Sanshirō's spirit grew restless. When he attended lectures, they sounded distant. Sometimes he failed to make note of crucial points. On his worst days, he felt like his ears were someone else's and he had them on loan. The whole situation struck him as hopelessly ludicrous. Having no other recourse, he confided in Yojirō that he was losing interest. Yojirō gave his typical reply.
"Of course you find no interest in these lectures. You're a country bumpkin, and you've persevered thus far in expectation of great things to come. That's the height of idiocy. Their lectures have never been anything more than what you've heard. No point in letting it bring you down."
Sanshirō became defensive. "It's not that. It's just that ..." Yojirō's flippant tone and Sanshirō's heavy words were so mismatched that their discourse was almost comical.
This same exchange recurred several times over the course of the next weeks. During this time, Sanshirō gradually regained possession of his own ears. Then Yojirō said to him, "You're not looking well." He offered his diagnosis. "It shows in your face that you're weary of life. That 'fin de siècle' look."
Sanshirō replied as before in response to Yojirō's diagnosis. "It's not that. It's just that ..." Sanshirō was not yet cultured enough to appreciate the term 'fin de siècle.' And he was too far removed from the society that had coined it to wield it deftly. He did find the phrase 'weary of life' to his liking. He had been feeling run down, and he thought there was more to it than his bout of diarrhea. However, he was by no means affected to the point of tactically sporting a façade of weariness, so these conversations with Yojirō progressed no further.