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28 February 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo: Chapter 3

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

Please read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 first.

 

Sayuri recognized Jim’s face looking very shocked. She wondered if there was any news that shocked him so much. Actually he didn’t read any of articles. All he saw on the paper was the date of issue.

Jim then said, “Hey, is this some kind of joke? Are you teasing me or kind of psychological test for POW?”

“What are you talking about? Have I done anything wrong?” said Sayuri.

She did not know POW stands for prisoners of war.

“Yes, you are. You are doing a wrong thing. I can’t stand for that.” Jim said.

And he just ran, ran to get out of the hospital. He just thought he had to. He found the entrance of the hospital and rushed into it. The door opened automatically but he did not care about that.  As soon as he got out of the hospital, and saw the view outside, he just stopped his feet.

He could not believe what he was seeing. The hospital was located on the riverside. The river name should be the Sumida River according to the map for air raid he saw. That was not what surprised him. What surprised him was the other side of the river. There were several very tall buildings. Like skyscrapers in New York . He remembered when he went to New York in high school days. He remembered what he saw from the riverside of Hudson River . The view was magnificent. This was not exactly the same as that but kind of similar. He was never informed Tokyo had such tall buildings. In his knowledge, they never had such sophisticated technology.

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“Hey, what are you doing? Why are you running away? I cannot understand you.”

Sayuri came up to him.

“Are we in Tokyo , now?” Jim asked.

“Yes, we are in Tokyo . I understand how you are confused, you might have lost your memory of how you came to Japan .” Sayuri thought Jim was acting very strange because of amnesia.

“What date and what year is it today?”

“Today is March 10, 2005”

“2005” Jim just realized that he was in Tokyo but not in 1945, 2005. But if so, he should be now 81 years old. He should look very old thus he could not run like he just did.

The car came up to where Jim and Sayuri are. A driver in a car called on Sayuri. Sayuri responded and talked with a man for a while. Then Sayuri said to Jim.

“Jim, here is my brother, Ken.”

Ken smiled and said, “haro, Jim-san.”

“Why don’t we get in? We are going to my family’s house.”

Jim and Sayuri got in the car. Jim kept silence while driving. Sayuri and Ken talked each other in the language he could not understand. Jim was surprised Ken never touched the car’s engine gear while driving. It was kind of automatic gear system.

After 10 minutes drive, the car stopped at a house. They got out of a car. Jim was guided to a house by Sayuri. Jim was told to take off his shoes to get on the floor and he did. The house was smaller than that he was living in Connecticut . The ceiling was lower.

Sayuri introduced Jim to her family. Ken, Ken’s wife, Keiko, Sayuri’s mother, and Sayuri’s grand mother. Sayuri explained to them how Jim saved her in the fire.

Mother smiled and said “Sankyu (for saving my daughter.)” Jim then smiled back. Ken and Keiko followed and smiled and said some words. Grandma didn't say anything and just got back to her room as soon as the greeting ended.

Jim just thought an old lady didn’t like a foreign man. Sayuri explained to her family about Jim’s condition of amnesia.

Jim said “Thank you for taking care of me. I appreciate that very much.” Sayuri interpreted. Then Ken and Mother replied in Japanese. Sayuri interpreted.

“Jim, you saved my life. It is our duty to take care of you, because if you were not there, I wouldn’t live any more.”

Sayuri told her father was on business trip to Shanghai until next month. That was why her father was not at home. So she would be staying in her parents’ room sleeping on Father’s bed. Instead Jim can use the room Sayuri was living before she moved to burned apartment.

She moved to the apartment after Ken got married. She thought Ken’s wife should have felt uncomfortable surrounded by too many Ken’s family members such as Father, Mother, Grandma, and Sayuri. Sayuri took him to her room. The floor was kind of strange. It was made of straws. It was called “tatami” straw mattress.

Sayuri said. “While you are here, why don’t you try to revive your memory? Take a look at this. Do you know internet?”

“Internet?”

“Internet is how you get the information of the world. Haven’t you ever used this? It is not very new thing. Well, I guessed you are surprised with everything. You were even surprised with TV and newspaper.”

 Sayuri said and showed a personal computer on the desk.

“Here it is.”

She pressed the bottom on the computer. Computer screen showed internet browsing window.

“What is this? New type of television?” Jim got another surprise.

“I’ll teach you how to use this. Do you know how to use typewriter?”

“Of course”

“Then you can use keyboard.”

After an hour, Jim learned basic rules of using computer and internet software. Jim was more curious than surprised. Jim was smart and learned things very quickly.

