A week later, I again found K and the daughter talking in his room. On this occasion, the daughter took one look at my face and burst out laughing. I perhaps should have asked her then and there what she found so amusing. Instead I held my tongue and continued into my room. K had no chance to offer his usual greeting. The daughter, it seemed, was quick to open the shōji and and make her way back to the hearth room.
At dinner, the daughter remarked that I was eccentric. I refrained from asking what she meant. I simply watched as her mother threw her a reproving look.
After dinner, I invited K to join me for a stroll. We passed behind the Denzūin Temple, circled through the botanical garden lanes, and emerged at the bottom of Tomizaka. It was by no means a short stroll, but we talked very little. K, by nature, was even more reserved than I was. I'm hardly the talkative type, but I did my best to engage him as we walked. Foremost on my mind was the family with whom we lodged. I wanted to know K's thoughts on Okusan and her daughter. All of his answers, however, were evasive and noncommittal. He spoke in simple terms yet still remained elusive. His mind seemed much more focused on his studies than on the two women. Our second year exams, of course, were just around the corner, and between the two of us, as any objective observer could readily have concluded, K was the serious student. He duly impressed me with references to Emanuel Swedberg and such, of whom I knew very little.