I was in one half of a deluxe two-room suite that the hospital had repurposed into individual rooms. The auxiliary room, where the brazier would have been, had as one wall a partition that blocked it off from the bedroom. Set into the eastern wall of the six-mat bedroom were several meters of shelves and cabinetry, next to which was a fusuma of fibrous weave. The fusuma, if slid open, allowed easy access from one room to the other. Were I simply to fling it open, I'd know in an instant the goings on of the other room. The sound reaching my ears, of course, in no way warranted such gross breach of etiquette.
The summer season was upon us, and the veranda doors were kept open to air the rooms. The veranda had originally been built to run uninterrupted the full length of the wing. Later however, to afford the patients due privacy, hinged wooden doors had been installed, one between each pair of rooms. The doors were elegantly crafted, with fine wooden strips set crosswise over a base plank. Each morning, when it was time to sweep, the custodian would come up with his key and unlock these doors one by one as he worked his way along. I rose from my bed and stood on the threshold. The sounds in question seemed to originate from just beyond the wooden door. There was a gap at the base of the door, but not enough to reveal anything.