During the Rains & Flowers in the Shade [1 ed.] 0804722595, 9780804722599

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During

the

Rains Flowers in the

Iwo

Shade

Novellas hy

I'ranslated by

Lane Dunlop

N\G A IMA

During

Rains

the

Flowers in the Shade

Two

Novellas by

NAGAI KAFU Translated by Lane

Nagai Kafu

(i

Dunlop

879-1959) was one of the most

important Japanese writers of fiction during the first

He

half of the twentieth century.

known

for his

and fancies of Tokyo: streets

and

women



is

best

evocative descriptions of the moods

alleys, its

its

gardens and canals,

people, and above

especially the kept

women,

its

all its

geisha,

and

prostitutes.

During

the

appear here the

Tokyo

borhoods

Rains and Flowers

in the

Shade,

m EngUsh for the first time,

of the 1930's. that

which

are set

m

Most of the seedy neigh-

Kafu so lovingly describes have

long since vanished, either in the bombing

raids

of 1945 or in the rebuilding that followed. Kafu's sympathies are clearly with the women that figure in these stories.

A man wedded

to the past,

happy

only in retrospect, Kafu saw in the world of the demimondaine the last tattered vestiges of the old

Tokyo,

when

it

was called Edo.

their day-to-day

life

the

He

also

saw in

only honest way

to live,

the love with the least falsehood, in a materialistic, hypocritical society.

During situdes

the

Rains (193

is

the story of the vicis-

of an amiable and lascivious Ginza cafe

girl. It is

considered to be

among

Kafu's master-

and

scholars,

pieces by

many

including

Donald Keene: "One of Kafu's

writers, critics,

finest

(continued on hackjlap)

BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

During

Flowers

the Rains

in the

Shade

During

Flowers

TWO NOVELLAS

the

Rains

in the

Shade

BY

NAGAI KAFU

TRANSLATED BY LANE DUNLOP

STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS STANFORD, CALIFORNIA 1994

Stanford University Press Stanford, California

©

1994 by the Board of Trustees

of the Leland Stanford Junior University Printed in the United States of America

During

the Rains

was

originally published in

Japanese in 1931 under the Flowers

in the

title

tsuyu no atosaki;

Shade was originally published in

Japanese in 1934 under the

title

hikage no hana.

Kafu Nagai tsuyu no atosaki

©

193 1

/

hikage no hana

and 1934 Hisamitsu Nagai

Originally published in Japan

The

Translator's Preface and notes

were prepared

especially for this edition by Lane Dunlop.

CIP

data appear

at

the end of the

book

Stanford University Press publications are distrib-

uted exclusively by Stanford University Press within the United States, Canada, and Mexico; they are distributed exclusively by

Cambridge University

Press throughout the rest of the world.

To Edward G. Seidensticker In general admiration of his

and

work

in particular admiration

Kafu

which introduced me

of

the Scribbler

to this author

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2011

http://www.archive.org/details/duringrainsfloweOOnaga

CONTENTS

Translator's Preface, ix

During the Rains,

3

Flowers in the Shade, 137

TRANSLATOR

Nagai Kafu was born on December Koishikawa

district

of Tokyo. His

a

1879, in the

father, Hisaichiro,

an important Meiji-era bureaucrat;

was the daughter of

3,

PREFACE

S

his

well-known Confucian

The two had met and married when

was

mother, Tsune, scholar.

Hisaichiro

was

a

student of Tsune's father.

At

that time

of old

brook

estates

Koishikawa was in the country, an area

and temples.

(literally,

the

It

took

its

name means "pebble

name from

the

river") that

still

flowed above ground in Kafu's childhood. early stories, living

"The Fox,"

is

about

a

One

fox discovered to be

on the grounds of the family house that is

smoked out and

killed

of Kafu's

by Kafu's father and

ruthlessly

his

staunch

henchman, the student-houseboy. The eventual disappearance of his childhood scenes under the pavements of the city in

its

shape Kafu's is

ineluctable expansion sensibility. In

must have gone

forever lamenting the passage of the

their replacement

far to

much of his mature work, he good old days and

by the bad new days.

A reluctant student who kept playing hooky to attend kabuki performances rather than university lectures, take shakuhachi flute lessons in the Yanagibashi geisha district,

apprentice himself to the Edo-style playwright Fukuchi

Ochi, and occasionally appear on the boards himself, Kafu steeped himself in

Edo period literature and also read such

foreign authors as Zola and Maupassant in English and

then French. His early works include Ambition (1902), The

IX

Translator's Preface

Woman

Flowers of Hell (1902), and The

Ambition; the stqry of the rise and

Dream

of the

fall

of

a

(1903).

young Meiji

businessman misled by newly imported precepts of success, is

in

written in Kafu's peculiar variety of Naturalism,

which personal

taste

and evocation replace the dispas-

sionate zeal and scientific reportage of Zola. Flowers of Hell provides an early forerunner of Tsuruko, the writer

Kiyooka's wife in During

beyond

the Rains, a

the needs of her society. The

details a

woman's descent

sence of

judgment

educated

of the

Dream

into degradation and the ab-

we

that

woman

Woman

find in the later Flowers in

the Shade.

These early works, written before Kafu's departure

September 1903

for

America and

demonstrating that Kafu was could not be

and "pure

fitted into the

literature" that

world of the time,

was

later France,

sui generis,

a

in

although

who

writer

framework of the Naturalism

dominated the Japanese

are not

among

his

literary

major works.

It

his literary activity in the years following his return

to Japan in

August 1908

that revealed his characteristic

terrain as a writer.

Kafu had been dispatched abroad by

means of concealing

his father as a

his unsatisfactory progress along

the road to conventional success and to accustom to the discipline required for that success.

Kafu worked

at Japanese

addition to engaging in his travels

(1909).

came

Most of

accounts of

life

To

him

this end,

banks in America and France, in

more

student-like pursuits.

Tales of America (1908)

and

From

Tales of France

the stories in the former are based in

America

that

on

Kafu heard from Japa-

nese immigrants; in the latter, hardly any Japanese appear, aside

from Kafu himself in various personae. Nakamura

Mitsuo, ajapanese

critic,

has remarked that Kafu acquired

Translator's Preface

his belief in individualism

from his

stay in

America and his

belief in traditionalism in France, where, having already

been exposed to

it

in

America, he was able to ignore the

mechanical aspect of Western

were

to stand

Kafu

in

good

civilization.

These

when he

stead

beliefs

returned to

Japan, where individualism as such was not acknowledged until after the Pacific

War and where

until well after the

Meiji era (1868-1912) civilization was equated with ernization.

Japanese in

its

of Tokyo, the at

interesting to reflect that Kafu, the bulk

It is

of whose work

mod-

properly thought of as quintessentially

is

evocation of the passing scenes and seasons city that

found

its

chronicler in him,

may

the outset of his career have undergone a definitive

molding of

his sensibility in

America. The thorough-

going individualism and natural beauty of America enced Kafu, both in

his eccentric social stance

sensitivity to nature evidenced in his

had disappeared

as subject

influ-

and in the

work, long after they

matter from his stories. Kafu's

American-inspired individualism, among other things,

may have

enabled

patriotic hysteria It is

him

to hold out

of the war

unmoved

against the

years.

with "The Fox" (1909) that Kafu's most character-

istic

work, with

It is

the

first

its

of

nostalgic tone,

may be

said to begin.

his stories published after his return to

Japan to use Japanese materials. Although short, and more

of

a

childhood

counted among

memory

piece than a story,

There followed

a series

rightly

of evocations of the vanishing

past, its pleasures, pursuits,

Sumida"

it is

his masterpieces.

and professions: "The River

(1909), Sneers (1909-10),

(1912), Geisha in Rivalry (1917),

The Kept Woman's House

Dwarf Bamboo

(1920),

and

Quiet Rain (1921). Perhaps the most typical of these, as

well as the most masterly,

is

Geisha

XI

in Rivalry.

Drawing on

Translator's Preface

Kafu de-

his experiences in the Shinbashi geisha district,

of the geishas and

picts in detail the hfe

their fashionable

gentlemen customers, the former sympathetically, the latter critically

and with

measure of contempt.

a certain

After a decade-long hiatus, which has been attributed to

new

Kafu's distaste for the brave

During

and Flowers

the Rains (1931)

Tokyo

chronicles of life in the

Japan, there appeared in the

"floating

Shade (1934), his

world" of the

1920's and early 1930's.

A Strange

(i937)» Kafu's account

of his summer evening

lady of the night in the Tamanoi quarter,

most intense distillation of his longing highwater mark of his

career.

late

Tale from East of the River visits to a

perhaps the

is

for the past

and the

was an accomplishment

It

he would never again achieve. Kafu's position had

its

hazards.

A man who

always

thought the past better than the present, so much so the once bad present in due course

became the good

that

past,

he entrenched himself in an anti-social solitude, which he believed to be ethically necessary. This was to yield the

unexpected dividend of popularity ately following the

war (thanks

in the years

to his uncooperative atti-

tude toward the wartime authorities), but

of tone,

in a gradual darkening

immedi-

it

also resulted

a certain cold

sardonic

note.

During

the

Rains

considered to be

is

masterpieces by a variety of writers,

among

critics,

Kafu's

and scholars,

among them Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, Nakamura Mitsuo, and Donald Keene. Edward Seidensticker, in his authoritative Kafu the Scribbler (ig6s) cites a comment by Tanizaki as the ,

most perceptive The

old-fashioned

yet made. is

fairly

I

quote from his translation:

conspicuous in Kafu's recent During

and the shifting of

the Rains.

Indeed in

might be

called the oldest of his novels yet.

its

style

Xll

its

There

scenes,

it

are chance

Translator's Preface

all through the book, which are used to furmanner common enough in plays and novels

meetings scattered ther the plot, in a

of another to the

The

era.

modern

oldness of the form stands in subtle contrast

colors of the material.

And Donald Keene, in his monumental study of modern Japanese fiction Dawn to the West (1984), has this to say: During

the Rains

ments.

.

.

The

.

.

.

from discriminating istic interest.

ranks as one of Kafu's finest achieve-

.

exceptional praise that During critics

was occasioned

the

chiefly

Rains

won

by the novel-

The detached analysis of a group of people makes work of French Naturalism, though a few

the story read like a

passages, mainly those relating to Kiyooka's father, evoke the

beauty of place and season in the typical Kafu manner. Flowers

in the

Shade might almost be called a continua-

tion o£ During the Rains.

Of one character,

the author says:

"In Jukichi's eyes, the lives of respectable people seemed

somehow

absurdly constricted and

happiness of life without later,

hypocritical.

lewd, indolent existence such

trast, a

its

as his

con-

pretenses" (Chapter

8).

And

of another character, Kafu comments:

This Tsukayama was the owner of an

which he had inherited from the labor agitation that after the

electrical appliance factory,

his father.

However, foreseeing

would continually plague

society,

he passed his

antiques.

.

.

.

self-justified

felt

an extreme pessimism toward

human

life.

13)

Again,

as in so

commentary seems Flowers

of contemporary

days in reading and collecting

Both by temperament and philosophical out-

Tsukayama

(Chapter

the business

enforcement of universal suffrage, he quickly sold the

factory. Distancing himself from the disorders

look,

By

seemed the

in the

Naturalism.

many

other cases. Professor Keene's

the definitive one:

Shade is another example of Kafu's special variety of

He makes

us see and

Xlll

all

but smell the dingy rooms

Translator's Preface

he describes, without ever allowing us to pass judgment on

them or

Kafu neither approves or disapproves

their inhabitants.

of his characters, and

if he tells

not in order to demonstrate

determined their

lives,

though

assuage our curiosity as to

how

woman

a particular

us in detail about their past

it is

how environment and heredity have this

was probably

true,

but to

how Jukichi came to live off women,

happened to become

a prostitute or a

procuress, and so on. Despite the flaws of narration. Flowers the

Shade

{Dawn

West)

to the

These tury,

in

unquestionably the work of an exceptional writer.

is

stories are set in the

which succeeded the

"second Tokyo" of this cen-

Tokyo, destroyed

first

in the

Great Earthquake of 1923, and which disappeared in

its

turn in the American incendiary raids of 1945. Most of the neighborhoods and the neighborhoods within neigh-

borhoods

that

Kafu so lovingly names and describes have

long since vanished, subsumed in the un-neighborhoodlike

wards.

Kafu's sympathies are clearly with the ladies of the

Tokyo demimonde, prostitutes,

the

geisha-prostitutes,

and out-and-out prostitutes

these stories.

A man

wedded

that figure in

to the past,

in retrospect, an incurable backward-looker, their ters

world the

of the old

last tattered vestiges

city,

when

it

was

waitress-

happy only

Kafu saw

in

of the licensed quar-

called

Edo.

in their day-to-day life the only honest

way

He

also

saw

to live, the

love with the least falsehood, in a materialistic, hypocritical society.

One may

surmise that

among

these feckless,

irresponsible yet generous-hearted sensualists at the bot-

tom of the

social abyss, in the

back

alleys

of Tokyo, Kafu

found emotional freedom from the cramped proprieties of his family.

Kafu was not on tives.

He

fell

particularly

afoul early

good terms with his

on of

XIV

rela-

his rigidly oldfashioned

Translator's Preface

father with his superficial overlay of Western ways; a

gradual estrangement developed between himself and his

mother over property matters and

ond marriage

his unrespectable sec-

and the gulf between himself

to a geisha;

and his youngest brother was such that Kafu refused either to visit his ailing

cause

mother or attend her funeral

in 1937 be-

would involve seeing the brother. According to among other offenses, had incited his

it

Kafu, this brother,

children to behave disrespectfully toward him. Although

following the war there was

a reconciliation

of sorts with

the brother, Kafu's relations with his family continued

thorny and lacking in affection to the end. Although he

adopted return

a cousin's

son during the war, he

him when he became

later tried to

suspicious of the cousin's

motives in agreeing to the adoption. Ironically, Kafu's sense

of nature seemed to require an

urban or suburban presence limiting or encroaching upon it,

to lend

it

the poignancy of transience or besiegement.

In During the Rains, besides the idyllic interlude of Tsu-

ruko's visit to her father-in-law's cottage in the outskirts,

soon to be effaced by the expanding metropolis, Kafu left this

description of the scenery of the Imperial Palace

compound As

in the heart of Tokyo:

the path along the top of the

embankment

gradually sloped

lower, at each step the night sky seemed to spread out wider

overhead. Visible in a single sweep of the eye from Ichigaya to

Ushigome, the scenery along the Moat the trees and shrubberies

— was an

softly flowing night wind, there

the grassy-smelling

call

"Ahh

trees across the

of what sounded

— somehow

looked up

at

was the

scent of field grass and

blooms of the pasania

above the towering pine sudden

— the embankment and

overall misty green. In the

it's

trees.

From

the sky

Moat, there came the

like a night heron.

as if

the sky. (Chapter

we were 3)

XV

in the country."

Kimie

Translator's Preface

The

may

stories

be accused of technical

faults:

the ex-

cessive use of coincidence, chance encounters, and hap-

penstance to

been

move

things along (although this

a quite deliberate return

ods of an

on Kafu's

may have meth-

part to the

earlier literature); the inadequate role allotted to

Tsuruko, the neglected

During

w^ife in

the Rains; the ir-

relevant or overly detailed characterization of the heroine

Kimie's old landlady; the taking of sides by the author, such

as in his sarcastic portrait

fiction writer

Kiyooka and

his

of the successful pulp-

sympathetic depictions of

Tsuruko and Akira, her father-in-law; sentiments that seem clearly his

mour of the

kept

own

his attributions

of

to Jukichi, the para-

woman O-Chiyo,

Tsukayama, the

to

gentleman of private means and benefactor of O-Chiyo's daughter O-Tami, to Akira (who

at

one point quotes

approvingly from Hosoi Heishu, an eighteenth-century

Confucian scholar whose work Kafu was reading on the day of the Great Earthquake, September

i,

1923), and,

finally, to

Matsuzaki, the genial philandering ex-official

who

down

lived

a

bribery scandal.

In this they imitate

we

life,

where

despite our best efforts

are constantly taking sides in our feelings about

people, dwelling in detail on those

who

interest us

perfunctorily dismissing from our thoughts those

and

who

don't, and projecting our feelings and thoughts onto others. Perhaps the best reply to critics

would be

to say

and

them

that imaginatively

Kafu lived these

down

faithful to his feelings rather than fol-

in a

manner

lowing some abstract

As

set

if to teach us that the

times those that break

of guidelines for

most

its

successful

set

fiction writing.

works

are

all the rules, the stories

irreplaceable accounts of alive in all

stories

life

in a lost

touchingly inconsistent

XVI

some-

remain

Tokyo, preserved

human

detail, in

Translator's Preface

beautifully perceptive choice of detail, by the a

masterly prose

medium of

style.

After the publication o£ A Strange Tale from East of the

Kafu

River,

with China and America. His

of his wartime

war

largely silent during the years of

fell

silence,

on the evidence

seems to have been based on

diaries,

his

contempt for the vulgarity of militarist Japan more than anything

else,

authorities,

versive of the

such

although

was

it

enforced by the

war effort. The few stories from this period,

"The Decoration"

as

a silence

who judged his work to be frivolous and sub(1942), Sinking and

A

Swimming

Tale

No One Asked

For (1944-45), minor but appealing works

set in familiar

(1942), The Dancing Girl

(1944), and

Kafu milieux, were published

after the war.

continued to the end of his

stories

life,

A

trickle

including

of

some

very good ones that reported the hardships of ordinary people in the desperate postwar conditions.

of these

is

"The Scavengers"

An

(1948), an account

example of forag-

ing for food in the countryside around Tokyo.

work was

Kafu's major postwar

the publication of his

diaries for the years 1917-59. Written

and styled through-

out for eventual publication, they were highly prized by

who

Kafu himself,

kept them always with him; they

also rank high in the estimation

of some

Kafu

critics.

enjoyed his widest reputation among the general public during the postwar years, mainly doings

as a

as a character

whose

penny-pinching eccentric and frequenter of

the tackier entertainment districts, especially Asakusa,

were reported

in the tabloids.

Nakamura Mitsuo,

the critic cited earlier in this pref-

ace, has left this portrait I

had some

years.

Now

of Kafu during these years: with Nagai Kafu in his

slight acquaintance

that

I

think of

it,

I

later

have the feeling that he was a

xvii

Translator's Preface

man of rather

large physique.

Not only was he

unusually

tall

for a Japanese of the Meiji era, but the features of his long face

were

all>

Targe also. In particular, he had splendid-looking ears.

In addition, his youthfulness, as symbolized by the nearlyjet-

black hair that belied his age, remains strongly in

my impression

of the man. This large stature and youthfulness of the distinctive features of his physique.

his

were not merely

They

also

may

be said

to be important characteristics of his literature.

Nagai Kafu died on April outside Tokyo.

30, 1959, in

Ichikawa, just

He was buried in the family plot at Zoshi-

gaya Cemetery in Bunkyo-ku, the old Koishikawa.

The

texts used for these translations are those in Nagai

Kafu Shu, published by Shinchosha

Bungaku Zenshu in 1961.

My

as

volume

14 in Nihon

grateful thanks are

due

John R. Ziemer of Stanford University Press for his painstaking editing and valuable suggestions for the improve-

ment of the English

versions.

