Staying here is an experience. The owner is doing a great job preserving the hotel as it was in the years prior to WWll. The Tea House at the street level is wonderful.
Maneki opened in 1904 and is in its 114th year of business. Maneki is resilient. The restaurant was ransacked and vandalized during WWll. Yokoyama, 88, has been working there for over 50 years…”Maneki is in my dreams. It is with me when I’m awake…Maneki has always been maneki. Maneki is my life.”
“Although the Japanese and Japanese Americans were sent to prison camps and Nihonmachi (Japantown) languished during World War II, the area returned to its cultural focus and economic activity after the war..” from the Densho Encyclopedia
“In equal measure, both Japanese newcomers and American-born Japanese have relied on this ethnic enclave for sustenance in the early days, and identity and pride in the modern day.” from the Densho Encylopedia
“Early Japanese workers from outlying areas flocked to Japanese baths on weekends, ate their favorite familiar foods and stayed in Japanese owned hotels. By 1900, there were six Japanese owned hotels. By 1925 there were 127 Japanese owned or managed hotels.” from the Densho Encyclopedia
Following are images of the Yick Fung Company Store. “The second floor of the store was set up with 30 cots to house travelers for $1.00 per night, which included two meals.”
“The store grew to become a bustling community hub, where residents found hard-to-find items from Asia and swapped gossip.”
Restaurant cooks, who were particular, wanted to see food on display, which explains the store's layout with jars, bags and cans.
“Our primary purpose was to service all the restaurants in the areas and out of the area. We had about 280 customers all total during those years. … We sell bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and all the equipment and stuff they need. A lot of spices and all that. Soy sauce. Everything.”
Click for the link to the Wing Luke Museum.
Following are images of the Freeman Hotel - now part (as is the store) of the wonderful Wing Luke Museum.
“this building served as the cultural hub and living quarters for hundreds of Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants who came to the United States in the pre-World War II era. These were the pioneers who – in search of new opportunities – built the Pacific Northwest region by working in lumber mills, canneries, construction sites, farms, restaurants, and hand laundries.”
“The Museum has restored the unheard stories of these immigrants by preserving a historic store, social meeting rooms and apartments. This building is one of the most significant Asian Pacific American historic sites in the United States.”
Altar in the Meeting Room.
Today the tradition of the social meeting room continues - if you look up and see a red painted balcony, there’s a good chance that’s what it is.
p.s. my Lyft driver gave me his ‘secret’ list of the best restaurants - in his humble opinion - it the Int’. District.