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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1384/

Camp as a Young Boy

I think camp would have been a very different experience for me say, if I had been in high school or say if I had been in college or later- you know, a working person. But for a grammar school aged boy, it was not a bad experience. I think I would characterize it altogether as almost a positive experience. 

In other words, I had, up until that time, grown up in the city. You know, we were living in East Los Angeles- it’s now what’s called Boyle Heights. And I never really had spent time out in the country. So it was brand new to me. We would go in camp… for instance, Poston was 3 miles from the Colorado River so like every weekend, we would go to the Colorado River and go swimming, and it’s something you wouldn’t do if you lived in Los Angeles- no such place around.

We spent a lot of time outdoors. I learned how to fish. I learned how to swim. In fact, I remember I used to enjoy coming home. I could swim across the Colorado River even though I was only 8 or 9, and so I would tell my mother, “Well, mom, I went to California again today.” And she would kind of smile and not say anything. But anyways, it was a different experience. We spent a lot of time outdoors.

In our block, for instance, we raised animals- pigeons and rabbits,- and every once in a while we would have a rabbit feast- a bunch of barbequed rabbits we would eat. So we did things like that that you would never do if you were growing up in Los Angeles. So in a way, it was a different kind of enjoyable experience.


Arizona Boyle Heights California Colorado Colorado River (Colo. to Mexico) concentration camps East Los Angeles Los Angeles Poston concentration camp United States World War II camps

Date: July 2, 2014

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sakura Kato

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Interviewee Bio

Born in Santa Maria California, Judge Atsushi Wallace Tashima is the first Japanese American and the third Asian American in history to serve on a U.S. Court of Appeals. He was born to Issei immigrants and spent three years of his childhood in the Poston War Relocation Center in Poston, Arizona. When Tashima entered his first year of Harvard Law School in 1958, he was one of only 4 Asian American students at Harvard. Nevertheless, Tashima went on to lead a 34 year-long career as a federal judge. In 1980, Tashima was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by President Carter. After serving 15 years on the U.S. District Court, President Clinton elevated Tashima to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers the nine western states on the West Coast. As as 2004, Tashima assumed senior status and currently sits in the Ninth Circuit Pasadena Couthouse in Pasadena, CA.  (August 2014)

*This is one of the main projects completed by The Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program intern each summer, which the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American National Museum have co-hosted.

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