L.D.

xvni

During

the

Rains

ONE {^

That

Kimie did not have

day,

on the Ginza

cafe

work at the From her rented

to report for

until three o'clock.

room in Honmura-cho in Ichigaya, she strolled out along the Moat [around the Imperial Palace compound]. Boarding a bus

the approach to the palace gates, she got ofFin

at

Hibiya. This side of the steel railway bridge, she turned off into an alley lined with the banners of eating and

drinking shops, like some neighborhood in the suburbs.

She was looking for the window of a rented a sign in gilt characters that read

office

"The Golden

with

Tortoise,

Divination and Fortune-telling." Since the close of the previous year, Kimie had had several strange, disturbing experiences.

Once, on the way

back from the kabuki with two or three fellow waitof all her

resses, the cuffs

to her

sleeves,

silk jacket clear

slashed off

mental

by

it

mysterious passer-by. Then, an orna-

comb of genuine

was done by

feel that

it

hair while she

was

that.

was unaware.

What made

was the handiwork of someone with was the

fact that

though Kimie had been leading short coat

worn over

the

grudge

closet.

a really wild,

kimono

a

her

subsequently a

dead kitten had been tossed into her clothes

A light,

with pearls

tortoiseshell inlaid

a thief, that

against her, however,

*

sealskin coat

through to her undergarment, had been a

had been pulled out of her If

from her

matching haori* of Oshima pongee and her padded

(tr.

Even

abandoned

note)

During

life

months and

these past

years, think as she might, she

had no memory of having done anything enmity. .At paid

it

first,

she had merely thought

much mind.

rants

to incur such

odd and not

it

Recently, however, in a small trade

tabloid called Street Scenes,

about the

the Rains

which mainly

women who worked

on and around

retailed gossip

at the cafes

and restau-

the Ginza, something about her had

appeared that until then Kimie had thought no one could

have known. Suddenly uneasy, she had decided to follow her friends' advice and consult

The

article in Street Scenes

On

defamation.

a fortune-teller.

had been neither slander nor

the contrary,

was

it

harmless and in-

a

offensive article, brimful of praise for Kimie's beauty. told

how

as a

young

girl

inner thigh, said to be

would

become

split

tinued,

a waitress, at

when

up into three moles.

Kimie must be

grew up she

No

doubt, the article con-

and in

a state

this sign that she

would

secretly overjoyed

When Kimie

find three patrons.

read

this, it

her a truly unpleasant, ominous feeling. the case that

been by

on her itself

left

Kimie had

It

had given

was

certainly

inner thigh a mole which had

at

had been joined by two other moles

without her exactly noticing when. truth.

she

some time or other the mole

of suspenseful anticipation over

first

mole on her

enter one of the entertainment professions. After

she had

had

sign that

a

It

a

Kimie had had

first

It

was the absolute

noticed the moles

at

about the

time she had gone to work on the Ginza, having started out

at a cafe

on Ueno Pond

were only two men

One was

could have

known

about them.

Matsuzaki, a lusty old gentleman with

she'd been

The

who

the previous spring. There

whom

having an affair since her pre- waitress days.

other was a writer called Kiyooka Susumu,

surged into popularity since she had met him

who had

at

the cafe

During in

the Rains

Ueno. The location of the mole was such

her family could have been expected to

Even

that not

know

even

about

it.

the attendant at her bathhouse could not have been

that observant.

Kimie

didn't particularly care

or another about the moles, but reporter

known

attendant

how had

a

about something that even

would

one way

newspaper

a

bathhouse

to observe? Joining these doubts to

fail

her suspicions from the previous year, Kimie was sud-

vague

denly possessed by

a

what might happen

after this, she

to

fear.

There was no

telling

thought. Although up

now she had never so much as drawn

a lot at a temple,

alone performed devotions to the gods, she abruptly

let felt

she ought to see a fortune-teller.

who had set up shop in a single house, was a man of about forty.

This latter-day wizard,

room

in an apartment

Dressed in a Western business shell glasses,

he had

a clipped

he leaned against his desk,

from the

that

suit,

with celluloid tortoise-

mustache. His demeanor,

at first

as

glance was no different

of a doctor or lawyer greeting

his client.

Over

window, which afforded frequent views of passing

national railway trains, a framed inscription read: "Divine

Aid.

The Writings of

Heihachiro."

On

the walls, there

were maps ofJapan and the world. Alongside the desk,

a

bookcase with staggered shelves held foreign tomes and Japanese books in traditional bindings.

Taking off her

Kimie seated teller,

light

shawl but keeping

herself in the indicated chair.

closing a half-read

his chair so that

"Does

it

it

in her hand,

The fortune-

volume on the desk, swiveled

he faced Kimie.

concern marriage?

Or

shall

I

tell

you your

overall fortune in life?" the fortune-teller inquired, a professional smile

answered:

"It

on

his face.

Kimie, lowering her eyes,

doesn't particularly concern marriage."

During

the

Rains

"Well then, we'll look into more general matters." Deliberately informal, evidently at

at

pains to put

her e^se, like a gynecologist inquiring into

Kimie

a patient's

condition, the fortune-teller continued: "Having one's

fortune told clients

is

very interesting,

it

seems. All sorts of

come here. Some people even stop by every morn-

ing on their v^ay to the office to get their fortune told for that day.

However, from the days of old

no

whether

telling

not.

Even

if

"My

sign

a prediction will actually

you draw

be alarmed about.

there has been

a

bad reading,

come

there's

true or

nothing to

How old are you?"

came up

this year."

"In that case, your sign

would be

the sign of the Rat.

What day were you born?" "The

third of May."

"The

third of May, in the sign of the Rat. Let's see

Taking up the yarrow under

sticks

." .

.

and muttering something

his breath, the fortune-teller set out the divining

blocks on the desk. "The divination sign for your age richudan.

is

if one read out the commentary from would probably be long-winded and not to Therefore I will simply tell you my thoughts as

However,

the book, the point.

it

they occur to me. Generally speaking, people to this richudan sign,

both

men and women,

who belong

tend to be es-

tranged from their relatives and to have very few friends.

They

pass through the world alone. Furthermore, judg-

ing from the

month and day of your

the yukon-senpu sign. This sign

birth,

means

you belong

that

even

if

to

there

has been an upheaval in your Hfe, things will gradually revert to normal. that

As

I

consider this sign,

it

seems to

me

you are in transition. There has been a great change in

your

life,

now things are slowly returning to the way If we compare it to weather, there has been

but

they were.

During a

Rains

the

storm, and

hasn't yet altogether

it

gone away. But

it

would probably be correct to say that things are quieting down and well on the way back to their original calm." Kimie, fingering the shawl in her at

the fortune-teller.

nothing to do with

was not

It

lap, stared

Something about

her.

vaguely

divination had

as if this

it

was right on

somehow embarrassed, Kimie lowered The diviner's saying that there had been a

the mark. Feeling

her eyes again.

change in her

no doubt

life

referred to her having ignored

her parents' advice and run away to Tokyo, where she

had ended up

Kimie had

as a waitress. left

home

posal her parents and her.

to escape

from

a

marriage pro-

her relatives had urged

all

upon

Kimie's natal house was in the village of Maruen in

Saitama Prefecture, about two hours away by train from

Ueno of

a

Station.

The family

business was the manufacture

kind of sweet that had become

Among

cialty.

a

noted local spe-

Kimie's friends from grade school was a

Kyoko, who'd gone on to become a geisha Ushigome and within a year had been redeemed by her patron and established as his mistress. The two girls girl called

in

constantly visited each other.

become gone

a

When Kimie,

country wife, had run away from home, she'd

straight to

Kyoko 's

house. Even though her people

had come and taken her back she'd always run ents let her

become an

away

go her

office

to the country several times,

again.

own

At

their wits' end, her par-

way, giving her permission to

worker or

a

bank

clerk.

Although Kimie, through the good patron

work

(a

at

not caring to

offices

man named Kawashima), had

an insurance company,

this

of Kyoko's

presently found

was no more than

temporary sop to her parents. Within half a

year, she

out of work and spending her days in idleness

at

a

was

Kyoko's

During place. Suddenly,

was discovered

it

that

the Rains

Kyoko's patron

had embezzled company funds. The case was sent had known from her geisha days back

make ends meet,

that failed to

to the

Kyoko began inviting men whom she

prosecutor's office.

to her house.

When

she went around to assigna-

tion houses and marriage agencies for customers. Kimie,

observing her friend's easy circumstances, thought

good way

to

make

the profession herself. rested,

Kyoko

it

when one

that

But

said; she

Although thinking

knew

At some

a living.

would be dreadful

was going back

might be nice

Although Kyoko had

felt

in the latest clothes

to being a geisha.

Kimie

inquiries of the girl's family.

to send

a waitress.

money

Kimie was under no such

try girl herself, she

to be ar-

to be a geisha,

She'd had no choice but to become

the country,

a

applied for a license, the police were

make

required by law to

it

it

point, she'd entered

no great need

to her people in

necessity.

to

A coun-

deck herself out

and accessories and, unless invited,

never went to movies and plays. The desultory perusal of a

novel or

a

book of short

on the

stories

trolley

was the

extent of her amusements. Other than that, she say,

she didn't even

As long

as

know

herself

what she

would

liked to do.

she had enough to pay the rent and her hair-

dresser, she

had no wish

to squeeze

money

out of men.

Often, for no extra charge, she had done exactly what the

man

wanted, so that no matter

she had led, Kimie thought,

it

how

was not

lascivious a

likely that she

life

had

incurred any great degree of dislike from anyone.

"So there at

is

nothing

I

have to particularly worry about

present?"

"How

is

your health?

the matter at present, then

If there it

is

nothing particularly

does not seem to

me that you

will have any serious health problems in the near future.

During

As in

the Rains

previously indicated, there has been

I

your

but

Hfe,

now

stagnant. Perhaps

may have some ever, as

I

things are quiet, indeed

earlier,

events from

now on. However, you

troubles you, and

are

How-

according to your divination

do not think there

I

somewhat

of uneasiness, of disquiet.

feeling

mentioned

and so

disturbance

you haven't noticed it yourself, but you

sign the temporary change in your ing,

a

gradually abat-

life is

will be any

if there is

untoward

something that

wondering what

to do, let us,

in regard to that particular matter, take another reading.

By

that means,

of what

yarrow

it is."

believe,

I

we

will obtain a general idea

So saying, the fortune-teller took up the

sticks again.

"Actually,

there

is

something I'm

about," Kimie started to say. But

it

slightly anxious

was impossibly

dif-

come right out and tell him about the moles. "I remember having done anything in particular, but somehow I feel as if somebody has misunderstood me." ficult to

don't

"Yes, yes." Closing his eyes in a significant kind of way,

more counted out

the diviner once

the yarrow sticks and

placed the divining blocks. "Indeed. This sign signifies that the

shadow accompanies

you

worrying

are

too

way, something that use the language there

is

I

actuality.

is

the object.

It's

possible that

much about various things. In not comes to seem

as if it

this

were.

To

employedjust now, there is illusion and

When

a thing exists,

it

naturally casts a

shadow. According to time and circumstances, however, the opposite sometimes happens, and the thing

by the shadow. Therefore,

if

matters will be peacefully settled of their

own

you

will put yourself in such a frame of mind,

that

you

will have nothing to

Thinking

that

is

created

you eliminate the shadow, accord. If I

believe

worry about."

what the diviner

said

was extremely

During plausible,

and that she'd been

Kimie immediately

felt

the Rains

fretting over trivialities,

Although there were

reassured.

other things she wanted to ask about, she was afraid that if

she went into detail not only her present occupation

but her having made the rounds of the assignation houses

and marriage agencies with Kyoko two or three years ago

would come

to light.

occurred to her that she might

It

ask about the dead kitten and the vanished comb, but she

did not want to be as

late for

work. She would leave things

they were today.

"Excuse me, but what

hand into her obi

"My

your

is

fee?"

Kimie slipped her

for her purse.

regular fee

is

one yen, but please give what you

feel is right."

The door opened, and two men in Western clothes entered. Not only did they unceremoniously plunk themselves

down in the chairs

right alongside Kimie's, but one

of them stared round-eyed Averting her

face,

at

her as

Kimie got

up.

if he

were

a detective.

Without saying good-

bye to the diviner, she opened the door and stepped into the corridor.

When

she emerged from the building, in the

clear,

serene sunlight of early May, the young foliage shone a vivid

green

all

along the

Moat from Hibiya

Park. In

the groups of people waiting for the trolley, the flutter

of fashionable clothing caught the wristwatch, passing under the

steel

eye.

Glancing

at

her

railway bridge, Kimie

approached Sukiyabashi Bridge. Past the Asahi Newspaper Building, advertisement balloons were moored to the roofs of several of the

pausing, Kimie gazed up

tall

at

buildings. Unconsciously

the spectacle. Then, behind

her, a voice called out "Kimie-san,"

sandals hurried toward her.

and the sound of

Wondering who

10

it

could be.

During

the Rains

Kimie turned around. one or -two with cafe

It

whom

was Matsuko,

on Ueno Pond. Since

of twenty-

a girl

worked

she had

year

last

at

the

Matsuko's clothes

that time,

and general appearance had greatly improved. Guessing

from her own experience, Kimie

"Matsuko-san.

said:

You're on the Ginza too." "Yes.

And no." After this ambivalent answer, Matsuko

went on: "Toward

the end of last year,

in the Japan Alps. After that,

But

now want I

called the it,

to

work

is

there now. So

"Oh, you were

Don Juan

"Recently, It

on

my way

to a bar

Lenin in the Fifth Chome. You probably

Salon Lac,

Alps.

played around for a while.

again. I'm

Kimie-san. Atsuko, that

at the

I

some time

spent

I

who was

girl I

thought

in the Alps?

I

at

the

a look."

ever since then."

might be nice

How

have the time.

go take

I'd

know

hadn't heard. I've been

heard from one of

I

with us

to see

is

him

my

customers in the

again, but

that sensei*

I

just don't

of yours?

Still

the

Kimie, while thinking that the respectful appellation

must

refer to the writer

best to subtly

Kiyooka Susumu, thought

sound out Matsuko.

it

Among her many cus-

tomers, there were also lawyers and doctors,

all

of them

sensei.

what with the

"Yes. He's frightfully busy these days,

newspapers and films and

all that."

Matsuko, however she interpreted deeply impressed. "Oh,

to

it,

*A artists

men are respectful (tr.

a

that

is

deep breath, she went on:

this,

so-o-o

.

.

seemed .

"When you come

coldhearted

lot. I've

term of address applied

note).

II

?"

to be

Taking

right

a

down

got plenty of experito teachers, writers,

and

During

ence under

my

That's

belt.

into business in a big

why

the

Rains

I'm thinking of going

way from now

on."

Kimie, thinking in her heart of hearts that there was

no need

to give the grandiose

was

at the outside

five or ten

teasingly, in a dehberately

"The

term "experience" to what

men, was amused. Half-

downcast manner, she

said:

sensei has a respectable wife, and he also has that

famous

Suzuko.

actress

A waitress like myself is nothing

but a temporary plaything for him."

When

Owari-cho the pedestrian

traffic

gradually grew lively.

However, Matsuko, oblivious of girl that

drew near

they'd crossed the bridge, as they

the passers-by, simple

she was, immediately blurted out: "But the rea-

son Suzuko got married was because the sensei was in love with you. Everybody says so. Isn't

Somewhat

true?"

disconcerted by Matsuko's earnestness,

Kimie quickly soon and have

it

replied:

"Matsuko-san. We'll meet again

a good long

me. They're hiring

talk. If you like,

come and

now at the Don Juan too.

I'll

give

see

you

an introduction."

"How many people do they have there now?" "Sixty. Two shifts of thirty each. The cleaning-up, and everything,

tables

makes

it

"Let's see,

turns do

now.

"I can't afford

it

came

even though she

grew

you have

Lately,

it's

that alone

it

to take?"

been best to take three."

fancy kimonos.

you end up doing

When

done by the men, so

easier than elsewhere."

"How many

taxi,

is

And

every night

to detailed accounts felt

once you take

.

of life's hardships,

for the other person,

intolerably bored.

Anyway,

a

." .

if it

was

Kimie soon a

matter of

money, even without saying anything you were bound

to

from the man. Separated from Matsuko

in

get something

12

During

the Rains

the crowd, not once looking back, her eyes dazzled by the

Mitsukoshi Building bathed in the

full sunlight,

Kimie

briskly cut across the intersection toward the far side of

the street. Then, feeling a

little

ashamed of

herself, she

turned and looked back. Matsuko, standing just where she had

Then,

left her,

as if her

was bowing

mind were

slightly as a sign

relieved

away and immediately vanished

13

by

that,

of farewell. she turned

into the crowd.

^) TWO Two

or three doors

Store,

down from

the

toward Kyobashi Bridge,

women, one on each

side

Matsuya Dry Goods

a pair

five-foot facade, supported a sign in

read

don

of nude plaster

of a wide archway

juan. At night, the

letters

were

red electric light bulbs. This was the cafe

worked. As side, the

of

sort

at

twenty-

letters that lit

up with

which Kimie

eye could reach, almost side by

far as the

same

inattentive,

in a

roman

cafes lined the alley. If

you might

pass

you were

by without observing which

was which. Kimie, although she'd been working here about

a year, still felt as if she

might enter the wrong

for

cafe.

Even now, she used the optician's shop this side of the cafe and the hardware store beyond

to locate the alley in be-

tween. Although the alley was just barely wide enough to let

one person through,

bage cans. Even about, and

went about

at

in the

it

was

lined with

enormous gar-

dead of winter bluebottles buzzed

high noon ancient

rats the size

their business at will.

of weasels

When someone

ap-

proached, they would splash up water from the puddles

with

their long tails.

Holding back her

sleeves,

vanced stealthily ten steps or so. By and by the

Kimie adfaces

of the

people passing her became familiar. Once she was inside, the odor of cheap cooking oil assailed her nostrils like a

wave from

the kitchen,

scurried

about.

all

on behind the

The

where numberless "oven bugs" kitchen had evidently been built

restaurant. Unlike the respectable front

entrance on the Ginza,

its

walls and roof were a single

14

During

the

Rains

thickness of corrugated sheet iron, hke the shacks that

Tokyo Earthquake.* Kimie went up the steep ladder-

had sprung up immediately

Not taking stairs

was

her shoes

from the ten-mat

a

off,

after the

dirt-floored entry way.

room with

At the

top, there

fourteen or fifteen mirrored

dressing-stands lined up along the four walls.

It

was

five

The second shift was arriving women who'd been working since eleven.

or six minutes to three. replace the

crowded room, there was no

the

front of each mirror,

two or

place to

three girls

sit

down.

to

In In

were competing

for space, sticking their faces out, applying the final layer

of makeup, altering the

and changing

style

of their hairdos, standing up

their clothes, or sitting cross-legged as they

put on fresh white socks.

Taking off her vertically slubbed unlined haori, Kimie

wrapped ing

it

it

away

up with her shawl in the pigeonhole

in a carrying cloth.

Tuck-

marked with her name

in

the clothes shelf that stood by the doorway, she patted the tip of her nose with the

Going along

pact.

powder puff from her com-

the corridor through the pantry, she

named Haruyo coming from the second-floor dining room. Since their homeward journeys both lay in the direction of Yotsuya, Kimie, among her sixty co-workers, had grown the most friendly with encountered

a waitress

this girl.

