Adjoining my room was a four-mat antechamber. Coming from the entry hall, one had to pass through this antechamber to reach my room, a situation that rendered it of little practical use. I put K in this room. My initial thought had been to place our desks together in my larger eight-mat room and reserve this smaller room for our shared use. K decided, though, that he preferred his own space, however cramped it might be, and chose to take the smaller room for his own.
As I've already noted, Okusan initially opposed these measures I sought to take. If she were running a boarding house, she said, then two would be better than one, and three would be better still. However, she was not in business, and she'd prefer that I drop the matter. I assured her she needn't worry, as K was not the burdensome type. Burdensome or not, she replied, he was fully unknown to her. When I countered reprovingly that I, her current lodger, had been no different, she did not back down but insisted she'd had a read on me from day one. I gave her an exasperated look. Then she changed her line of argument. For my own sake, I should not bring in K. I asked how this was for my own sake, and this time the look of exasperation was hers.
In all honesty, it was not essential that I room with K. However, had I doled out a monthly cash allowance before him, I firmly believed he would have refrained from accepting. He was too much the independent spirit. So I brought him into my home and discreetly paid Okusan the extra to cover his meals. At the same time, I made a point of not disclosing K's financial predicament to her.