got married, but that was pre-war stuff.
After the war, did you make kimonos?
Haruye: Nobody made---we hide our kimonos, eh?
And so, were you able to bring them out after the war?
Haruye: No. My mother-in-law had an old, old trunk. Japanese people all had trunk. All metal all around. Right in there. Everything went in there. Then, 2004, I had a big fire in my house. (Turning to Jean and Fran) You folks remember? At that time, that trunk, all my kimonos. I never wore the kimono. Plenty kimono had. Obi, you knew. That was saved in the fire. The trunk didn’t burn…You know, the heavy one. I told my son, “Check the trunk.” He brought home. Everything was good.
Think of that, it survived the war, it survived flood, it survived fire.
Haruye: That fire was terrible. I lost my daughter-in-law and my grandson.
Jean: That was a major event in her life.
What? Oh. Oh my. Gosh.
Haruye: So we rebuild and I’m living with him (her son)… (Haruye talks about her daughter living in New York and her son and grandsons in ‘Aiea that she lives with.)
So what are your days like now?
Haruye: Right now. I wake up about 6:30. Breakfast. Then I start the laundry. I have a grandson. Each time he goes out, he change shirt. You know, hot right now? Every time, a different shirt.
Jean: They’re all active in baseball too.
Haruye: Yeah, my family is a baseball family, from my husband’s time. My son played. My grandson. Now my great-grandson playing. (Haruye talks about the All-Star game in Lahaina, Maui because the family is stranded by a brush fire that’s preventing access from Kihei.)
‘Aiea’s got lots of baseball players. They start young and they practice and got good coaches---
Haruye: Little League and all that---my husband was baseball. My son, my grandson, my great-grandson, all baseball family.
And you are like baseball---
Haruye: Mom. (Chuckles) Who cook something everytime. Your turn to cook something!
What kind of things do you cook?
Haruye: Well, sometimes, make salad. Sometimes, I make noodles, you know? Whatever? We talk it over with the parents. We get together. “What you going to bring? I’m going to bring this. I’m going to bring that.”
They always say, behind a good player, there’s always a “mom” you know.
Haruye: It takes a “mom” you know, to do the laundry! (Everyone laughs) Whoo, the laundry!
So for exercise, what do you do? You get up in the morning, you say, you have breakfast, you do laundry?
Haruye: I go outside to water my plants, rake the yard?
Do you join any other groups other than the ‘Aiealani Seniors?
Haruye: No. But I have the church group.
And people pick you up and drive you around---
Haruye: I’m thankful. I have good friends. There’s two cars in the garage, and I don’t drive, so I have to have somebody pick me up.
Well, ‘Aiea’s changed a lot.
Haruye: Oh, it sure has changed, yes.
And what do you think about the changes?
Haruye: Well, very convenient now! Everything’s convenient!
Longs Drug Store. Times Super Market,
Haruye: Times Super Market. Got 7-11 nearby. 7-11’s so nearby.
I’ve never heard a senior say, “7-11 is good!”
Haruye: Yeah. That’s open twenty-four hours!
Yeah! What do you go down for?
Haruye: I don’t go down! The kids go! My son says, “Where you going?” The boy says, “7-11.” “For what?” “We’re going to buy something to drink.” “Yeah, OK, go.”
What did you think the day the mill (refinery) closed?
Haruye: Was kind of sad, yeah. (End of tape one, side two)
(Start of tape two, side one)
Haruye: I guess.
On the day that it closed, did you go to the mill? Or watch the last truck driving?
Haruye: No. I didn’t. They’re working, so cannot do that, huh?
So what year did you retire? Retire from your job at Del Monte? How old were you when you retired?
Haruye: Sixty-four, I think. So the year after, I got my social security (all laugh)
Did you take any jobs after that?
Haruye: No. Stay-home wife. (Pause) For a change.
One last question. Any landmarks that are no longer here, next to the sugar mill? What used to be where the (‘Aiea) shopping center used to be?
Haruye: There used to be the theater.
And when the theater was torn down, was the shopping center built right away?
Haruye: Not right away, not right away.
And was it always kind of steep kind of road?
And then you live across the street?
Haruye: From where?
The mill? Or the intermediate school?
Haruye: In front the sugar mill. When the wind blow, the smokestack, come in.
