Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 26 August 2016

Halibut Recipes

 I think that halibut has a great texture but not much taste. It makes a great platform for other tastes like capers and lemon pepper. Here are a few recipes that I've created or stolen....go online for more ideas....

 Bob's Old Bay Halibut Recipe (best with "skin on" halibut)

 Two Halibut steaks (6 to 8 oz each)
2/3 can diced tomato (or chop your own medium tomato)
1 can butter beans  (or Great Northern or Cannellini beans)
1 heaping teaspoon Old Bay spice
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
2 heaping tablespoons pesto
2 lemon slices
2 sheets (18 x 18" each) aluminum foil

 Preheat oven to 400°F and combine beans, tomatoes, Old Bay spice and Garlic. Place Halibut skin down on aluminum foil and cover with bean mixture. Add pesto and lemon slice and fold foil into packet. Bake about 20 minutes or until halibut flakes easily. Do not overcook fish.....

Tuscan Halibut (best with "skin on" halibut)

 4 sheets (12 x 18" each) Reynolds Wrap® heavy-duty aluminium foil
2 cans (15 oz. each) Great Northern or Cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp. prepared pesto, divided
4 (4 to 6 oz. each) Alaska Halibut steaks
4 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon pepper
4 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 450°F and combine beans, tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons pesto; mix well. Center ¼ of bean mixture on each foil sheet. Top with one Alaska Halibut steak; drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle halibut with lemon pepper. Top with lemon slices. Bring up sides of foil and double fold. Double fold ends to form four packets, leaving room for heat circulation inside packets. Bake 16 to 20 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven. Serve with remaining pesto. Makes 4 servings

ALASKA HALIBUT ROYAL (best with "skin off" halibut)

1 cup dry white wine
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ lbs. Alaska Halibut steaks
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
½ cup each sour cream & mayonnaise
¼ cup minced green onions
Combine wine and salt; pour over halibut. Marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour. Drain halibut on paper towels; dip both sides in breadcrumbs. Place halibut in shallow buttered baking dish. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and green onions; spread over halibut. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until halibut flakes when tested with a fork

Grilled Fresh Alaska Halibut (best with "skin on" halibut)

1 pound (454g) halibut fillet
lemon pepper, salt (for seasoning)
Preheat the grill. Place the halibut skin side down on oiled tinfoil, sprinkle with lemon-pepper-salt mix, and close the grill cover and cook only until the flesh flakes with a plastic fork.

To Accompany:
Consider sliced red peppers and mushrooms wrapped in tinfoil and steamed on the grill
Wild rice i s also nice if there are indoor cooking facilities

SPICY DENALI ALASKA HALIBUT (good with skin on or off)

  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. each dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. each black pepper and salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp. butter, melted
  • 4 (6 oz. each) Alaska halibut steaks, thawed if necessary
Mix together all dry-seasoning ingredients until well combined. Place Alaska Halibut steaks on a non-stick or spray-coated baking sheet or broiler pan. Brush butter onto top surface of halibut. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon seasoning mixture over the surface of each halibut steak. Broil 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Store remaining seasoning mixture in airtight container for future use.

HALIBUT WITH CAPERS (best with "skin off" halibut)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 halibut steaks (6 to 8 oz)
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper
3 tablespoon capers with butter


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the halibut steaks on all sides until nicely browned. Remove from pan, and set aside.

Pour the wine into the pan, and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine reduce to almost nothing, then stir in the garlic, butter and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for a minute to blend the flavors.
Return the steaks to the pan, and coat them with sauce. Cook until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish immediately with the sauce from the pan poured over it.

Blackened halibut or salmon (best with "skin off" halibut)

Ingredients to serve four:
2 Tablespoons ground paprika
1 Tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pieces of salmon or halibut (about 6 oz each).
1/2 cup butter


In a small bowl, mix paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt, white pepper, black pepper, thyme, basil and oregano.

Brush fillets on both sides with melted butter, and sprinkle evenly with the cayenne pepper mixture. then rebrush one side of each fillet with melted butter.

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, cook salmon, butter side down, until blackened, 2 to 5 minutes. Turn fillets, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue cooking 2 to 5 more minutes until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork.

