The following day, I was back at the beach at the same time, and again I saw Sensei. The day after that, I repeated the same routine. No opportunity arose, though, for greeting or exchange of words. Sensei's demeanor, in fact, was very much aloof. He arrived and departed like clockwork, all the while in a world of his own. However lively the scene around him might be, he appeared to pay it no mind. The Westerner, who was there the first time, did not return. Sensei was always alone.
On one occasion, Sensei walked up from the sea in his signature brisk manner, grabbed the yukata he'd tossed aside in the usual place, and found that, for whatever reason, there was a good deal of sand on its surface. He turned around and shook it several times. As he did so his glasses, which he'd placed beneath the garment, slipped between the planks and fell to the ground. Sensei donned his yukata, which was white with splashed accents, and tied his waist cord. Then he noticed his glasses were missing and immediately began to search. I ducked my head under the bench and picked up the glasses. Sensei thanked me as he took them from my hand.
On the next day, I followed Sensei into the surf. I swam out after him in the same direction. About two hundred meters out, Sensei turned back and greeted me. The two of us were alone out there, floating on a wide blue canvas of open sea. Intense sunlight bathed the sea and surrounding hills for as far as the eye could reach. I splashed about in the open water, a feeling of freedom and joy coursing through every muscle. Sensei, for his part, suddenly ceased all motion and rested on his back on the waves. I followed suit. The blue of the sky rained down in intense color, dazzling my eyes. "It's wonderful out here," I called out.