The Breaking Jewel (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

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Avbryt Send e-post. Les mer. Om boka Set on an island in the South Pacific during the final days of World War II, when the tide has turned against Japan and the war has unmistakably become one of attrition, The Breaking Jewel offers a rare depiction of the Pacific War from the Japanese side and captures the essence of Japan's doomed imperial aims.

There was some white foamy debris around his mouth and nose, and just then he looked worse than dead. A few nurses expertly directed the gurney onto the elevator. No one knew. What number bed? She insisted that only one family member could stay, that everyone else should leave immediately.

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I sensed, alarmingly, that Li Ping and I had just been turned into a family unit. He dwelled particularly on the fact that their family had put up the cash for this operation, on the added bearing this had on the above-mentioned factors. Her suggestion met with immediate and unanimous opposition: What about when Dad needs to pee?

Find a male nurse, said Li Ping, they must exist, or hire a laborer. Tightly clutched to her chest, in her right hand, was the small, hanky-wrapped bundle of gallstones, somehow giving her words an added moral force. Everyone grumbled all the louder about Li Ping and her stupid idea: How could they leave Dad with a stranger, at his age? Out of the question, no way. By the time Li Ping had fumbled a hanky out of her pocket, her tears had already started to fall. Nothing at all!

ISBN 13: 9780231126137

She then cried even harder. I stood where I was, my head empty of thoughts, quietly putting up with the curious stares that were coming at me from every imaginable angle. All I wanted was for someone to stand up and pronounce the sentence. Things, it seemed, were just starting to get interesting. I had a book in my pocket that I hoped would get me through the long, dark night that stretched before me.

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This was pure phony, of course: the more bored I get, the less likely I am to read. I waited a while at the elevator door, which showed no interest in opening. This gave an old guy sitting by the entrance wearing a red armband time to interrogate me. He waved me over. Though it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, still I went. Number ward? Sixteen, I said. Look, why should I want to lie to you?

But the old guy started getting all literal on me: Forget it! The harder I tried to placate him, the more resistance he put up. You young people have no respect for rules!

The Breaking Jewel

No respect! In the end I had no choice but to ignore him and head back to the elevator. In a good light. I was getting worried, Dad needs to pee. A fat, clean-shaven man lay on the bed nearest the door, about sixty years old, pink-cheeked, looking as healthy as—healthier than me. This was an unforgivable mistake. Li had turned his head to contemplate the bleak autumnal scene outside his window. Should I walk over to him? Or just turn around and leave? Someone behind me was tapping on the glass door; I looked around.

She repeated this gesture at me, this time a bit faster. All I could do was smile at her, then turn back, open the door, and poke my head out.

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What do you mean? She frowned and lowered her voice: The pee bottle. Gotcha, I said. I turned around and bounded back to the near side of the bed. Li was still looking out the window, so I had to take a few more steps to move into his line of vision.

I bent over and asked—in a very friendly tone of voice—Would you like to urinate? He nodded somberly at me. I squatted down and groped under the bed: two washbowls, a ceramic chamber pot, and a plastic container that I thought had to be the pee bottle. I took it out and gave it a careful once-over, pretending to be very sure of myself, but feeling extremely anxious inside: what on earth was I supposed to do?


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Hand it over here! Quick as I could, I handed over the bottle and began paying particular attention to whether the movements under the quilt progressed smoothly or not. Staring up at the ceiling, Li tried a few times to prop himself up, but soon after lay back down again with a grimace of pain. Are you done? Finally, the quilt went still again. His forehead covered in plump drops of sweat, he stared immovably at the ceiling, suggesting to me he was starting to savor the happiness of an emptied bladder.

I rejoiced for him.


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  4. No reply, so I waited some more. After another interval, I bent down again: Done now? Luckily, the middle-aged man in the middle bed chose to enlighten me. Oh, I said, right, no problem.

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    While I squatted down and prepared for the plunge, the yellow-eyed middle-aged man gave me another helpful pointer: Be gentle! So I carefully lifted one corner of the quilt with my left hand, then quickly stuck my right hand in, like I was dipping it into a particularly undesirable kind of grab bag. Which Li then impatiently shook. This left me with no grounds for further hesitation, with nowhere to go but onward.

    Following the leg upward, I reasoned, in the normal run of things, I should arrive at the hoped-for destination. There yet?