As the Yakuza Oyabun walked into the room, Joshua was dismayed to realize that the last few words that he had translated from Hideki's diary were still visible on the notepad. Before he had a chance to see what words they were, the Oyabun picked up the pad and scanned them himself. Joshua stopped breathing, as his mind tried to think of possible excuses for the kanji written there.
“Kanji study, Joshua?” the Yakuza boss asked in his native Osaka dialect.
“Ah, yes, I find kanji fascinating,” Joshua replied in Japanese, trying to breathe.
“Most impressive! I was never very good at Kanji myself,” said the Oyabun, throwing the pad back onto the bed.
“What do you Americans say?” he asked in English. “All work and no play make Joshua a dull boy?” Joshua nodded and both men laughed at the Oyabun’s play on words, using Joshua’s own name instead of the name Jack. The Oyabun looked pleased with himself, but then frowned.
“But Joshua – it truly is too nice a day to be spending it inside. Come up on deck,” he said earnestly, speaking in Japanese once more.
Night was falling, and Joshua could already see the first few stars begin to show themselves. He knew that there would be a few more days of sea travel before they reach the United States. Of course he never forgot for a moment the sinister mission he was on, and the danger that lurked beneath the surface. In a way he was just like the boat that he was currently a passenger on, skimming across the ocean while always fully aware of the dangerous sea creatures that swam below.
Once back in his cabin, Joshua had a shower, got dressed and slid into bed. Picking up his ‘kanji study’ notepad, he proceeded to read Hideki’s journal from where he left off. After a while, Joshua was lost in Hideki’s adventures during World War Two.
Hideki had written some of the history of Saipan in his diary, and Joshua read how in the fifteenth century, Spain laid claim to many of the Micronesian Islands including Saipan. The Portuguese sea captain and famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, on an expedition with a mostly Spanish crew, visited Saipan in 1521. After some island natives were caught stealing from his Spanish ship, Magellan named the island, ‘Las Islas de los Ladrones’, which translated as ‘The Island of Thieves’. Joshua laughed when he thought about the irony of Hideki, a Yakuza Kobun, stopping there on his mission.
Hideki wrote that Japan began militarizing the islands in the late 1930s, and their forces sunk three American oil tankers and an American gunboat in China’s Yangtze River. It was at that time that the Northern Mariana Islands, all under Japanese control, were then closed to the rest of the world. Hideki added in his notes that although neither America nor Japan had officially entered the war at that stage, Matsuo Kinoaki published a book in 1940 explaining Japan’s plans to defeat America in the war. Joshua continued reading.