I slipped my large hand steadily into the cage. The bunchō responded with a sudden flurry of movement. It beat its wings so fast that bits of warm white down came floating out through the intricate bamboo lattice. I looked reproachfully at my own large hand. On placing the millet and water bowls between the perches, I immediately withdrew my hand. The cage door dropped back lightly, closing itself. The bunchō resettled on its perch. It cocked its head to looked up at me from within the cage. Then it straightened itself and gazed down at the millet and water beneath its feet. I proceeded to the hearth room for my own meal.
At the time, I was working daily to draft a novel. With the exception of mealtimes, I sat at my desk with pen in hand. In quiet times I could hear the sound of my pen as it scratched its way across the page. As a rule, I was left to myself in my cavernous study. From morning to night, the sound of my pen was also the sound of solitude. However, there were many times when the pen fell silent, when it found it could move no more. At those times, I would rest my chin on my palm, still gripping the pen, and gaze through the glass at the windswept garden. After that I would give my chin a tug or two. If pen and paper were still estranged, I'd give the chin a two-fingered shove. On one such occasion, the bunchō suddenly sang "chiyo, chiyo" from its cage on the veranda.
I set down my pen and quietly stepped out to see. The bunchō was on its perch, facing my direction. It thrust out its white breast, leaning almost too far forward, and called out "chiyo" in a high voice. It was a wonderful voice. Miekichi, had he heard it, would no doubt have been delighted. He'd assured me, before departing, that the bird would sing "chiyo" just as soon as it was comfortable in its new surroundings.