Among those I met was the head instructor, who held a university degree. Having graduated from a university, he was most certainly an accomplished scholar. His voice was strangely soft and effeminate, but what surprised me most was that despite the heat he wore a flannel shirt. However thin the fabric may have been, it had to be hot. Perhaps he was going to great lengths to dress the part of a scholar. On top of that, the shirt was red; maybe he was somehow mocking the rest of us. I learned later that he wears a red shirt year round. He has an unusual illness, and as he explained it to me, the red color serves to ease his physical condition. He custom orders these shirts to improve his health, but it seems to me he's wasting his money. If red were really so beneficial, then why weren't his coat and pants red too.
Then there was an English instructor named Koga who had a terribly pale complexion. People with pale complexions tend to be gaunt as well, but this man was pale and corpulent. Back in my primary school days I had a classmate named Tami Asai whose father had such a complexion. Mr. Asai was a farmer, so I asked Kiyo if all farmers had similar faces. She said no, and explained that Mr. Asai was pale and plump because he ate too much uranari squash. Since then, I've assumed that any plump person with a pale face must be that way for the same reason. There was no doubt in my mind that this English teacher also gorged himself on uranari squash. But to be honest, I still to this day don't know the difference between regular squash and uranari squash. When I asked Kiyo once, she just smiled and didn't answer. Most likely Kiyo didn't know the difference either.
Then there was a man named Hotta who was to be my colleague in mathematics instruction. He was a brawny man with a close-cropped head whose demeanor suggested the Renegade Monk of Eizan. As I politely held out my letter of appointment, he disregarded it completely and bellowed out, "So you're the new fellow? Drop by for a visit sometime. A ha ha ha!" I've no idea what he found so funny. And who would visit a guy like him with no sense of common courtesy? From this point on I assigned him the nickname of Yama Arashi [a frightful mountain deity]. The classics instructor, as one might expect, was proper and formal. He was an engaging older gentleman who spoke fluidly. "You arrived yesterday? You must be worn out. And you're going to start teaching already? I'm impressed by your diligence. ..." The art instructor was clearly an artistic type himself. He wore a flimsy silk coat and wielded a folding fan in one hand. "Where do you hail from? Huh? Tōkyō? Lovely - that makes us comrades. I'm a Tōkyō man myself." If this was a Tōkyō man then I wished I'd been born elsewhere. I could go on with similar descriptions of each of the others, but there'd be no end to it, so I'll leave off here.