Consider moving the fish around a little occasionally while cooking to prevent the spices from sticking to the pan. I used an olive oil spray to lubricate the pan before adding the fish...... Remember: It is against the laws of nature to overcook fish until it is dry and tough. DON'T DO IT!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Why You Should Avoid Sushi

In a recent study done in Chicago, 100% of the sushi sold as tuna was actually some other fish.

84% of sushi fish samples labeled "white tuna" were actually escolar, a fish that can cause prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage. Escolar or butterfish is delicious, but is also the ex-lax of the fish family.

Escolar is a type of snake mackerel that cannot metabolise the wax esters naturally found in its diet. These esters are called gempylotoxin, and are very similar to castor or mineral oil. This is what gives the flesh of escolar its delicious oily texture.

As a result, when full portions of escolar are consumed, these wax esters cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhoea which may be difficult to control while, for example, passing gas in an elevator.

Mrs. Phred lost a tennis shoe when she was washed overboard on a raft trip this June. She lost the right shoe. Today she showed me the left shoe and asked if I thought she should keep it. I told her that I thought she should keep it in case a future foot amputation, but that she should hope that they did not cut off her left foot because then the shoe would be obviously worthless.

 We passed 50 years together a few days ago. I met her at a cast party in Tallahassee. The play was "A Man For All Seasons". This was about Sir Thomas More and his silence with regard to the legitimacy of Henry the VIII's plan to divorce his wife in the hope of siring a male heir. There were other characters like Cardinal Wolsley and Cromwell, but the important thing was that I got to intersect with Mrs. Phred after the play....

Speaking of anal discharges, one of the funniest You Tube videos I've seen recently is a man called "water butt" who lives in Orlando. These are the people who prevailed in the last four presidential elections. I laid in bed last night shaking my belly with silent laughter as I visualised "water butt".

Today I packed all my dive gear in a small carry-on by eliminating my BCD...I can rent a BCD for $50 for the week on Blackbeard's Cruises...that's exactly what checking a bag both ways would cost on Jet Blue and I don't have to wait for luggage. The water temp will be about 80F in Early November in the Bahamas. We will do 26 dives (wall dives, shark dives, night dives).  Today I saw some cool masks that mount GoPro videocams, but at my advanced age I don't think spending another $600 on more dive gear makes that much sense. My old stuff from 1980 still works.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Charlie Don't Surf

Captain Jack Armstrong

I've been watching the presidential candidates and thinking about the power to launch the nuclear triad.

I tested out at the 99th percentile on my Air Force Officers Emotional Stability Quotient (AFOESQ) . I was an Airman Basic in Lackland Air Force Base in 1963 and wanting the Air Force to send me back to college for a degree and a commission under their Airman Education and Commissioning Program. (AECP). They had 100 slots a year and I wanted and got one.

The test took about three hours and had hundreds of questions that were designed to detect lying and inconsistencies. When my orders came through they promoted me to Staff Sargent ( in nine months after enlistment) and sent me to Florida State University to study accounting. They had 99 slots for meteorologists and 2 for accounting.

Some of the questions went like this:
a. My friends usually came to my house.
b. I didn't have many friends.
c. I usually went to my friends houses.
d. I always stayed at home and masturbated.

Often the questions were trickier, but I thought, "How would Captain Jack Armstrong answer this question?". When I graduated from Florida State in 1965, they offered me the chance to be a pilot or a navigator. Since pilots were being killed willy-ninny in Vietnam, I chose the latter occupation.

Jack Armstrong was the "All American Boy" fictional radio character from 1933 to 1951. I caught the broadcasts on our old radio during the program's last three years. No great mental feat to promote him to a being a Captain in the United States Air Force and use him to answer all the questions...What Would Jack Do (WWJD)? Does knowing the right answers mean that I am emotionally stable? So far I haven't gone postal. On the other hand, my cousin has my M-1 carbine up in New York with the two 50 round banana clips taped together so my chances have been very  limited.

Apparently Jack passed the test with flying colors so when Mrs. Phred questions my sanity or asks if I'm depressed I refer her back to my test results...after all how many of us are certifiably that stable compared to the general population of Air Force Officers?

By the way, I recently acquired a t-shit that says "Charlie Don't Surf" over a picture of a young Charles Manson. No matter how many times I explain to Mrs. Phred why this is hilarious...she fails to see the humor...what do you think?

