Bye2

korra4life

United States

I'm no longer on WtW and have withdrew the majority of my pieces. If you want to get in touch, you can message me on Instagram or my email (found in 'Message from Writer').

Thanks for being around, guys! Keep writing and DFTBA.

Message to Readers

I have explained the honorific system in the footnotes, in case you're confused. Comment with questions, if you have any (about anything, not just honorifics).

For sake of my bad explanations, I'm just going to re-introduce a bunch of the characters:
Akimura Kei - main character, currently recovering from dehydration
Nakamura Youta - Kei's best friend, served time in the Air Defense, his closest friend, Haru, died during the Pearl Harbor bombing
Saori - the little girl Kei found by the river outside of downtown Hiroshima
Tajima - a man that looks a lot like Haru, very opinionated, kind to Kei but thinks of Youta as an obstacle
Father Shozo - a Japanese priest who spent a lot of time living in France before returning to Hiroshima to run a chapel, has a past with Youta
Nagatomi - a kind woman with her five children here in the chapel with her, very motherly towards everyone
Dr. Yabasako - the resident doctor of the chapel, friendly toward everyone

If you were wondering, this isn't really a chapter. It's more of an extra thing I wanted to write but didn't really move the plot or anything. Hope you guys understand that during WWII, so many lives were lost on all sides of the war, most were undeserving. I know that in this series, I wanted to shed light on how Japan fared during part of the war, but I also want to make it clear that I'm not excusing Japan for any of their actions. What they did was wrong but so did everyone else in this war.

Explosion, pt. 6.5

March 27, 2019

FREE WRITING

2
After everyone has been given their ceramic bowls which are filled with watery soup and given dried saltine crackers, conversation starts throughout the chapel. I sit by the altar with the other adults, watching the children as they share food with one another and giggle at jokes.
"Well, what do you think happened?" Dr. Yabasako asks, lifting the bowl of cold soup to his lips. My attention snaps back to the others who have been discussing the bombing.
"Obviously the Americans. Those fools can't get over anything," Tajima-san grumbles while glaring at his soup. 
Father Shozo hears the conversation and tiptoes over, his cheeks flushed. "You mean the military base we attacked in '41?" 
"Of course, Father. Americans know how to hold grudges, that's for sure. I think the kids should know about it," Tajima-san tilts his head toward the group of children eating their soup and crackers in silence. Saori looks up and frowns at him. 
"We shouldn't worry them about that," I whisper, my fingers curling around my spoon. The coat I was given was much too oversized and I felt as if I was being swallowed alive. "They're just kids."
"So? Kei --sorry, I mean-- Akimura, this is the world we now live in. The war has been going on for years. These kids have lived through it for so long and since they obviously know nothing about it, we should tell them about the monsters who have done this to us. To them," Nagatomi-san says softly, giving me a firm nod. I can't meet her eyes. 
"I agree," Tajima-san sighs. He leans back and clears his throat. "Hey, kids--"
"Shut. Up." We all turn our heads to look at Youta. His expression is placid and he stares right at Tajima, who glowers at him. "Don't you dare tell them anything. How do you know if they learned about the war or not?"
"Youta, just calm down," I say in as gentle a voice as I can muster. I have never seen him this serious or this angry before. This must be the side of him that grew out of the Air Defense. 
Tajima-san laughs, cracking his knuckles, as he growls, "Watch what you say, Youta. I expect honorifics from you. Learn how to respect your elders." 
I suck in a deep breath and watch Youta's response. Youta continues to stare and says, "I'll only speak with honorifics once you earn it. Just because you're three years older than me does not mean that you deserve any respect." 
"Both of you, stop it. This is a place of peace. Please calm yourselves down," Father Shozo snaps, his usually sweet voice punctuated by his French accent. 
"Those Americans have bombed our city and killed our people, yet you don't want to inform these kids of that?" Tajima-san hisses, sitting up straight. For a few minutes, there is nothing but silence soaking the gaps that no one wants to fill.
Dr. Yabasako glances at the children and gestures to the stairs. "Children, go to the basement. Can you all check the rations to see how long the food supply will last?" he asks. Most of the children happily stand and hurry down the stairs. Nagatomi-san protests, but Dr. Yabasako's stare silences her. 
Youta shakes his head, "Nagatomi-san already said it. They've been living in this war for years. How do you know that they haven't heard anything about it? For months, there have been alerts all over Japan about predictions of where the bombs will drop. For years, we have had bomb drill after drill. How stupid do you think these children are?" 
"Those Americans--" Tajima-san starts. 
"--Have barely done anything wrong compared to what we have done," Youta interrupts, his words turning viciously cold. We are all silent, the only sound in the chapel is the laughter of the children downstairs. My fear has now changed to confusion. "None of you have any shame? Pearl Harbor happened four years ago. But we have expanded into so many countries and killed so many for the amusement of soldiers." 
Dr. Yabasako stutters, "H-h-how can you say that? You're not a soldier." 
Youta sticks his hand beneath his jacket and pulls out two pairs of bronze dog tags. I can barely make out Haru's name on one of them. Youta holds out the other one with disdain and declares, "Nakamura Youta of the Black Murrelet, Japanese Air Defense." 
We are all silent yet again. I can barely breathe, my chest rising and falling animatedly. Dr. Yabasako said to rest, but I don't think I can. I swallow hard and brace myself. 
"I think everyone in this war made mistakes, Youta. The Americans, Japanese, Viets, Filipinos, Soviets, Nazis, Brits. Everyone messed up. I don't think there's any point to blame anyone else," I croak out through my dry lips. I just smile at the others, hoping to dissolve the conversation. It doesn't work. 
"Americans bombed us, Nakamura. I don't know what they did but people are dying out there. Those weren't normal bombs," Tajima-san hisses through clenched teeth. 
"I heard that it was only one bomb," Nagatomi-san whispers, eyes darting to each one of us. 
"It was only one bomb. There was only one bomber in the sky," Youta grumbles. He looks back up at Tajima-san and shakes his head. "We have all fought and killed. Don't pretend that Japan has not bombed and killed countless others. Think of Nanjing, Tajima! What about My Lai? What about Pearl Harbor? Indonesia? Malaysia? We have bombed, slaughtered, raped, abused, tortured, and defiled so many people, yet you have the nerve to say that the only monsters are American. We are too."
Tajima-san stands to his feet, his eyes wide and wounded. Father Shozo stands as well, prepared to stop him in case of a fight. But there is none. Tajima-san hurries to the double doors of the chapel and steps outside. 
Father Shozo clasps a hand to the cross necklace on his chest and whispers a quick prayer. When he opens his eyes, he gestures to all of us, "I think we should sleep. This has been an eventful day for all of us, especially Akimura and Nakamura. Rest would be good." 
Dr. Yabasako nods and stands to his feet, picking up the bowls of cold soup that have been left untouched since the beginning of the conversation. I can't meet anyone's gaze as I go downstairs to the bunker to pretend to sleep.
Lots to explain here, right?
In most countries of the world, there is a set of 'honorifics.' These are words reserved for people who are older, have a higher social class, is a senior in class or work, or if you've just met them. In English, there are no honorifics, so people who speak only English get a bit confused in this topic. 
Honorifics are a big deal. Instead of saying things normally, you would have to say it in a specific way. For example, I'm sure you've noticed by now that Youta and Kei call each other by their first names. But, others call them by their last names, Nakamura and Akimura. That's out of respect since these other people don't know them. In a place of work, their superiors could also add endings to their names to show their age/rank. However, I don't do that in this series. I just show how Kei respects people who are older than her by adding '-san' to their first names. Of course, I'm not 100% clear on how these additions work in Japanese. But, it's just honorifics. Every language has it (except English, as far as I know). 
In Spanish, the honorifics has the 'usted' and 'ustedes' form. In French, there is the 'vous' form. So, without using these honorifics, that's considered extremely disrespectful. When Youta refuses to use honorifics to Tajima, that's a big deal, even if you don't understand it at first.
I've been using these honorifics within both 'Mission' and 'Explosion,' but I don't think I've ever actually explained it. Oops. Comment if you have questions.

