On closer inspection, there was nothing much worth reading in the newspaper. After several minutes he'd flipped through its pages and was done. Folding it carefully and returning it to its original spot, he addressed the man with a subtle nod. The man nodded in return and asked him, "Are you a high school student?"
Sanshirō was glad that someone had noticed the missing insignia on his worn hat.
"Yes," he answered.
"From Tōkyō?" the man inquired further.
"No, Kumamoto. But ..." He started to explain, then fell silent. He wanted to tell how he was headed for the university, but he decided there was no need to, so he refrained. The man replied briefly to acknowledge Sanshirō's response and puffed at his cigarette. He didn't ask why a student from Kumamoto would be heading toward Tōkyō at this time of the year. He seemed to take no interest in students from Kumamoto.
At this point the man dozing in front of Sanshirō said, "Yes, I see." Even so, he was clearly still asleep. He was certainly not awake and talking to himself. The man with the mustache looked at Sanshirō and grinned.
Sanshirō took the opportunity to ask the man where he was going.
"Tōkyō," the man said slowly and stopped there. Maybe he wasn't a middle school teacher after all. However, since he was traveling in third class he was obviously not a man of any great importance. Sanshirō refrained from further dialog. The man with the mustache folded his arms and occasionally tapped on the floor with the front support of his wooden clog. He looked bored, but at the same time he seemed not to desire conversation.