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30 July 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Last Chapter

A story of a B-29 bomber pilot who time-travels from the war-time Tokyo to present-time.


Please read from Chapter 1 to Chapter 6 first.

The texts are on Japanese blog. Please find English paragraphs on this site.

 Thank you.

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19 May 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Chapter 6


A story of a B-29 bomber pilot who time-travels from the war-time Tokyo to present-time.

Please read from Chapter 1 to Chapter 5 first.

 Jim and Sayuri were taking a taxi to get to where his sister, Katie was. Sayuri had been worried that how Katie would respond to Jim’s appearing. It has been 60 years since Katie parted from her brother. How would she believe that Jim was real brother who she had believed being dead. In fact, no one could believe Jim time-slipped and he was still 21 year-old man.

 Jim suddenly said “Stop, please.” The taxi stopped on the street near sidewalk. Then Jim said to Sayuri, “Is that store selling dolls?”

Sayuri looked at where he pointed by finger. She could see the show window that displayed several dolls on the shelf. The sign of the store said “Akasaka Ningyo-ya (Doll shop).”

“Yes, it is doll store. Why?” said Sayuri.

“Well, I want to go there and buy a doll for my sister. Can we go?”

Sayuri couldn’t understand what he was up to but said “Yes, let’s go.”

They went out of taxi. Sayuri asked the driver to wait for 10 minutes. They went inside of the store.

 There were lots of kinds of dolls displayed in the store. Western antique dolls, Chinese dolls, Japanese traditional dolls with kimonos. Hundreds of dolls to choose. She asked Jim what kind of doll his sister would like. She just teased him because she knew his sister was too old to like a doll. But in Jim’s memory, Katie was 10 year-old girl. Jim looked very serious looking for a doll.

“I am searching for a particular one.” After a while, Jim shouted “Oh, there it is. I found one.”

Sayuri was surprised that it was Japanese dolls wearing bright yellow kimono. Sayuri paid the money for a doll and they went back to the taxi.


After 10 minutes, they reached the U.S. embassy. They got out of a taxi. Nancy was waiting at the entrance.

“Thank you, Nancy .”

“My pleasure, Sayuri. The ambassador is waiting for you, two” said Nancy .

Nancy took them to the ambassador’s office. Actually, she was not the ambassador any more.

Kathleen Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to Japan was packing her things. Tomorrow she would be flying back to the U.S. Kathleen Bolton heard the knock on the door by Nancy .

“You can come in” said Kathleen. Nancy opened the door.

Jim and Sayuri entered the office. Jim looked at Kathleen. They both looked shocked. Jim was shocked to see Kathleen looking like his grand mother he knew. Jim had already seen her at the Civic Hall. But at this moment he was seeing her in much closer distance. Kathleen was shocked to see her brother who was supposed to be dead 60 years ago looking just like she remembered.

“Nice to see you again, the ambassador. As Nancy told you and it should be hard to believe this is your brother, James Austin.” Sayuri said very nervously.

“So you are the one who claims to be my dead brother.” Kathleen said smiling.

“Are you really Katie? Kathleen Austin? You really survived from the sickness” Jim asked.

“Yes, I am. Austin is my maiden name. I was married to a man named George Bolton later. He died 10 years ago. Yes, I was survived because I was the only hope for my parents since my brother died. I went through many surgeries to survive. That is common knowledge. What are you after? Is this some kind of joke? Do you want some money? Yes, everyone knows I am a widow of a very rich man. I do have so much assets. But you should be more clever to deceive me.”

The way Kathleen talked sounds accusable. That was what Sayuri expected.

“I know you would be surprised. I am the one more surprised. I still could not believe I time-slipped to 60 years later. But it is true. I do not know how to prove it. Well, why don’t you ask me any question only you and I could share? I know a lot about you and our family.”

Kathleen then said, “Actually, I am too busy to play such a silly game but since you came over here and resembles my brother so well. You seem to talk the same way as my dead brother as far as I remember. Alright. What is your favorite tune, which we always listened to?”

“Glenn Miller’s In the Mood” Jim answered.

“Correct, next is who was your girlfriend you date with when you were in high school? What was her name? I met that girl several times at home. She was a beautiful girl with brown hair.”

“Her name was Dorothy Jackson. But I broke up with her before joining the army. She already dated with other guy.”

The question and answer time went on for 20 minutes. The ambassador asked questions related her brother’s personal matters, her parents, relatives, neighbors and herself which he might know. All the answers he gave her seemed correct. But the ambassador still looked suspicious.