Sayuri went outside for her things. Jim was alone and started to use internet for his purposes. He wanted to know what happened between 1945 and now. He accessed search engine Google, and typed “History of the United States of America .”

He learned so many things that he never knew but had happened before.

In March 10, 1945 US army bombed capital of Japan, Tokyo . It was successful and more than 100,000 people were killed. In May, Germany and August of the same year, Japan, surrendered to the US and its allies. Japan had been occupied by the allied forces for 6 years.

The US became the leader of the free world and enjoyed its greatest prosperity. In postwar era, the Uncle Sam’s new enemy became communist nations such as China and Soviet Union . The former enemies, Japan and Germany turned close allies to counter the spread of Communism.

The US got involved in the war in Korean peninsula in 1950’s and Vietnam in 1960’s in the name of fighting against evil communism.

But the war in Vietnam was failed. During that era, civil rights movement was booming so that Civil Rights Act was enacted to outlaw discrimination against minorities such as Blacks and women.

In 1990’s communist nations’ leader Soviet Union fell down and non-Russia states regained independence. Most of communist nations turned into capitalist free nations. So called “Cold War” was over. China and Vietnam liberated their economies.

It seemed there had been no more enemy for America . The new enemy showed up. The terrorists. Twin Skyscrapers in New York was demolished by airplanes hijacked by Islamic extremists. The new era began. Global war on terror started. The US bombed Afghanistan to break down the regime that harbored the terrorists, and then invaded Iraq to remove the regime which the US claimed potential terror.

What many things happened between the times! Of course 60 years was long period. It was natural so many things happened and changed. The nasty enemies for the US he believed now became closest friends to the US . Black American woman became the secretary of the States. The same sex marriage was legalized in the State of Massachusetts . It seemed he experienced 60 year-long lifetime in 1 hour.

He still could not understand what happened to him. The time passed 60 years but he hadn’t changed anything. He was still 21 years old man.

“Jim, I am back. Why don’t you go downstair to join the lunch? My mother made it for us.” Sayuri said behind his back.

He went to the dining room. Jim and Sayuri sat on the chairs. The lunch was served.

“I hope my mother’s food would please you. She made spaghetti and salad for you” said Sayuri.

“Thank you, I like spaghetti.” Jim said smiling. Indeed he was very hungry. He started eating spaghetti and salad. They were very delicious. At the table, were Jim, Sayuri, Ken’s wife, and Mother. Ken went out for work.

Jim wondered where her Grandma was. Sayuri said, “Well, she is at home now. But seems like she doesn’t want to join the lunch with us. She is eating it alone in her room.”

“How come?” Jim asked her because the way she talked and looked at him implied there was something related to Jim.  

“I'm sorry to tell you that Grandma doesn’t like Americans because she lost her mother who is my late great-grand mother and Grandma’s brother by the air raid in Tokyo 60 years ago.”

Jim was shocked and his face turned pale. He then stopped eating spaghetti.

Go on to Chapter 4.

23:35 Posted in My novel | Permalink | Comments (0)

28 January 2007

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Chapter 2

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

 

Please read Chapter 1, first.

 

Jim woke up and found himself lying on the bed. Jim soon found he was in a room wearing some kind of pajama. He saw sunlight coming from the window. It was in the morning.

“Good mornng, are you awake?”

He heard a woman’s voice. He looked at her. She was sitting beside the bed. She was a Japanese woman, whom he saw in the burning house. She looked fine. Strangely she spoke English.

“Where am I? What am I doing here?” said Jim.

“You are in the hospital. You saved my life and then fell down on the road. Then we are taken here.”

A woman said delightedly smiling. She was a young pretty woman with long hair wearing western style shirts and skirt.

“Who are you? Why are you here with me?” said Jim.

“My name is Sayuri. I lived in the apartment which was burnt down last night. Actually this morning. You must be an American guy who was supposed to be living next door. I heard from the landlord that an American man was moving in last night. I was sleeping last night. But woke up by the fire. You were there and rescued me. Too bad the apartment that you were going to live burned down on the day you came there. The fire came from neighborhood. You were so unlucky but I was lucky that I was saved by you.”

Her English was excellent though he could notice slight Japanese accent. Jim wondered what she was. Yes, he remembered she was in the burning house. Her story confused him. He could not understand what she was talking about.

“Why do you speak such good English?”

Jim asked her to know what she was. He just thought she was an investigator for the military.

“Oh, thank you for the compliments. I am an interpreter. I used to study in a college in the United States” she replied. Then she asked him back “By the way, what is your name? What do you do? Are you a student or worker? How old are you?”

Jim felt caution. She spoke cheerfully but such questions would be usually given to prisoner of war.

