"As long as it's not exhibitionist, the police will be just fine. If they're going to take issue with this, then they'll have to take issue with the sketching of nudes too." "But the sketching of nudes is instructive. Voyeurism is something different." "If that's how our scholars think, then Japan has a long way to go. Theater, just like the visual arts, is a form of artistic expression." Kangetsu is becoming quite animated. "Let's table this argument for now. Tell us what happens next?" Tōfū, not altogether disinclined yet, is eager to hear more. "At this point, the haiku poet Takahama Kyoshi appears and approaches the stage via the gangway, cutting his way through the audience, with walking staff in hand. The hems of his Satsuma-patterned kimono are tucked up, and over his kimono is a half-coat of light silk. On his feet are low-cut boots, and on his head is a white pith helmet. His dress could be taken for army issue, but he's a poet, so he proceeds at a leisurely pace, as though absorbed in composing a verse. When he reaches the main stage, he averts his dreamy gaze. To his astonishment, before his eyes is the large willow, with the fair-skinned beauty bathing beneath its canopy. Further raising his eyes, he sees the lone raven, on the long willow branch, looking down on the bathing beauty. Kyoshi is greatly moved. Poetic ardor swells in his breast, and he pauses at great length for effect. 'Behold the raven, smitten by her beauty as she bathes!' he finally exclaims in a resonating voice. With this single verse as cue, clapping sticks ring out in rapid succession as the curtain closes. -- That's the storyline. What do you think? Does it suit your needs? Forget about the courtier. You're better off playing Kyoshi." Tōfū looks a little unsatisfied. "It's all too fleeting. I need something that connects on the human level," he adds in earnest. Meitei, who until now has been relatively quiet, can no longer hold his tongue. "If that's your poetic vignette, I'm afraid to say it's a sorry one. As the writer Ueda Bin once remarked, poetic ardor and comic farce are but uninspired reverberations of national decline. Bin has a way with words. Just try producing that act. Bin will tear you to shreds. First of all, this is just too uninspired. It's either attempted drama or failed charade. Forgive me for being blunt, but your time is better devoted to polishing spheres in the lab. You could write a hundred such vignettes, or two hundred, only to the detriment of civil society." Kangetsu is somewhat indignant. "Is it really so uninspiring? I'd intended it to be touching." Though the work hardly merits defending, he defends it nonetheless.