 “Well, you know so much about my brother, me and my family. Some of the things were I did not even remember. But I still cannot help thinking about you being imposter. You can do complete research for me. If you are after big money, you would want to do that. You can even get a plastic surgery. But this is too strange if you impersonate my dead brother and tried to look as young as he was at the time of his death. Making up such a fairy tale. You know I am not that stupid. I graduated from Harvard University and then worked for State Department for decades. I am now 70 year old lady. You should know you cannot make me believe such a Hollywood kind of fantasy. Why are you doing this?”

For a while, there was a silence among 3 people in the office. But Jim said to Kathleen.

“Kathleen, do you still have a Clara?”

“Clara? What are you talking about?” Kathleen wondered.

“A doll I bought for you before leaving home.”

“Yes, a doll, Clara. Yes. I still have it right here.”

Kathleen pointed to a doll in the glass case set on the side board. There was a doll of little girl. Typical western doll but it got tainted after 60 years of the time. The clothes Clara was wearing faded. No one could tell what it looked like when it was made.

“You know about Clara. Well, I talked about this doll’s story with some people. You might hear from them. It is a doll I kept because it was precious gift from Jim. Last gift from him. One time for many years I put it in the attic to forget about him. But since I was appointed to live in Tokyo where Jim died, I brought it here. Why do you want to talk about it?”

“Do you remember what we promised before I left home? I bought a present for you. Clara’s sister.”

“Clara’s sister. Yes, I remember Jim promised to bring Clara’s sister with him if he would come back home alive. You also heard that story from someone” said Kathleen without surprise.

“You and I should remember what should Clara’s sister wearing” said Jim looking Kathleen seriously.

“Yes. So what? Is that what you brought?” Kathleen looked annoyed.

“Katie, please open it. This is Clara’s sister, only I could choose what you want.”

Jim handed the box wrapped with “Akasaka doll shop” logo paper. Kathleen took it saying nothing.

She then opened the box and saw the doll wearing kimono.

“Oh my god. This is the doll I asked Jim to buy. You know it. Only he could know that. You are my brother, Jim.”

To be continued to Last Chapter.


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09 April 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Chapter 5

A story of a B-29 bomber pilot who time-travels from the war-time Tokyo to present-time.

Please read Chapter 1 to Chapter 4 first.


Sayuri laughed. “Hey, Jim, don’t tease me or are you out of your mind?”

She laughed not to take his words seriously to become ill.

“I am not teasing you. I am serious and telling you the truth, which you cannot believe.” Jim’s voice sounded very serious.

“You are right. How can I believe you? If you were the pilot of that time, you would be very old man. That air raid happened 60 years ago.”

“To me, just yesterday” said Jim.

Sayuri stopped laughing and said, “Jim, you should go back to the hospital and get counseling for mental disorder. You got problem by that fire. I want to help you.” Sayuri was so worried about Jim’s condition.

She thought she was obligated to do so for the savor of her life.

“I don’t need counseling. I am not sick. I am not going to be with you any way. I killed your people in that air raid and I do not regret that. You know what. Your army bombed Chinese cities killing so many innocent civilians. They also bombed our soldiers in Pearl Harbor without warning. That is why we showed no mercy to your people. That is the truth, too. I have to go.”

Jim’s voice was strong and disimpassioned.

“Where are you going?”

“Good bye.” Jim just ran away.


Sayuri stood silently for a while. She was confused by Jim’s words. Jim did not look psychopath. But his story was beyond normal commonsense.

Then she thought Jim still lost his memory and he might get some kind of paranoia by that fire mixing fictional story with real incidents. Unfortunately what he mixed with was her Grandma’s story and some stories from ex-pilot of B-29 bomber which he saw on TV when he was in US.


Was there any way she could help him? The first thing to do was to know who he really was.

She first tried to call burned apartment’s landlord to ask who the new dweller was. He should know but she could only get voice message from his telephone. She gave up.

She then came up with her American friend who was working in U.S. embassy. Her name was Nancy . She was an officer in the embassy. She just talked with Nancy in the civic hall before the ceremony started. She might be able to help find who he was.

But Sayuri had no clue to tell her. The only information she could give Nancy was his appearance and his name, Jim or James Austin which might not be true.

She wondered if she could find some clues in the rubbles of burned apartment house. She then went there.


Sayuri was looking for something in the site. It was getting dark. She had to hurry.

But things there were totally burned down. Nothing remained normal figure. She also wanted to find something that belonged to her. But she was disappointed. All the things in her apartment unit were totally burned down. Her clothes, her books, photo albums. Even a scratch of them was never found. She decided to get away. She did not want to remember what she lost.


A young Caucasian man was standing in front of her. He was standing there with his luggage. He looked like a traveler.

