This is page 4 of Journey 1.
We finished the last page (CEMETERY) with the following grid.
FISH is a difficult chapter. It is packed with information and contains many images. We are immediately confronted with an interesting puzzle.
Returning to the street, Amanda felt like a mermaid out of water. She knew nobody in the city.
The most straightforward explanation would be to remove a letter R from the grid. Which one? Where we find water and fishes, that is in RIVER. There are two R’s is RIVER, but given the obvious reference to cutting or dividing in the chapter, I would remove the last R, because we can interpret RIVER as RIVE R, meaning cutting the R. She knows nobody in the city because she is a « stranger » (or STRANGE-R).
However, I don’t think that this is the solution. Looking at the fish eye, we see what could be the period, that is the only square not containing a letter.
She wanted to go to sleep, but she had no place to go.
We have to move the square with the period somewhere. In fact, we have to shift the whole row. Back to the fish eye.
The fish eye, coupled with the reference to the chef’s « thickest glasses she had ever seen », reminds us of a fish-eye lens. In fact, there is a shot taken with such a lens in FORTUNE, warping the image into a circle.
So if the period is a lens, where would it go? In front of a FILM. This is accomplished by shifting the row by 5 spaces. (Note: I have replaced the R in RIVER).
She wandered along the cobblestone streets and recalled all that had happened that day.
This is a vague instruction. I take it as starting from the top. But recalling what had happened is strange. It is like we have to keep track of Amanda’s movement from this point. We will draw a background to show this.
Suddenly the street ended, and for the first time she found herself at the edge of the sea. But it was not the vast, open sea her father had described to her so many years ago. This sea formed a bay.
We traveled to the bay (B).
Thousands of houses, shops, and docks huddled around its rim, their twinkling reflections dancing on the water…
We must travel around the rim, but first we need a reflection of the B. We exchange the letter B with the R in the other corner.
Amanda shivered as a chilling mist stole across the wave. She had no heavy coat to guard against the cool night air…
This is a reference to what the chef wears (stole, no heavy coat). Very prominent on his kimono is a Y. We will soon see that this Y on the rim is important.
…and she was anxious to find a warm place to rest.
Now that we have moved a B in the bottom corner, we have a BED for Amanda!
She wandered until she heard the sound of a flute drifting through the darkness, a sonorous, country sound that was soothing to her ears.
The sound is the note LA.
She turned and saw a small shop, but when she followed the sound through its bamboo doors, she found…
It was not a shop at all. It was a tiny restaurant, paneled in exotic blond woods and painted with a blue wave that rolled across the walls.
The key here is that when she enters she realizes that what she sees does not match what it really is. It is « exotic wood ». Which one? MAHOGANY. But some letters are wrong and they are not in order.
The wrong letters are shown in red.
Diners sat in a row at the bar. They all seem caught up in animated conversation as they busily work their chopsticks.
I have chosen to identify the bottom H as being wrong. Note that the other H is in the row of diners (i.e. the only row having all the letters to make up the word DINERS). This row is « caught up ».
We must follow the direction of the Oriental chef. These directions, or ORIENTations, are given by the chopsticks: we need to perform two diagonal shifts in the direction shown by the chopsticks, that is in the axis top left-bottmom right. We already have identified the letter Y on the border, we will shift this diagonal of three letters.
But replacing the I is more complicated. We must look at the chef cutting the pieces in front of him (i.e. the first picture in this chapter). The shape of six pieces spell the following:
OI = IO
We need to exchange the position of I and O.
But the required N is not in the diagonal suggested (top left -bottom right).
She slowly shook her head « no » and looked up into the chef’s eyes, made huge by the thick lenses.
This time Amanda does not accept the chef’s direction. If the black rectangle with FI.LM is the lens, and the V in front of the lens matches the field of view, we are looking directly at the required N, also on the rim. We must shift this diagonal in the top right – bottom left direction.
We now spell MAHOGANY in order.
Note that these moves have created new words, such as YEARS, and HOUSE. The H of HOUSE was actually involved in both diagonal moves. And as we will see, these words are critical to what will come later.
But Amanda was not ready to wander the cold, misty streets around the bay again.
Then, from the rear of the darkened room, she heard the flute calling to her again.
There is a new LA, this time on a different row.
This time it came through the kitchen, which still glowed with light. She peeked over the wooden screen and saw what must have been the chef’s wife, dressed in a formal red kimono. The woman sat at a table under a brass lantern. She painted giant black letters on parchment with a brush.
I don’t quite understand all of this. So what follows are possibilities. Amanda is entering through LA and peeking over the wooden screen. This is MAHOGANY. She continues and then we have GE, which may be a reference to light (General Electric). The table could be the periodic table, in which case GE is Germanium, near copper and zinc (making brass). And above we have LU and HO not far, even MS, all could refer to the woman’s name or title. The point of all this is that we are tracking our path, and our path could look like this:
And this becomes interesting when you rotate the table:
It creates a « giant letter » Q, which could vary a bit, depending how you extend the path passed the LA. This becomes more puzzling when you look at the painted letters in the book.
The top line reads THE (with T and E overlapping). The bottom line right two letters are EE. The bottom line left letters are Q on top and n at the bottom. This small n when turned 180 degrees becomes a small u. The same character is used to represent both letters. The final result is THE QUEEN.
This result of course coincides with the giant Q found earlier. « The Queen » is also referenced in MEMORY. The shadow on that page represents a chess queen.
These letrters appear to be important:
She wondered if they might be a clue and wished she had something to copy them on. Tomorrow, she decided, she would buy a book and begin record all the strange thing she was seeing.
It seems that we have to copy the letters to use later. It is strange that you would need to get a book just to record these 8 letters. This leads me to another theory. And it deserves a new heading.
This chapter is about following directions, about obeying. The Chef rules. The Queen rules. We also know that RULES have been used in our table of letters. May be QUEEN should replace RULES in our table of letters. But this is not what I want to talk about here.
I want to draw attention to this symbol:
This represents a WARNING symbol. What about this sentence, found before we enter the kitchen:
She sat until the bar was dark and empty—even the chef had left— and the only…
It talks about bar and includes bars. But more importantly, it signals that when we enter the kitchen we are no longer talking about our grid of letters. The diners, found in one row of the grid, are all gone. The chef is gone.
RULES (page 81) has a section starting with WARNING and a bar, and containing many capital letters (« giant black letters »), certainly enough that you would need something to record them.
Giant black letters are painted on parchment by the woman. The only parchment in the book is the MAP. Perhaps letters going on the map are to be taken from this text. We will see.
This completes FISH. Next we move to PARTY.