"Haru-san.

you

to

"It

Let's

We

something

was your

missed each other

work."

after

fault.

last night. I'll treat

I

waited for you the longest time.

go home together tonight, though. That way we'll

save money."

As Kimie *September

started along the corridor i,

1923

(tr.

note).

15

toward the second

During floor front, the

man "boy"

in charge

repeatedly from the bottom of the

the Rains

of footgear called up

stairs.

"Kimie-san. Telephone." "Ye-e-s." Answering in a loud voice, Kimie muttered

"Who

to herself:

with

little

steps

be?

What

a

between the

tables

and the potted

can

it

nuisance." Trotting plants,

she descended the ladder-stairs.

Downstairs was glance, entered

a single large

up

chairs, set

all

of it visible

at a

from the Ginza through a big stained-glass

door. Although large,

and

room,

in

space was cluttered with tables

its

booths on both sides of single-leaved

screens lining the walls to the right and ceiling, artificial flowers

left.

From

the

twined around paper lanterns.

Below there were not only potted plants among the tables and

chairs,

bamboo at first

but a dense stand of shrubbery,

thicket,

the

had been

installed.

room gave only an

cramped,

impression of disorder. Set

up across one wide corner was the with bottles of foreign

like a stage

Somehow

liquors.

bar, its shelves lined

Underneath

a large

pen-

dulum clock on the wall was the cashier's counter. Next to it,

on

behind a

glass door,

each person she passed, trotted toward the

a smile for

booth. "Yes?

was the telephone. Kimie, putting

Who

is

it?" It

turned out that the

call

was

not for Kimie but for another waitress called Kiyoko.

Pushing open the

Kimie

glass

door with the

called out: "Kiyoko. Phonecall."

tips

of her

toes,

Turning inside

the booth, arching her head back, she looked around the

room. At

this early hour, there

were but two groups of

customers, each with seven or eight waitresses clustered

around them. Even when she peered through the leaves of the shrubbery, said:

this

Kimie saw no sign of Kiyoko. Somebody

"She must have been on the early

shift."

Repeating

answer into the phone, Kimie hung up and stepped

i6

During

the Rains

A

out of the booth.

counter: "Kimie-san.

"And how did "If

it

were

I?

in

Western

How

did

the

at

go? The divination."

it

back from there." go? Thoughts of

it

that,

would

teller,

man

from where he was standing

clothes called to her

"I've just gotten

middle-aged

thin,

I

man,

after all?"

wouldn't have to go to

a fortune-

a

not that kind of thing anymore,

It's

Komatsu-san. I'm very pessimistic."

"What? Kimie-san the corners, the at

man

.

."

.

His narrow eyes crinkling

she'd addressed as

Kimie. Forty or thereabouts, he was employed

accountant

at

some dance

he went to work

of the

cafes

was

do

to

sorts

rooms, redeeming theater tickets

them. cries

evening, he

where he was known. His

all

as

an

Kanda. Every day, until

hall in

at six in the

at

Komatsu smiled

made the rounds greatest pleasure

of favors for the women, finding them their things at the

pawnshop, buying

— there was nothing he would not do

Made much of by

for

them, he would be greeted with

of "Komatsu-san, Komatsu-san."

If

he never said

anything unpleasant, on the other hand he never ate or

drank anything. In

his youth,

it

was

said,

he'd been a

geisha's attendant, carrying her samisen for her

when

went out on engagements. He was

have been

an actor's

valet. It

also said to

was he who had

told

she

Kimie about the

fortune-teller in Hibiya.

"Kimie-san, what did he

you? Did you get any

tell

clues?"

"Well, it

somehow

isn't clear

— he

told

what the matter

me is.

anything in particular, myself.

all I

sorts

of things, but

didn't try asking

him

." .

"That's no good. You're too easygoing, aren't you,

Kimie." "I

wasted one yen." Only

now that she had been asked,

17

During

the Rains

Kimie. realized that the diviner's prognostications had

been completely beside the point and her questions extremely half-hearted. She should have questioned the diviner minutely and

at length,

even

meant making him

if it

slightly uncomfortable,

"Even there's

but what

and

that,

not

clear.'

He

first

time

I've

done

He

Komatsu-san.

so,

no danger. That's

regularly,

mouthful

my

had

I

said for the time being

was

to

said this

'the matter

Anyway,

there.

is

that's the

fortune told. Unless you have

no good. Maybe

it's

He

found out.

came down

it

said a

all

it

fortune-telling, too,

depends on what you ask."

"Even

if there's a

method of

divination, there's

no

method of asking."

when you go

"Yes, but

doesn't he ter

you

tell

to the doctor for the first time,

that unless

you

he can't help you? That's

is,

same with

From tifully

the direction of the front

proached with at

him what

the mat-

a fortune-teller."

mature waitress

Pausing

tell

why I think it must be the

a

stairs, a

plump, beau-

in her thirties called

Choko

ap-

ten-yen note in her hand. "Cash, please."

the counter, giving herself a

good look

in the

wall mirror, she adjusted the collar of her under-kimono.

"Kimie-san, Ya-san

being "I

is

upstairs.

Please go up. He's

a nuisance."

saw him

downstairs.

before, but

Is it

"Yes. She

it

wasn't

my

shift,

so

I

came

true that he used to be Totsuko's patron?"

was taken away from him by Yo-san of the

Japan Film Company."

As Choko

started in chatting, the cashier

handed her

the receipt and change. Just then, in the mirror over the bar,

two

figures

were

reflected

from the doorway by the

counter that led back to the kitchen.

i8

It

was

the

owner of

During

the Rains

man called Ikeda, and an employee by the name

the cafe, a

of Takeshita. Rather than bother with greeting them,

Choko and Kimie put on know-nothing faces and headed upstairs. Ikeda, a thin-faced, bucktoothed man of fifty or so, had returned from a Japanese settlement in South

America

at

the time of the Earthquake.

With

his savings,

he had opened up cafes in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe.

was

said to be

When

the

making

He

quite a lot of money.

two women

arrived upstairs,

Choko took

the change to a party of two sitting in a booth against the

Kimie went toward

wall.

There

sat the

"Welcome

man

a table

overlooking the Ginza.

they called Ya-san.

back. I'd completely given up

on you of

late."

"You took

the

words out of my mouth. The way you

were making out the other miliated in

day. I've never

been so hu-

my life."

"Ya-san. Sometimes

can't

it

be helped." Sweet-talking

him, Kimie drew her chair up so close to his their knees touched. Just as

if

they were on intimate terms, she ex-

from

tracted a cigarette table

and stuck

it

pack of Shikishimas on the

his

between her

Ya-san gave himself out

lips.

as the

manager of an imported

car dealership in Akasaka-Tamariike. For a while, he

not only

come day

waitresses

were

after

at leisure,

of them out for supper her

off,

forty,

them

he brought

to the ladies,

appraisal

but had often taken four or five

after

work. Occasionally, to show

his

with him.

A man

two diamond

and hold forth

at

of about

rings to display

length on methods of

and estimation of price. Vulgarly self-assured in

everything, he was a

he spent

day in the afternoon, when the

a geisha

he would remove

had

freely,

man to set one's teeth on edge.

Since

however, the waitresses would swarm

19

During

around him and

him with every

treat

already received theater tickets from

on

occasions, and once,

a

the Rains

Kimie had

courtesy.

him on two

or three

hohday, he'd taken her to the

Matsuya and bought her a kimono jacket and a fancy dress collar.

She had come to

feel

an obligation toward him. If

he were to invite her out for supper and afterward proposition her,

reason,

him

would not be so easy to refuse him. For that she was teased by Ya-san, rather than put

off with

to be his

it

when

some

flimsy evasion, she thought

open with him.

made

It

inward chagrin with

anyway, passing

I

it

for less trouble.

a smile,

Masking

was jealous. You did me wrong." Deliberately off as a joke to the three or four other waitresses

right behind you.

I

heard everything you

was

said.

sitting

Although

were people around, you were holding hands."

"You're impossible.

If

you're going to complain like

I'm not going to the theater with you.

that,

better

Ya-san replied: "Well,

clustered around the table, he continued: "I

there

it

I'll

go some-

place else."

"She's awful, this one." Raising his her,

Ya-san knocked over

the table. Screaming

up from

their seats.

a bottle

arm

of cider

as if to strike at

the edge of

jumped Some of them not only drew back all

together, the waitresses

their long sleeves, but hoisted

up the

skirts

of their kimo-

nos to avoid being splattered by the cider, which was dripping from the table to the

commotion,

felt

floor.

Kimie,

as the cause

of this

constrained to bring a dishrag. Holding

the edge of her sleeve between her teeth, she swabbed the tabletop. Just then a

came

upstairs.

new

party of two or three customers

"Welcome." The ripely beautiful Choko

advanced to meet them. Before taking called out in a metal-cutting voice:

"Kimie-san, most

likely."

At

this

Kimie, tossing the rag onto the

20

their order, she

"Who's on duty here?" answer from someone,

dirt

of

a

flower-pot and

During

the

Rains

singing out "Ye-e-s," trotted with short steps toward the

newly arrived

The

guests.

had mustaches, were evidently on the

who both

customers, two gentlemen of fifty or so their

way back from

Matsuya or Mitsukoshi's. Paper-wrapped purchases had ordered black

in hand, after they

even look

they did not

tea,

the waitresses but began having a serious

at

business talk. Taking advantage of that, Kimie went and

down in the booth against the wall where the off-duty

sat

waitresses

had congregated.

among newspapers and chunks of sweet bean nuts

in the bag.

still

waitresses

On the table,

magazines, were such tidbits

paste, salty rice crackers,

Whatever

would pick up and

They were

scattered about

their

fmgers touched, the

mouths

toss into their

already bored with such

mundane

been sleepy,

it

.

.

Even

was evidently out of the question

With nothing

to take a nap.

.

matters as

chitchat about movies and gossip about colleagues. if they'd

as

and pea-

to do, they

ing for the time to pass. Just then,

a

were simply waitwaitress sitting in

one corner of the booth, who'd been flipping through the pictures of a magazine, exclaimed: It's

"My, what

a

beauty!

Kiyooka-sensei's wife."

At

this, all

out over the

the waitresses in the booth stuck their faces

table.

Even Kimie, her cheeks bulging with

chunks of sweet bean

"Which one

is

paste, leaned

she?

Show me.

I

forward still

slightly.

don't

know what

she looks like." "All right. Take a

good look

at her."

The

waitress held

The photomarried woman,

out the magazine right under Kimie's nose.

graph was of seated

on

a

a

respectable-looking

veranda.

The caption

read:

"The

Home

Life

of a Celebrity. The Writer Kiyooka Susumu's Wife, Tsuruko."

"Kimie-san. That's nothing, that sort of thing. If I were 21

During

you,

I'd

flicked a

of a

want

to tear

peanut

in half."

The

waitress

spoke

a

Her name was Tetsuko.

"You're quite jealous, aren't you?" As

Kimie

stared back at Tetsuko. "It's just as

wife

a wife.

is

who

photograph. Originally the wife

been forced by hard times to become

dentist, she'd

waitress.

it

at the

Rains

the

I

"You're so

At one time

if surprised,

should be.

it

A

don't have to worry about her."

Kimie-san," chimed in Yuriko.

practical,

a dancer, she

had changed professions and

come to work at the cafe. Then Ruriko, who'd started out as

an assistant in

the lucky one his

is

a hair-dressing salon,

added: "Anyway,

Kiyooka-san. His wife

is

a beauty,

and

number two is a famous waitress on the Ginza." "What do you mean, famous? Cut that out." Purposely pretending to be angry, Kimie got up and

went over Yata,

to the table of the automobile entrepreneur

whom she'd left in the lurch a while ago.

aware that she wasn't looked

after

her with

known Kimie

some show of concern. Ruriko had when, moonlighting

since the days

prostitute, she'd encountered the latter at a brothel.

Even

this cafe, there

them

come

across each other at

agreement between

her,

Ruriko had

that neither

was said

a placid expression. Just then,

she heard what sounded like

Thinking

table.

it

Aware

no matter what was

to guard the other's secret.

by

somebody pounding on

the business-suited figure of a customer stairs

was

reflected in the mirror

Immediately recognizing a

low

voice.

a

might be one of her customers, she

looked in the direction of the noise. At that same

up the

as a

two or three times

to be a tacit

after they'd

seemed

likely to take or cause offense,

to or

Although

in earnest, her fellow waitresses

"Oops,

it's

it,

instant,

who'd just come on

the far wall.

Ruriko alerted the others in

Kiyooka-sensei."

22

During

the

Rains

we were just talking about you." Haruyo, one

"Sensei,

of Kimie's boon companions, came running up. "There's

good booth over there." Chnging to his sleeve, she led him to the booth in the corner away from the others' eyes. a

This was Haruyo's solicitude, to ward off any trouble.

The automobile attentions "I

a

dealer Yata,

on Kimie,

still

who had come

hadn't

to press his

left yet.

already feel hot just from walking here.

I'll

dark beer or something." Shoving an armful of table,

Susumu took

hat and

brand-new gray

felt

new

Kiyooka

magazines and newspapers beneath the off his

have

hung

it

on a spray of artificial flowers. Clad in a blue serge doublebreasted suit and wearing a

bow

tie,

he was thirty-five

or -six. Noticeably sharp-featured around the nose and chin, he looked

the

all

more high-strung thanks

to his

hollow cheeks and large eyes whose whites showed around the

irises.

clear

He wore his hair combed back from the

forehead with deliberate carelessness. To anyone's eye,

he was the up-and-coming writer. As he looked just

like

one of the movie

in publicity photos. a scholar

days

of Chinese

some

at

Although literature,

a

matter of

fact,

one

sees

stars that

his father

was

Kiyooka, in

said to be

his student

regional university around Sendai, had had

extremely poor marks. After graduation, he had gone

around

a lot

with writers, but

it

was not

until three or

four years ago that he'd done anything to attract the attention of critics. Then, however idea?

— employing

as a

— where had he got the

source book Kyokutei Bakin's*

The Adventures of Dreaming Musobei, converting the

kite

of the original into an airplane and tacking on the

title

He

Everywhere, he'd lifted the book's entire plot and

Flies

placed

it

*Late

in a

Edo

contemporary

writer

(tr.

setting.

note).

23

The result was a work

During

of popular

was

fiction that

some happenstance,

been dramatized by actors of the

and even made into

success.

New

had

It

School method

movie. Since then, with each

a

By

serialized in a newspaper.

was an immense

it

the Rains

new

book Kiyooka's literary star had risen higher and brighter. Nowadays, his work was to be found in nearly all the newspapers and magazines. "Is this

up

to pick

one of your books too, sensei?" Making bold a

book

frontispiece.

on

lying

the table,

"They haven't made

Haruyo gazed

this into a

movie

at

the

yet,

I

suppose."

Kiyooka put on

a

Muraoka

a

in the editorial department of the

Here's the phone number. Call

him

to get over here

Make

bored look. "Haru-san.

phonecall for me, will you? There's

him

to the

a

person called

Maruen News.

phone and

tell

on the double."

"Muraoka-san? The one we know?"

Haruyo went on duty, brought

off to a

While pouring the in

your

sei.

the

dark beer and beer, she said:

stories that really bring

Back

Kamata

make

then, not that

I

call.

a

Sadako,

small

bowl of peanuts.

"There are some things

back the memories, sen-

had any chance, but

I

went

"So you've been

to

Kamata, have you, Sada-san?" at

Sadako.

did you give up?"

"Why, you "I'm not

say.

Because there weren't any prospects."

flattering you,

Sada-san.

With

a face like

yours, you're a natural for the movies. Probably

cause you wouldn't listen to the director. just

no good

for anything unless they have a

them. Even lady writers, until their work little,

to

for the first time."

Glass in hand, Kiyooka glanced up obliquely

"Why

who was

have to have a

man

backing them."

24

it's

be-

Women

are

man behind

starts to sell a

During

the Rains

Kimie,

a cigarette

down by

silently sat

Haruyo reported

"This

empty

is

lips,

came over and

the other party's reply. Seating herself,

she added: "Sensei, chan, what

between her

Kiyooka. Back from the telephone,

treat

it's

time for everybody. Kimi-

would you like?" fme for me." Kimie picked up Kiyooka's

glass

of dark

half-

beer.

"That's certainly nice and friendly. Well then, Haru-

chan chit

— you and

I

will have

pad from her

she stood up and

obi,

some chicken

Sadako jotted

rice."

down

Taking

a

the order as

left.

The shadows of

the evening sun that had shone in

through the skylight had faded away. From downstairs, abruptly, a that

it

was

phonograph five-thirty.

ing since three

now

started playing. This

was

a sign

Those waitresses who'd been

freshened their

rest-

makeup and went on came on. Even

duty. Upstairs and downstairs, the lights

though

it

was

still

light outside in the long

ning, inside the cafe,

from

early on, there

liveliness.

25

summer

was

a

eve-

nighttime

^)i

TH REE

Since

their

way home

lay in the direction

Kimie and Haruyo usually work, taking

a

left

of Yotsuya,

the cafe together after

cab from the vicinity of Sukiya Bridge.

Not only would they have been conspicuous on the Ginza, but drunken customers from the cafes thereabouts were still

wandering around at that hour. To avoid them, Kimie

and her friend would walk on hail a passing

down

argued

thirty sen.

one-yen

taxi,*

the driver

beyond the Ginza,

a little

and board

from

it

only after they'd

his original bargain price to

That evening, crossing the Sukiya Bridge and

passing under the bridge of the Metropolitan Railway, the

two neared the Hibiya intersection without having found a cab that would take them. "What is this? They're making fools of us. Even that one we thought had stopped drove away." Haruyo sounded angry. "It

a little

doesn't matter. Let's just stroll along.

drunk, so

"It's

Moat,

it's

already high summer, isn't

it

looks just like a stage

At the Hibiya intersection, were waiting "Let's

it?

Over

feeling

there

by the

set."

despite the late hour, people

for the trolley.

economize tonight and take the

As they headed

trolley."

for the trolley tracks across the

*Taxis that provided a ride anywhere in

of one yen.

was

I

just the thing."

A yen was worth about $o. 50 in

26

Tokyo

wide

for a fixed price

1930's dollars

(tr.

note).

During

Rains

the

man

intersection, a

in a

Western

suddenly stepped in

suit

front of them. Surprised, they looked at him.

who had

he of the diamond rings,

been

It

was

Yata,

the cafe that

at

afternoon.

"You're certainly enjoying yourself tonight. Where did

you go "I'll

"A

we

for a drink?" see

you home." Yata

trolley

is

fme

for

hand

raised his

to hail a taxi.

me. The cafe doesn't

like

it

when

get in a car with a customer." Haruyo's polite attempt

getaway was parried by Yata,

at a

been brushed off many times in "That's for the Ginza, isn't

way, they won't mind.

"Why

I'll

who

it? If

apparently had

manner.

this

you've come

all this

take responsibility."

not ride on the trolley with us and save some

money, Ya-san?" Kimie began walking briskly toward trolley that

ing that

it

had just

was the

now

arrived,

its

of the evening. There was no time

last

for Yata to protest. Willy-nilly, he followed the pair

boarded the

On

trolley,

a

red lantern signify-

which was bound

and

for Shinjuku.

the trolley, unexpectedly empty, there were three

waitresses

from some other

Haruyo, and

five or six

ing. Until the trolley

cafe,

unknown

to

Kimie and

men. All of them were doz-

had passed Hanzomon and was ap-

proaching Yotsuya-mitsuke, Yata was meek and submissive,

He

behaving

as

though he weren't even with the

pair.

did not even venture to speak until Kimie, leaving

Haruyo behind, was about

to get off the trolley.

riedly following her off, he said: "Kimie-san, for a transfer.

