The First night
The Second Night
'I cannot reach the state of nothingness.' Whenever I felt I was about to reach it, the pain seemed to become more intense, bringing me back. I felt anger. I felt regret. I felt deep chagrin at my failing attempt. Tears flowed from my eyes... But I remained sitting patiently. I had to endure this gut-rending sorrow.
The Third Night
I began to feel afraid of him even though he was my son.
The Fourth Night
The old man still made his way straight through the river, singing.'The river will deepen.The day will darken.The world will straighten its path.'
The Fifth Night
The captain scrutinized my face in the firelight and asked me if I would live or die. It was the custom in those days to ask a captive that question. To answer that one would live meant submission; that one would die meant no surrender at any cost. I answered shortly.
The Sixth Night
At last I had to accept the fact that the Niō does not reside in the wood of the Meiji period. I also learned the reason why Ukei is alive today.
The Seventh Night
One night when I was alone on deck watching he stars, a foreigner came up and asked me if I knew any astronomy. Here I was almost ready to kill myself as a non-entity. What did I need to know about astronomy? But I kept silent. The foreign man began to tell me about the seven stars over Taurus. He said that the stars and the sea were something God had created. Finally he asked me if I believed in God. I just kept silent, looking up at the sky.
The Eighth Night
As I crossed the threshold into a barber shop, I saw several people there, all dressed in white, who asked in chorus if they might help me.I stood in the middle of the room, looking around. It was square. The windows on two sides were open and on the other two walls hung mirrors. I counted six mirrors.
The Ninth Night
The world has somehow become unsettled. A battle may break out at any moment. There is panic in the air...
The Tenth Night
Shōtarō, doffing his Panama hat, politely declined, again and again. The woman asked him whether he preferred to be licked by pigs, since he would not venture to jump off the precipice.
This is the dream I dreamed.
I was sitting at a table for one. The room was covered in a timid, dim light. I began to notice a scent. One that lifted my spirits in ways I cannot explain. While I was trying to guess the origin of such irresistible scent, I saw a woman approaching me. She was wearing a white apron.
“Miss, where is this exquisite aroma coming from?,” I gently asked.
“Over there,” she answered, pointing at my right. I could not discern a thing.
“What is it?,” I asked, almost whispering.
“What do you think it is?”
“I believe it is the scent of hope,” I replied, as I felt my soul absorbing all the poetry of the room. All the history of my homeland.
The woman got closer to me, stared at me for a while and then said:
"It is the scent of lemon pie. You are at my coffee shop. You read two books, had three lattes and two pieces of lemon pie. I want to close my shop and go home. Are you ever going to leave?"