As if by prior agreement, they both bought lunch boxes at Hamamatsu. When they finished eating, the train was still in the station. Outside the window, a number of Westerners passed by. One pair, who appeared to be husband and wife, were holding hands despite the hot weather. The woman was beautiful, dressed in white from head to toe. Sanshirō had seen only five or six Westerners in his entire life. Two were instructors at his high school in Kumamoto, one of which suffered from rickets. He knew only one female, a missionary, with a pointed face akin to a barracuda's. In contrast, these elegant Westerners struck him as not only unusual, but somehow vastly superior. He gazed intently, drinking in the sight. It was no wonder they carried themselves so proudly. He imagined how diffident he would feel if traveling to the Occident and interacting in such society. He strained to catch the couple's conversation as they passed in front of his window, but he couldn't make out what they said. Their intonation seemed markedly different from that of his instructors in Kumamoto.
The man joined him at the window. "I wonder if we'll be moving soon." He glanced at the couple who had passed. "Lovely," he murmured faintly, then yawned lightly. Sanshirō realized how provincial he must appear. He quickly drew his head in and sat back down. The man, in turn, retook his seat.
"Aren't Westerners a splendid sight?" he remarked. Sanshirō had no good answer to give, so he merely smiled and nodded in agreement.
"We're a sorry lot," the man began, "with these faces of ours and our small stature. Our defeat of the Russians, marking our debut on the world stage, does nothing for us. Our houses and our yards are befitting of, and no better than, our faces. -- If this is your first trip to Tōkyō, then I take it you've never seen Mt Fuji. Take a look as we pass. It's Japan's premier attraction. There's nothing else we can boast of. And Fuji is nature's work. It's stood there forever. We didn't create it." The man was grinning as he concluded.
Sanshirō had never expected to hear such talk after Japan's victory over Russia. This man struck him as more foreign than Japanese.