I'll

"It's all right.

it's

Hur-

too

late

hail a cab." I

don't have far to go." Kimie began

walking along the Moat, deserted of passers-by, in the direction of Honmura-cho. Spotting them, the driver of a

one-yen cab put

his

hand out the window, signaling

27

a

During

the Rains

discount with his fingers. Another stuck out his grimy visage and jeered

at

them. Yata stepped up close to Kimie.

"Kimie-san, do you absolutely have to go back? Can't

you make arrangements

one night? Eh, Kimie-san?

for

you must go back, one hour, even We'll have a

and then separate right afterward.

little talk,

come with me.

Please

I

won't ask anything unreasonable,

and you'll be home before the night already too

"It's

"The isn't it? Is

or

late.

out."

is

We've been wasting time.

go back. Besides, I'm on the

can't

If

half an hour, will do.

early shift

Now

I

tomorrow."

early shift? That's eleven o'clock at your cafe,

While we're talking

around here no good

for

like this,

you?

time

How

is

going by.

about Araki-cho

Ushigome?" Gripping Kimie's hand, Yata would not

take a single step farther.

As ally

the path along the top of the

sloped lower,

at

embankment gradu-

each step the night sky seemed to

spread out wider overhead. Visible in

from Ichigaya

the eye

Moat

to

the trees and shrubberies

overall misty green. In the softly flowing night

wind, there was the scent of

field grass

smelling blooms of the pasania

trees.

and the grassy-

From

the sky above

the towering pine trees across the Moat, there

sudden

call

of what sounded



"Ahh somehow Kimie looked up at

"Why For

don't

we go

it's

like a

as if

came

the

night heron.

we were

in the country."

the sky. Promptly, Yata suggested:

someplace quiet? Sacrifice one night.

my sake."

" Ya-san,

be

sweep of

Ushigome, the scenery along the

— the embankment and

was an

a single

my

what if we're seen, and

there's trouble? Please

patron, instead of that other person. I'm thinking

I'd like to quit the cafe."

Meaning

to pull at Yata's heart,

Kimie purposely rubbed against him as she quietly started

28

During

the Rains

walking. Actually,

she had in

all

mind was how

to

charm

Yata into outdoing himself with a really generous

whatever place he took her

"That person, you

say.

tip at

to.

Who is he? The man you went

to the samisen performance with not long ago?"

"No-o-o

.

."

.

Kimie began, then

hastily corrected

The man

herself. "Yes, yes, that's the one."

she'd gone to

the musical performance with was neither a patron nor a

he had been

lover. In short,

pick-up customer, the same

a

as Yata. "Is that so? Is that

completely

at

man your

patron?" Taking Kimie

her word, Yata continued: "But it's

give up very easily.

no good

It's

if he's

not a relationship you can

helped you up to now,

if

he nurses

a

grudge

against you."

Kimie

stifled

so. That's

out.

why

an impulse to burst out laughing. "That's I

said there'd be trouble if anything got

Tonight will have to be

"Don't worry about all

that

deep dark secret."

a

kind of thing. Everything's

right. If anything happens,

I'll

take care of it." Yata

exultant. Tonight, at least, everything lap.

was

felt

falling into his

Taking advantage of the deserted edge of the Moat,

he abruptly held Kimie close and kissed her on the cheek.

Without knowing Honmura-cho trolley

just stop.

when,

they'd

passed

They were nearing

the

the foot

of Korikimatsu Slope, where the pines stretched out their overarching branches. In the distance, the lights of the Ichigaya station and the police

box

in front

of Hachiman

Shrine were visible.

"That police box over there a little late, they ask

you

all

is

a nuisance. If it's just

sorts

of questions. Let's get

a cab."

Yata,

thinking this was not an opportunity to be

29

During missed, Ipoked about

was hot

him

one in

a single

the Rains

for a cab. Unfortunately, there

sight.

The

where they

pair stood

had stopped.

"My place is up that alley right over there. You see the drugstore on the corner? At nightfall, an advertisement

up on the roof That's how you

for Jintan Pills lights

can

tell. I'll

just drop off my things and

come

back. Wait

me."

for

"Hey, Kimie-san. You're sure everything's It'd

be

"I

ried,

a

me

come with me

woman

as far as

all

right?

the slip."

wouldn't do anything mean

the old all

mistake to give

like that. If you're

over there. Unless

I

wor-

go back,

downstairs leaves the door off the latch

night."

Five or six houses along from the foot of Koriki-

matsu Slope, the two turned into the

alley. In

the abrupt

change from the spacious view along the Moat to these

cramped back

streets,

not only did one

nose was stuffed, but the shabby

little

on both

sides,

regularly lined the streets

feel as if

one's

houses that

ir-

although inter-

spersed with wicket gates, shrubberies, and the hedge of

Kenninji Temple, breathed out

atmosphere of utter poverty. as a

house with

a

broken-down, decayed

When

a fish-shop sign

they'd

come

mounted on

its

as far

eaves,

Kimie, saying: "Please wait here," turned into an

from under the

alley

fish-shop's eaves. Yata, close behind her,

started to follow, then held back. feelings to have

him

see

It

where she

neck, he peered into the pitch-dark

might hurt Kimie's lived. alley.

Craning

At the sound

of a very creaky wicket gate opening and closing, he

somewhat

reassured.

But

his

felt

his irresistible desire to see for

himself led him step by step along the

alley.

Suddenly,

to his surprise, he stepped right in the middle of

30

what

During

the Rains

seemed

to be a puddle of rainwater. Retracing his steps,

muck

he scraped the

on some gravel and

off his shoes

a

ditch-board by the light of the fish-shop's eaves lantern. Presently,

"Oh

Kimie came back

dear

— what happened

"Nothing. These stink.

It's

"That's

out.

probably

why

I

cat or

told

to

you

dog

you?"

muddy

alleys are

What

as hell.

a

shit."

to wait outside.

My, you

reek."

Kimie backed off from Yata as he edged closer. "I'm wearing clogs.

I

can't let

any of that stuff get on

my

socks."

As they walked, Yata kept scraping his soles against the gravel.

When they'd emerged alongside the Moat,

under-

neath the eaves of the corner house there were stacks of

firewood and sacks of charcoal.

By

completed the task of cleaning off

the time Yata had

his shoes, a

cab drew up without their having hailed

"Kagura Slope.

I'll

give

you

by the hand, Yata got into the

one-yen

it.

fifty sen."

Taking Kimie

cab. "We'll get out at the

foot of the Slope. We'll walk a

little

ways from

there."

"All right."

"Somehow ing his

I

feel like

arm around

walking

night tonight." Pass-

all

her, Yata lightly

drew Kimie

to him.

Kimie, although complaisantly leaning up against him, nevertheless asked: "Ya-san, Yata, while thinking

was,

where

what

knew nothing of her

treat her as

that kind

we

going?"

pretender Kimie

previous history.

feeling that even if she appeared to

might not be

are

a terrible

know

He had

the ropes, she

of girl. The best tack would be to

an extremely permissive waitress and

take things into her

own hands.

Putting his

lips to

he whispered: "To an assignation house. That's

with you,

isn't it? It's late.

know of some

the

place, let's

I

let

her

her

ear,

all

right

know a good place. Or if you

go

31

there."

During

the

Rains

! At loss^

unexpected comeback, even Kimie was

this

"No, any

place

"We'll get out

at

the foot of the Slope, then.

quiet place behind the

at a

right with me."

is all

Ozawa

I

know

a

Cafe."

Simply nodding agreement, Kimie turned her eyes outside the window, thus ending the conversation. the cab stopped

after,

the shops

were

closed.

the foot of

at

Even

the nighttime

evening had had

earlier in the

leaving behind a roadside

stalls,

a lively trade,

litter

Soon

Kagura Slope. All

which

were gone,

of paper scraps and gar-

bage. At this late hour, only a few eating and drinking

shops were

open here and there on the Slope. Aside

still

from infrequent erratically

cars steering their

weaving customers

way among

scattered,

in their cups, only geishas,

cutting across the avenue, appearing and disappearing be-

tween one

front of the

of an "I

and another, were

alley

Bishamon

alley across the

think

puddles.

to be seen. Halting in

Shrine, Yata stared

the

at

mouth

way.

back along there, Kimie-san. There are

it's

Mind your

The stone-paved

sandals." alley

was so narrow

could not walk abreast in

it.

that

two people

Apparently fearful that

he went on ahead he would be given the

slip

if

by Kimie,

Yata stuck close by her, heedless of his elbow and shoulder brushing against the

other to save space, they

At of

its

a

end, there

low stone

one direction,

was

a little

fox-god shrine. This side

it

wall, the alley ran into another alley. In

immediately became steps leading down-

ward. Just then, with a geisha appeared,

from getting

wooden walls. Leaning on each made their way along the alley.

dirty.

a quiet clatter

of wooden sandals,

holding her skirts up to keep them Yata and Kimie leaned aside to

32

let

During

the Rains

her pass.

The

geisha seemed unaware of

some

chaotic-

looking curls in the chignon of her disheveled Shimada coiffure,

and even her

was languid.

gait

course, and in Kimie's too,

charm

As

her with their eyes.

if

typical late night

they both seemed

they'd agreed

The geisha,

kitchen door of a house

turned

was

A

district,

to the quiet back alley scene.

encounter in the entertainment to be thinking.

all

on

it,

with

unaware,

a lively voice that belied

demeanor of a moment

they followed slid

the corner of the alley

front of the fox-god shrine.

left in

inside,

at

In Yata's eyes of

seemed, she lent an added

it

open the

where

As soon

as

it

she

her exhausted

ago, she called out: "Auntie.

It's

already too late."

Kimie, who'd listened

thought of becoming

intently,

said:

a geisha myself.

I

"Ya-san. I've

really have,

you

know."

"You

Kimie-san?" Sounding genuinely sur-

have,

prised, Yata

seemed about

to inquire further. In a

mo-

ment, though, they'd come to the front gate of the assignation house they'd been looking still

sounds of activity

pounded on

for.

There were

inside. Calling out "Oi, oi," Yata

the closed gate.

Almost

at

once, there

the sound of a glass door being slid open, and

was

somebody

slipping into a pair of wooden clogs.

"Who

is it,

please?"

A woman's voice called out.

"Me. Yata." "Well, you've certainly taken your time, haven't you?"

The maid, coming out to open the gate, changed to a somewhat more formal manner when she saw Kimie. "Please come in." From the end of the corridor, leading the way past the cedar door of what seemed to be the privy, sliding open

33

During the door of an arched entry way, the maid

the Rains

showed them

into the four-and-a-half-mat downstairs sitting

room

at

th^ 'back of the house. Evidently guests had been here until a

moment

ago. There

was

a smell

of sake, and ciga-

smoke hung heavily in the air of the room. One or two parched beans were wedged into the decorative rette

groove of a red sandalwood

of

sitting cushions

from

said: "I'll straighten

up

it

table.

Bringing out

for

you

right away.

now had

a

chance to tidy the place."

"Business

is

really good, then?"

just

a

couple

maid

a pile in the corner, the

"Oh no. The usual hopeless

We've only

The maid went

mess."

off

to fetch the obligatory tea and sweets.

"Can't

we

air the

room out

knees,

a little?"

Crawling on her hands and

"It certainly is stuffy."

Kimie reached out and

Beyond

back the paper door.

slid

was an

the eaves, in the small garden there

illu-

minated stone lantern.

"Oh, how

pretty.

"It's different

It's

like a stage set."

from the cafe,

isn't

it.

A touch of old Edo,

one might

say." Stretching out his legs

stone, Yata

lit

On

up

the stepping

a cigarette.

the other side of the shrubbery, the second-floor

window of the house

next door was alight. Although

reed blind was lowered, the figure of a

mada

on

coiffure, standing as she

clearly projected against the

woman

took off her kimono, was

window's paper door. Kimie

quietly pulled at Yata's sleeve to

draw

his attention. Just

then, though, the voluptuous-looking shadow, larger

and

only

low murmur of voices.

a

less distinct like a cloud,

noticed nothing, his legs

its

in a Shi-

still

Yata,

vanished. There was

who seemed

flung out

to have

on the stepping

stone, shed his jacket and loosened his necktie.

34

growing

But Kimie,

During

the Rains

until the

maid brought

gazed vaguely den. For

of the

no

and then

tea

couple of yukatas,*

shadows across the gar-

at the flickering

was suddenly reminded

particular reason, she

first

a

time she had been taken to an assignation

house. Although

it

her sitting with the

had been

man on

Omori, not Ushigome,

in

the veranda and gazing at the

shadows projected against the paper door of the secondfloor

window of the house

next door on the other side of

the shrubbery across the garden, as they waited for the

maid

to complete the preparations,

different ings.

had been

in

no way

from tonight. All that had changed were her feel-

Then, she had been

afraid

of and fascinated by the

novelty of the experience; now, completely habituated, she thought nothing of it.

"Kimi-san, what are you going to have? They say they have

is

all

Chinese noodles."

At Yata's voice, Kimie turned around. Having changed into his yukata, he

was standing up tying the waistband.

"I'm not hungry." Kimie began to loosen the string of her unlined haori.

Depositing the kimono box in which she'd put Yata's

Western

suit in a corner, the

taken tonight.

It's

maid

cramped, but

said:

"Every room

is

how would this one be?"

Taking some bedding from the clothes closet by the ornamental alcove, she began to lay

down on at

the

the garden.

it

out.

Once again

sitting

open veranda, Yata and Kimie looked out

More and more,

the

memories of that

first

night floated up behind Kimie's eyes.

"You can

take your bath any time

always hot." The maid *A

light

kimono worn

sleeping garment

(tr.

left

you like. The water's

the room.

in hot

weather or used

note).

35

as a

bathrobe or

During "KiiTii-san.

What

are

you thinking about? Change into

your yukata." Peering into Kimie's worried about

her, Yata

Kimie removed

the Rains

face

took her hand.

from the Still in

side as if

her haori,

the sash that kept her obi in place and

the sash band. Taking out the contents of her pockets and

laying

them one by one on

and smiled. Three years

the mats, she looked at Yata

earlier,

when she'd left home and

was staying with her

girlfriend

had gotten her

as a clerk at

a

job

Kyoko, the

patron

latter's

an insurance company.

Within two months, she had been seduced by the depart-

ment head and taken Although a

that

to the assignation

was the

first

house in Omori.

time she'd actually slept with

man, not only had she observed Kyoko bring men into

on the

the house

room

as

Kyoko and

tice in a geisha

but on occasion had slept in the same

sly,

her patron. Like a young

girl

appren-

house, she was thoroughly conversant

with everything of that nature. At times, she was

up by

a violent curiosity.

partment head's proposition

The

latter,

stirred

She'd even consented to the deas a

means of

satisfying

it.

however, unlike the typical aging philanderer,

had been quite put off by Kimie's uninhibited behavior.

He'd

left

the assignation house shortly after their arrival.

As she remembered smile

show

at

all this,

Kimie unconsciously

the corners of her mouth.

let a

Knowing noth-

ing of her thoughts, but pleased to see her smiling, Yata

took her in

his

arms and held her

close.

"Kimi-san, you've decided to be good to me. thinking "It's

man

it

was

I

was no good and had given up hope."

nothing

always

like that.

tells

I'm

a

woman,

other men. That's

after

why

I

all.

But

a

tried to get

away." Encircled by Yata's arms, leaning back against his chest,

Kimie passed her hand

inside her haori

unfastening the end of her obi drew

36

it

out.

The

and

thin.

During

the Rains

fine-quality garment, twisting slightly, slipped free of

Her naked bosom was

her shoulders. allure at the

all its

opening of her long undergarment of vari-

colored striped

silk.

Yata, his voice increasingly urgent,

may not look it,

said: "I

revealed in

but you can trust me.

I

won't

tell

anyone."

"The gossip what

I

do,

it's

at

the cafe

No

matter

saying,

Kimie

a real nuisance.

is

none of their business." So

unfastened and discarded her under-girdle. Cradled by Yata's arms, lying in his lap, she arched her

"Take everything

Kimie

this,

her

first

off.

Even

time with him. Unless she

Wondering just when catch herself at

cajoled.

first

spite herself,

felt

she hadn't done her job.

even

as

Kimie

she was being coaxed and

herself, she

found she could not.

man was handsome, the trait itself with an ugly old man or a man

when

than

arrogantly asserted she'd at

a

she'd fallen into this habit, it

Trying to stop

More even

At

twice the interest in the

felt

to her heart's content, she

would

body upward.

moment like man if it was captivated the man

the socks."

the

thought repulsive. Afterward, ashamed de-

Kimie would shudder

at

the

memory of the

things she'd done.

Tonight, her sudden succumbing to the importunities

of Yata, lout,

whom

ordinarily she thought of as a conceited

was thanks

to that old

bad habit surfacing unaware.

37

»J FOUR

The

next morning, Kimie, getting out of the cab she'd

taken with Yata

at

embankment of the room in her dressing-stand, how-

the base of the

Mihtary Academy, returned alone the alley.

When she sat down

ever, she

suddenly

to redo her

drowsy. Without the strength even

felt

makeup, she barely managed

haori. Still in her It

at

to her rented

to slip off her

kimono, she keeled over onto her

side.

was only nine-thirty by her wristwatch. Intending

to

sleep the thirty minutes until ten, she closed her eyes.

No

sooner had she done so than the

bell attached to the

latticework door began ringing, and she heard a man's voice.

She opened her

of Kiyooka.

Startled,

eyes.

Kimie

Kiyooka only came here

was on let

her

He

It

was the unexpected voice

sat up.

the late shift the next day.

know

when Kimie

in the evenings,

Even

then, he generally

ahead of time, while she was

still at

almost never came calling unexpectedly

the cafe.

like this,

on

morning of a day when she was on the early shift. Did he know about last night? He couldn't have found out so quickly, Kimie told herself Although thoroughly the

flustered, she put

out in

on an innocent expression and

called

a lively voice:

"My, how

early

you

are!

Everything's

still

a

mess

in here."

When

she reached the bottom of the ladder-stairs,

Kiyooka had

just taken off his shoes and

38

come

inside.

During

the

Rains

The old woman, who was sweeping out the doorway, evidently knew what to say. "Kimie-san. Even if you don't like it, please take auntie's medicine once more before you go out. I was really surprised last night."

Taking heart

now.

It

at this,

Kimie

must have been those

rejoined: "I'm

dishes

I

all

right

mixed."

"What happened? Did you get an upset stomach?" Saythis, Kiyooka mounted the stairs to the second floor.

ing

In Kimie's

room, he

The second

one of

six mats,

sat

down by

three.

But

chest faced with paulownia

some ture.

tea utensils

little

the soiled,

out

on

all

sitting

the

window.

from

aside

wood,

a tray, there

Even on top of the

the usual

the

was two contiguous rooms, one of

floor

a

this virtually

and

furni-

were none of

empty

space,

shabby old mats and the rat-gray walls stood

more

sharply. Except for a faded, dirty muslin

cushion in front of the mirror-stand, there were

only a couple of extremely worn cotton and

flax

nos tossed against the base of the wall. Kimie,

as

custom, turned the cushion over before offering visitor.

utility

a dressing table

was almost no

utility chest, there

knickknacks. In

cheap

Kiyooka, placing

of the crease in

it

it

to her

on the windowsill, mindful

his trousers, seated himself again.

