Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Chapter 14

By Margi Preus

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Chapter 14

The Hour of the Dog

  • Manjiro's does the right thing.
  • He goes up to the Captain and tells him how the watch ended up in the whale's belly; then he goes on and tells him about how he ended up with the watch in the first place too.
  • The Captain laughs. Not the expected reaction.
  • It turns out that the other sailors were trying to play a joke on the Captain (and Manjiro, too).
  • They said that the watch came from the whale's belly, but in reality, the sailors found the watch in the little fishing boat attached to the John Howland.
  • As for Jolly, the Captain had already fired him before the ship had even left Hawai'i, so Manjiro's off the hook.
  • The Captain and Manjiro get into one of their long conversations; this time, it's about time.
  • As in the differences between how Japanese people tell time and the way Westerners do it.
  • For the Japanese, a day is separated into twelve "pieces" rather than twenty-four hours.
  • Each piece corresponds with an animal; the current time happens to be the "hour of the dog."
  • The Captain wonders if the "hour of the dog" comes from the English name for the star Sirius, a.k.a. "the dog star."
  • But it's not—Manjiro tells him the "dog star" in Japanese is actually called "the blue star."
  • The Captain agrees that the star is blue.
  • And they talk on and on for the rest of the evening.

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