The setting when the story opens is Long Beach, California. This is where Jeanne Wakatsuki's father has his fishing boat. The date is December 7, 1941.
Jeanne and her mother are there to see off her father and her brothers who are working as the crew of the fishing boat. But this time, things do not go like they are supposed to. The boats do not disappear. They hang around for a while out on the ocean and then come back to port. They have just heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor.