After a while Sensei, as though waking in the middle of the sea, righted himself. "Shall we head back?" he suggested. Not lacking for stamina, my preference was to remain longer and enjoy the sea. However, at Sensei's suggestion I readily acquiesced. Together, we retraced our path and returned to the shore.
This was the start of my friendship with Sensei. I still didn't know, though, where he was staying.
Several more days passed, and I believe it was the afternoon of the third day. When I saw Sensei at the tea house, he turned to me and asked, out of the blue, if I intended to stay a good while longer. With no specific plans, I was ill prepared to answer his question. "I'm not really sure," was all I could manage. When I saw the grin on Sensei's face, I grew somewhat abashed. "And yourself, Sensei?" I felt compelled to ask in return. This was the first time I addressed him as Sensei.
That evening, I called on Sensei at his lodgings. He was not at a typical inn, but rather in a villa-like structure that was built on the vast grounds of a temple. I learned that he was staying as a guest there, having no family connection to the site. Each time I addressed him as Sensei, it seemed to elicit a forced smile. I had to explain that such was the way I always addressed my elders. I asked about the foreigner from the other day. Sensei talked of him for a bit, telling me, among other things, of his eccentricity and of how he had already left Kamakura. Sensei then added that, given his limited fellowship with his own countrymen, it was curious that he'd made the acquaintance of a foreigner. At the end of the evening, I turned to Sensei and divulged that I thought I knew him from somewhere, but couldn't say where. Young and hopeful, I expected that Sensei should harbor a similar feeling. I eagerly awaited his answer. Sensei, for his part, pondered in silence for a moment and then replied, "You don't look at all familiar. It must have been someone else." My anticipation gave way to disappointment.