If Father were here, Ko would still be
spunky but a tender sister.
as if rendered speechless with astonishment and surprise
I stopped walking and stared at her,
be in a huff and display one's displeasure
I knew she wanted to make up for what she had said, but I
a shelter from danger or hardship
They questioned us. We were wearing Korean Communist Army uniforms—were we seeking political
formal systematic questioning
interrogation went on. Did we carry a large amount of money?
as if struck dumb with astonishment and surprise
"The war is over," he said.
stupefied. "When?" Ko asked.
a state of danger involving risk
"Yesterday. You cannot go back. That is why there are so many escapees from the north. The Japanese are in
peril in Korea now."
thoroughly clean and free of disease-causing organisms
He sterilized the place beneath my right breast that was burned and infected, applied medicine, and the medic put on
antiseptic gauze and wrapped my chest.
He pulled my earlobe down and inserted a long thin wire. Tears streaming, I gritted my teeth and saw Mother's
a person who has received a degree from a school
"My father and your husband were classmates at the University. My father is Kazuzo Takeda—he's a member of the House of Peers. They get together at our house every year after their
alumni association meeting."
a noisy quarrel
She took me on her lap and wrapped us both in her blanket. Secure in her arms, I went to sleep. But some time later there was a violent
altercation with the man next to Mother, who complained that I had kicked him.
crafty artfulness, especially in deception
Mother was almost speechless at the
cunning Ko had developed and her technique of swimming through danger.
wet through and through; thoroughly wet
Rain came. We covered ourselves with our blankets but soon we were soaked. It rained for three days and we sat on the ground, in line, day and night. Our belongings were
contort the face to indicate a certain mental state
"My leg is wounded. Don't press hard, you are hurting me." Ko
grimaced as if in pain.
goods or money obtained illegally
Yes, they were Korean Communist soldiers, four of them, and they had climbed the cliff with bags full of
expressing compassion or friendly fellow feelings
He was terribly cold. The moon shone over the entire earth to give light, but why did it not give heat to warm him? He thought the beautiful moon was most
unsympathetic. He found a spot and went to sleep.
a narrow channel joining two larger bodies of water
We had been three days crossing the rough Korean
Strait, and at last we were entering the Japanese zone of Tsushima
an exile who flees for safety
Using a megaphone, he was saying something over and over, but I could not understand his southern accent. Mother said he was telling the
refugees to find their places.
All these years I had dreamed of my beautiful homeland and its cheerful people, and now I was completely taken
aback by demolished Fukuoka.
a reminder of past events
Mother held the bowl and gazed at it for a long time. The apple water steamed. She shook her head gently and shock was in her voice. "These bowls and the few belongings we have here are the only
mementos from our beloved home."
release from military service
We were able to get into third class, but it was packed with refugees and
quick and energetic
The people who had got off were walking
briskly into the station.
the basic unit of money in Japan
She took the small pouch from her chemise pocket and gave Ko ten
yen (about three cents).
low or inferior in station or quality
Mother did a strange thing. She emptied her big wrapping cloth and took the cloth with her to the toilet. Then she came back and told Ko to put back all the
showing signs of wear and tear
Through a glass door I could see well-dressed girls with bright bags, and then I looked down at my
shabby trousers and shoes, the left one tied with a piece of the same rope Mother had used, so long ago, to tie my wrist.
any disease easily transmitted by contact
As I swept and came near the girls who were dusting, they scattered, as if I were carrying
showing or having sympathy for another's suffering
If they had gone through what we had experienced, I thought, they would be
characteristic of those who incline to social exclusiveness
"The girls were very
snobbish, but I liked the lessons."
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
I asked how her day had gone, thinking bitterly of the laughter and
scorn I had experienced.
an empty area or space
Mother watched the benches and seized a
vacancy when she saw one, calling us to come.