The wife, in the next room, can't suppress a giggle. "You're taking it well in stride. Have you got something?" "A little. The first line goes, 'This face but tribute to its nose.'" "After that?" "Next comes, 'Lift to the nose a sacred cup.'" "Keep going." "That's all so far." "I like it." Kangetsu sports a wide grin. "How about continuing with, 'Murky cavities two.'" Meitei is quick with a line. "'So deep no hairs are seen.' How does that sound?" Kangetsu adds another. As each adds to the nonsense, four or five voices sound from the street near the fence. "Imado-ware Tanuki! Imado-ware Tanuki!" The master and Meitei, startled by the uproar, turn toward the front and peer through the gap in the fence. Laughter rises, followed by the sound of footsteps receding into the distance. "Imado-ware tanuki? What's that about?" Meitei quizzes the master. "No idea," the master replies. "They're really at it." Kangetsu adds his assessment. Meitei, as if recalling something, suddenly jumps to his feet and assumes an orator's pose. "Over many years, drawing on my faculty for aesthetics, I've studied this thing called the nose. If the two of you will indulge me for some moments, I'll share what I've come to know." The master, caught off guard, looks at him dumbfounded. "By all means, let's hear it," Kangetsu says in a soft voice. "Despite much investigation, the origins of the nose remain unclear. First off, if we suppose the nose a tool of practical use, then why the redundant openings? And no need to jut haughtily out from the center. Why then, as you can see, has it come to protrude so?" Meitei grasps his own nose by way of example. "I'd hardly call that protruding." The master interjects, foregoing all flattery. "At any rate, it's not sunken. A word of warning up front. To dismiss the nose as two openings side by side, and nothing more, is to invite misunderstanding. -- Now, in my humble opinion, the development of its present form is the natural culmination of myriad human nasal activities, such as blowing one's nose." "Makes perfect sense." The master inserts his approval.