JAPAN: The Samurai's Grave

Trudging home at nightfall from a hard day's work in the provincial city of Hikari, Laborer Noboru Kawamura, 30, passed a group of giggling girls. Drawing closer, Kawamura saw that they were crowded around a thin, bearded fortuneteller who was reading their palms. On impulse. Kawamura got in line and, when his turn came, paid over the fee of 25¢.

Flood or Fire. What he wanted to know, said Kawamura, was why he had been hagridden by bad luck since birth? "My parents died when I was a child; I have no living kin. I never met a girl who...

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