" his job as a clerk with Manchurian Railways wasn't a bad position "
The Manchurian Railway is also known as the Chinese Eastern Railway.
" There was an awful smell of fish oil and takuan "
Takuan is a Japanese pickle made of white radish.
" Some Chinese coolies came up the gangplank "
" That's Oyama Street. All the big streets are named after generals and admirals of the Russian War "
The Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) was an imperial dispute by the Russian and Japanese over Manchuria and Korea.