After a while Kawamura, the secretary, asked us to be seated. I chose a spot where I could conveniently lean back against a pillar. Tanuki, dressed formally in haori and hakama, took his seat in front of the Kaioku scroll. Red Shirt, outfitted similarly, was stationed to his left. The place on Tanuki's right was reserved for the guest of honor, Uranari, who had also dressed himself in the Japanese style. I was wearing Western clothes, making it uncomfortable to sit formally on my heels, so I soon broke rank and crossed my legs. The physical education instructor seated next to me wore black trousers but sat up properly. As a physical education instructor he was clearly well-practiced in such matters. The dinner trays were brought out and saké bottles arrayed in preparation. The master of ceremonies rose and offered his opening remarks. He was followed by Tanuki, who was followed by Red Shirt. All three offered words of farewell, and as if by prior agreement they all touched on the same themes. Uranari was a good instructor and a wonderful human being, and it was truly a disappointment to lose him, but one had to respect that his personal circumstances compelled him to leave us. They seemed not the least bit ashamed at sponsoring an event to propagate blatant lies. Among the three of them, it was Red Shirt who praised Uranari most profusely, lamenting the loss of a close friend. And he spoke quite convincingly, making his soft voice even softer still. Anyone hearing him for the first time would surely be taken in. No doubt he'd used the same technique to win over Madonna. As Red Shirt was speaking, Yama Arashi shot me a meaningful glance from the other side of the table. I pulled my down my lower eyelid as a signal back to indicate my contempt for the speaker.