I Was the Emperor of Japan (Spring 2008)
My mountain kingdom was in Minamata in Kumamoto Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, from where, the ancient story tells us, the Japanese people originated. From my mountain vantage point, I looked out over the vast blue Shiranui Sea, a beautiful, fairy tale water, but a sea of sorrows, really. Each morning, I watched my people in their fishing boats bobbing along the coast or out across the sea, toward Goshonoura, an island where dinosaurs once roamed. And at night, they were often still there, the boats with their lights, and my people, with strong hands and backs, working to make a living off the sea. Sometimes the sea was calm and it looked like glass stretching all the way to Goshonoura; but at other times, it was angry, and a nasty wind lashed the boats with rain, and tossed them up and down, up and down, over foaming hills of water. I looked out from my balcony each day, taking it all in. Above me there, and sometimes below me off the cliffs, sea eagles floated and screamed.