In mid August a letter arrived from a friend. In it, he mentioned an instructor's post at a provincial middle school and asked if I was interested. This friend, spurred by financial necessity, had been seeking such a position. When this offer had come to him, he'd already settled on something more favorable. Hence he'd been considerate enough to write and recommend it to me in turn. I immediately wrote back and declined. An acquaintance of mine was struggling to secure a teaching post. I suggested this fellow would likely be receptive to the offer.
After sending off my reply I informed my parents. They seemed to have no objection to my declining the offer.
"There must certainly be better positions that aren't so remote."
Behind these words, I could sense they harbored great expectations for my future. Uninformed as they were, they anticipated that renown and fortune awaited me now that I'd graduated.
"Good positions are hard to come by these days. Things have changed since my brother's time, and our areas of expertise are different. You mustn't assume a similar outcome."
"With degree in hand, though, you need to at least establish yourself. What will I say when people ask after my second son and what he's made of himself after graduating?"
Father made a sour face. With no experience in the broader world, he was fully provincial in his thinking. The local folk were bound to ask about me. They'd want to know how much a university graduate earned, whether it topped a hundred yen. If I didn't arm him with a sound answer, his repute would suffer. My own thinking had been shaped by the big city and was fully alien to that of my parents. No doubt they saw me as an odd species, like a being that walked with its legs skyward. For my part, I sometimes felt I was such a creature. The gulf between us was so wide that I largely refrained from sharing my thoughts.