"There was a burglar -- that means -- there was a burglar -- what sort of face did he make when he broke in?" This time the younger sister questions her mother.
The wife seems unsure how to respond to this offbeat question. "He had a scary face," she replies, and looks toward Tatara for help.
"You mean scary like Tatara-san?" the older sister asks back unsparingly.
"What a thing to say! You watch your tongue, young lady."
"Ha ha ha ha. Is my face really so frightful? Dear me." Tatara scratches his head. There's a bald patch, about an inch in diameter, on the back of his head. It had appeared about a month earlier, and he'd been to the doctor, but there seemed to be no easy cure. The older sister, Tonko, was the first to notice it.
"Tatara-san has a shiny head too, just like Mother's."
"Enough out of you already!"
"Mother, did the burglar last night have a shiny head too?" This from the younger sister. The wife and Tatara burst out laughing despite themselves. However, it's impossible to carry on any conversation with the girls pestering them so, so the wife proceeds to shoo them out of the room. "You girls go off now and play in the yard for a bit. We'll have some nice treats when you come back in."
"What gave rise to your bald patch?" she turns to Tatara in earnest.
"Eaten away by bugs. And it doesn't seem to want to grow back. You've the same problem yourself?"
"Not at all. Nothing to do with bugs. When a woman ties up her hair, it tugs a bit and produces a thin spot."
"All bald patches are caused by bacteria, you know."
"Mine's not bacteria."