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Thousand Slimy Things Lived On...and So Did I

Midway Atoll has changed from a source of guano., to a 1930s Pan-Am refueling stop, to a WWII critical battle site, to a Vietnam refueling stop for old military aircraft and then to a U.S bird sanctuary.

There are currently 400,000 nesting pairs of Gooney birds (Albatross) on Midway, about 70% of the world population. The birds arrive in August and stay until late Fall. The mating ritual involves throwing back the head, flapping wings and yodeling in perfect synchronization for days on end. They are graceful in flight but ofter suffer midair collisions.  They frequently crash and tumble on takeoff rolls and on landing. They won't move from the nest if approached by humans or vehicles.

 Overhead the albatross
Hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
An echo of a distant time
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine. 
-Pink Floyd

I stayed in this barracks a number of times after a 10 hour, 2,300 mile, flight from Japan. The Navy was our host and we showered and brushed our teeth in salt water. I often had diarhea here and first thought it was the water until someone told me that it came from eating raw snakes and eels days earlier in Okinawa.

The birds have to be in synch because they take turns shielding the nest from the sun, which kills many of the baby chicks every year. Up to 1,000 a day die in the hot sun and are hauled off to the is survival of the fittest...mother nature takes her toll.

Midway was the turning point in the Pacific war. The U.S. sank four Japanese heavy carriers here with great losses of their best pilots and airplanes. Japan never recovered from these losses. U.S. Navy code breakers allowed the Navy to learn the exact date (June 2, 1942) of the attack on Midway and position an inferior force to lie in wait.

For reasons not entirely understood the wandering albatross have a deferred mating pattern and do not return to Midway to mate until they are 8 or nine years old. Recently, a bird tagged in 1958 returned to mate which says something about lifespan..

The Breaking of JN-25
Breaking the Japanese code known to Americans as JN-25 was daunting. It consisted of approximately 45,000 five-digit numbers, each number representing a word or phrase. For transmission, the five-digit numbers were super-enciphered using an additive table. Breaking the code meant using mathematical analysis to strip off the additive, then analyzing usage patterns over time, determining the meaning of the five-digit numbers. T

AF Is Short of Water
In the spring of 1942, Japanese intercepts began to make references to a pending operation in which the objective was designated as "AF." In an effort to alleviate any doubt, in mid-May the commanding officer of the Midway installation was instructed to send a message in the clear indicating that the installation's water distillation plant had suffered serious damage and that fresh water was needed immediately. Shortly after the transmission, an intercepted Japanese intelligence report indicated that "AF is short of water." Armed with this information, Nimitz began to draw up plans to move his carriers to a point northeast of Midway.

The Gooney Bird's long wings are ill-suited to powered flight and most species lack the muscles and energy to undertake sustained flapping flight. Albatrosses in calm seas are forced to rest on the ocean's surface until the wind picks up again. 

I logged 2,800 hours of flying time at this C-124 navigator's station.  There is a lot of primitive WWII era gear here, including the APN-9 Loran A oscilloscope and a crappy radar. The best navigation aid was dead reckoning, followed by the bubble sextant.

The maximum takeoff weight of a C-124 is 197,000 pounds. Once, one of my pilots, wanting to fly 3,300 miles to Tacoma, had the empty airplane refueled to 110 percent of the allowable maximum weight.. We took off in the pre-dawn darkness, lumbering slowly to the very end of the runway and lifting off into the darkest night I can remember about five feet above the ocean. It took what seemed forever to get high enough that dipping a wing into the water was no longer a possibility.

 When taking off, albatrosses need to take a run up to allow enough air to move under the wing to provide lift.

The C-124 was designed for 5,000 hours of flight time, but often hit 50,000. It had the largest piston driven engines ever mounted on an airplane. The wings developed cracks and sometimes broke off in heavy turbulence. The last one was retired from the National Guard in 1974.

Gooney birds have been recorded flying non-stop over 4,000 miles to find food for the chicks. It's possible that the strenuous mating dance, which lasts for days, is a survival mechanism. The birds have to each be fit enough to share gathering food and sheltering the nest for months.

Above is a picture of Midway on December 7, 1941  after a sneak attack..