The freeway was built in your “backyard”?
Haruye: That’s where my parents were living, on the way of the freeway. (Talking to Jean) You know, Sharon Araki? They were living right across from us, her parents. When the freeway (people) say, “You have to get out.” Well, you have no choice. You cannot fight the government already. So, my brother bought a home in Halawa. Lot of those people bought home, ‘Aiea Intermediate School, in that subdivision.
And before the (‘Aiea) high school was built, and the intermediate school was built, what was over there?
Haruye: What was over there? (turning to Jean) Sugar, yeah?
Jean: Sugar cane, all from Kaamilo all the way up to the heights.
Haruye: I think it was sugar cane. I don’t quite remember that part. (Everyone is looking and talking about the map in the Hawaii Herald article by Ron Oba, and the microphone is not picking up everything) This is Nomu Ike Reservoir.
Jean: I don’t remember that.
Haruye: They used to call it “Pake Camp” you know? There were plenty Chinese living there.
Oh. Ok. Over there. I couldn’t find a Chinese camp.
Haruye: There’s a big reservoir, big reservoir there. And once a year, they drained it, and then, everybody would go get whatever fish was in there.
What kind of fish?
Haruye: I don’t know. All kine. Mixed. (turning to Jean) New Up Camp?
Jean: (map shows New Up Camp, but Jean and Haruye thinks it should be labeled “New Mill Camp”) New Mill Camp.
Haruye: That’s the one, the subdivision behind the mill, where you folks are living?
Jean: They called it “New Mill Camp.”
Haruye: ‘Aiea Elementary School, on Moanalua Road. That’s the school I went (to).
Is it in the same location?
Haruye: Same location. They rebuilt the school, because, one night, big fire. The whole building went down. So this is rebuilt school.
You remembered the names of so many of your classmates, Hatsuye (correction: Harue). Did they all pretty much still live around here?
Haruye: No, they all scattered. They’re scattered. Lot of them passed away too. (pause) Makalapa. Puuloa. Watertown. That’s where my husband came from, before he came, ‘Aiea.
He was from Watertown?
It’s all the way where Hickam is now.
Haruye: Yeah, it’s Hickam now.
Now that was a community. I don’t know where they went to school though.
Haruye: They had a school there. But after he graduate, they had to go to Kalakaua.
Haruye: Yeah. And the train was passing by. He used to take the train to go to Kalakaua.
That’s the O.R. & L. train, that’s the train that went to town?
Haruye: Yeah. Right by the river.
I don’t have the map, but it shows (the route along Pearl Harbor). Do you remember Chagami Fish Pond?
What was in there? Koi?
Haruye: Any kine fish. Any kine fish, they had.
Usually fishponds are Hawaiian names. But this one says “Chagami.” Was it because of family?
Haruye: Was more open. Anybody used to go. It says “Chagami Fish Pond.” But we just used to go there, and every Sunday, that place is full of people going there to swim. There’s a bridge, and everybody going to jump on the bridge.
Was there a name for that bridge? Was there a railroad name?
Haruye: No, no. Small road there (pointing to the map). Forty-Niners. Forty-Niners closed up, but it’s open now. Somebody’s opened, yeah? He went to school with me, Mr. Chagami, the one that was running the place, Richard (Chagami). You said I can have this (the map)? Thank you.
You’re welcome. (laughs) I think we can stop about now.
Haruye: Are you done?
I think I’m done for now for now! (laughs)
Haruye: For now?!
You talk fast, faster than I can take notes for (it). I think what I’ll do, is transcribe this and I’ll just sort of fill in, and ask you a few questions a little later through Jean, because you covered everything!
Haruye: I did?
Oh, your daughter, did you give her a Japanese name?
Haruye: Yes. Misae. M-I-S-A-E.
And her children?
Haruye: She had one boy. Jon. From her first husband. J-O-N, Jon Scott Aono.
Your son, Steven?
Haruye: Shigero. My husband Shigeru, so he’s Shigero.
Does he have a nickname?
Haruye: I don’t know. The coach always called him---he’s baseball man, so “Coach Steve.” They call (on the phone), “Coach Steve home?” “Who’s that?” I tell them. “Coach Steve?” “You mean Steven?” (laugh)
Jean: He’s very well known as a coach, her son.
Haruye: He loves baseball.
