Snow Falling on Cedars Chapter 1
The story begins in the first week of December in San Piedro, a beautiful rural island in Washington. The only town on the island is Amity Harbor. A stately, blank-faced Japanese man, Kabuo Miyamoto, is on trial for the murder of Carl Heine, a fellow fisherman. The courtroom members are solemn, and they don't know why Kabuo is acting so removed-they wonder if he is guilty and simply doesn't care. He has been in prison almost four months. The town is not used to violence: "The most distressing news story of the preceding ten years had been the wounding of an island resident by a drunken Seattle yachtsman with a shotgun on the Fourth of July, 1951." Chapter 1, page 3 Several reporters have come from the surrounding towns to cover the case. Ishmael Chambers is reporting there too. He is thirty-one, a war veteran with an amputated arm. He feels uncomfortable sitting with the out-of-town reporters: he went to high school with Kabuo, and feels that the reporters are acting disrespectful at the trial. That morning Ishmael had spoken to Kabuo's wife, Hatsue, asking her if she was all right. She had told him to go away, and looked at him darkly. He had tried to reason with her, but she had turned away from him.