Beneath the window, on the phalt covering had

wash and

kimo-

was her

traces

begun

flat

zinc roof

to peel, stains

whose

as-

from mouth-

of face powder thrown out the window

mingled with waste thread, paper

scraps,

and the dust

and rubbish swept out every day. Across from

this filthy

roof were the backs of two-story houses that fronted

on the avenue Academy.

that ran past the gates

Among

of the Military

the dirty laundry, old blankets, and

39

During diapers

hung out

the Rains

was an incessant noise of

to dry, there

sewing machines and the clunking vibrations of a printing

Combined

press.

in cacophony,

Academy, came

the Mihtary

performed

as the students

from the grounds of

the shouts of

drills,

commands

the blaring of bugles

and the sound of marching songs. Not only during the day, according to

from the cinder in

how the wind blew,

track of the riding grounds

through the window onto the mats

left a gritty

he'd

first

ago),

drifting

and even

room

this

(about

a

year

Kiyooka had been trying to persuade Kimie to move

more

pleasant neighborhood. Kimie,

how-

although politely agreeing with him, had shown no

The

signs of making preparations to move.

unchanged from

bought so much

Kimie

certainly

supper table nor

was

fine dust

came

like ashes,

but

deposit inside the closed wardrobe. Ever since

been brought back to

to a cleaner, ever,

that,

still

a

year ago, and

as a single

it

had enough money, there was neither

The

a clothes rack.

electric lamp's

No

cracked, the same as a year ago.

looked trade,

for displaying pots of flowering plants

up

dolls or toys

as if

a

shade

matter

how

she had just

Kimie had no

taste

on the windowsill,

on top of the chest of drawers,

From

or pasting picture postcards on the wall.

Kiyooka had realized that she was a strange, "It's

was

teacup since then. Although

much time went by, the place moved in. Unlike others in her setting

furniture

would seem she hadn't

not necessary to give

me any tea.

early on,

eccentric

girl.

You're probably

about to leave for work, aren't you?" So saying, Kiyooka slid sill

himself down, cushion and

all,

from the window-

until he was sitting tailor-style on the mat. "I've got

some business that will take me as That's

why I dropped

"Oh.

Still,

you

by

for a

will have a

40

far as

Shinjuku Station.

moment." little tea,

won't you?

.

.

.

During

Rains

the

Auntie,

if the water's ready, please

bring us some." Call-

ing out, Kimie went downstairs. She soon came back up

with an enameled brass teapot. "I

hear you went to see a fortune-teller. That article

about the mole that appeared in

you who was behind "No. He didn't

from the thought I

felt

I'd

ask

known

"If

you

tell

me

tell

some

tea

anything." Pouring

him about various It's

first,

I

But somehow

matters.

When you

held back.

I

really strange.

it's

— did he

pot into a cup, Kimie went on: "At

awkward, so

though,

have

little

Street Scenes

it?"

think about

it,

not likely anyone would

such a thing."

can't

should go to

a

fmd out from

medium

"A medium? What's

the fortune-teller,

you

or a fox-diviner." that?"

"You don't know? Don't

geishas often consult

me-

diums?" "Yesterday was the fortune-teller.

thing doesn't "That's

Somehow

work

time

first it

seems

I

ever went to see a

foolish.

That kind of

for me."

why you

shouldn't worry. Isn't that what I've

been saying?"

"But

it's

just so peculiar. Because something that

was

known was known by someone.

It's

so unlikely to be positively weird."

"Even

if

you think nobody knows about

it

but you,

there are surprising things in the world. Secrets have a

way of leaking

out."

that he'd said too

Kiyooka cut himself short,

much. Hastily putting

realizing

a cigarette in his

mouth, he covertly observed Kimie's expression. Kimie, about to say something, remained

silent.

Holding the

half-empty teacup alongside her mouth, she stared round-

eyed

at

Kiyooka. Their eyes met and locked. Kiyooka,

41

During

the

Rains

pretending to be choking on the cigarette smoke, turned his face aside.

"The

best thing

is

from the

heart,

Unable

voice.

not to worry about

make

"That's true." To

it

Kimie threw

know

with Yata,

a

were speaking

note of conviction into her

set

it

down. Even

was

a relationship

about her. But she couldn't

tell

of a good two years.

was to know how much he

there

exactly

At times, Kimie even

this matter.

if Kiyooka

Kagurazaka

that she'd spent last night in

theirs

Kiyooka knew just about everything

knew of

it."

as if she

to say anything else, though, she slowly

drained her cup and quietly didn't

sound

felt

that at

some opportune moment she would like to break off with Kiyooka and make a fresh start with a new lover who

knew nothing of her past. Kimie did not like having half her life known about by other people. Even if there was no need to keep something secret, when she was asked by others about

it

she

would simply put them

a smile, or tell the first lie that

with her

own

family, with

came

whom

most

With tive.

Even

she might have been

expected to be the most intimate, Kimie had in the

off with

to her lips.

distant, never divulging her

innermost

fact

been

feelings.

a man whom she liked, she was even more secreWhen the man attempted to question her deeply,

she sealed her

lips

more and more

nothing.

Among

said that

no one had

firmly and told

her fellow waitresses

than Kimie but that

a

it

more

at

the cafe,

it

him was

graceful, genteel appearance

was impossible

to

tell

what she was

thinking most of the time.

Kiyooka had known Kimie ever first

the

was

day

pond

since the night of her

as a waitress at the cafe called the

in Shitaya.

that if she hadn't

Kiyooka's

first

been working

42

Salon Lac on

impression of Kimie as a waitress

she most

During likely

the

Rains

would have been

Her

a geisha.

features

were rather

them stood out. Her forehead was

average; nothing about

round, her eyebrows thin, her eyes narrow. In her face was extremely concave, as

But the

out.

hairline

profile,

had been scooped

if it

of her "Mount Fuji" brow was

as

sharply defined as if she were wearing a wig, and there

was an indescribable charm about her mouth, with protruding lower as

it

lip.

As she

moved about between

like pearls

was

rows of her

the regular

winsome. Apart from

particularly

its

spoke, the tip of her tongue teeth

these,

the whiteness of her skin and the gently sloping shoulders

of her figure seen from behind were probably foremost

among

her points of beauty. That

first

evening, Kiyooka

had been especially taken with her quiet manner of speech and the absence of any vulgarity ping her

a

demeanor. Tip-

munificent ten yen, he lay in wait for her out-

side the cafe.

walked

in her

Unaware

was following

that he

her,

Kimie

as far as the intersection,

where she boarded the

Waseda, changing

Edogawa. By the time

trolley for

at

she reached lidabashi, where she had to change again, the last trolley

been

from

of the night had already

left.

Kiyooka, who'd

trailing her in a taxi, at this point stealthily alighted it.

Pretending that

was

this

a

chance encounter, he

engaged Kimie in conversation. Even when asked, however,

Kimie would not

Merely answering

him

tell

that

it

was

exactly

where she

lived.

in Ichigaya, she strolled

with Kiyooka along the Outer Moat to the foot of the

Osaka

Slope. She gave

woman who was man said. with many tears of farewell, Kimie all

the signs of a

prepared to do whatever the Shortly before

this,

had parted from Kyoko, with

whom she'd been living for

so long and plying the same trade of unlicensed prostitution.

Kyoko,

finally giving

up the house

43

in

Suwamachi

During

of Koishigawa, had moved to

a geisha

Kimie was hving by

on the second

herself

the Rains

house in Fujimi. floor

of

a

house,in Honmura-cho. Since she no longer frequented the prostitution agency, she hadn't slept with a

month now.

man

for

more than

a

this late at

night nowadays. Just the sight, after so long,

of the quiet her heart in

late

was

rare for her

night scenery along the

some

indefinable way.

just then, and there

wind

It

Moat gladdened

was

It

even to be out

early in

May

was the pleasant sensation of the night

caressing her skin at the openings of the sleeves

and under the

skirts

Kiyooka was

a

Kimie had from

of her lined kimono. Thinking that

young

university professor or the like,

the start been well disposed toward him.

Deliberately repressing her leaping happiness and assuming a constrained

she in

him

let

even while going along with him,

air

take her that night to an assignation house

Yotsuya-Arakicho. Innately

found

man, would

a

fickle,

Kimie,

when she'd him and

instantly be passionate for

as instantly lose interest in

him. Her lovemaking with

Kiyooka continued almost

into the evening of the next

him go, she took that day oflffrom the cafe. Going with him that night to an inn in Inogashira Park, she spent the third night in Maruko Gardens. The fourth day, she returned with him to her rooms day. In her reluctance to let

in Ichigaya,

At about a

movie

where they this time,

actress called

for a while

finally parted

from each

had served

Suzuko something or as his

other,

who

concubine. Since her theft

by another man, he'd been searching

for a replacement.

Completely overwhelmed by Kimie's ardent if she'd

other.

Kiyooka had been thrown over by

attitude, as

given herself up body and soul to his pleasure, he

told her he

would indulge her

and that she was

to give

in

up being

44

any luxury she wished a waitress.

But Kimie

During

the Rains

meant

said that she

and would

to

like a little

open up

more

a cafe herself in the future

experience. In that case, said

Kiyooka, she should work on the Ginza. Making her quit her job

at

the Salon Lac after a

around Kyoto and Osaka he got her

their return,

prominent

cafes

a

job

to the days

at

when

or so, he took her

it

the

of weeks.

Don Juan,

the

on the Ginza. Soon

season came to an end and

mer

month

for a couple

Upon

one of the

thereafter, the rainy

was summer. From midsum-

first

autumn

breezes began to

blow, Kiyooka had no doubt but what he was loved by

Kimie from her heart. One evening, however, on

his

way

back from the theater with two or three fellow writers, he stopped in

at

the cafe. Told by the other waitresses that

Kimie, complaining of suddenly feeling unwell, had gone

home

early,

he decided

after parting

go by himself to her rented room see

how

she was.

As he

set

suddenly emerge from the

from

his friends to

Honmura-cho and out, he saw a woman's figure street along the Moat that he

always turned into. Although

it

in

was not yet midnight,

the houses along the one side of the alleyway had already

shut their doors. Along the thoroughfare, where both pedestrians and trolleys had tary taxi raced by.

From

Kiyooka soon ascertained

become

a distance

that the

only a

soli-

of about thirty

feet,

sparse,

woman was

whitish gauze silk-crepe kimono and a a pattern

wearing

summer

a

obi with

of green bamboo. His suspicions aroused, he

cut across the roadway. Keeping to the sidewalk along the foot of the

The woman, police box,

embankment, he shadowed the woman.

briskly and blithely passing in front of the

seemed

to stop

and be waiting for

a trolley at

the Ichigaya stand. Then, unexpectedly, she entered the

Hachiman Shrine. Without looking behind made her way up the Woman's Slope on the left.

gate of the her, she

45

During

Although more suspicious than

the Rains

Kiyooka was de-

ever,

termined to stay out of sight. Well acquainted with

neighborhood and trusting

to his

man's

fleetness

this

of foot,

he ran around the shrine compound and climbed the Sanai Slope. Entering the shrine grounds

he looked about.

A man

together on a bench the

main

shrine,

where

the Ichigaya Approach. three or four benches,

woman were

and

at the

from the back

sitting close

bottom of the stone

a cliff

stairs

Of course, illicit

was only one of

theirs

a

couple was

wanted

a

grove

He

trees as his cover, gradually crept nearer.

to eavesdrop

sit-

rendezvous. Kiyooka,

thinking this an excellent opportunity and with

of cherry

of

overlooked the Moat and

on each of which

ting rubbing shoulders in an

gate,

on Kimie and also

find out

what sort

of person her companion was. Telling himself that

had ever succeeded

no detective

moment,

in the excess

of his sur-

for an outburst

of jealous

prise,

had no time to spare

anger.

The man, wearing what looked

it

a

dark blue yukata without even

and held

a

he had that

in his investigations as

night, Kiyooka, at that

on

any detective story

in

walking

stick.

to be particularly old, even

like a

panama, had

summer

a

haori over

Although he did not appear by the dim

light

of the park

lamp the whiteness of his mustache stood out

to the eye.

Clasping Kimie around the waist under her obi, the said: "It certainly

nice and cool up here.

is

I'm having some new experiences. at sixty

I

practice

been decades since

where

shall

I

woman on

a

park

believe, there's a big archery range

on the other side of this

come and

man

to you,

never thought that

years of age I'd be meeting a

bench. Even now,

to

I

Thanks

shrine.

my

When was young, I

climbed these stone

we go from

I

used

archery there. Since then, stairs.

Well now,

here? Just staying here with

46

it's

you

During

the

Rains

on this bench is

fine

with me. Ha-ha." Laughing, the

Kimie on the cheek.

kissed

For a while, Kimie to

do

man

as

allowed the old gentleman

silently

he pleased. Presently, though, she quietly got up

from the bench. Bringing the front together, and

smoothing her

walk

Accompanied by

a little."

skirts

of her kimono

sidelocks, she said: "Let's

the

man, she went down

Woman's Slope up which Kimie had come, followed them at a distance. Unaware of him, the pair strolled along chatting the stone stairs. Kiyooka, circling around to the

by the edge of the Moat.

"How

I

moved

to

booked up every day from afternoon

she's

paid her a

little visit

good

to have a really It

since she

A girl like her must surely be very busy."

"She says on.

Kyoko been doing

has

Fujimi-cho?

talk.

recently.

But there was no time

You should go over sometime.

doesn't particularly matter if she's not in."

"Hm.

It'd

be interesting for the three of us to stay up

through the night together.

had such fun on

been

It's

that second floor in

a

long time since

Suwamachi, hasn't

we it?

You and Kyoko were really good playmates. During the day, even when I'm doing some serious work, something odd occurs to me and right away I think of you. Then I think of Kyoko. "Still,

I

feel as if I'm

having

a

dream."

compared to Kyoko, I'm better for your health."

"I'm not so sure. Just because you look girl,

yours

you

started

is

like a

decent

the greater sin. Aren't things different since

working

at the cafe?

What about

that for-

eigner?"

"There's too as

one wishes.

much

On

gossip

on

open and have no problems.

was

in

the Ginza.

One

can't

do

the other hand, geishas operate in the

Suwamachi."

47

It

really

was

better

when

I

During

the Rains

"What about her patron? Has he gotten out ofjail yet?" don't beheve so. There haven't been any talks since

"I

then,, so their relationship

was just obligation

probably over. Anyway,

is

— she owed him

it

for having paid off a

debt. She wasn't particularly fond of him or anything."

"What does she call herself these days? Is it still Kyoko?" "No. She

calls herself Kyoyo."

Enjoying the cool antly deserted

each other

late

night breezes and the pleas-

bank of the Moat, the two

flirted

they strolled along. Rounding the

as

proach, from the trolley avenue

at

with

New Ap-

the base of Hitoguchi

Slope, they turned into an alley in Sanban-cho, stop-

ping outside

a geisha

house that had the name "Paulownia

Blossom House" written on eaves. Since in the

it

was

a

the lanterns hanging

summer

neighborhood were

night,

all

from its

the geisha houses

open. Geishas sat out-

still

on benches enjoying the evening cool and gossiping

side

among themselves. In a familiar tone, the man inquired: "Is Kyoyo in?" Immediately, a diminutive woman stuck her round face out the door. Clad only in a loincloth, her hair

the

done in

low Shimada

a

coiffure tied with paper cords,

woman emerged from the house in

coming

as far

out

as the dirt-floored

all

her nakedness,

entryway.

"Ah, you're together. I'm delighted to see you. You've

come

at

the right time. I've only just gotten back."

"Do you know some good have

place

where we can go and

a nice talk?"

"I see

.

.

.

well, in that case

.

.

."

The naked woman

whispered an address to the man. The two walked on and turned the corner.

Kiyooka,

who up

to

now had

been

trailing the pair

while keeping himself concealed in the shadows of the alley,

could not bring himself to turn back now that things

48

During

the Rains

were progressing so

satisfactorily.

proceeded to the assignation house

Timing

his visit,

he

where Kimie had been

taken. Posing as an ordinary customer, he paid in ad-

vance, asking for a submissive off to bed quite as if that were a night spent

with

his eye

Kyoyo, he quietly took it

was

still

all

he had in mind.

old

on

a

in

loiter a

sun was up.

the high

at

sitting

down

ground on the

of the Moat.

Never, in

his thirty-six years,

all

had Kiyooka seen

even in dreams what he had witnessed with

He

the night before.

realized that the

which he had held up Without the energy merely

After

while in the em-

Yonban-cho. Strolling or

bench, he vaguely gazed

far side

.

early to return to his house in

Akasaka, he had no choice but to

bankment park

.

man with Kimie and

his leave before the

somewhat

.

glued to the peephole watch-

unknown

ing the frolics of that

Since

young geisha and took her

felt

to

now was

his

own eyes women

view of

completely mistaken.

for an explosion

of jealous rage, he

unaccountably depressed. Until now, he'd

simply assumed that

all

young women, not just Kimie,

calmly surrendered themselves to old lechers in their

and

fifties

sixties,

forgoing love and sexual satisfaction

solely for the sake of economic security.

How wrong

had been! The truth was something quite

body

like

alone,

Kimie,

other.

he

Some-

who he had thought loved him and him

had to go and debauch herself with an ugly old

man and a lewd, cheap geisha. Along with the realization of how superficial his experience and observation had been, Kiyooka

words.

felt a

He would

ever, after he'd

hatred for Kimie that was beyond

never see her again after

gone home and gotten

roiled-up feelings calmed

down

be too contemptible for words

49

this.

a little sleep, his

considerably.

if

How-

It

he pretended to

would

know

During nothing.

the Rains

He could not rest easy until he'd confronted her

with what she had done and exacted apology from her

own

a confession

and an

hps. After further thought,

how-

he realized that Kimie was not the ordinary

ever,

girl

she appeared to be. Interrogated, she might confess to

everything with surprising nonchalance. She might even, in her heart of hearts, be smiling scornfully at his jeal-

ousy and sexual a

frustration. This, for a

humiliation more

unfaithfulness.

He

difficult to

endure than the woman's

could not ignore the

would be even more mortifying

all

much thought,

pretend not to know.

as before.

And

it

at

him behind

his

he decided that he would after

On the surface,

While endlessly being made

bide his time and exact

insult.

to have her ostensibly

apologize and then stick out her tongue back. After

man, would be

some

things

would be

a fool of,

he would

signal revenge. This

was the

best plan.

For the past several years, to manage fairs,

Kiyooka had made use of two

his literary af-

trusted assistants.

One was a young writer named Muraoka, who'd recently graduated from Waseda University or some such institution.