Jean: Some of our senior members have grandchildren who---Leona, right? (turning to Haruye) you said Leona’s grandson---
Haruye: Great-grandson played with them, yeah.
What did he do with the Board of Water Supply?
Haruye: He was an investigator---
(Arlene stopped the tape to mention an experience with an investigator from the Board of Water Supply regarding a recent water main break at the ‘Aiea Public Library.)
And then you say you have a great-grandson who plays baseball too?
Haruye: That plays baseball, too.
And what’s his name?
Haruye: His name is Jaryn. J-A-R-Y-N. He’s Shigeru too!
So you have three generations! And Jaryn is whose son?
Haruye: Jaryn is Jason’s son.
Jean: All these men to take care for!
Haruye: My husband was born only one boy. Now we have three. The Nakamoto name is still going to carry on.
Yeah. That’s amazing.
(Haruye talked about the son and family in Maui at the baseball tournament)
Lonely (without them), aren’t you?
Haruye: You know, I eat what I like, cook when I like, and if I don’t want to eat, then I won’t eat, won’t have to cook! I have one grandson left (at home right now). Ken is home. The father said, “You stay home, and watch Grandma. Grandma’s going to be lonesome.” He works at the drive-in, the Heights Drive-Inn. He works part-time there, while he’s going school.
What’s he studying?
Haruye: Beats me! He likes Hawaiian stuff. Hawaiian history. So he has a lot of Hawaiian friends from Moloka‘i… He goes there, about three times a year. He stays with a family. He made good friends with the sons and the cousins. He just came back, not too long ago. .. One of the boys, his family live on Moloka‘i. They have big land, you know…. He likes fishing, so they go fishing.
Well, Jean (turning to Jean), do you have any questions to ask?
Jean: You have a grandson who’s working at ‘Aiea Copy Center?
Haruye: No. He’s a cook now. His job is cooking. He’d rather cook. That place closed down. That was a temporary job.
Jean: I give him a lot of credit.
Haruye: Nothing but boys. I no more granddaughters.
Yeah, but they can marry.
Haruye: Daughter-in-laws, yeah? But my grandsons are very nice.
Jean: They’re all very good people. That’s very admirable.
Haruye: I told him last night. He’s sleeping yet. “Tomorrow when you wake up, I won’t be home. You know where I’m going to be, at the library.” He said, “How’re going? Somebody going pick you up?” That’s the first thing he said. “I have ride. They’re nice enough to pick me up.” “OK, then.” They can sleep. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and say, “Where’d my grandma go?”
Jean: They have a big calendar, and she puts all her appointments, if she has doctor’s appointments---
Haruye: Yes. When I have doctor’s appointments. I put it on the calendar in the kitchen. Whenever I have doctor’s, I write down everything… I might forget! In case he has some plans, he can work within that thing. He doesn’t want me catching the bus, so he takes me back and forth.
Jean: That’s great.
Haruye: First thing he asks, “How’re you going? You have a way of going.” “Yeah, a way of going.”
Jean: Haruye still can catch the bus. Once we had to go see a senior citizen in the care home in St. Francis West at the hospice. (Turning to Haruye) Remember we went to see Mrs. Shriner? I went with her, and we got on the ‘Aiea Heights bus, and we transferred at Pearlridge---
Haruye: Yeah, that was the first time I rode the bus in a long time?
Do you renew your pass?
Haruye: No, I haven’t renewed, since ’04. 2004. This is ’07. You know, when I had the pass, I hardly ride the bus. So the kids said “Don’t renew your bus (pass), because you’re not riding! We’re taking you! “ “OK. Suits me better.”
Jean: Did you used to ride the bus at the cannery when you were working there?
Haruye: No. I had a ride with somebody. I find some people coming this way, and I asked them for a ride. Give me a ride home. It’s going. It’s coming back late at night, you have to have a ride. Cannot catch the bus.
Jean: The last bus would leave at midnight.
I’m looking at you, and you look like you’re in your late sixties.
Haruye: Thank you very much.
Jean: Yes, it’s hard to believe that’s she ---
Your face, your skin, everything (is younger looking).
Haruye: Huh! My face! I’m grateful. I’m healthy, so far. I got to go mammogram next week. I write them all down, whatever, you know! I try to keep up, whatever, flu shots, and I had shingles shot, too.
