Sanshirō politely expressed his gratitude and left the cellar. As he reemerged into the outside world, the day was still burning hot. He took a deep breath despite the heat. The sun had descended toward the west and shone obliquely on a wide hill, setting brilliant fire to the windows of the engineering buildings on either side of the hilltop. The sky was transparent to its depths, and within its depths a burning tongue of pale red flame spread backward from the western edge and seemed to radiate heat directly down onto his head from above. Catching the sun's slanting rays on his upper back, he entered the woods to his left. The trees were catching the evening sun in a similar manner, with a red glow permeating their dense green foliage. Evening cicadas were singing on the thick trunk of a keyaki tree. Sanshirō came to the edge of a small pond and crouched down on his heels.
It was wonderfully peaceful here. There was no sound of passing trains. Before leaving for Tōkyō, he had read in the local paper about a train line that was planned to pass by the university's Red Gate entrance. Due to the university's protestations, the line had been diverted to pass through Koishikawa instead. Sanshirō recalled this affair as he crouched at the edge of the pond. A university that won't allow train access must truly view itself as distinct from the outside world.
When one chances to enter the university, one discovers men like Nonomiya, who spend the better part of a year buried deep in its cellars measuring light beam pressure. Nonomiya is utterly modest in his appearance. On the street, one might take him to be a junior technician from an electric lighting company. Yet remarkably, he's happy to toil tirelessly in his underground lair in pursuit of knowledge. Even though it's clear that the readings in his scope mean nothing to the real world outside. Nonomiya may have no intent of ever engaging with the real world. In the end, the still air he breathes here may serve over time to reinforce his detachment. Sanshirō wondered if he too might prefer a life without distraction, remote from the living world.