Uranari, our awaited colleague, entered the room with a somewhat dejected look, explained to Tanuki that he'd been delayed on an errand, and apologized for arriving late. Tanuki opened the meeting and began by having the secretary Kawamura pass out hectograph copies. The first item listed was punishment, the second item was student oversight, and there followed two or three additional matters. Tanuki put on his usual airs, as though he fancied himself the incarnation of higher education, and addressed us as follows. "Any fault of the staff or students of this school ultimately reflects my personal dearth of moral influence. Each time trouble arises, I'm tormented by shame and inwardly question my ability to serve as principal. Unfortunately, I must face you all again at this time and apologize deeply for a disturbance that has taken place. However, what has happened has happened, and it must be dealt with. You're all familiar with the facts of the case. Now I ask that you openly and candidly share your thoughts on the appropriate remedial measures."
I listened to the principal's speech, and whether I refer to him as Tanuki or principal, I was impressed with his remarkable proclamations. It seemed to me that if the principal were assigning all responsibility to his own faults and moral failings, then he should resign his post and we could dispense with punishment of the students. Then we wouldn't have to suffer through this meeting. But the situation should first be understood through the lens of common sense: I was peaceably serving my turn as night duty attendant. The students went on a rampage. The fault was not with the principal, nor with me, but solely with the students. If Yama Arashi was behind it, then banish him along with the students and be done with the matter. What kind of fellow shoulders another's faults and claims them as his own? Only Tanuki would pull such a stunt. After presenting this argument that defied all logic, he surveyed the group with an air of self satisfaction. No one said a word. The natural history teacher was preoccupied with a crow that had landed on the roof of the classrooms. The classics teacher was folding and straightening his hectograph copy. Yama Arashi was scowling at me. If meetings are such foolish affairs, then better to excuse oneself and go take a nap.