This was the final paragraph of Hydriotaphia. Sanshirō read it while making his way toward Hakusan. According to Professor Hirota, the writer was renowned for his exemplary prose, and this work in particular was considered his finest. When he'd explained this, he'd added with a grin that he himself was not necessarily of the same opinion. Sanshirō, too, struggled to see where this prose was exemplary. The phrasing was poor, the diction off-kilter, and the flow lethargic. In mood it resembled a temple weathered by time. To read this single paragraph, expressed in distance, had taken three or four blocks. Even at that, the meaning was still unclear.
What he'd gleaned was a sense of the ancient. It was as though the bell had tolled in Nara, next to the Great Buddha, and its reverberations had carried, just faintly, to reach his ears in Tōkyō. More than the meaning of the words, Sanshirō was taken with the shades of nuance that overlaid them. He had never dwelled on mortality. The blood of youth was too warm in him yet. Fire burned in his eyes, hot enough, almost, to singe his eyebrows. This was his true essence. He was off now to Akebono-chō, to call on Haraguchi.
A child's funeral procession approached. Only two men, dressed in haori, marched behind. A pure white cloth had been draped over the small casket, and a colorful pinwheel had been fastened to its side. The pinwheel spun. Its blades were of five colors. The spinning of the wheel blended them into one. The procession passed by Sanshirō, white-draped casket and spinning pinwheel. Sanshirō thought it a beautiful farewell.