Tonko, the eldest sister, having lost her own chopsticks and bowl to Lil gal's raid, is making due as best she can with the smaller items, but the small bowl, even when full, is good for no more than three mouthfuls. As a result, she's constantly reaching for the server. Helping number four is gone, and she's on to number five. She lifts the lid of the server, picks up the big scoop, and regards it a moment. She seems to waver, unsure if she really wants a fifth helping. Finally, with newfound resolve, she dives in with the scoop, avoiding the charred grains. She deftly lifts the scoop, piled high with rice, but things go awry as she flips it over to fill the bowl. The bowl catches only part of the rice, with the excess tumbling down onto the tatami in a clump. Tonko, with full composure, carefully recovers the fallen rice. However, rather than discard it, she drops it back in the server. A bit unsavory, I must say.
The moment Tonko finishes serving up her rice is the same moment in which Lil gal is aggressively rooting up rice with her oversized chopsticks. Acting the older sister, Tonko is not about to let pass the condition of Lil gal's face. "Lil gal, look at you, you're covered with rice!" So declaring, she sets to work tidying up. Starting with Lil gal's nose, she picks away its resident rice grains. Surprisingly, she doesn't pick off these grains and discard them, but rather puts them into her own mouth. Next she works the cheeks. There are quite a few grains here, maybe twenty in all on both sides. With meticulous repetition, she picks off one grain and eats it, picks off another and eats it. Finally, she's eaten every offending grain, and Lil gal's face is rice-free. In this moment Sunko, who until now has been quietly crunching pickled daikon radish, suddenly unearths sweet potato pieces from beneath the filled-to-the-brim surface of her miso soup and eagerly shovels them into her mouth. As my dear readers well know, nothing hits one's mouth as hot as sweet potato fished from steaming soup. Even an adult palate, if one's not careful, will feel the scald. Much more so one like Sunko then, who's experience with sweet potatoes is limited and from whom a panicked reaction is only to be expected. She lets out a cry and ejects the offending potato pieces from her mouth onto the table. The ejected pieces, as it happens, slide to a stop just in front of Lil gal. Lil gal, who's always been fond of sweet potatoes, immediately tosses aside her chopsticks, collects the potato pieces in her fists, and pushes them into her mouth.