He said “My name is Jim…”

But he stopped talking as soon as he saw a man in uniform coming into the room. His uniform was dark blue and looked like a military or police personnel.

A man in uniform said something which Jim could not understand. Sayuri responded to the man.

 

 

Then she said to Jim “The policeman wants to ask you some questions regarding the situation of the fire.” Jim felt frightened. It was the time investigation starts, including torturing. Jim knew he should be ready to such condition any time since he became a military person. But he was very scared and started to look pale in his face.

“Jim, are you alright?” said Sayuri.

“Sorry, I don’t remember anything. I don’t even know who I am. I just remember my name is Jim. That is all.”

He thought that was the only way to avoid the investigation and torture. But he knew it wouldn’t work because barbaric Japanese military would torture him to get information from him. They wouldn’t show any mercy.

Sayuri talked with the policeman again. After 10 minutes of talking, the policeman smiled and bowed to both Sayuri and Jim. Then he got out of the room.

Sayuri spoke to Jim again.

“The policeman says you can leave here if you want to. It seemed you lost the memory by the fire. Why don’t we see a doctor? If we can, why don’t we go to my family’s place?”

Jim was surprised by her kindness.

 

Jim got out of the bed and stood up. Sayuri guided him to get out of the room. Jim looked around the corridor. The building seemed modern. He heard most Japanese buildings were built in wood. But the building looked concrete built and very clean.

 

He passed the room where several patients were gathered. He heard the radio sound and looked at the direction such sound is coming from. He was shocked to see what the patients were looking at. Some kind of box, with screen on one side that shows the moving pictures with radio sound. The box itself was releasing the image. No projector here. It was not the theatre. The image was in color. How could it possibly happen? Color film images he knew were “Gone with the wind” and “Wizard of Oz” which he saw before the war with Japan. But the films were shown in theatre, not a place like this. He could not believe that Japan already had such advanced technology.

“What is that thing?”

Jim asked Sayuri pointing his finger to the box.

“Oh, my god, you seem to suffer serious memory loss. Don’t you know this is television?”

“Tele-vision? Oh, I see.”

He seemed to get the point. Yes, he heard something about it. Nazi-Germany has already made it for Berlin Olympic in 1936. But that was black and white. Japan imported that thing and made it into color image? He still couldn’t understand what was going on.

“Here, let’s see a doctor” said Sayuri.

 

A doctor and nurse were in the room. The doctor spoke to him through Sayuri’s interpretation. It was 5 minutes conversation and the doctor put stethoscope on his chest. 

  

The doctor told Sayuri that Jim was fine and permitted to leave the hospital though his memory loss was worrisome but that happened by the shocking incident and he would be recovering soon. He was advised that he should come back to the hospital when his condition would change.

Jim and Sayuri went back to the room. Jim was given new clothes, shirts, jeans, underwears, sweater and jacket. “Don’t worry, they were all my brother’s used clothes. Underwears are new. I bought them at this hospital. I’ll get out of the room. Please change the clothes.” “Hey, where is what I was wearing?” “Oh they dumped them because they got too many grimes on it. Mine, too.” She got out of the room. As he was changing the clothes, he was feeling very awkward. This should be enemy line. But people he met seemed so friendly to him. How could they be?

He changed the clothes and got out of the room. Sayuri was standing and smiling. She had a newspaper in her hand.

“This is for you. It is English newspaper in Japan. I hope it would help you recover memories somehow.”

Jim took the newspaper and read it. It was all written English and the title of the newspaper was “The Japan Times.” He was surprised that there was an English newspaper being published in Japan. But there was more surprising thing he saw on the paper. He saw the date of the paper.

 

“March 10, 2005”

 

Go on to the Chapter 3.

21:25 Posted in My novel | Permalink | Comments (1)

30 December 2006

Short Novel: The Flight to Tokyo, Chapter 1

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

At midnight of March 10, 1945, James Austin was flying over the enemy's capital, Tokyo.

He was in US Air Force's bomber aircraft, B29. The mission was to bomb the city to give the enemy shock and owe. This is important mission to end the war.

Austin was 21 year old pilot, from Conneticut. Over there his parents, Tom, Jane and 10 year-old sister who had been suffering from asthma live. His parents told him his sister would die before he would come back home. That was what the docter told them. So he had to survive in the war. He would be the only child in his family.

Grisping control gear, he was thinkng of his sister, whom he called Katie. She had had problems with her health since she was born. He and his parents had known that she wouldn't live long.
He gave her a present before he joined the army. It was a doll. Very pretty doll like Katie. Katie named the doll "Clara."
He remembered Katie said "Jim, please come back alive. I will live too." Then he promised he would live and when he comes back he would give her another doll as the sisiter for Clara. Katie said she would be excited to meet Clara's sister. Katie told Jim Clara needs something common with her sister. That means Jim had to buy a doll that fits the condition for Clara's sister, which Katie requested. But there is no hope for Katie to meet Clara's sister.

