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January 4, 1942

Jap soldiers came into the kitchen today with an interpreter, wanting to cook their food on our stoves. They are the Bay View Hotel guard and I take it the kitchens there are pretty crowded. I was in no position to say them nay. If what I saw them prepare is the stuff they feed all the troops, it should be a short war if it’s true an army fights on its stomach. Funny position at that! All they had was a handful of rice which they carefully washed and cooked, each having his own little black pot. This was topped with a smelly little fish each. They didn’t steal anything, strangely enough. The interpreter, a Manila-born Japanese, asked if I could spare some cooked fruit for them and I gave them a gallon-tin of blackberries, which they seemed to relish.

They cleaned out their little black pots, washing out the plates, and left, saying the equivalent of thank you (I suppose). Some of them spoke a few words of Tagalog, and I heard my boys giving them a build-up, saying, “Qur Missus French, not American. This French restaurant.” Evidently my staff thinks it better not to be an American at this moment, a sad commentary on the things that be.

The blackberry investment was wonderful. Spent considerable time behind the Venetian blinds watching the yellow boys frantically dig the seeds out of their gold teeth and bridges. It was funnier than any vaudeville act I have ever seen. They tried everything from the tips of their bayonets to slivers of wood. The whole Bay View Hotel could have escaped while that was going on, for they stacked their weapons and went to it. I laughed like a fool—and in these horrible days maybe a laugh is what I needed. I phoned one of the Bay View people to peek out and enjoy the act. I hope they don’t think I gave the soldiers the berries purposely .. . I’ll probably be hanged!

They actually did come over and ask me not to feed the soldiers, as it impaired their efficiency!