Then things took a turn for the worse at school. One evening while strolling through an area called Ōmachi I noticed a shop sign next to the post office with "Soba" written on it and "Tōkyō" added below. I love soba. In Tōkyō, whenever I'd passed in front of a soba shop and caught the aroma, I couldn't resist ducking in through the shop curtain for a quick bowl. Preoccupied with mathematics and antiques, I hadn't thought about soba since my arrival. But now that it was here in front of me I couldn't pass it by. Since it was on my way, I thought I might as well step inside. On first glance it didn't live up to its billing. If they were going to advertise it as "Tōkyō" then they ought to fix the place up a little. Maybe they didn't know anything about Tōkyō, or maybe they didn't have the money, but the place was filthy. The tatami floor mats were discolored and gritty with sand. The walls were dark from soot. The ceiling was low and blackened by lamp smoke, making one reflexively lower one's head. A menu listing the soba varieties was posted on the wall and stood out for its newness. Likely they had purchased an old house and opened their business here just within the past few days. Tempura soba was first on the menu, so I called out, "One tempura!" in a loud voice. As I called out my order, a group of three clustered in the corner slurping noodles turned and looked my way. I hadn't noticed before in the dark room, but when they looked my way I saw that they were students from the school. They greeted me, and I returned their salutation. That evening was my first chance in a long while to enjoy soba, and it was good soba, so I downed four bowls with tempura.