As I talked with Sensei's wife, our discussion, in due course, fell first to Sensei and then to this very subject.
"How can Sensei be so studious in his own home yet not engaged with the world outside?"
"Engagement is out of the question. He won't even think of it."
"Because he views it as futile?"
"I can't say how he views the world -- as a woman it's not my prerogative to know. However, I don't believe that's the case. I think he wants to engage. He wants to, but he can't. It's terribly unfortunate."
"But he seems quite capable. He's perfectly healthy, is he not?"
"His health is fine. There's nothing wrong with him."
"Then what could stop him from pursuing an occupation?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you. If I knew that much, then I wouldn't worry so. I'm in the dark, unable to ease his plight."
In her voice was great sympathy. Still, she managed to put on a faint smile. On the surface at least, I was the more intent one, brooding in silence. As if suddenly remembering, she spoke again.
"He wasn't always like this. He was a different man in his youth. He's changed completely."
"How long ago do you mean?"
"His student days."
"You knew Sensei in his student days?"
She blushed a bit.