December 6
missions. It was for Roger, however, a personal failure, a crown of thorns sharp with mockery. He and Harriet would return to Tokyo exhausted only to see Orin wasted by drink, and their son Harry a sort of amphibian, neither honest nor stupid, neither adult nor innocent, neither American nor Japanese.
    Harry found his parents’ visits like sharing quarters with the hounds of hell. It was embarrassingly clear when the family attended services how little of Harry the congregation had seen. Harry had the Bible down, though. The wild-eyed revelations of Saint John the Divine were Scripture Harry had memorized as an insurance policy for whenever his father examined him about the condition of his soul or the imminence of Judgment Day. All the same, Harry’s every word and move were followed by eyes quick to catch any deviation from a norm that was alien to him. He didn’t remind Roger and Harriet of themselves. He preferred sandals to shoes, samurai to cowboys, raw fish to red meat. Harry didn’t bring home tow-haired friends to play with; he didn’t bring friends at all, because he wasn’t going to expose his parents to a gang that included the unwashed Kaga twins or a criminal-in-training like Tetsu. So Roger and Harriet were only too happy to accept an invitation to Fourth of July celebrations at the American embassy. The entire American community would be there. It would be like going home.
    Came the Glorious Fourth, and the embassy garden was decorated with bunting and paper lanterns in red, white and blue. On the terraces, Japanese staff in kimonos with American-eagle crests set out tables of tea sandwiches, deviled eggs, cucumber salad, sweet pickles, angel food cake and lemonade. Adults followed a path edged in azaleas to join a champagne reception in the ambassador’s residence, a white clapboard house and porch that could have been found in Ohio. Outside, children were entertained by blindman’s buff and potato-sack races across the lawn.
    “This is actually American territory, Harry,” Harriet said.
    “We’re in Japan.”
    “Yes,” Roger Niles said, “but legally an embassy is the territory of the country of the ambassador. The American ambassador runs things here.”
    “The emperor rules all Japan.”
    “Not here,” Roger said.
    Harriet said, “You’re in America just as if you were standing at the Washington Monument. And look, American kids.”
    Harry was miserable. All the other American children in Tokyo went to the AmericanSchool. He didn’t know them and he didn’t want to know them. Dressed in a new suit and oxfords, he felt as if he were in disguise. Also, it was embarrassing to see how pleased his mother was to visit the embassy. She believed that the special events in life were like a sachet in a suitcase, it sweetened the clothes and didn’t make the luggage one bit heavier. Besides, after a year of traveling among strangers, it was a relief for her to be patriotic, to be an American among Americans. She squinted up to admire how the Stars and Stripes basked in the rays of descending sun. There were supposed to be fireworks in the evening and skits performed by the kids. What Harry was going to do, he wouldn’t say.
    Except for Episcopalians, who were practically Catholic anyway, missionaries abstained from champagne and stayed outside by the lemonade. Baptist families joined a circle of Synod of Christ, Dutch Reformed and Methodists.
    Roger Niles took the opportunity to ask the group, “You know what makes me sick?”
    There was an uneasy pause. Niles had a reputation for zeal.
    “What makes you sick, dear?” Harriet asked.
    “The holier-than-thou act the China missions always pull. As if we were in league with the devil just because our call is in Japan.”
    “True,” a Methodist minister named Hooper allowed. “We get it, too.”
    “Well, I wouldn’t trade today for anything in China,” Harriet said. “What about you, Harry?”
    “China is old and backward. Japan can help

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