“Konnichiwa, hello, do you speak English?” said a young man.

“Yes. What can I help you?”

“My name is Charlie. I am a student from U.S. I am now looking for an apartment I am going to live. My agent arranged that. I’ve got an address and map to get there. I can’t find it. Is this address correct?”

Charlie showed her a memo with address and map.

She then said, “Yes. This is where you are. But I am very sorry to tell you. The apartment you were going to live was burned down by the fire incident last night.”

“What? Burned down? Oh no!”

Charlie got surprised and looked the site. Burned rubbles were around.

Sayuri suddenly had something to come up with Charlie.

“Are you American who was supposed to arrive here last night?”

“Yes, I am. But the flight was delayed by the storm over there. I cannot believe that. The apartment was burned down. I was lucky I was late. But how am I supposed to do? I have no place to live now.”

Charlie said and then Sayuri lent him her cell phone to call his friend in Tokyo .

Charlie talked with his friend for a few minutes. Then Charlie got away to go to his friend’s place.

Sayuri dialed her cell phone to call her friend, Nancy.

“Hello, Nancy , I’ve got something to ask you. I want you to find a man. He is American man named James Austin. He identified himself as B-29 bomber pilot in U.S. Air Force, 314 aircraft wing which existed 60 years ago.”


It was late at night. Only the street lamps shined where he was sitting.

He was sitting on the bench in a small park. Nobody except him was there. He had no way to go actually. He had no relatives or friends in Japan . 60 years have passed. He had no idea of how his American family and friends he knew were doing. He was alone in foreign country which was supposed to the enemy line for him.

“Jim, I’ve been looking for you. I know you had no place to go, so I guessed you should be around here. I am glad to see you again. Now I can help you.”

It was Sayuri who stood in front of him.

Jim laughed and said, “Did you find a way to help a psychopath?”

“You don’t have to worry. I found who you really are. You are what you told me, James Austin.”

Sayuri looked serious and confident.

“Now you are teasing me to get along with me. You can’t prove who I am.”

Jim thought Sayuri might be too kind to get along with his unbelievable story.

“Yes, I can. I checked the record of your story. There was a man named James Austin in U.S. Air Force, 314 aircraft wing which existed 60 years ago, which bombed the city of Tokyo. Here is a photograph of you” said Sayuri handing him a black-white photocopy of pilots gathering in the airbase.

Among several young pilots, James Austin was in it. Jim remembered when the picture was taken. It was a few months ago in Guam .

“How did you get that?”

“My friend in embassy helped. She called the Air force. They checked the old record and sent this photo with your identity record to us.”

Jim was surprised and then again got confused.

He then again thought maybe he was getting back to normal life from this wonderland. Or had it been a psychological test for POW done to him?

Jim asked Sayuri to make sure she was acting normal.

“You found who I am. Then what am I now in 2005?”

“You are recorded as killed in action in 60 years ago in Tokyo during the air raid. Your plane was hit by antiaircraft artillery. You and your crews were all dead although their bodies were never found. Actually you’ve been missing since that day.”

Sayuri talked very seriously. Jim realized she was serious and normal, not teasing and not testing.

“Wow, that is just what I experienced. I want to know what happened to my family. They were told I was dead. Now what are they doing? Are they still alive?”

“I checked that, too. Sorry to tell you that your parents were both dead. Your father died 40 years ago. You mother died 35 years ago.”

“Oh, no. No one left.”

“Yes, there is.”

“What? Who? No one should live so long. Even if I had lived from that day, I would be over 80. No one in my family could live…, oh god, she was alive.”

“Yes, your sister.”

“Oh my god. She was still alive. I thought she could not survive because she was very weak and sick.”

“So she might prove you really exist” said Sayuri seeing Jim’s face looking so happy.

Jim was really happy to know his sister Katie still live. That meant she got over her illness.

“I want to see her, again. I have to go back to America .”

“One more surprise to you, Jim. You do not have to go back to US to see her again. She is here in Tokyo . In fact, you’ve already met her.”

To be continued to Chapter 6.

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17 March 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Chapter 4

A story of a B-29 bomber pilot who time-travels from the war-time Tokyo to present-time.

Please read Chapter 1 to Chapter 3 first.


Sayuri worried about Jim’s reaction. She thought she shouldn’t have told the story about Grandma. After lunch Jim went to the bathroom to take a shower. After cleaning up his body and he wore the clothes, and got out of the bathroom.

He saw Sayuri and Grandma leaving the house. Jim said to Sayuri “Where are you going?”

“We are attending the ceremony. But we will come back here by the evening. You should rest in my room.”

Jim asked “what kind of ceremony are you attending?”

