Wondering what's up today, I press my chin into the grass atop the berm and survey the scene. The drawing room panels have been thrown open, welcoming the warmth of spring, and in the middle of the room the Kaneda's converse with a single caller. Unfortunately, Hanako's nose is pointed directly at my forehead, scowling at me from across the pond. It's the first time, ever, I'm scowled at by a nose. Mr. Kaneda, as luck has it, is turned toward the caller. His face is in profile, with half of its flatness hidden from view. It's not even clear where his nose lies. Graying whiskers sprout indiscriminately and grow in thick disarry, and one can only conclude that there must be two openings somewhere above them. Letting my thoughts drift for a moment, I imagine how easily the spring breeze could blow if all it encountered were smooth, flat faces. Among the three of them, the caller alone is of ordinary appearance. So ordinary, in fact, that no special feature avails discription. Ordinary is all well and good, but not in the extreme. A featureless hall, or an unremarkable room, are tinged somehow in melancholy, affecting all who enter. Who is this man then, born into these glorious days of Meiji yet fated to inconsequential appearance? There's only one way to find out. I slip under the veranda to listen.
"... and the missus even went out of her way to call and ask ..." Mr. Kaneda, as always, is arrogant in his choice of words. He's arrogant, but not in the least severe. Just like his face, his language is flat and expansive.