Oh really! That’s because if you get chicken pox, then you could get shingles.
Haruye: Yeah, yeah. And they say, it’s very painful for the elderly now. The doctor said “It’s up to you.” She said, “If you want, I’ll give it. If you don’t want.” So I had a flu shot. And every year, I get the flu shot, the shingles shot, get a shot all over! (laughs)
Jean: The only thing she had, that was of consequence, recently she had a fall. And that’s when you hurt your shoulder, yeah?
Haruye: Two shoulder already broke. I fell down…about ten years ago. Then last year, I fell down at the church. The church got lot of steps. The last step, I missed. I broke this arm. Two arms broken. So my daughter, “Gee, when is this lady always falling down.”
Jean: You see how she bounces back?
Haruye: So I have a life alert. I have a life alert when I’m at home.
Yeah. But you don’t seem to have the osteoporosis, kind of problem, when people really shrink?
Haruye: I’m shrinking now.
Well, you should be!! Because you’re in your late eighties! But you don’t have it so bad.
Haruye: Well, so far.
Jean: She’s very alert and active. She’s singing karaoke.
Haruye: I used to take karaoke lessons. Yeah, I have the machine. So when he brought it, I said “What the heck he’s bringing me? “ The karaoke machine! My mom don’t need. So I said “Oh, boy!”
Jean: Kay Shriner. Mrs. Shriner’s son.
Haruye: I gave him money. He said “No, no need.” I said “I cannot take it for free.”
Jean: When Kay Shriner passed away, one of our senior citizens, the son---
Haruye: Two years ago, already? Little over a year.
Jean: He gave the karaoke machine.
Haruye: I was the only one doing the singing. So the son brought it to my house. The record. The tapes. The songbook.
Jean: She can entertain herself. No, you know, because a lot of older people, they get very bored, and actually they can physically deteriorate---
Haruye: That’s right. So, if I’m not watching television, or listening, I have the karaoke on.
That’s really interesting. . . You entertain yourself, that’s a good option.
Haruye: Yeah. Soon as I get up in the morning, when I go in the kitchen, I have a radio in there. I listen to Japanese program.
Jean: She listens to KZOO.
Haruye: The radio is Japanese program, and then, make my breakfast, until about 9:30, I do all kine stuff, and then I sit down. Then I put the TV on. ‘Til about lunchtime. I watch the game show “Price is Right” and “The Family Feud.” I like that! Then I close up, eat my lunch, then I go to my yard little while.
Jean: Yeah, we once went to visit Manoa Marketplace and she wanted to go see KZOO, because they have their studio. And she knew all the announcers.
Haruye: (laughing) Went to KZOO, yeah, Manoa. I listen to them so.
Is that the station---do they still give the obituaries?
Haruye: Not anymore. Once a while, the family request them. Used to be every six thirty in the morning. The obituary, all---
I can remember. There used to be like a sound that they would make----
Haruye: Church kine.
Jean: Why, would they announce all the Japanese obituaries?
Haruye: Yeah. Japanese. Six thirty in the morning was obituary time.
Jean: That’s very helpful, yeah, if you don’t read the paper.
Haruye: Now, they don’t have unless the family request. So maybe once in a while.
Haruye: At ten o’clock, I have to listen to an information time. Half an hour. People go ask why I want to go to a certain doctor, my feet is sore. What doctor would you recommend, and all kine stuff. Somebody always answers!
Oh! You mean, then they can call in? Then the audience recommends? Oh, that’s a good service.
(Jean, Haruye and Arlene talk about enka singing. Jean mentions Harry Uyehara, a friend of hers, that Arlene might know since he’s a retired librarian. Haruye mentions her niece, Virginia Tanji is a librarian and that her daughter is going to library school. They discuss family get-together food. Then, Arlene asks Fran if she has any questions.)
Frances: I’m enjoying this.
Haruye: You heard plenty.
Jean: Yeah, lot of things you said, we didn’t even know, because you lived in ‘Aiea for much longer period than us.
Haruye: I love to talk.
(Arlene asks if she can talk to Haruye in the future.)
Haruye: OK. Anytime. I got more time than money. Anytime.
(Laughs) Thank you very much. Alright. We’re going to conclude the interview now.
Haruye: Pau already! Not pau yet?