A true encounter
I met a man on a rocky shore not far from Sakhalin,
he asked me to sit by his fire and share a drink with him.
He was old and I was young
and though we spoke a different tongue
I could understand him some,
and as we drank his tale begun...
I listened as the waves of Okhotsk
crashed upon the beach,
I listened as the sake brought back
visions out of reach,
he told me of the day he flew
as gunner in a six man crew
to bomb Manchuria,
just a boy of seventeen
He told me how the navigator
was the first to go,
as blazing shards ripped apart
their bomber from below.
He showed me in the firelight
his relic from that final flight,
a wicked scar across his head,
"I survived, the others...dead...
Heiwa nan da yo 平和なんだよ" he said...
Peace is everything.
*After crashing in northern China the man was captured by red army Soviet troops and interned in a Siberian prison camp for five years. He came back to Japan in 1950 one of few survivors of the thousands of Japanese prisoners held after the war but couldn’t return to his village as the Soviets had annexed the northern islands of Japan immediately before the end of the war and expelled the inhabitants.