1868. It is on the fourth day after my vision—that the fourth numeral signifies death does not escape me—when I hear the rumor snaking through the streets. I walk the crowded market followed by talk of a boat, said to be seated like a goose in the waters of Yokohama and set to take those willing to travel the seas to islands beyond the rising of the sun. They say the American in charge has not yet received the official seal of the emperor, but the boat will depart in just seven days. …

Once the SS Scioto comes into view my steps are arrested, and the farmer falls away. No wonder talk of it continues to inhabit the town. I have never seen one like it, no sails to glide upon the wind, no timbers reaching to the sky. This ship puts ours to shame, puffing out a grand tree of smoke and stretched out long and wide like a cat, lapping up the surface of the sea. Captain or no, I must board her at least once to behold the horizon from such easy height. …

A vision of another island captivates me. Another kind of floating ship anchored to the sea, but unlike Japan where I might one day have the opportunity to be free. After a time, to tend my own plot, eat a bounty of fruits and tubers coaxed by my own hand, feel the sun’s rays fall at my feet before disappearing behind the sea. To greet the world as I did in my youth, to feel my heart become whole once more, those missing spaces I cut out when my father died, when Sumiko left, finally filled. Able to breathe, to feel, and be. A place where I am not the samurai Asakura, but me. The very fragility of my faith frightens and reinvigorates me.

–an excerpt from “To Lose Is To Win”, my short fiction collection-in-progress. Find out the real story behind this photograph, and the photographer, at One Moment More. Photograph exclusive property of One Moment More

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