For

a

monthly compensation of about one hundred

yen, he took

down

the stories that

him and worked them up into a Then Komada, a man of about

Kiyooka dictated

to

presentable manuscript. fifty,

went around

sell-

ing the stories to newspapers and magazines. As a former

employee of the accounts department of

a

newspaper,

Komada was conversant with the current prices for manuscripts and also had many friends among the reporters. He worked for a commission of 20 percent. It was the devoted Muraoka who, on Kiyooka's orders, had waylaid

Kimie on her way back from

the kabuki and slashed

off her sleeves with a safety razor.

ments had been bought

for

50

Of course,

the gar-

Kimie by Kiyooka. Some

During

the

Rains

time afterward,

Kiyooka had pearl-inlaid

stealthily abstracted

out.

would cry and

mind

Contrary to

from Kimie's

didn't

She didn't mention

the loss.

they

as

seem it

to particu-

Kiyooka

to

or,

woman at her place.

Although Kiyooka had known look

hair the

his expectation that she

Kimie

carry on,

apparently, to the old

Kimie was

together in a taxi,

comb he'd bought her at Mitsukoshi's

were getting

larly

when they were riding

a slovenly,

for

some time

uneconomical person

after her affairs properly,

who

that

didn't

he had not imagined that

her indifference even to the clothes she wore ran to

when

degree of nonchalance. Whereupon,

this

she was out,

he'd tossed a dead kitten into her clothes closet and later carefully observed her reaction.

Even

however, had

this,

not seemed to sow the seeds of fear in Kimie to any great extent. Finally, although worried that if

worse came to

worst he would be found out, he had instructed Muraoka to plant an item in Street Scenes about the

mole on Kimie's

inner thigh. This did seem to have caused Kimie consider-

Kiyooka

able uneasiness. Saying to himself "look at that,"

found

a

measure of

relief

from

his

had dropped from

that the scales

more he investigated Kimie's

life

angry

feelings.

his eyes,

the

more he found

angry about. His desire for revenge was not to be

by simple occasional pranks. portunity to

inflict

Now

however, the to be

satisfied

In order to spy out an op-

harsher punishment on Kimie's

body

and mind, he pretended to be more deeply infatuated with her than

ever.

This was to put her off her guard and

to prevent his intentions

enmity

had his

a

from being discovered. But the

that lay coiled at the

bottom of Kiyooka's heart

way of inadvertently showing

itself at the

words. Kiyooka had to exert extraordinary

keep

it

edges of

efforts to

hidden.

A moment ago, when Kiyooka had despite himself said 51

During

much about

too pass

it

the fortune-teller, his frantic attempt to

off as nothing

was inspired by

not good to go on facing each other

Glancing "It's

at his

wristwatch, he said

already ten-thirty.

a

I'll

this concern.

like this,

was

It

he thought.

as if quite surprised:

go with you."

it somehow unbearable to man in her unwashed state after having spent

Kimie, for her

be seen by

the Rains

found

part,

the night out. She, too, wanted to get out of the house. "Yes. Let's tiful,

I

walk

When

a little.

the weather's so beau-

hate to go to work. Because

from one end of the day

to the other."

don't see the sun

I

Throwing over her

shoulders a vertically striped unlined haori that she had carelessly tossed aside,

"If you

row

go today

Kimie

slid

shut the paper window.

at eleven, that

means you go tomor-

at five."

"Yes. So

come

to the cafe tonight. I'd like to

where and enjoy myself

that all right

Is

go some-

with you?"

"That's so." Giving this ambiguous reply, Kiyooka

took up

his hat.

"We'll go

somewhere and have

we? Anyway, I'm Kiyooka, stairs,

who

a

good

time, won't

free tonight." Pressing herself against

already stood

the head of the ladder-

at

putting up her cheek as

if to

say "kiss me,"

Kimie

half-lowered her long eyelashes.

Although thinking she was at this

dislike,

overly severe to

Kiyooka

fmd moral

the trade of pleasure.

At

he looked

whom

he had no

woman

charming, sensuous

fundamental

a sly puss, as

for

reflected that perhaps

fault

that

with

a

woman

moment, even

it

was

born to

his long-

cherished anger with her evaporated. If one thought of

her as a kind of machine for exciting men's sexual desires,

what she did when he wasn't around was nothing ish her for. all

He

the pleasure

even

felt as if

to

pun-

he should simply extract

from her he could and then throw her 52

During

the Rains

away. But then, instantly, his wish for her to be a

more

considerate of his feelings, to behave herself, and

him and him

to belong to

Looking we'll

aside,

alone began to surface again.

Kiyooka remarked

casually: "At

any

rate,

meet on the Ginza tonight. We'll decide then."

"Yes. Please." clattered

down

Her

face suddenly brightening,

Kimie

the stairs a step ahead of him. Snatch-

woman,

ing a cleaning rag from the old

Kiyooka's shoes with her

she wiped off

own hands.

In order to avoid the public gaze

on the

sidestreet that

led out to the Ichigaya side of the Moat, the

from

little

alley to alley,

coming out

Academy. Ascending Bikuni

in front

two

slipped

of the Military

Slope, they

walked along

the Moat through Honmura-cho in the direction of the Yotsuya Approach. As it was getting toward noon, they kept somewhat apart, although walking side by side, and

did not even speak to each other. Kimie, her face hidden

by

abruptly recalled that

a parasol,

it

was along here

that

she had strolled hand in hand with Yata the night before,

when

they'd gotten off the trolley.

and day made her wonder, despite

She could not but If

feel

what had

in-

Yata.

disgust at her feckless acquiescence.

Kiyooka-san found out about

From

contrast of night

herself,

do the will of a man as unsatisfactory as

clined her to

be.

The

it,

how

angry he would

the shade of her parasol, she furtively observed

the man's profile. She

felt a slight

pang of conscience, and

an unbearable sense of pity for him.

From now on, Kimie as much as possible

thought, she would behave herself

on her way home from the

impromptu

solicitations. It

apology, but her.

cafe

and not give in to any

wasn't that she meant

it

as

an

somehow Kiyooka suddenly became dear to

Snuggling up to him, she took

his

hand regardless of

the passers-by.

Kiyooka, evidently thinking that Kimie had grabbed 53

During

the Rains

hand because she'd stumbled on something,

his

of the eyes of the public, dodged away from her

fearful

slightly

toward the Moat. "What's the matter?" "I

say

want so much come.

can't

I

"What "I'll

to take today off.

be

It'll

you do

will

I'll

call

them up and

right."

all

the rest of the day?"

wait for you somewhere until you've finished your

business."

"We'll be able to see each other tonight. to take the day off, "I

me

suddenly

feel like

Kiyooka had

come out on

doing nothing

way of your

stand in the

You don't have

do you?"

no business

in fact

a surprise

all

day.

Don't

let

business, though."

He had

to attend to.

spying mission to observe Kimie's

behavior. If he shook her off

at this

point and went on

way, he could not be certain of what she might get up

his

to in the interval until he

met her

that night.

The

trivial

matter began to get strangely on his nerves.

Kimie, for her

of experience this

kind

it

with her

knew from her months and years men that in a situation of to give the man a bit of a hard time

part,

in manipulating

was best

selfish

whims. Somehow, Kimie

felt

intoler-

ably bothered by what Kiyooka had said before about the fortune-teller.

Without waiting

for tonight, she

would

have to adopt some method forthwith of making the say

what was

From long experience, she the man was, when it

no matter how angry

knew

that

came

right

Kimie

in his heart.

felt

down

to

it

she could easily captivate him.

endlessly at ease in this belief in her

was something she had been born with,

glamor.

It

of

temperature and body scent

flesh

particularly exercising any

come

man

into contact with

it

skill, left

that,

the

own kind

without her

man who had memory

an indelible, lifelong

54

a

During

the Rains

of pleasure. Not by one man, not by two men, but by

many various men Kimie had been told that she truly was an enchantress. Did her body give men such a powerful thrill? she'd

wondered. As she'd become more self-aware,

Kimie had gradually perfected her charms

until

now, de-

spite herself,

she believed profoundly in her power of

seduction.

They'd come almost

Abruptly putting on

Station.

Kimie a

as far as the exit

said: "I've

one-yen

taxi

spoken

from

"Hm." Despite as if she

a sad, forlorn expression,

selfishly,

and

that's bad.

I'll

take

here."

curt reply,

his

Kimie's wistful demeanor,

from her,

of Yotsuya

were

felt a

Kiyooka, noticing

curious reluctance to part

a mistress he'd

acquired just today

or yesterday. Kimie, deliberately fastening a vague gaze

on Kiyooka, poking the gravel with the tip of her parasol, stood

as if rooted to the

ground.

Forgetting everything he had against her, pressing her to him,

Kiyooka said:

place

fme. We'll go together."

is

"Do you

really

"It's all right.

mean

it?"

into her long-lashed eyes,

Take the day

off.

Expertly bringing the tears

Kimie quietly looked

ground.

55

Any

at

the

^)

f

IVE

In front of the gate of Matsukage Shrine in the metro-

poHtan suburban intersection.

dred and

district

of Setagaya, there

As you go along

a

T-shaped

the branch road

two hun-

yards or so, you

fifty

come

is

to a red lacquer

gate with a framed tablet that reads "Katsuenji Temple."

Across from

there

is

a tea field.

goes downhill. There

is

a

dry

fields

est at the

it,

From

here, the road

view, far in the distance across

and paddies, of the bamboo grove and cedar forback of Gotokuji Temple. Even in Setagaya,

neighborhood

is

probably the most secluded and remi-

niscent of the outskirts of the city in the old days.

the other side of the tea style houses

this

field,

there

is

a

On

row of Western-

with cement gateposts and

fences.

At the

foot of the slope, however, there are four or five reed-

thatched farmhouses, each enclosed by the same kind of

hedge

fence.

Among them was

an enclosure which, from

the nature of the locality, one might have guessed was the

residence and place of business of a gardener. Double slid-

ing doors were set between "inverted mixing-bowl" gateposts of chestnut

wood. Not even

standing far back

among

street

On

the roof of the house,

the trees, could be seen

from the

through the luxuriant mass of freshly green

foliage.

one gatepost, a nameplate read "Kiyooka Residence."

The words were

rain-stained and difficult to

make

out.

This was the retirement retreat of the writer Kiyooka

Susumu's old

father, Akira. Directly

summer sun shone down on

overhead, the early

the chestnut and chinaberry

56

During

the

Rains

trees just inside the gate. cast

The young

on the ground outside the underneath the

rectly

leaves.

woman

sober,

a

of about

It

was midday.

burnt-tea-color parasol,

thirty,

di-

the lusty duckings of

chickens were heard here and there.

Closing

shadows,

were drawn up

gate,

Only

leaves'

a

young

refmed-looking and evidently

a

married lady, opened the gate and passed inside. Her hair

done

in a loose bun, so that

onto her nape, she wore family crest lined

at

black

tumbled casually

summer

down

haori with her

the back of the collar over a fme-quality

kimono with

figure, a

a

it

Her

a splash pattern.

slender,

willowy

white shawl over her shoulders, combined with

her long neck, well-defined features, and pale, narrow face to give her a tranquilly lonely

air.

Shifting to the

other hand a bundle wrapped in a carrying cloth, she closed the gate. In contrast to the sun pounding

on the road, here

a gentle current

of

air

from the quiet summer shadows of the back into place a

a stray curl

while the young

woman

down

came flowing

trees.

Stroking

disheveled by the breeze, for

looked about

her.

The

little

path inside the gate was bordered with dragon's beard.

To one

side,

chestnut, persimmon, plum, jujube, and

similar trees flourished densely.

was

a

To

grove of speckled bamboo.

the other side, there

Its

young, vigorously

lengthening sprouts were starting to grow up into pale

young bamboo

trees.

From among

the branches of the

older trees, slender leaves were constantly fluttering to the

ground. The heavy-scented flowers of the chestnuts were in full

bloom. The young leaves of the persimmon, ex-

celling

even those of the Japanese maple, were displaying

just at this time their tenderest hues of fresh Filtered

by the

new

green.

treetops, the sunlight shifted sparklingly

over the thick moss. Beneath the quiet whispering of the

57

During breeze, there

was

a

the Rains

sound of water flowing nearby. Some

unknown little bird was warbling, livelier than the shrike singing at the dawn of a clear autumn day. Unconsciously softening her tread bird's voice, the

the sound of the

at

young woman followed

gravel path around the

bamboo grove

the curve of the

until she

an old bungalow hitherto obscured by the

entryway had

galow to

itself

mind

had

a

that

housebeams had been

tall

roof

the

tiles

window

not the

stability that

brought

least

foundation posts and sturdy

its

spliced to replace rotten

alongside the entryway had been

a

mixed hedge of box and

left

a

open,

bloom, were

however,

it

all

the

was quiet and

a

Only, on the grape

trellis that

among

shone

mingling of white and

more conspicuous. Here deserted.

sound neither of flower shears nor of kitchen door,

azalea blocked

in the sunlight that

through here, the peony flowers, full

wood, and

sound came from inside the house. Beneath

any view of the garden. But

also,

this

were stained green with moss. Although

window,

red in

The

The bun-

in as an afterthought.

look of timeless

but

to

the priests' living quarters of an old temple.

But there were signs

its

foliage.

a frosted glass latticework door,

had evidently been put

came

a

hung along

the flowers

There was the garden broom. the eaves to the

whose time

to

bloom

had evidently come, the buzzing of horseflies gathered clusters there noised

in

abroad the news that the summer

day was long. "Is

anyone home?" Taking off her shawl, the young

woman

quietly slid

open the

lattice

door.

the hushed interior, a voice answered:

opaque paper door was immediately

man with his

his spectacles

pushed up on

snow-white eyebrows.

It

From within is it?" The

"Who

slid

back by an old

his

forehead above

was the householder, Akira.

58

During

the Rains

"Tsuruko,

Please

is it?

on an "I

errand. I'm

came

something

in.

Today the old

alone."

all

at just the right time, then.

can do for you instead."

I

woman

And I've sent Densuke into the city

off on a grave- visit.

is

come

Perhaps there's

Still

carrying her

man

bundle, the young v^oman followed the old

inside

and seated herself at the threshold of the veranda. "You're already airing things out, "I

don't do

it

whenever the

so

throughout the

see."

I

any particular time.

at

spirit

year.

moves me,

I

do

I

it

have no help, at

odd times

the best sort of exercise for an

It's

old man."

From halfway along the veranda to the eight-mat room at

the back of the house, folding cases of manuscripts,

scrolls,

and pictures had been set out. Both the translucent

and the opaque paper doors were wide open. tail it

butterfly

came

fluttering into the parlor. Presently,

flew out into the garden again.

bundle on her clothing

lap,

Tsuruko

made over

while I'm

at

it,

shall

I

feet,

the old

I'll

leave

make some

a look, will

man began to

of

that article

over there.

And

tea?"

got as a

I

had it

think there's

I

some such thing

room. Just have

Undoing her kerchief

said: "I've

for you.

"Yes. I'd like a cup. paste or

A swallow-

some sweet bean

gift in the

breakfast

you?" As Tsuruko got to her

straighten,

one by one, the old

manuscripts lying on the veranda. His closely cropped hair,

as

with

white

his thick

as

eyebrows and mustache, had turned

snow, accentuating the healthy flush of

his

His lean, slightly built body seemed to have grown more and more vigorous with age. When Tsuruko came

face.

back with green

tea

and sweets, the old man

sat

down

at

the edge of the veranda. "I

haven't seen you for

some time. I thought you might

59

During

have caught

rounds

They

a cold.

say the flu

the Rains

making the

is still

in the city."

"You haven't caught

a single cold since last year,

have

you, Father?" "I

had

young

somewhat

a

people go off

diflferent

upbringing from today's

Ha-ha. The drawback

people.

You

once.

at

all

that healthy

is

depend on good

can't

health."

"Well



can't trust. it is

no need

there's

"There's

a

of thing."

to say that kind

saying from the old days about things you a

'It is

hard thing to trust in the favor of a lord;

hard thing to trust in the health of old

a

How's Susumu? Flourishing like "Yes. Thank you for asking."

age.'

Ha-ha.

the green bay tree?"

"There's something I've been wanting to talk with about. Actually, not long ago,

on

the trolley

looked part,

at

.

."

the old

Tsuruko over

man

met your

him

elder brother

began, then coughed and

Tsuruko, for her

his spectacles.

answered with studied casualness.

"Is

it

"Yes. to

.

I

something about me?" It

was nothing bad.

do with your family

We were

register.

talking about

what

There's no use fretting

about what has already happened. Let bygones be bygones.

I

If your

said

had no objections to whatever was decided.

family and

anything.

we

I

I

agree on

What about it,

can ask the clerk

at

the

just a matter of my putting

"Yes. "It it's

I'll tell

my

it,

Susumu

isn't likely to

then? If we set about

ward

my

husband

oflfice

it

to write

say

early on, it

up.

It's

seal to it."

that as

soon

as

I

get back."

doesn't really matter about the family register, but

best to be upright in

together the same as

should be

a

all

one's dealings. If you've lived

man and

wife for

all

these years,

matter of course to enter your

60

name

in

it

our

During

the

Rains

family register.

I

don't really

know what went on at first,

but according to your brother it's already been five years." "Yes. If

I

remember

correctly." Deliberately

Tsuruko lowered her

ous,

eyes.

ing to count the years on her fingers, that years. In the

ambigu-

She knew, without need-

autumn of her twenty-third

it

had been

five

when

her

year,

former husband had graduated from military college and

was studying abroad, Tsuruko had with Kiyooka Susumu

fallen into a liaison

hotel in Karuizawa.

at a

Her hus-

band's family, although not particularly wealthy, were

descended from the old aristocracy and

what people would hear and

ful

as

such were fear-

Without waiting

say.

for the husband's return, they'd dissolved the marriage

on the pretext of Tsuruko's

frail health.

Her parents had

already died by this time. Tsuruko's elder brother had

made something of a name dustry.

she

for himself in the

Bestowing just enough

would not go hungry or

capital

world of in-

on Tsuruko so

that

lack clothing, he forbade her

to set foot in the family's house or those of relatives for

the rest of her at

life.

home with his

At

that time,

father in

Susumu was

still

living

Komagome-Sendagimachi and

putting out a coterie magazine in conjunction with a few

other literary-minded youths.

When

was annulled, he immediately

left his father's

up

set

later,

a

new household

Akira suddenly

in

Tsuruko's marriage

house and

Kamakura. About half a year

lost his

wife to influenza. At the

same time, by the terms of the Civil Service Retirement Law, he was dismissed from perial University.

his professorship at the

the house in Sendagimachi and settled life

down to a leisurely

in the dilapidated cottage in Setagaya,

now had

Im-

Taking advantage of this, he rented out

been kept

as a sort

which up

to

of country house.

Until about ten years before, Akira's father, Genzai,

6i

During

had lived death

in retirement in the Setagaya cottage until his

Genzai, a scholar of medicinal herbs

at eighty.

had been employed Shogunate

in the herb gardens

Komaba, had

at

known among

well

the Rains

also written

he had held true to

his principles

der of his

at this

life

here

books and was Often urged

his fellow specialists.

after the Meiji Restoration to serve the

new government,

and passed the remain-

country

and plants that flourished today

who

of the Tokugawa

retreat. All the trees

in the

garden were the

mementos of Genzai. At first entering the academy of Nakamura Keiu, Akira had completed his studies under Sato Makiyama and Shinobu Joken. Immediately upon graduation from the Imperial University, he'd

been engaged

as

an assistant in-

structor there. For approximately thirty years, until his

retirement, he'd taught a course in Chinese composition.

