It was after World War II and the narrator was traveling from the USA to Japan. As accommodations were difficult to get, he had to share a room on the ship. On entering his cabin he encountered his roommate's luggage and toilet things which had already been unpacked. He immediately disliked his roommate because all these items seemed to be very kitsch. To top things off, he noticed the man's name Kelada did not appear to be British. This is the first sign that the narrator is prejudiced against non-Britons.
When the narrator finally met Mr. Kelada, he disliked him immediately. Kelada was very chatty, he seemed to know everything and was involved in everything, not sensing that he was disliked by every body. He was very proud of his British passport although it was clear that he was not English by birth but a native of one of the British colonies.
Although he despised Mr. K, when he was offered a drink (something that was difficult to get in those days because of prohibition), the narrator gladly accepted. This shows that if he can gain something from this relationship, he'll take advantage of it. The narrator is being two-faced.
There was another dogmatic person on the ship, Mr. Ramsey. He was taking his wife, who had been in the States for a year on her own, to Kobe were he was working. In contrast to her husband and Mr. K., she was very modest. Although she wore simple clothes, she looked perfect. She was adored by all.
One evening at dinner, the conversation drifted to the subject of pearls. As Mrs. Ramsey was wearing a string of pearls, Mr. K. an expert on the subject, declared that it was a genuine string of pearls which costs many thousands of dollars and he would bet a hundred dollars on it.Mr. Ramsey seemed pleased with himself and claimed that Mr. K was wrong. The pearls had been bought at a department store for only eighteen dollars.
Well, this argument had to be solved in some way. Both men...