Many of the American-born nisei, like Jimi Yamaichi, wanted out of farming. But younger children followed their parents onto new fields, raising labor-intensive crops they could produce on small plots of land.
Leon Kimura was one of those children, back in the 1950s. “I picked 10 crates of strawberries to get money to buy my first Timex watch,” he says.
And where did Kimura go to get the watch?
“I came to here to Japantown to Jackson Jewelers [now defunct],” Kimura says. “There always was a feeling that this was home for the JA community.”
Eventually, as the rise of Silicon Valley made land more expensive, the strawberry industry moved south to Watsonville and Salinas. The flower business moved overseas.