The picture below is the flight engineer's station on the C-124. They would do things like throws the levers to kick in the superchargers if we had to climb above 8,000 feet to get over a mountain range.

When a bird first returns to the colony it will dance with many partners, but after a number of years the number of birds an individual will interact with drops, until one partner is chosen and a pair is formed. They then continue to perfect an individual dance language that will eventually be unique to that one pair and last for life.

Young Phred Firecloud, the navigator.

Midway Atoll is about 1,200 miles from Hawaii. The atoll was formed about 28 million years ago by a volcano. The atoll is over the same hot spot that formed the Hawaiian Islands. The volcano gradually sank under its own weight, but the coral growth kept the atoll above water. This subsidence process is called isotonic adjustment.The atoll was claimed by a Captain Middleton for the U.S. in 1859 under the 1856 Uninhabited Island Guano Act.

Things change fast on the human scale of time, from the Battle of Midway to a bird sanctuary in my lifetime.

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I. 
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Coleridge

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Travel Memories: 50 years ago today

The Philippine Sea, 1966

So here we are in Sarasota again. We'll be leaving for another circuit of the U.S after I finish my latest cancer treatments. Meanwhile I'm updating this post out of respect for the greatest Japanese hero..

Back when, We went into the Philippines for fuel on the way in and out of Vietnam. I figure I've been there and back about 50 times. The way out is over the sperm-like island of Corregidor in the mouth of Manila bay. The way in is over the usually placid Philippine Sea.

We departed from Guam mid-morning July 30, 1966 heading 1800 miles west to Clark Air Force base in the Philippines. We fly at 8,000 feet at 200 nautical miles an hour (a nautical mile is about 1.15 real miles). It's another nice summer day. I update my fuel consumption chart. I get a sun line every 45 minutes. As the day passes the sun line changes from a speed line to a course line.

There are dark clouds ahead. I turn the weather radar up to it's maximum range of 100 miles. I see a solid black wall 75 miles ahead. The pilot asks if we have enough gas to go back. I tell him no. He wants to know if we can divert North to Taiwan. I tell him there is no way we have enough gas.We are at 8,000 feet. Nobody predicted a typhoon. We press ahead. Night is falling.

As we enter the wall we hit a severe updraft. The altimeter looks like a clock gone crazy. We are climbing thousands of feet a minute. We pass 16,000 feet and put on our oxygen masks. It's really turbulent. The pilot noses us over into a dive. The airspeed goes from 200 to 450 and hangs there. We're diving and still going up. Blood boils above 30,000 feet without a pressure suit.. We hit 22,000 feet, still diving, still going up.It's pitch black except for red instrument lights. The pilots talk to each other..."holy shit these controls are stiff" one says.

Then comes the first downdraft. The combined effects of the downdraft and dive are spectacular. The pilots stop worrying about boiling blood and start to worry about hitting the ocean. They put the plane into a climb. The flight engineer kicks in the superchargers. We go to MAX power. The engines start to overheat and are approaching red lines for heat and RPM. The airspeed drops to 130 and the stall warning klaxon sounds continuously. Still we plummet. We pass 3,000 feet.

This aircraft is old. The wings fall off sometimes with just moderate turbulence. The airplane is climbing and falling and bouncing and shuddering on the thin edge of stalling. The stall warning horn keeps playing it's tune. The pilots talk again on the intercom. One says "don't lose it". The other grunts. Oh. Here's another updraft in the nick of time. The cycle repeats. Again. and Again.

Eventually we make it to Clark AFB. We go to the Officers club and listen to the 1940's style Filipino big band. I decorate the latrine walls with my war protest rubber stamp. General Douglas MacArthur was here and may have used this very urinal just before he allowed his air force to be wiped out on the runway on December 8th.

We go home to rest in our crew trailer. I look at the sky for vampire bats. The trailer entrance smells intensely of very rancid sweat. Cousin Rex is at Clark AFB this day for medical treatment. He has just been wounded for the third time (shot though the lung with an AK-47). I didn't get to see him.

