The guest seemed not so amused. "Is that it, then? I figured he'd been abroad at some point and was taking it all in earnest. He talked so of snail soup, and his description of frog stew was superb. I was sure he'd seen them firsthand." "Probably heard it from someone else. He's notorious for pulling people's legs." "So it would seem." The guest gazed at the daffodil in the vase, a bit dispirited. "So that was his game?" the master sought to confirm. "Not at all. He was just getting started. There's more." "Oh?" The master's interest was piqued anew. "Then he suggests that since we can't hope for snails or frogs, we settle for tochimenbō. He asks for my concurrence, and without much thought I follow along." "Tochimenbō? Isn't that rather odd?" "It certainly was odd, but the doctor said it with such sincerity that it didn't phase me." The guest, acknowledging his lapse in prudence, was almost apologetic. "What happened next?" The master, oblivious to his guest's contrition, was eager for more. "Next he turns to the waiter and orders two servings of tochimenbō. The waiter asks in return if he doesn't mean menchibō. The doctor, more earnestly than ever, states in no uncertain terms that he doesn't want menchibō, but tochimenbō." "I see. Is there really such a dish as tochimenbō?" "I was wondering that myself, but the doctor held firm. He's known as an expert on all things Western, and I believed he had traveled abroad, so I backed him up. 'Tochimenbō. It's tochimenbō,' I repeated to the waiter." "What did the waiter do?" "It's all rather comical now, but the waiter thought for a moment and then announced that, most regrettably, they were all out of tochimenbō that day. Expressing his apologies, he offered to bring us two servings of menchibō. The doctor, looking terribly crestfallen, was loathe to acquiesce."