A large man in white appeared behind me with shears and a comb. He gave me a close look. I twisted my thin mustache and asked if anything could be done with it. The man didn't answer, but tapped my head lightly with the amber comb that he held in his hand.
"How about my hair then, can you do something with it?" I asked him.
The man in white didn't answer but began to work his shears with a snipping sound.
I continued my careful watch, intent on observing everything that transpired in the mirror. However, as each snip of the shears brought black hair flying, I finally yielded and closed my eyes. The man in white asked me, "Did the good master see the goldfish seller out front?"
I told him I hadn't. The man in white said nothing further, but worked his shears industriously.
Someone yelled, "Look out!" in a loud voice. I opened my eyes and saw, beneath the sleeve of the man in white, a bicycle wheel. I saw the shafts of a rickshaw. Then the man in white clamped my head in both hands and tilted it sideways. The bicycle and the rickshaw were no longer visible. The snipping of the shears continued.
Finally, the man in white came to my side and began trimming around my ear. Hair no longer assaulted my eyes, so I could safely keep them open. A voice sang out with, "Awa mochi ya, mochi ya-a, mochi ya." A small mallet struck its mortar in purposeful rhythm as he pounded mochi. I hadn't seen an awa mochi vendor since my childhood. I longed to catch a glimpse, but the mochi vendor didn't appear in the mirror. Only the sound of his mallet reached me.