Evidently there was something in him deeply sensitive to the times, however, for he usually advised his students

world the study of a dead way of writing

that in today's

was the apex of foolishness. Deprecating something

fit

for his opinion he

ing

much with

would smilingly

his colleagues,

mainly doing research ten

numerous

When affair

a

when asked Not associat-

articles,

in

married

refuse.

he followed his

own

bent,

Taoism. Although he had writ-

he hadn't published any of them.

he'd learned that his son

with

his specialty as

only for the dilettante, even

woman

Susumu was having an

and had

set

up house with

her in defiance of the world, Akira had been profoundly indignant. Thinking, however, that the

young men and women of

listen to the

this

it

wasn't likely that

modern age would

admonitions of an old man, he'd completely

resigned himself. Pretending to fact virtually severed relations

62

know nothing,

he had in

with Susumu. In the three

During

Rains

the

moving to this retirement cottage in

years since

Setagaya,

he hadn't communicated with him even once. Susumu,

from

for his part, surmising his father's indignation

ordinary disposition, as let

the

a sign

his

of defiance had deUberately

weeks and months go by without getting

in touch

with him.

However, when Akira had gone in

Komagome on his

by her presence in the narrow, hedged

woman's awkward bow

by bluntly asking her name. Only then did he

the unruly

own

free will

man

a

had taken up with the

Susumu know

woman likes

of

the death anniversary of her

mother-in-law, so to speak, and pay old

realize that

Why would

she was his son's wife, Tsuruko.

of her

come

Com-

flowers at the grave.

enclosure, he'd responded to the

who

Temple

wife's death anniversary, he'd

upon a young woman offering pletely taken aback

to Kichijoji

did not understand.

He

a grave-visit?

The

even thought that his

aged ears had misheard the name. As they walked along

make sure. That and after coming out

the cemetery path, he asked her again, to

provided the

start

of a conversation,

the temple gates they boarded a trolley together.

without their knowing

and on until

it

had habitually thought

their conversation

it,

was time

Up

to separate.

that the

to

Almost

went on

now, Akira

young men and women

of today were totally devoid of any moral sense. In his view, the

young men were

unfilial wastrels,

different

for the

and the young

most part

women were

a

gang of

not

much

from animals. More and more mystified by Tsu-

ruko's ladylike speech and demeanor, he thought stranger that

someone so conscious of the

rules

it

even

of correct

behavior should have committed the sin of adultery. Even after he'd gotten

home, he continued

mightily on the matter. Suddenly,

63

to exercise his

it

mind

occurred to Akira

During that

the

Rains

Tsuruko had broken her vows of constancy only

deceived by his debauched scoundrel of a son.

was

so, she

truly to be pitied.

he had no excuses to

pai-ent

met Tsuruko by chance

at

he'd gone up to her of his

If that

to be

were

Somehow feeling that as a when Akira afterward

offer,

the Shinjuku railway station,

own

accord.

And

so, at

some

point or another Tsuruko had been given the entree of the

house in Setagaya. But, from

a sort

of mutual reserve,

two did not touch on her relationship with Susumu. The matter remained as it was, without questions asked or statements made. As for financial matters, Susumu had the

gone on

to

make enormous sums of money, and

man's frugal way of

was too much for either

him

life

for him.

was such So

the old

that even his pension

that there

was no occasion

or Tsuruko to discuss household expenses.

Although there was

man who came in to look after woman who did the household

a

the garden and an old

chores, Tsuruko had seen that Akira seemed to lack for

proper meals, clean clothing, and attentions to his person. Unobtrusively, she did for

needed doing.

If

she had said openly that she was going

to take care of him, Akira that

it

in the

would

certainly have

answered

wasn't necessary. Also, there was an elder daughter

Kiyooka

of what

family,

this lady

a discreet

who had

married

a

doctor. Fearful

might think, Tsuruko did everything

manner

the days and

so as not to attract her observation.

months went by, Tsuruko's

feelings naturally

her

him whatever she noticed

became

state

clear to the old

more and more, he could not

in

As

of mind and

man. Pitying

help but secretly admire

her as a person too good for the likes of his son Susumu.

Holding said: "I

having

his

empty teacup on

was thinking of a talk

visiting

his knee, the old

your family soon and

with them. But when you get

64

man

old, putting

During

the Rains

on formal

clothes

becomes

impolite not to dress up for a a

But

a nuisance.

good opportunity. But you

I'm waiting for

first visit.

will

come

would be

it

to see

me, won't

you, even afterward?" "Yes. Things will be the same. If brother,

wouldn't

I

it

were just

my

but there's also your daugh-

hesitate,

ter to consider."

may be

"That

"At any That's

rate, it's surely

why

"It's

so."

I

who

I

have been in the wrong.

don't hold anything against anyone."

As

splendid of you to feel that way."

man

the old

spoke, a big horsefly alighted on a copybook of stone

rubbings of ancient handwriting specimens that had been out to

set

air.

Getting to his

Akira went on: mistake.

The

feet

and chasing the

"One should never be

fly

away,

afraid to correct a

errors of youth cannot be helped.

The good

or evil of a person comes out in old age."

Tsuruko

started to say

spite herself her voice

something but,

fearful that de-

might tremble, remained

with her head bowed. Her heart suddenly was she

felt

her eyes

grow

silent

full,

and

moist. Luckily, just then, she heard

a voice in the kitchen.

Making

that her opportunity to

escape, she hastily got to her feet.

ing in the direction the

fly

The

had gone,

old man, look-

said: "It's

probably

either the sake dealer or the postman. Please don't bother

yourself."

He began

to leisurely fold

up the pages of the

copybook. Tsuruko, determined not to show her

around to the kitchen; sure enough the sake dealer's

come

to deliver a

kitchen entryway, shaded by fell softly.

The

it

a

tears,

had gone

was the man from keg of soy. In the

grape arbor, the sunlight

breeze that came blowing from the

boo grove was so bracing

it

65

was

chilly.

The

old

bam-

woman

During

had evidently

Even

the ashes in the brazier had been neatly

man from

out. After the

there

up the maid's room before

tidied

seemed

to be

had held back

Rains

leaving.

smoothed

the sake dealer's had

nobody around,

the

the tears that

left,

and

Tsuruko

once overflowed. Hastily, she wiped

all at

them away with a handkerchief The old man knew nothing about it, but she and Susumu were a married couple in name only these days. It was no time to be considering whether or not

Susumu had

to enter her

left

name

in the family register.

the house the day before yesterday and

probably would not be back by tonight, even. These past

two or

three years,

script,

it

from home

as

a manuhim to stay away He would probably

on the pretext of preparing

had become customary long

as

for

he pleased.

be back in two or three days. With things

as

they were,

however, although he would surely not refuse to enter her

name

clear

in the family register as his legal wife,

without

his saying so that

great pleasure.

He might

even act

upon. Tsuruko, w^hile thinking

as if he

was

how

were being put

grateful she

Akira's kindness, could not but feel tearful to accept

it

would give him no

it

at

was

for

her inability

it.

The love life of Tsuruko and Susumu had lasted barely a were renting a house in Kamakura. Then

year, while they

Susumu, literary

from a

his

bound, became the darling of the

at a single

world and pulp

house for

a

started

fiction.

movie

making money hand over

Not only

did he immediately

actress called Sugihara

he took to going on endless geisha

had discarded him

low

actor,

some

in favor

sj^.^es.

fist

buy

Suzuko, but

After Suzuko

of legal marriage to

a fel-

Susumu promptly consoled himself by making

cafe waitress his concubine.

Although thoroughly

disgusted with him, rather than a passion of jealousy

66

During

the Rains

Tsuruko had come

to feel a bottomless sadness of despair

over her husband's character. Since her

Tsuruko had been tutored

girls'

school days,

and etiquette by an

in language

old French lady and had studied classic literature and cal-

ligraphy under a certain Japanese scholar.

The

discipline

and charm of such pursuits had proved her undoing when she married into the prosaic household of a professional soldier.

Not only had

in such a

life

household proved un-

endurable, but even toward the writer Kiyooka Susumu, the

man

she had chosen for herself, she'd been unable

for long to have feelings of affection

she compared the

Susumu of the

introduced to each other

Susumu,

the present

of popular

at a

who was

fiction, she

When

and respect.

past

when

they'd been

church in Karuizawa and regarded

as a great

master

could only think they were com-

Susumu five years ago had been unknown writer true to his serious literary aspirations. As for Susumu today, who could say what he

pletely different people.

an honest,

was? Without the least appearance of intellectual anguish, he seemed on the contrary to be endlessly, nervously keeping his eye fixed on fashions and

fads. In his diligent

money-grubbing, he might well be described bination impresario and speculator. his serialized

newspaper

fiction,

it

as a

com-

When one examined was simply

a

rehash

in current colloquial language of the banal stories

romances of yesteryear. Surely even the mildly

was aimed

must

and

literate

housewives

it

unreadable.

When she had read the story that Susumu had

begun

at

to publish in a ladies'

find such trash virtually

magazine from the end of

the previous year, Tsuruko had suddenly been reminded

of Rokuju-en's as if in a

Tales

dream,

ofHida no Takumi. She also recalled,

how

a professor

whose

Tale ofGenji she'd attended as a student

67

lectures

on The

had been wont to

During

men of the Edo

observe that the Hterary

nitely superior to today's writers.

had the run of the house,

demeanor were

all as

the Rains

period were

infi-

Susumu's cronies,

who

in their

manner of speech and

When two or three

alike as brothers.

of them were gathered together, they immediately began swilling Western liquor, sitting tailor-style or sprawled

out on their

sides,

they were having

what they were

and speaking in raucous voices

as if

When one listened to fmd out

a quarrel.

talking about,

it

was nothing but horse-

racing bets, mah-jongg wagers, vicious slander of friends, the vicissitudes of the publishing world, manuscript fees,

and absolutely obscene anecdotes about women.

Tsuruko had decided any number of times

Susumu's house

at

the

first

was no longer welcome

was relying on

the

at

money

her elder brother's house, she that he'd given her at the

of their estrangement. About half of bank. Even prepared

work

in an office,

was waiting

if

was

for the final break to occur.

time went by,

all it

still

time

in the

room and

find

Tsuruko had completed her plans and

Susumu, she continued

a

But although

request for alimony from

to say nothing, coldly

honoring

respects as a proper wife should.

became impossible

As

for her to abruptly

And

so she had failed to speak to

Overwhelmed by

these and other sad thoughts,

bring up the matter. this day.

it

necessary to take a

she certainly had no fears of

her husband in

to leave

good opportunity. Since she

Tsuruko, her handkerchief held between her

lips,

leaned

against the kitchen housepost and listened absentmind-

edly to the buzz of horseflies in the grape arbor.

Suddenly, there was surprise,

Tsuruko

a

sound of footsteps. Caught by

hastily tried to put herself to rights.

But the vestiges of tears

in the corners

of her eyes and the

sad pallor of her face were not so easily effaced.

68

During

the

Rains

The old man, thinking when Tsuruko had gone to the come back that perhaps it was a trouble-

kitchen and not

some

how

peddler, had casually stepped around to see

things were.

"Tsuruko, you're not feeling well, are you? Would you

down

like to lie

"No. I'm

all

at a loss

where

wooden

floor.

"Your

for a while?"

words, Tsuruko

right." Despite her

to put herself.

color's not good."

She

The

sat as if

old

felt

glued to the

man seemed

have

to

guessed what the matter was. "Whatever I hear from other people

I

never repeat. In the old days, there was

called

Hosoi Heishu. Whenever he found

ing to

somebody

he would burn

else,

a letter

on the

it

a

sage

belong-

spot.

You

needn't worry."

now

Tsuruko, wanting

to confide everything in her

good old man, drew herself close to his feet as to him. "There's something I want to tell you.

heart to this if to cling

Except for you. Father, even though

one

I

"Hm. I'm listening. look yourself at

want

no

to, there's

I've

been thinking that you didn't

all."

Noticing that the glass door of the

left

wide open by the man from the sake

kitchen had been

shop, Akira reached out and slid "Father, that talk It's

I

can talk to."

you

very kind of you, but

said I

it

shut.

you were going

don't think

anything." Tsuruko sniffed back her "Is that so?

a nuisance.

it

are

your thoughts?

to

tears.

Your home life is not going

What

to have.

would come

Is

well,

there

is it?

What

no hope

for

the future?"

"There's nothing in particular going on right now, but

even a

if I

wife in

were entered

name only.

in

your family

register,

There's no telling what

69

I

would be

may happen.

During I've

even thought

they

it

might be better just

the Rains

to leave things as

I'm sorry to be talking about myself this way."

are.

"No,

understand now.

I

Sasumu

It's

too bad to speak

ill

of

to you, but this sort of thing isn't limited to

Susumu. Even to the

if you explained what proper conduct was young people who play around with literature these

days,

it's

not likely they would understand.

teacher for

many

years,

and

know what

I

I've

been

a

I'm talking

I would call him in and try reasoning with him, but he's just no good.

about. If there were any hope for Susumu,

I've resigned

myself to

"Even when

ward

I've

it."

something,

said

be

been awk-

.

why even now, as But if we leave things as

"That's

him.

it's

." .

difficult.

I'm sorry about

say,

I

they

I'm not speaking to are,

your future will

that."

"There's no need to be. Whatever happens, I'm no I don't worry that much about the And it's not impossible that Susumu may come to

longer young, and so future.

have better feelings in the end."

"Hm. Hm." let

out

a sigh.

Still

standing, arms folded, the old

Then, hearing

of the back door, he

a

man

sound from the direction

"That seems to be Densuke.

said:

Let's talk over there."

All but taking her by the hand, the old

Tsuruko out of the kitchen.

70

man

hurried

SIX

Although it was was no wind.

it

was only

a drizzle

A

At seven

to break up. car pulled

o'clock,

a

who was

Hirokichi,

His companions, one past

men

man of

big-mouthed, balding

Komada

slid

open the

was

still

fifty

got out.

One

or so called

Kiyooka's literary agent.

forty, the other

clad in business suits and wearing glasses,

about

thirty,

were recogniz-

newspapermen. Komada, leading the

able at a glance as

way,

it

up to the gates of the Noda

geisha house in Fujimi-cho, and three

was

and there

In the early rainy season sky, the clouds

were beginning fairly light.

raining,

^

lattice

door. Joshing with the maids as

they took off their shoes, the three charged upstairs into a large sitting

room

at the front

arrangements had been made

smoking guest.

set

The

and

sitting

by telephone,

hung

in the air

of the room.

ready." Shortly after this greeting

ripely

"big sister boss," and a geisha of about twenty appearance.

since a

mature senior geisha, a woman who in this neighborhood would be called

by the maid, the of thirty or so

is

earlier

cushion were in readiness for each

scent of incense

"The bathwater

of the house. Evidently

made

their

They began setting out on the table the dishes

of food the maid had brought

upstairs.

Since the current story by Kiyooka in the Maruen news-

paper was due to conclude in two weeks,

Komada had

prudently entered into negotiations with another news-

paper for the

sale

of the next manuscript. Having secretly

paid off the managing editor, he was

of the

latter's

subordinates

at

71

now

regaling

the geisha house.

two

During

"The

sensei will be here presently.

Handing

let's start in."

Komada removed

He won't mind,

so

cup to the older reporter,

a sake

the lid

the Rains

from

bowl of soup.

a

"Drinking is just not one of my strong points." Having the geisha pour for him, the older reporter added: "I'm

who

like a geisha

can't play the samisen."

"I'm surprised

how to

at

you. Popular people have to learn

drink."

"Haven't I seen you somewhere before? I can't quite remember where. Surely not at a cafe?" "No, you may have. These days, what with geishas becoming waitresses and waitresses turning into geishas, there's no difference anymore." not unusual for

"It's

surely not

"Not

many

so.

It

"You don't

a geisha to

happens say.

all

become

become

waitresses

a waitress,

the time. Doesn't

There

are a lot

but

geishas." it,

sis?"

of them? I'm aston-

ished."

"That's right. There are five or six of us.

.

.

.

If

you

looked, you might find more." "Isn't there

someone here who used

to be

on the Ginza

or thereabouts?"

"That ya

.

.

.

girl

who

recently

came

what was her name

.

to us

from the Tatsumi-

?"

Pausing with her

.

.

half-drunk cup of sake in her hand, the senior geisha knit her brows. "She was on the Ginza,

"The Shinbashi Meeting

if

I'm not mistaken."

Hall," the

younger geisha

interjected.

"The Shinbashi Meeting About when, was it?"

The younger

reporter,

Hall?

who

at

the maid.

72

that

where she was?

had said nothing up to

now, abruptly pushed back the over his shoulder

Is

table.

Komada looked

During

Rains

the

What

"Call that geisha.

did

you say her name was?"

"Tatsuchiyo of the Tatsumi-ya."

The younger

geisha

having given the name, the maid started to get to her

up from downstairs: "O-Hana-

Just then, a voice called san.

The

"It's

guest has come."

probably the sensei." Glancing toward the paper

door,

Komada had no

there

was

panama

feet.

a

in

sooner

moved

aside slightly than

sound of footsteps on the

one hand and

verness cape, Kiyooka

"Sorry to be

still

wearing

ladder-stairs.

A

his gray serge In-

Susumu was among them.

late."

Handing

and cape to the

his hat

older geisha, and tying the sash of his single-layer iron-

blue haori, which he wore over an unlined striped crepe, at

the table,

had been

kimono of

Kiyooka seated himself in an empty place

where small

set out.

dishes of food and chopsticks

Apparently already acquainted with the

older reporter, he was introduced to the younger one.

An exchange of cards The maid, bringing tional bottles

up

across the table began immediately.

the geisha's answer along with addi-

of sake, announced: "Tatsuchiyo will come

in a little while."

"Everybody. Won't you have some more?" Receiving the tray of bottles, the senior geisha continued: "You.

Won't you have one?"

"Seems

like a

very dull party." Having himself served,

Kiyooka looked around

at

Komada. "Are

there any others

coming?" "At present, we're don't

still

know of anyone

in the process

else?

There

of selection. You

are waitress-geishas,

so there are probably ex-dancers and ex-actresses also.

Anyway,

if we're

going to

call,

someone

be good."

"He

has strange tastes, this one."

73

different

would

During

"We had

an unusual

girl

the Rains

Who

here until recently.

would be good, now?" That

"3is.

girl at the

Paulownia Blossom House.

Isn't

there a lot of talk about her?"

"You mean Kyoyo-san." The

senior geisha slapped

her knee. "She's better than a dancer. She can stand on her head." "She's probably a fright to look

"No,

she's beautiful,

at,

though."

and sexy. She's the busiest person

in this neighborhood."

"You're giving her

more. Anyway,

a terrific buildup.

call her, call her."

to be getting slightly drunk,

hearing the

was

name of Kyoyo of

tion,

lively.

But Kiyooka,

Blossom

that incident late

a

noncommittal expression.

senior geisha, seeking to add interest to the con-

versation, said: "If I'd

a little

summer. Since he could not veto the sugges-

however, he assumed

The

have

the Paulownia

House, was unpleasantly reminded of the previous

I'll

Komada, who seemed

I

were three or four years younger,

give up being a geisha and launch out on the Ginza

myself. Because waitresses are at least respectable types

on the it

surface.

over. That's

to

mine

is

No

matter what they do, they can gloss

what

I

think.

The house

right next door

an assignation house. Waitresses bring

all

sorts

The houses are close together, so if you put your head out the window there's just a paper door between you and the people next door. You can hear

of customers

there.

everything they

say.

