Business for gays (Japanese)

First impression of America (Japanese) Permanent residency for 10,000 dollars (Japanese) Longing for a life abroad and getting a chef’s license (Japanese) Life upon arrival (Japanese) Support from Nikkei (Japanese) Tough life at boarding house (Japanese) Business for gays (Japanese) Immigration ship Brazil-maru (Japanese)

Transcripts available in the following languages:

(Japanese) I*: Do you know the story of Silver Lake? The gay neighborhood.

Friend: Gays, right, you made quite a lot out of that.

I actually had no idea. When I opened my place. Back then, since I had no money, I did the carpenter’s work for all windows myself and made my place dark with candles on the tables and all that. And then I noticed that there were a number of male couples. They were holding hands under the table, making me wonder. It turned out that I was in a gay town. There was a place called Mugi and this guy named Yushi-san, he had his own place in Sunset. He came to me and said, “You know, here you have to do things the right way. I’ll get you some waiters.” He introduced me to all young Japanese gays. And that worked out well, gays serving people really well. We grew pretty big. We even made it on that famous thing about restaurants. Zen Restaurant, Silver Lake.

Friend: [inaudible], cause Akira-chan is like…

The place got so much attention that my peers thought I was bisexual.

Friend: I heard about that, too. (laugh)

I was okay being talked about as bi. It was interesting.

*"I" indicates an interviewer (Mitsue Watanabe).

Date: August 4, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Mitsue Watanabe
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

LGBT restaurant business silver lake

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