Readers have asked to see more of this ‘book within a book’ in my soon-to-be-released’ debut novel. I’m happy to present the second chapter of Hideki’s Diary.
Hideki’s Diary: Chapter 2
Having quickly prepared and eaten lunch, Joshua immediately returned to what he now referred to as ‘Hideki’s Memoirs’. Fascinated with Hideki Tanaka’s story, he opened the copied journal and continued reading.
Returning to Kobe, I was met by my wife at the front door of our house. The war had frightened her, and we were both worried about our son, Musashi; he has only become an adult this year, having turned twenty in January. Like me, he is extremely patriotic and had immediately applied to enter the army despite his mother’s protests. I am very proud of him for fighting for his country, but like my wife, I also feared for his life in the Pacific. He is our only child, and we did not want to lose him to the war. We prayed together nightly for his safe return to Nippon, and that evening we presented offerings of food and fine sa-ke on the altar of our private Shinto shrine in our living room.
I started organizing some clothes, and lifted down my bags from the shelf above our futon. Seeing the suitcase, my wife panicked, thinking that I was also heading off to war. In a way, I guess I was doing just that. She hated seeing Musashi leave, and didn’t want me to do the same. Naturally my wife wouldn’t want to be left alone at home, to ponder her future, and to pine for her husband and son. She demanded to know what was going on. In her agitated state, she dared to call me a liar when I told her that I had met General Tojo earlier that day at his request; I berated her angrily, showing her the official letter the General had given me. I did not let her read it of course, but simply informed her that the General wanted me to perform a task for Japan which would assist the war effort, and told her that I could not divulge any details. She was stunned. I turned back to my suitcase. My wife relented and immediately began to help me pack.
A short while later we reached the station. I leapt out of the car, grabbed my bags, and thanked the driver before turning and running to the station. The train was already there, and as I rushed through the turnstiles at Kobe station, I asked the station attendant to hold the train momentarily. I had only just stepped onto the stairs leading up into the carriage when the train started rolling out.
Hours later I woke up, my neck stiff and my shoulders sore, as the train continued rumbling along the tracks towards Tokyo. I peeled off the wrapping from the rice balls that my wife had packed for me, and began to eat them. They were delicious, and I felt an overwhelming sense of both sadness and appreciation at the same time. I made my way to the train canteen and bought a bottle of beer, which both complimented the rice balls and soothed my feelings of melancholy. I drifted back off to sleep soon after.
An announcement informing the passengers of our arrival at Tokyo came over the speakers and awoke me from my slumber. I could see the faint hint of dawn outside my window. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I stood up and retrieved my bags from the luggage container at the rear of the carriage. I held onto a pole for balance as the train pulled up at the platform in Shinjuku station. As I alighted, it struck me again how busy and crowded Tokyo city had become; Shinjuku station is of course Tokyo’s largest train station, and the platform was jam-packed with travellers and soldiers. I then had to transfer to another train going to Yokohama, quickly found the correct platform, and managed to jump on the Yokohama bound train just as the doors were closing.
Upon arrival, I picked up my bags and made my way to the central exit. Yokosuka was about fifteen minutes from there by car, and it was only 5:30 AM. I organized a car to take me there, and when we reached Yokosuka Port, I paid the driver and stepped outside onto the sidewalk. Almost immediately, a man came up to me and I instantly recognized him from the photo. We greeted each other in the traditional Japanese manner, and I was thankful that as a way of small talk, he asked if I had eaten breakfast yet. I told him that I hadn’t, and he invited me to a restaurant that serves early breakfasts to sailors and fishermen. I was extremely grateful as we sat down at a table five minutes later with a steaming hot cup of Japanese green tea in front of us. After the waitress had taken our order and left, I pulled out my official papers from General Tojo, and we both focused our discussion on the task at hand.
I was surprised to discover that he was the captain of a ship, and that it was his ship on which I would be a guest. (Again, I think it best not to reveal his name or the name of his ship here in this journal.) After a hearty breakfast of grilled fish, rice and miso-soup, we left the restaurant and walked toward his ship. It was a fine, medium-size ship. He welcomed me on board, and showed me to my quarters. I had my own cabin with its own head, which he referred to as the latrine, so I was very happy indeed. Despite my cabin being a little small, there was room for a desk and chair in the corner where I could work and plan my operations throughout the mission. It was ideal and I was most pleased. This ship, while travelling amongst other larger battleships for protection, was to be my main means of transport for the next few months. We were to depart the next day.
If you liked this and would be interested in reading more, then you can download the attached file (Hideki’s Diary: Chapter 2) for free. Enjoy!