As if suddenly reminded by the word 'uncle,' the master queries Meitei. "This today was the first I'd heard of your uncle. You've never mentioned him before. Do you really have such an uncle?" Meitei, who'd clearly been anticipating the question, addresses his answer to husband and wife. "I do. This uncle of mine is stubborn to a fault -- another holdout from the last century, imposing his existence on this new one." "Ho ho! Again an interesting perspective. Where does he live?" "He lives in Shizuoka, but not in any ordinary manner. He sports a topknot and cuts a striking figure. He never wears a hat, and when told to do so boasts that the cold can't touch him -- advised to stay in bed and keep warm, he scoffs that four hours' sleep is enough. To sleep more than four hours is decadence, and each morning he rises before the sun. He goes on, then, about long years of training to cut his sleep to four hours. How he struggled in his youth, yielding at times to fatigue, but can now report, with great satisfaction, that his efforts have borne fruit. At sixty seven anyone takes less sleep. His training's as good as naught, yet he credits his success, entirely, to mind over matter. Another thing - whenever he leaves home he carries an iron-ribbed fan." "Whatever for?" "Who knows what for, but he carries it nonetheless. Maybe in place of a cane. The other day, though, something odd occurred." Meitei directs this last line at the wife. "You don't say." She spurs him on with minimal interruption. "It was in the spring. A letter arrived one day, requesting that a derby hat and frock coat be sent right away. Now sure what to make of this, I wrote back to confirm. The old man, the answer came, was to wear them himself. They should be procured immediately. There was a victory celebration in Shizuoka, planned for the 23rd, and they must arrive in time."