The master's face is pockmarked. Such pockmarking, they say, was prevalent in times past, before the Restoration. In these modern times of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, however, they're highly anachronistic. Our medical experts assure us, based on detailed statistical studies, that pockmarked faces are now declining at a rate inversely proportional to growth in the population, and before much longer they'll be altogether gone. This is well-accepted fact, and far be it for this humble cat to question its veracity. I don't know how many humans on this earth sport such pockmarks, but I can comment on my own sphere of association. Not a single cat I know is pockmarked. Of humans, there's only one. That one human, needless to say, if none other than the master. It's a terrible pity.
The master's face always sets me to wondering. How is it that such an odd face can live and breathe, unapologetically, the modern air of this new twentieth century? Unlike days of old, when pockmarks ruled supreme, they've now been relegated to upper-arm innoculation sites. Not only do they no longer boast the higher ground on tips of noses and cheeks, but their status in whole is largely diminished. The time is ripe to deliver, were it possible, a merciful coup de grâce. The pockmarks themselves must no doubt feel forlorn. Then again, perhaps they hang on as they do, haughtily crowding the rare face, in hope of reversal of fortune - a setting sun, as day is fading to night, restored once more to its zenith. If such is the case, then premature dismissal or disdain is fully unwarranted. These assemblies of antiquated voids, stubbornly resisting the fast-rising tides of change, are worthy of due respect. Their enduring fault, though, is how filthy they look.
When the master was just a child, there resided in Ushigome, in the Yamabushi section, a renowned master of Chinese medicine named Asada Sōhaku. This old man, when he made the rounds to his patients' homes, as it's told, always rode in a litter, carried quietly on the shoulders of attendants. When the old man passed away, and his successor took his place, the litter was immediately abandoned in favor of a rickshaw. When this successor passes away and is in turn succeeded again, his herbal teas may well give way to antipyrine. Even in Sōhaku's day, being carried about Tōkyō in a litter was not viewed with favor. Such choice of travel mode was limited to hold-outs from feudal times, pigs transported by train, and old Sōhaku.