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 25ยข.

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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