To tell the truth, we were a strange-looking pair. This was especially true of K, who had lost his hat to the sea in a strung gust and was wearing a bamboo replacement he'd purchased along the way. Our clothes, of course, were filthy, and on top of that we both reeked of sweat. I suggested we shouldn't go meet with the priest. K was obstinate and wouldn't hear it. If I didn't want to go with, he said, then I could wait for him outside. Seeing no better alternative, I accompanied him through the entryway, thinking to myself we'd likely be turned away. Priests, however, are surprisingly civil. We were shown to a grand parlor and promptly joined there. K and I had dissimilar interests at the time, and I only half listened to his conversation with the priest. K wanted to know all about Nichiren. The priest explained how Nichiren was so skilled in the grass script that he was known as "grass Nichiren." I still remember K, who's own brushwork was sub-par, returning a dismissive look. He wanted something more, something of deeper significance. I don't know that the priest managed to satisfy him, but once outside the grounds he turned to me and began to expound on Nichiren. I was too worn down by the heat to care much. I simply humored him with mechanical replies. When these became burdensome I stopped responding altogether.
It was on the following evening, if I remember right, after we'd reached our inn, dined, and were preparing for bed, when our conversation suddenly took a sour turn. K was still fuming from the prior day, when he'd tried to engage me on Nichiren and I'd responded with disinterest. Those who don't seek to better the spirit, he remarked, are mere simpletons. He was clearly rebuking me, implying that I was fickle. My spirit at the time, however, was occupied with thoughts of the daughter of our house, and I wasn't about to let his disrespect go unchallenged. I took up my own defense.