I had the pleasure of getting to go to Los Angeles through my internship at the Manzanar National Historic Site. I went to L.A. for my first time on a business trip to do oral history interviews for our Oral History Program at Manzanar. It was amazing to finally get there! I have been wanting to see L.A. for the past six years, and I finally got to go. We went to Little Tokyo to go to the Japanese American Museum which was really fascinating. I interact with many visitors on a daily basis, quite a bit have told me about this museum. It was great to finally get to see what all of the hype was about.
I was especially excited to get to see the replica of Toyo Miyatake’s camera. Toyo Miyatake ran a photography studio in L.A. before being put in the Manzanar War Relocation Camp during WWII. Cameras were not allowed in Manzanar, but Miyatake snuck in some lenses and created a camera. A good bit of the photos of Manzanar are around because of him. Ansel Adams and Dorthea Lange also took photographs of Manzanar. I had the pleasure of meeting Miyatake’s son Archie a couple of months ago, he was also interned at Manzanar. Archie’s son, Alan Miyatake, who I also met, continues to run Toyo Miyatake Studios in Los Angeles.
Among the excitement of seeing the Hollywood sign for the first time, I also got to see the Pacific Ocean. I woke up extra early at my hotel in Ventura one morning just so that I could walk to the beach to see this. I had been wanting to see if for a very long time, so it was awesome to finally get there. I remember walking up over the sandy ridge to be greeted by the vast blue water. It seemed strikingly more or a light blue than the Atlantic Ocean.
Overall it was a really amazing trip. I got to meet some really cool internees. Their kindness and warm welcomes will always stay with me. It was really interesting to be able to hear their stories first-hand about what it was like at Manzanar. I felt really fortunate to be able to hear their stories and be apart of the oral history process as the videographer.