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  • March 27, 2019 - 12:27pm (Now Viewing)

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6 Comments
  • korra4life

    Oooh... Youta and Kei? I won't give any spoilers for their relationship...
    But I do agree with you. Tajima is very well-rounded and he seems like he has a lot of personality. I'm waiting to explore more of his character, actually. And who knows? I might make him stay around for a while


    4 months ago
  • Quille

    Personally hoping for Youta and Kei :)
    I like Tajima because he's a really well-rounded character, no I don't think he and I could be friends irl, but he's cool to read about :D
    I didn't realize until after I wrote the previous comment that Brains Benton is super old (possibly before Nancy Drew? but along the same lines :)
    Can't wait for more :DDD


    4 months ago
  • korra4life

    Why not?? You don't think Tajima and Kei should be together? Or what about Youta and Kei? How about Hinata (who I haven't introduced yet) and Kei? Or do you think Kei should stay single forever?


    4 months ago
  • Mary Wall

    All I can think is that Tajima had better not fall for Kei... Or else.........:)


    4 months ago
  • korra4life

    I've never read the Brains Benton.
    I appreciate that you liked this half chapter. I don't know how I feel about Tajima, but I'm glad you like him!


    4 months ago
  • Quille

    My only question about the honorifics is whether you've ever read the Brains Benton mysteries :) There's one about Japanese people and one of them calls the main character Brains-san (sorry, totally off-topic)
    I really liked this piece, it opened up the newly introduced characters for me a bit more, as well as the others. Emotion was on-point too :DD Loving Tajima, even if he is really loud & obnoxious/opinionated :D


    4 months ago