“Well, This may not be what you like. The ceremony for 60th commemoration of Tokyo Air raids. Grandma and I will be on the stage. Grandma talks and I will interpret what she says for the American attendees including the U.S. ambassador.”

“I’d like to go, can I?” Jim was curious.

Sayuri took Jim and Grandma to the civic hall by car. She drove. Jim sat on the front passenger’s seat. Grandma sat on backseat. They remained silence in the car.

There were almost 100 people in the hall. The attendees wore formal suits. There were some Americans including an old lady who was the U.S. ambassador. Jim avoided American crowd.

At the beginning, on the stage, speaker said something in Japanese and Sayuri interpreted.

“Please stand in silence in remembrance of the victims of Great Tokyo air raids.”

The attendees all stood up and kept silence. Jim did that.

After the moment of silence, the U.S. ambassador came up on the stage to make a brief statement. She was in black funeral suits. Her hair was white. She looked like over 70 years old.

“Good afternoon, my name is Kathleen Bolton. I am the U.S. ambassador to Japan . The invitation to this ceremony is very meaningful to me because I lost my family member in the war. The war ended 60 years ago. The U.S. and Japan have been close allies since the war ended. However the pain of loss still remained. We all share the grievance and we all share the hope for peace. Today is my last day as the ambassador. This ceremony should be the one I can never forget. Thank you.”

It was really brief statement, Jim thought. She seemed like she could not get into this issue because of her position.

Next was the talk by the survivor of the Air raid. Sayuri’s Grandma showed up on the stage. Jim was thrilled to hear the story. 

At first, Grandma explained herself. She was only 8 at that time. She lost her mother and brother in the raid. Then she started to talk about that night.

“I remember it was windy and very cold. Very cold even inside the house because we did not have fuel to use stove. We were afraid because we hear sirens and sounds of airplanes coming to the city. Then that night, the planes came. We heard the siren of the warning and went outside.

My brother who was only a baby was carried by my mother. We ran and ran. The sky turned red. Everywhere was fire. We were surrounded by the fire. The fire expanded by the wind and swallowed the people running. It was so dangerous not just by the fire. The boards, glasses, were flying in the air and bumped to the people.


My brother cried. The fire sparks were inside his mouth. My mother tried to take them out. I saw people burning and screaming in front of me. We ran into the river and reached the bridge over the river. But the bridge wasn’t the safe place. The heat was so hot that we could not stand. The fire even stretched to the bridge and the bridge was crowded by the evacuees. My mother told me to jump off the bridge to the river.

There was no way out. She had to hold my brother. She could not dive into the river. I did not want to but I had no choice. My mother looked so sad. I still remember her face. I realized that I have to say goodbye to her and my brother forever and then jumped. The river was so cold contrary to the air. I was drowned at first but later saved by the boat floating in the river. I was saved. Since that night I’ve never heard from my mother and brother. That means they never survived.

After the war, my father came back from the battle field, he was saddened by the loss of his family but glad I was alive.”

Grandma’s eyes were filled with tears. Sayuri seemed so sad but just doing her job as an interpreter. Some of the attendees started to cry. The ambassador looked serious but just normal. The ceremony ended after the closing statement for the peace.

Jim was surprised there were no antagonistic words in it. Because 60 years have passed, and Americans were invited to the ceremony, for Jim it was yesterday memory.   


Jim got out of the hall and walked to stay away.

“Jim, where are you going?” It was Sayuri’s voice behind him. He looked back.

“Let’s go back home” said Sayuri.

“I can’t.”

“Why not? The ceremony was finished. Is there any problem, again?” Sayuri looked worried.

“I cannot stay with you, especially with your Grandma.” Jim said that seriously.

“What? Hey, you don’t have to worry about her. She said she was sorry for being rude to you. She had been so nervous speaking out in public. Now she is fine. She says she wants to apologize to you and express gratitude to you for saving my life. In fact her experience has nothing to do with you. You are young American of today.”

“No, it is not your Grandma’s fault. I just cannot be with you. I’ll tell you. I do not suffer amnesia. I have my memories.”

“You recovered your memory. That is good to hear.”

Sayuri looked happy.

“I never lost memory. I lied. I lied because I was afraid.”

“What are you afraid of?”

Her face turned serious.

“Because if I tell who I really am, I thought I would be killed by your people.”

Sayuri could not understand what his words mean. She began to think Jim might be a psychopath, not a patient of amnesia.

“I do not understand you. Who are you, really?”

“I am James Austin, who belongs to the U.S. Air Force, 314 aircraft wing. The wing that bombed Tokyo at the night your Grandma lost her loved ones.”


Go on to Chapter 5

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