Who would have guessed at the time that another, more dedicated, Lieutenant (Hiro Onoda) was still sneaking though the mountains of Lubang, blowing up rice crops and staging shootouts on potential invasion beaches. Here's my research on that matter:

March, 1974 - 2nd Lieutenant Hiroo Ononda moves cautiously toward a meeting with his former commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, at Wakamaya Point. Ononda suspects an American trick and dons a camouflage of sticks and dried leaves before dashing across a cleared area. His shirt has loops of fishing line sewn on the inside and he reverses it to insert the sticks and branches. Ononda plans to approach the meeting area at twilight when it is still possible to distinguish human features but still dark enough for a possible escape if the meeting is another enemy trap.

For the last 29 years, Ononda has been waging a lonely guerrilla campaign against the American army, local police forces, Japanese authorities and the Philippine army. He has burned rice stores, shot cattle, chased villagers off potential invasion beaches, killed as many as fifty of the locals and moved in a mountainous circuit every two or three days to elude capture. His diet has consisted of green bananas, coconuts and food that he has 'liberated'. Over the years his men have all deserted or been killed in skirmishes with local police, leaving him to accomplish his mission alone.

Ononda approaches the meeting spot and recognises the major and the student, Suzuki. The major goes into his tent and reappears in a Japanese Imperial Army uniform. Ononda stands at rigid attention while ex-major Taniguchi formally reads the ancient surrender orders. Suddenly the long bitter war between Japan and America is over. 'These are just words', the major says, 'Your real orders will come later.' Through his tears and black anger, Ononda realises that the major cannot speak freely in front of Suzuki.

'We really lost the war? How could they have been so sloppy?', Ononda asks the major.

Before the War

Ononda was born in 1922. He was small but studied the martial art of Kendo after school. He stubbornly challenged the larger, more capable students even though they beat him senseless time and again. In 1939 he went to Hankow, in occupied China, to join his older brother in a family business. He spent much of his time at dance halls doing the tango, drove a 1936 Studebaker, and collected blues records.

The Draft and Guerilla Training

In May 1942, Ononda was drafted. He was assigned to Guerilla Warfare school. He was given orders to never allow himself to be killed and even to consider allowing himself to be taken prisoner if this might enable him to impart confusing information to the enemy.

His mother gave him the family dagger to use to kill himself as a last resort, rather than shaming the family by being taken prisoner. He accepted the gift but knew that he would not commit suicide even if it meant being taken prisoner.

Assignment to Lubang

By November 1944, the Americans had landed on Leyte in the Philippines. Ononda made the long trip by air and boat from Japan to the Island of Lubang. The island measures six miles by eighteen miles. From Manila it can be reached by boat, crossing the Manila bay, passing Corregidor, and travelling south-west approximately 100 miles. On 28 February, 1945, a force of fifty American soldiers landed on the island and many of the Japanese in the small garrison were killed. Hiroo receives orders from his Division Commander:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we'll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that's the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.- 'No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War', Hiroo Ononda, Kodansha International, Ltd, 1974, page 44

Ononda decides to withdraw into the hills and prepare for a long-term resistance. In October, Lubang natives show him the 15 August surrender orders signed by General Yamashita. These are purported to have been issued in accordance with a 'Direct Imperial Order'. Ononda has never heard of such an order and concludes that the leaflet is phoney.

Retreat to the Hills

Ononda and three enlisted men gather weapons, ammunition and food and retreat to the mountains. His companions are Akatsu, Shimada and Kozuka. They move every two or three days in a circuit designed to keep them close to food supplies, cause disruption to the enemy and avoid capture. They make the circuit through the mountains about every two months for the next 29 years. Eventually they perfect many innovations such as making sandals from old tyres and sewing fishing line loop into their clothing to hold camouflage branches. They build huts, learn to dry beef on overnight fires and invent techniques that allow them to sleep on steep mountain slopes. The ants, mouldy rice and lack of food are constant irritants. Fortunately, they all have good teeth.

1949: The Desertion of PFC Akatsu

Fed up with constant hunger, Akatsu left the group and surrendered in 1949. He returned accompanied by a large search party and loud-speakers. The remaining three men found these appeals unbelievable and annoying. They appeared to be clumsy translations into Japanese from another language. The men found a Japanese newspaper about themselves left behind and concluded that it was 'poisoned candy', another slick psychological warfare attempt by the Americans.

