The master rarely finds time for me. They say he works as a teacher. When he comes home from the school, he shuts himself in his study for the remainder of the day and seldom re-emerges. The other members of the household regard him as studious, and he perpetuates this image with scholarly airs. However, he's not really so hardworking as they think he is. I sometimes creep in on quiet paws to observe him, and I often catch him napping. At times he'll drool on the open book he was reading. He's dyspeptic, and it shows in his skin, which is tinged a pale yellow and seems to lack resiliency. Nevertheless, he eats like a horse. After eating his fill, he swallows a dose of Taka-Diastase. Then he opens a book. A few pages in, and he's drowsy. His head droops, and he drools on the open page. This is his standard evening routine. Even as a cat, I sometimes ponder things. The life of a teacher is a comfortable one. If I were born human, there's nothing I'd rather be. If one's duty is merely to doze, then even a cat could fulfill it. Even so, the master would claim that the teacher's lot is a hard one. When friends call, he never fails to bemoan his dismal plight.
When I first took up residence in the house, I was terribly unpopular with all but the master. Wherever I went, my company was spurned. To this day I still have no name, and this bears testimony to how little they value me. Having no other recourse, I kept myself as close as possible to the one who had taken me in. Mornings, when the master read his paper, I would curl on his lap. When he dozed off, I would come and sleep on his back. It isn't that I was necessarily fond of the master, but rather was left with no choice. By and by, as I learned my way around, I passed mornings on the warm rice vessel, evenings on the kotatsu, and fine days sunning on the veranda. Best of all, though, was slipping in to sleep with the children as night fell. The children were five and three, and they slept together in a shared room. I could always find a gap between them, and I would manage somehow to nestle in, but woe to me should one of them wake. The children -- especially the little one, who was ill-tempered -- would cry out, "The cat's in our bed! The cat's in our bed!" at any and all hours of the night. Then the master, with his frayed nerves and weak stomach, would always be roused and come rushing in from the next room. The other day, in fact, I'd caught it hard across the backside with a ruler.