Monday, February 25, 2013

No Passport

The Arabia Maru cleared the harbor and picked up speed. The rolling expanse of cerulean sea stretched to the horizon. The chatter of the Japanese crew was a vivid reminder to Iva Toguri and the other passengers that they were embarking on a journey to a much different world than the one they left behind. She felt unprepared for the trip. She was Nsei - second generation Japanese, but she was Japanese in appearance only. Her parents had immersed their children in American culture. She didn't speak Japanese; she couldn't use chopsticks; and she hated rice.

Despite these limitations she comforted herself with the thought that in a few months she would be returning to the States. In her haste to book passage she did not have time to wade through red tape for a passport. This did not seem to be a problem. Her father, Jum, assured her that the certificate of identification issued by customs was all she needed to prove her American citizenship. When she was ready to come home, he said, she would have no difficulty booking passage.  He could not have been more wrong.

To be continued