Study Guide

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Chapter 46

By Jamie Ford

Chapter 46

Meeting at the Panama (1945)

  • One day, Henry finally talks to his parents and says he'll go to China for schooling. Now that he's older, he'll only have to go for a year or two, and besides, he wants to start over somewhere new—where everything doesn't remind him of Keiko and how she's forgotten about him.
  • He tells his father that he'll go on one condition: that his father doesn't support the sale of the Panama Hotel. He wants that to stay in Japanese American ownership.
  • His father agrees and thanks him, but Henry insists that he's not doing any of this for his father. He's doing it for Keiko and her loved ones.
  • Henry writes to Keiko one last time and tells her that he wishes her well in life and that he's leaving for China soon. He also arranges to meet her outside the Panama Hotel in a month if she can.
  • When he brings the letter to the post office, the girl who works there tells him that she hopes whoever he's writing to knows how much he cares… and that she's worth the wait.
  • A month later, Henry stands outside the Panama Hotel hoping against all the odds that Keiko will meet him, just like he arranged in his letter.
  • A young woman comes running up, and Henry's heart leaps in excitement, but then he realizes she isn't Keiko—it's the girl from the post office.
  • She hands him the letter he sent. Keiko is no longer at Camp Minidoka, so she never got his letter.
  • The girl apologizes for opening his mail and reading it, but she just felt so awful thinking about him waiting here for someone who was never going to come.
  • She introduces herself as Ethel Chen and hands him a bouquet of starfire lilies because she's seen him buying them at the market. She just wants to make him feel better.

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