No hope to live. The same words should be delivered to the people beneath him. He and his colleagues in the army called them "Japs." His plane was going to drop firebombs onto their residents. Wooden houses that are easily burned down. Women and children are part of the target. But for the army, they are enemy Japs who do not deserve their lives.
Jime never thought it was cruel thing to do. Jim read the newspaper articles which describes how brutaly Japanese army slaughtered Chinese civilians including women and children by bombing from the air and on the ground. Bombing of Chongqing, and Rape of Nanking. Japanese army have done such terrible things. Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. It was a sneak attack. They killed thousands of American soldiers. 

Now none of the people below him should be considered non-combat personels.

"Open the hatch. It is show-time." The captain said. The plane was in the formation of air-raid with hundreds of planes dropping the bombs. As co-pilot of the plane, Jim pulled the lever to open the hatch. But he found something is strange. The plane is not dropping the bombs.
The hatch is not open. He pushed back the lever and tried pulling it again. But it didn't work.
"What is wrong?" said the captain.
"The hatch is not open. It cannot work, sir." Jim replied.
"Ok. maybe we should lower the altitude, then that should work when the hatch is a little more strained."
"But sir, we shouldn't get away from the formation. And it is dangerous. It would be easier for the enemy to hit us by their ground fires." Jime felt fear.
"Are you saying we should go back home with heavy bombs loaded while others fly back with empty stomach?"
"But..."
"We are soldiers, we should accomplish this honorable mission. We cannot get away from it."
"All right, Captain." said Jim. He agreed with Captain's words. Totally. The whole crews should risk their lives for the cause. To end the war and bring the victory for the United States of America.  
The plane with 11 crews including co-pilot, Jim, Captain and other members lowered the altitude. Of course they turned off from the formation so that the plane wouldn't be hit by the bombs coming from the above.
They confirmed they were in the right position. What they saw above through the ceiling window was only dark sky. What they saw beneath through the floor window was burning city. A lot of houses and building seemed to be on fire. Jim wondered if they should drop any more bombs onto the ground when the city had got already enough damage.
Jim pulled the gear. He heard the big sound. The sound of hatch opening and bombs dropping.
The whole crew were relieved to hear the sound. They have accomplished the mission.
Then it was the time to go back to where they came from.
But suddenly they heard another big sound, Bang. Then they felt the plane was shaking and smelled the fire. Right after that, they felt the heat. They found their plane was burning.
Jim realized the sound was made by ground fire hit on the plane.
The plane lost the balance. Soon the fire surrounded Jim and Captain.
"Oh, my god." said the Captain. "We got hit."
Jim saw the captain burning beside himself. Then he realized fire was covering on him.
He pressed the bottom as he learned at Air Force Academy. It was what a pilot should do to evacuate the plane. Then he did.
He escaped from the plane. Soon he found himself floating in the air by the parachute.
He was going down slowly. He saw the plane that he was in falling down burning. Of course it was dropping very quickly because it had no parachute with it.
He had no idea of what to do next. Where he would land was the enemy line. The enemy's capitol. After he would land on the ground, he would be caught or shot by the enemy, Japs.

He saw what was beneath his feet. Fires. Very hot he felt. It was getting hotter and hotter.
He thought he would be dead before the enemy would find him.
The worse thing happened. The leashes of the parachute were suddenly cut off.
He fell down with no parachute. But strangely he did not fall not as quickly as the gravity pulls.
He felt something was trying to absorb him. He did not know what it was.
He felt he was going to land with no harm.
Then he landed. He was alive with no injuries. He bent his knees putting his hands on the ground, actually it was wooden floor. He found himself in a house. He then found himself surrounded by the fire. He felt very very hot.
"Oh, no, I am in the burning house. The house of Japs." He shouted in his mind.
He stood up and trying to find a way to get out of the house.
Fire and smoke were the only thngs he could see.
"Tasukete, tasukete." A voice of woman was heard to his ears. He couldn't understand what she was saying but he easily assumed it was a cry for help.
He looked around. He saw a woman lying just a few steps from him. Then he also saw the doorway to get out of the house. He wanted to run away as soon as possible. There is no time to take care of a woman, especially the enemy's woman.
But he realized he had to because he was a gentleman. He held up a woman with his arms. He then ran to the doorway.
He suddenly got out of the house and the fire. The outside was much cooler. He felt winter air.
He got on the road. He then found himself surrounded by the people looking at him very seriously.
"Oh my god, Japs are looking at me." He said to himself in his mind.

