The author interjects. He has interviewed a Mr. Okamoto and a Mr. Chiba, both of the Maritime Department in the Japanese Ministry of Transport.
While on an unrelated business trip, these two hear that a survivor of the Tsimtsum is in a hospital in Tomatlán. Their department instructs these two hapless fellows to interview the survivor and see if he can provide any illuminating details on the sinking of the ship.
They drive down to Tomatlán but get lost on the way, their car breaks down, they misread the map, etc.
The author informs us that what follows are excerpts from a taped conversation with Piscine Molitor Patel.