"So he tells me he has this amusing idea, and that I must come with him," the guest settles into a story. "What idea is that? Something to do with lunch at a Western-style restaurant?" The master tops up their tea and slides a full cup back to his guest. "I wasn't yet privy to the idea, but given whom we're dealing with here, I figured it ought to be good ..." "So you went along. I see." "But I wasn't prepared for what followed." I was sitting on the master's lap, and he clapped his hand on my head, as if to say 'I could have told you.' My head rang a bit. "Another silly charade, no doubt. He's notorious for those." The Andrea del Sarto affair came back to mind. "He laughs and asks me if I'm up for unusual fare." "What did you have?" "First he peruses the menu and expounds on various items." "Before ordering?" "Yes." "And then?" "Then he turns to the waiter and says he sees nothing of interest. The waiter, somewhat defensively, suggests perhaps the roast duck or a veal chop. The doctor fires back that he hasn't come all this way for something so trite. The waiter, who seems unsure of what 'trite' means, just stands there looking perplexed." "No doubt." "Then he turns to me, and with great fanfare explains how in France or England they go all out with Tenmei style or Manyō style, but all one finds in Japan's Western eateries is cookie cutter fare that's hardly worth the venture -- I wonder, has he ever been abroad?" "Has Meitei been abroad? Well, he has the means and he has the time, so he certainly could go if he wanted. Maybe that's his game, treating his planned travels as fait accompli." Pleased by his own wit, the master instigates a round of laughter.