March 31, 1942 - June 24, 2020
Born in Hayato-Cho, Kirishima City, Kagoshima Province, Japan
Resided in Salinas, California
Yasuji immigrated to the United States with his wife and oldest daughter in 1970. He was able to obtain a visa because his brother lived in Mountain View, CA. There, he began to work as a gardener. In 1973, he moved his family to Salinas, where he worked at his brother’s farm, Minami Greenhouse. Then he worked at Matsui Nursery for many years. With the support of Mr. Onitsuka and Mr. Nishio, Yasuji and Atsuko were able to purchase a plot of land and begin their own farm, Hayato Nursery in 1985. They grew fresh cut flowers, mainly carnations and snapdragons, and retired after 27 years in 2013.
He was a hard working Japanese immigrant who worked six days a week. Although he spoke limited English and basic Spanish, he was a confident person and spoke easily to any person he met. He preferred the climate of the Central Coast where the weather was mild all year around, the opposite of his hometown, which had subtropical, humid weather. He often said that he loved living in Salinas.
Yasuji loved golf. He enjoyed golfing at the Salinas Fairways Golf Course. He would meet up with his golf buddies at the golf course, make rounds together, and catch up. He also loved to drink and have a good time with friends. He grew up in a large family with eight siblings, who danced, sang, and drank during the holidays. His wife says he loved being “nigiyaka” (lively) because of this history. He was a committed father, attentive grandfather, and good friend. After retirement, he grew Kabocha winter squash, not just because he loved to eat it, but because he enjoyed giving them to his Japanese friends in the community. He will be missed for his laughter, jokes, and friendliness.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff for their wonderful care at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. The family will have a small private service and visitation on Monday, June 29. Due to COVID-19, it is by invitation only.
Salinas, CA US 93901