He thought that he was going to die. Then he fainted. A woman on his arms was dropped. Jim lied down beside her on the road.

To be continued to Chapter 2.

The story is updated monthly, basically. Sometimes delayed.

This novel is copyright of author of this blog, Masagata.
 

09 October 2006

The Blog novel "Japanese and Wars"

The below is the novel I am writing in my Japanese blog.

This is translation of Prologue of the novel. I wonder if you might be interested.

Please try.

 

Prologue

 

Pentagon, Washington, USA,   July, 1944

 

A 44 year-old man named Richard Whiteriver was sitting in front of the old lady aged around 60, named Ruth Benedict. They were alone in the room. He was told that she was one of the most authoritative scholars for cultural anthropology. She started to talk about her mission assigned by the Department of Defense.

“Thank you for coming here from so far away. You may be surprised that a woman like me is part of war-time intelligence mission. I have to do the research on our enemy, oh sorry, it is my country.”

She seemed hesitant to use “our” because she was informed that a man was ex-Japanese national.

“No, ma’am, that is fine. In fact Japan is not my country from the beginning. The fact of the matter is I was not born in Japan. I wasn’t even raised in Japan.”

“Oh, really, I was told you were a journalist for Japan’s mainstream newspaper. Then you became a political advisor for the prime-minister prior to Pearl Harbor Attack. You  have witnessed Nanjing Massacre and then Pearl Harbour Attack. You have quite experiences for my project to complete.”

“Actually, my father was Japanese. But my mother was exiled Polish. I am mixed breed. The place I was born was Shanghai. I grew up there until 15 years old. Then my family moved to Japan later.”

His explanation seemed convincing to Dr. Benedict. He just looked like a pure white American man, but if his hair color is changed from light brown to dark black. He might look like a Japanese man.

“All right, Mr. Whiteriver, oh how should I call you? May I call you “Richard” like American way?”

“Oh, please call me by first name. You can even call me “Richey.” That was what I have been called.”

“Even by Japanese?”

“Yes. That was my nickname.”

“What was your name when you were Japanese before you became American citizen?”

“Shirakawa Ryuichi. The family name “Shirakawa” literally means “white river” in Japanese.”

“Interesting” she said.

Dr. Benedict stood up and walked to the sideboard. Richey and Dr. Benedict looked at two objects placed on the sideboard. One is chrysanthemums arranged on frog in flat vase. This kind of flower arrangement is called “Ikebana” in Japan. The other is traditional Samurai’s sword. Richey asked her why such things are placed on the side board.

“Because they seemed represent the nature of Japanese personality. The beautiful chrysanthemums arranged like this represent gracefulness. The sword represents aggression of military which we are fighting against. Japanese soldiers are so barbaric but easily to surrender themselves. I have collected and read so many things about Japanese culture and politics. But it is not good enough for me to make a complete book of Japanese culture which is to submit to the military intelligence. That is why you come in. I need your help.”

“Why does military assign you the mission like this? It is almost certain that sooner or later Japan would surrender. You do not need to interview with me for knowing Japanese culture. You’ve read so many documents, books, films and so on. The two countries have had almost a century long relationship. You’ve had enough sources.”

Richey talked laughingly.

“The military is thinking about what to do after the war. How to occupy Japan. You can’t just conquer the enemy. They should always be afraid of rebellion. In order to gently control the enemy land, you have to know what they are always thinking. Interviews are important because it is part of field work which I cannot do, as you know I am too old to get in the enemy field.”

Dr. talked as laughingly as Richey did. Then they both smiled each other.

After a moment of silence, they became serious and started talking.

“Well, first of all, tell me more about yourself. Things other than written on reference I was given” said Dr. Benedict.

“What would you like to know?” Richey said.

“How did you become a journalist for the newspaper? What was a lead?”

Her question started to remind Richey of his last month spent at the house in Kobe city, Japan. That was one of most shocking events of his life although he had worse later.

It was March 1918, Kobe City Japan, when Richey was only 18 years old.

A 18 year-old Shirakawa Ryuichi was looking out of the window viewing the whole of Kobe city. His house stood on the hillside of the city. He was also overhearing the record played in his father’s study, which is next to his room. The music was Italian opera, which was his father’s favorite.

Then he heard the sounds someone was knocking on the entrance door. The knocking sound was very loud.  

 

If you are interested in what will happen next and can read Japanese, please go to this page.  

21:50 Posted in My novel | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: journalism, war, literature

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