The Toya Maru might have been the end of me. The train ferry lost power and turned over in a typhoon between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. More than a thousand people died at sea that night. I was lucky. Our battalion had been ordered, at the last minute, to remain on the northern island and bivouac in the pristine Imperial National Forest. "The vessel carried soldiers of the United States First Cavalry Division transferring from Hokkaido to new posts on Honshu, reported The New York Times on 27 September 1954. "The typhoon did widespread damage over the main islands of Japan." The Toya Maru carried my typewriter and copies of my first stories to the bottom of Tsugaru Strait. I was wise to haiku that summer and would tote no more than a notebook. Naturally, that coincidence, and the loss of my typewriter, were trivial at the time.
The University of Chicago Press
Chicago Review, Vol. 39, No. 3/4, A North Pacific Rim Reader (1993), pp. 55-62