In my previous description of fence circuit training, I made mention of the bamboo fence that encloses the master's yard. One mustn't imagine, though, that just beyond said fence sits a neighboring house with some friendly, south-flank, neighborly Jiro. The area is low-rent. After all, it's master Kushami. There's no such social interaction, no intimate bonding across a thin backyard fence with a Jiro-chan, a Yot-chan or any other -chan. Beyond the fence, rather, is a length of vacant land, ten meters or so in depth, with a thick stand of cedars marking its far edge. Viewed from the veranda, it looks like dense forest, and the sense one gets is of a lone house in the woods, where an unassuming scholar passes the days with his nameless cat. I'm afraid, however, that I've overstated the thickness of the cedar branches. In fact, visible through gaps in the branches is a two-bit boarding house called Gunkakukan, whose shabby roof belies its grandiose name. This puts the kabash, of course, on the reclusive scholar narrative. At the same time, though, if this boarding house can be Gunkakukan, then the master's residence could easily be Garyōkutsu. They don't tax names, so why not one-up one's neighbor? At any rate, this east-west strip of vacant land runs for sixty or so meters and then turns a corner to wrap around the north side. It's on this north side that things went awry. Few houses can boast of vacant land on top of vacant land, wrapping two full sides, but neither the master of Garyōkutsu, nor yours truly, his cat most devine, had any real use for such space. Just as the cedars made their mark toward the south, a stand of paulownia backed the lot toward the north. They'd grown to thirty or more centimeters in diameter and would have fetched a fair price from the cobbler for geta planks. The problem with rental property, alas, is that such opportunities, even if known, are not actionable. This was the master's regrettable state. The other day, the school caretaker called and helped himself to a branch on his way home. On his next visit, he sported a new pair of paulownia-wood geta. He was only too happy to volunteer how he'd fashioned them from that pilfered branch. The underhanded rogue. So we have our paulownia stand, yet these paulownia benefit neither me nor the master's family in the least. They say there's no worth in a jewel hidden from sight, and the same can be said of paulownia one can't cut. It's treasure squandered.