Sanshirō changed into his formal hakata and set out for Nishikatamachi to call on Yojirō. He entered through the side door and found the professor in the hearth room, a small table before him, eating dinner. Yojirō was by his side, waiting on him attentively.
"How is it professor?" he asked.
The professor had a cheek full of something tough. In a dish on the table were ten reddish-black charred disks, each the size of a pocket watch.
Sanshirō seated himself and offered his greeting. The professor chewed on busily.
"Here, you should try one too." Yojirō picked one off the dish with his chopsticks and held it out. Inspecting it in his hand, Sanshirō identified it as the dried meat of a bakagai clam, broiled in soy.
"Isn't this an odd thing to be eating?" he asked.
"An odd thing? These are wonderful. Try it. I went and bought these as a treat for the professor since he said he'd never had them."
"Where did you buy them?"
Sanshirō wanted to laugh. It was hard to reconcile this present scene with the tone of Yojirō's composition.
"What do you think, professor?"
"Tough, but good, huh? You have to chew thoroughly. That brings out the flavor."
"If I chew till the flavor comes my jaw will go numb. Why'd you go buy such old-fashioned things?"
"You don't like them? It may be they don't suit your taste. I'll bet Mineko would appreciate them."
"Why is that?" Sanshirō asked.
"She moves at her own pace. No doubt she'd chew till the flavor came out."
"That young lady is calm on the surface, but she's unmanageable," interjected the professor.
"That she is. Just like a woman out of Ibsen."
"Ibsen's women are outwardly rebellious. That young lady is unmanageable at her core. When I said unmanageable, I didn't mean in the usual sense. Nonomiya's sister looks a little unmanageable, but deep down she possesses a feminine charm. It's a curious thing."
"It's an inner turmoil, then, that renders Mineko unmanageable?"