1953: Corporal Shimada is Killed

The three survivors unwisely pick a firefight with 35 well-armed villagers near a potential invasion beach. Shimada is killed, leaving Ononda and Kozuka to soldier on alone for the next nineteen years.

Kozuka and Ononda steal transistor radios and sometimes can hear distant Japanese language programmes. This convinces them even more firmly that the war is not over, since the war could obviously not end as long as a single Japanese citizen remains alive.

1972: PFC Kozuka's Death Leaves Ononda Alone

On 19 October, 1972, Ononda and Kozuka burn rice piles after the harvest to deny food to the enemy. They linger too long and burn one rice pile too many. A volley of carbine shots ring out and Kozuka is dead eight seconds later, shot through the heart.

Ononda escapes, swearing revenge, and returns to this spot months later to find a tombstone erected with Kozuka's name, a Japanese epitaph and fresh flowers near the stone. A large Japanese search party has encamped nearby. His brother and sister have been flown in to speak to him from helicopter loudspeakers. Ononda has learned from newspapers that the Americans have failed in Vietnam and he hopes that the search party has secretly gathered intelligence useful to the Emperor. He is sure that the voices of his siblings are real and is convinced that Japanese Intelligence has organised the search to win over the islanders and gather information prior to an invasion.

He reads newspapers left behind about Kozuka's death, realises that these have failed to mention the 'thousand stitch' waistband (note 1) Kozuka wore on his waist and concludes that the articles have obviously been 'doctored' by the Americans who fail to recognise the significance of the belt.

Later he finds a Haiku (note 2) left behind by his ageing father:
Not even an echo
Responds to my call in the
Summery mountains.

Meeting Suzuki

Wakamaya Point is the confluence of two rivers. Moving silently, Ononda confronts a camper, a young man who holds his ground, trembles and salutes properly. The student introduces himself as Norio Suzuki in proper Japanese and claims to be a tourist, which confuses Ononda.

Suzuki is taking a break from school to look for pandas, the Abominable Snowman and Lieutenant Ononda. Suzuki has just hit the jackpot and they talk for several hours. Ononda disbelieves 99% of what Suzuki has to say about the war being over, but because of his slight doubt he permits Suzuki to take a joint picture with his camera and finally agrees to a meeting with his former commanding officer.

Ononda becomes suspicious of Suzuki when the student picks leaves to brew a beverage. He wonders how Suzuki could have learned this in four days when he has not learned it in thirty years. He waits for the student to finish his cup before he dares take a sip.

According to the newspapers Ononda has read, Major Taniguchi is now a book dealer, living in Japan. The fact that the major had not sent him new orders seems clear proof that the major is still engaged in secret warfare under the pretence of being an ordinary citizen.

Suzuki sets the timer and snaps the picture that will convince Major Taniguchi to return and read the surrender orders to Ononda.

At the agreed meeting time, months later, Ononda glimpses the major at twilight and waits for him to enter and re-emerge from the tent in full Imperial uniform. The Lieutenant comes to rigid attention and listens to the words. If his 'real' orders do come later they are not revealed in his published book.

A Hero's Welcome

On the trip home with Major Taniguchi, Ononda is astounded to see Philippine troops lined up on both sides of the road saluting him. They treat him more like a conquering general than a despicable prisoner of war. His arrival in Japan is even more amazing. He awakens dormant feelings of jubilant national pride. His book is quickly written and becomes a best-seller. He becomes financially well-off and moves to Brazil to become a cattle-rancher.

Ononda meets and marries a Japanese woman in Brazil and then returns to Japan to operate a children's survival camp, an occupation for which he is obviously well-qualified. He died in 2014 at the age of 91.

Are There More?

In 2005, there were reports that two octogenarian Japanese soldiers were ready to came out of the jungle to lay down their arms after 60 years in hiding near General Santos City in the Philippines.

The stragglers were reported to be Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 83, of the Imperial Army's 30th Division. They were reported to have spent the last six decades living in remote hills of the Philippine island of Mindanao. In spite of a brief media frenzy which benefited the Mindanao economy, the story fizzled out three days later. There is an online registry of Japanese stragglers.

1 A piece of cotton cloth on which a departing soldier's family and friends each sewed a single stitch. This is often worn on the waist for good luck.
2 A Haiku is a type of 17-syllable poem. The English translation has an extra syllable.