Heritage   My father hated Japanese—he fought in The Islands. “Little yellow bastards, they’ll never change.” He brought home malaria and a samurai sword. In fevered sweat he’d babble but he never said a word about the sword or how he came to it. When he was drunk and raging, my mother hid it; the sword became a terrifying member of our family.   He’s gone and I’m in Tokyo—pilgrimage or accident. Sake and skyscrapers, sashimi and a frost of cherry blossoms in city parks, where friendly Japanese offer directions. The samurai have vanished, yet as I walk, the sword…

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