There's a

tall,

slender

girl,

better

dressed than a geisha. She must be from a fashionable cafe

on

the Ginza. She always

comes

early in the morning.

Sometimes, she even comes before nine o'clock. Then, she leaves

at

around noon. I'm just barely awake by nine

74

During

the Rains

or ten. Right now, they're not keeping any girls there.

dead quiet.

It

Kiyooka

young by

makes me strain my ears to hear something."

silently

geisha.

And

the geisha

had himself served more sake by the

The two

this account,

then?

It's

reporters, apparently fascinated

egged on the senior geisha. "Yes, and

then?" Getting into the spirit of the thing,

went on: "Sometimes

the clients are different.

But they're always saying 'Kimi-san, Kimi-san,' so there

must be

a girl

who

goes there called Kimiko or Kimiyo.

She's really extraordinary.

pened

— when was — it?

There was something

that truly astonished

Kiyooka glanced up sharply

Komada,

an older,

as

who was

hap-

the reporters' faces.

more experienced man, soon

noticed the danger. Worried that

Juan

at

that

me."

it

was Kimie of the

Don

the subject of the geisha's discourse, he co-

But both of them seemed to

vertly observed the reporters.

be remarkably unconversant with the world of the Ginza

Without any

cafes.

them more

asked:

"What was

it

that astonished

one of

you? Was she

passionate than a geisha?"

"Of but

particular sign of awareness,

course. Just listen.

You'll hardly believe this,

." .

.

Komada,

to stop the conversation

ther, adroitly cut in.

from going any

fur-

"Hey, what's happened to that geisha

you called before? Go downstairs and tell her to come up."

The younger geisha got to her feet. Komada then added: "I'll have some rice soon." "I'll join you." The younger reporter, who hadn't had anything to drink, chimed in. What with the serving of "Yes."

the rice and the brewing of fresh green tea, the geisha's

story

was broken

off.

Just then, the

woman

called Tatsu-

chiyo knelt formally outside the opened paper door.

75

During

the Rains

Her age was about twenty. The ribbons of raw

silk in

her low Shimada coiffure were cut long, and the skirts

of her light purple kimono with

on the

floor.

Her

large,

a "flying pattern" trailed

firm-bodied figure suggested the

prostitute rather than the geisha.

who was on the

"Are you the one "Yes.

I

am." With

went on: "Perhaps

a rather

you

I've seen

there.

air,

Tatsuchiyo

Anyway, I'm aw-

I'm always not recognizing people.

fully shortsighted.

They think I'm being

rude."

Seemingly much annoyed

on without so much

prattled

Ginza?"

complacent

at

the

way Tatsuchiyo

as a glance in

tion, the senior geisha glared at her out

her direc-

of the corner of

her eye. Apparently noticing nothing, Tatsuchiyo drank oflf

one

after the other

two cups of sake poured

by the younger reporter and returned the cup "Since coming here, once.

It

I

for her to

him.

haven't been back to the Ginza even

must have changed. What

are the liveliest cafes

nowadays?"

"Where were you before? The Columbia?" "Oh, excuse me. was at the Shinbashi Meeting Hall." "Why did you become a geisha? Because you were living too fast and came under surveillance?" I

"You

say that, but actually cafes are rather respectable.

Because we're in the

"What do you do

cafe after

from noon

until midnight."

midnight?"

"After midnight? Doesn't everybody go to bed? can't stay

up

all

One

night, can one? Eh, you."

Just then, a petite geisha of twenty-two or -three, her hair also

done

in a

low Shimada

coiffure,

of eighteen or nineteen, wearing the

and

latest hairdo,

their entrance, seating themselves at the table.

Kiyooka needed no reminder

76

a tall geisha

made

bottom of the

that the small

woman

During

the Rains

/

was Kyoyo. He wasn't that night

life

likely to forget for the rest

when he shadowed Kimie from

of the Hachiman Shrine

cincts

better not to be recognized

of his

the pre-

Thinking

in Ichigaya.

by Kyoyo, on

his

it

two or

three visits to this neighborhood since then he had taken care not to encounter her. Feigning casualness, he turned

away and blew out smoke from his cigarette. Komada, finishing his rice, got up and went out into the corridor. "Komada-san. Just a moment." The maid drew him toward the back cost a lot,

"O-Kita-san.

stairs.

Sis. It

already will

so send the other one back."

"What about the two that came last? Are they all right?"

Komada

glanced

"Kikuyo

is

at his

a bit

watch.

expensive, but

"If that's so, send her back too.

so

it's all

I

." .

.

won't be needing one,

right if there are just three."

"Well then, Kyoyo-san, Tatsuchiyo-san, and Matsuyosan."

The maid

shall

we do

said the

names over

for emphasis.

"How

now?"

this,

Since the maid seemed to be

at a loss

how to assign the

Komada decided to slip behind the front desk on his way back from the privy and call Kiyooka downstairs, girls,

leaving the "I'll

do

When

two

reporters to choose the girls they wanted.

that, then."

the

maid went back

inside to send the senior

geisha away, the younger reporter, the ex- waitress Tatsu-

chiyo on his knee, was sitting

out

as

maid whispered ing

at

the

window and looking

he sang some popular song. Leaving him

what was

to the older reporter. Kiyooka, surmis-

up,

also to look for

went down the

so, the

on the pretext of going

Komada, unobtrusively backstairs.

up, neither reporter

was

By

left

the

the time he'd

to be seen.

77

to the privy

and

room and

come back

The maid, picking

During

up

and discarded jackets,

their briefcases

about to leave was saying to Kyoyo:

— right

floor^

listen,

at

as the latter

"It's

on the

was

third

the end of the hall." Pretending not to

Kiyooka

sat

down on

The

the windowsill.

stylish geisha, apparently thinking

that

Rains

the

Kiyooka was her customer,

tall,

from the look of things up

saying: "It's cleared

already," seated herself beside him.

At some time or

other, the rain

the straight, narrow street lined

had stopped. Along

on both sides with geisha

houses, the sound of clogs going back and forth grew slightly

more

frequent.

From a

distant corner, there

came

the refrain of a popular song, accompanied on a violin,

by

a street singer.

"That O-Kita

who went

back just now. Where

house? In Fujimi-cho?" Kiyooka asked,

as

is

her

of some un-

important matter. Actually, he was bothered by the matter

of that next-door assignation house the

woman

had

talked about.

"No. She's way out

past Sanban-cho, even

"Isn't there a girls' school or

"Yes.

My own house

"Is that so?

But

is

." .

.

something out there?"

right next to O-Kita-san's."

didn't she say that her house

was next

door to an assignation house?" "Yes. That

but one

is

would be

the

Chiyoda house. Next door

O-Kita-san's house, and the one on this side

is

my house." "Is that so?

That must be the house, then. That makes

side-by-side assignation houses, doesn't "It's strange,

"I

owe them

soon. But

"Out you can

I

it?"

somehow." a visit, so I've

don't

there the

know how

been thinking

I'd

go there

things are there."

Chiyoda house

sleep with the girls.

licensed quarters."

78

It's

is

the only place

where

the farthest out of the

During

Rains

the

The maid, coming down from the third floor, welcomed Kiyooka. Kiyooka, however, not particularly attracted by the geisha, merely said: "What happened to Komada? I've got a little business with him. He can't have gone back

yet."

"He was while ago.

As

the

at I'll

the desk talking with the proprietor a

go and

maid was

leaving,

Komada, stufFmg came up

fold into a pocket of his jacket, If

it

was on

little

see."

Komada was

business,

a

big bill-

the front stairs.

willing to go to an

assignation house, a cafe, or whatever, but he only rarely

ordered a

woman.

Since he'd been working in the busi-

ness department of his newspaper, he had dabbled in real estate

and the stock market.

wealthy

man by now.

He was rumored to be a rather

Despite

he

that,

house in Yotsuya-Teramachi, up an not even a rickshaw could enter

lived in a

still

alley so

narrow

his

a

miser of the old school

own

who would

If you're

going back,

early, so

probably

we

have

money

fingernails if he could save

"Komada. still

that

He'd been there since

it.

the days before streetcars. In Kiyooka's opinion,

was

little

I'll

can catch

Komada

set fire to

thereby.

leave with you.

It's

a trolley."

"Are you going on to the Ginza from here?"

"No. if she's

I've already

given that up.

someone who

reputation. There's something

We'll leave

"Well.

I

at her,

Kiyooka,

as

as if

is

damages your

then?"

The

geisha

surprised. Kiyooka, however, without

drew toward him

the bellrope that

on the post by the window and pressed

Komada,

it

want to talk to you about.

when you're ready." You really are leaving,

seemed genuinely looking

You know how it

sees everybody,

he was going he'd suddenly

the button. the

stairs

with

remembered something,

turned around toward the maid, 79

down

hung

who was

seeing

them

During

"Hey, you.

off.

the Rains

they stay overnight, send the geishas

If

back in the morning." "That's already taken care of." "I

don't think there was anything

matches, and we'll be

Give

else.

me some

Even while putting on

off."

his

Komada made sure to get his money's worth. "Thank you very much. Please come again soon." Slid-

shoes,

ing open the lattice door, the two

The moon had come out.

was

It

men

a typical

stepped outside.

summer evening of the

in the licensed quarters. In the alleys, the yukatas

women

going back and forth caught the eye.

"Komada, "So

go with

you'll

"Because I'm already the best after

I've

all.

tired

won't you?"

to Akasaka,

these days?"

of the

cafes.

Geishas are

been thinking of finding some nice

and setting her up."

lively geisha

You mean buying out

"Setting her up?

You'll have to think about "I

me

where you're going

that's

knew you'd

her contract?

carefully."

it

say that, if

I

talked

it

over with you."

"You'd probably do better not laying out

of money. That goes

for

a

round sum

buying out the contract, too.

If

she thinks there's a chance of your marrying her, she'll play

fair

pleasant

and square with you. But is

bound

something un-

if not,

and you'll have to

to happen,

let

her go

anyway."

"But even

I

don't

might even become "Is that so?

"No,

it's

know why,

know what

the future

Stormy weather ahead for you,

not

as

may

hold.

I

single again ..."

bad

in that case."

as all that. It's just that

but whenever

I

go home

I



I

don't

get intolerably

depressed."

Thinking he would of

his

like to tell

Komada

domestic arrangements, to answer

80

the full story all

questions.

During

the Rains

Kiyooka walked along, mulling over how and where

to

begin. All of a sudden, they were at the Fujimi-cho trolley stop. In the first place,

to

make Tsuruko

Kiyooka had never

his legal wife.

merely to enjoy occasional secret

woman

with

But the

her.

in earnest.

The

and he hadn't

serious,

sum of money from

he had rented

house

a

Of course,

her.

in

meant

really

his intention

to do. Luckily for him, he learned that she

ceived a

with

trysts

had been extraordinarily

had turned unexpectedly

what

had been

It

affair

known had

re-

her elder brother. With

Kamakura and

lived together

he was quite aware that Tsuruko's

beauty and character would place her above reproach his wife.

moral

As time

life

passed, however, thanks to his

Kiyooka had begun

to feel

he

a single off-color joke,

Unless he went

once

at least

a

felt

own im-

the waitresses or geishas, he

the waitress ing,

Kimie had been just

Kiyooka would have

with her

own

a geisha as

He'd been hoping ter.

grip

conversations with

I

If

more forthcom-

a little

up immediately

his

knowing how unreliable mind and was now thinking

soon

to elicit

as

he found the right one.

Komada's opinion on the mattrolley

his briefcase, all but leaped

coming, shifting

said: "I'll say

his

aboard with an agility

remarkable for his years. Immediately losing

Kiyooka

an assig-

unendurably lonely.

liked to set her

But Komada, seeing the

on

a cafe or

bar or cafe. But,

Kimie was, he'd changed of setting up

silly

felt

telling

unbearably cramped.

day to

nation house and drank and had

as

somehow ashamed

of himself. Knowing that he had to be careful about even

it,

interest,

good-bye, then. There's someplace

have to go."

"Tomorrow. there's

I'll

be

at

the office in the afternoon. If

something you want

Komada answered from

to talk about, give

the trolley as

8i

it

me a ring."

moved

off.

During

Kiyooka looked at his pocket watch. Since

it

was not

that late,

home. Late-night

It

the Rains

was ten o'clock.

now would be a good time to go Kiyooka

reveler that he was, though,

somehow dissatisfied. He could not force his steps in homeward direction until he'd visited one other place

felt

a

somewhere. But someplace be

at this

like the

jammed with

resses

was

hour, he could not just stroll into

Don Juan on

which would

the Ginza,

customers and where one of the wait-

of being harassed by

his mistress. Fearful also

the rascals and delinquent literary types

who

frequented

the eating and drinking shops around the Ginza, he had

no wish

to see

Kimie laughing and carrying on with some

drunken customer. The place

to

go to was

that assigna-

tion house in Akasaka he'd visited occasionally of

But the geisha

late.

there that he had his eye on, although he'd

already engaged her five or six times, did not seem overly

amenable

to his proposition.

When

he thought that even

tonight the matter would not be settled, Kiyooka irritated

ever,

when he had thought

it

how-

over, did not spring

from

his visit.

the geisha's refusal to do his will.

arose

from

his feelings

The

cause, as always,

of indignation toward Kimie.

Kimie had only done what he wanted her not have had to make the geisha.

had put

The

aside,

a fool

to,

he would

desire for revenge,

which

for a while he

once again welled up hotly in him. What

Next was

was

the fact that she didn't ap-

pear particularly overjoyed to have

a

famous writer

as

her

Even if he broke off the relationship, it seemed as would feel no especial regret or anything much at If the relationship ended, Kimie would no doubt take

lover.

she

all.

else

spent her days in apparent pleasure without

a care in the world.

if

If

of himself getting rejected by

aroused Kiyooka's wrath more than anything

how Kimie

felt

His anger,

even before he'd made

82

During

the Rains

advantage of that to find

a

new

There was no one more

difficult to

such a

who simply

to live out her lewd, indolent existence.

woman

physical pain

such things

suffer, the

upon

her.

only

And

way might be

yet, since

To make to inflict

one could not do

her hair or slash her face, one

as cut off all

could only wait for her to contract some serious that

would confine her

living

as before.

manage than a woman

without either ambition or desire for money,

wanted

on

lover and go

same empty-headed, frivolous manner

in the

to

bed

for

two

Mulling over such matters, following

illness

or three months. his feet

wherever

they led him, Kiyooka abruptly looked around him. This brilliantly illuminated place



it

was the entrance of the

low

Ichigaya railway station. Diagonally opposite, the

houses of the neighborhoods on the

were

visible.

Under

far side

of the Moat

the early rainy season sky that

was

beginning to cloud over in impenetrable darkness, an advertisement for Jintan

on and off caught

Pills flashing

Kiyooka's eye. Kimie's house was up the alley where that sign was flashing

on and

off.

Not only had he not

seen her for

nearly three days, from the day before yesterday until tonight, but mindful of that story he'd heard earlier

the geisha in Fujimi-cho,

was

to secretly reconnoiter the place.

Moat, he turned

The

from

Kiyooka decided the best thing

Going along by the

in at the usual alley.

lights in the

windows of

the sake shop and the

drugstore on the corner illuminated every nook and

cranny of the narrow

alley so clearly that

out the faces of passers-by. For about

a

had been coming here every four or

one could make

year now, Kiyooka five days.

Think-

ing he

was

pulled

down his hat brim deeply over his eyes and hurried

certain to be recognized

83

by the shopclerks, he

During

Ahead of him,

past. ist's

were

still

nobody was standing around

The

the shops.

the sweets shop and the tobaccon-

open. Along there, though, the lights were

very- dim, and

had already

shop

fish

at

encountered the old

"Why,

it's

woman who was

when he

a

"No. I'd

drop

tell

her

I

Is

I

I

woman

her

called

almost walked right by

up and was on

O-Kimi-san coming back

had

by.

slip past

lucky encounter. There have been

burglaries, so I'd locked

bathhouse.

We

abruptly

Kimie's landlady.

But the sharp-eyed old the sensei.

What

each other.

of

the corner of Kimie's alley

Pretending not to recognize her, he tried to in the darkness.

in front

Looking around him, Kiyooka was

closed.

just about ready to enter the dark alley

out:

Rains

the

my way

to the

early tonight?"

a little business in Ichigaya, so

thought

I

can't wait until she gets back. Please don't

was here

tonight. I've been slightly worried

about her." "Well then, just come in for

a

cup of tea."

"But weren't you on your way

to the bathhouse,

Auntie?"

"Oh come now,

you. There's no great hurry about

that."

Since he could not simply shake her off and go on his

way, Kiyooka,

room where at

as invited, entered the

the old

the long brazier.

one

as the

upstairs.

sooty, and there

downstairs sitting

woman slept and lived, It

was the same

sort

and

sat

Although the walls and

ceiling

were even floorboards missing,

kept clean and neat

down

to the last

down

of six-mat room

nook and

were

it

was

corner. All

Had there room could have been

the tears in the paper doors had been patched.

been

a

tenant available, even this

rented out. In the ornamental alcove, looking as

hung

there forever, there

was

84

a picture scroll

if it

had

of Mari-

During

Rains

the

some such

shiten* or

deity.

Atop an old

utility chest that

had faded to the hue of persimmon paper, hold shrine had been teakettle

hung

ished until

it

in a

set up.

Yoshiwara holder

shone.

house-

a small

Over the long brazier, an iron that

had been pol-

From such utensils and furniture, one

probably could have guessed the old woman's approxi-

mate

According to the old

age.

husband,

Russo-Japanese War, had died in herself

woman

a first lieutenant in the

by working

as a

army

battle,

herself, after her

at

the time of the

she had supported

housemaid or temporary house-

keeper and had also done piecework

at

home. By these

means, she had raised her daughter. The daughter had

had the good fortune the couple

now

marry

to

a

wealthy importer, and

lived in America. So that the old

woman

should want for nothing, they sent her an allowance. According to others, however, although the allowance from the daughter

was

real

cubine of a foreigner.

enough, the

latter

had been the con-

When she gave birth to

had been taken away by her lord and master

a child,

to his

she

own

country. Kiyooka was not only unable to decide which

of these versions was

true,

but could not make out

Kimie had rented the second first place,

and

why

she didn't

floor

move

of

this

house

to a nicer

why

in the

house in

a

better neighborhood. Despite her claim to have been the

wife of an

officer, to

judge from her present appearance

and manner of speaking the old

woman

belonged to

a

type frequently to be met with in the back alleys of the

Honjo-Asakusa

area.

That both her birth and upbringing

had been lowly appeared read the

bill

in the fact that she could barely

from the sake shop. Her mindless deference

toward anyone with *God of War

(tr.

a

mustache and wearing Western

note).

85

During clothes told one just about her. It

would do no good

up to

in the intervals

all

to

know

about

what Kimie had been

to ask her

between

was

there

Rains

the

Not

his visits.

letting his

long-cherished grudge

show

humored

he could manage, Kiyooka

"If

go

I

a

manner

as

to the cafe,

I

why

nuisance. That's

run into even

with

in his face,

sorts

all

when

pass

I

good-

as

of people.

by

at

said: It's

night

I

a

try

not to go inside."

When they see a famous person like your-

"That's wise. self, it's

people want to

woman

house next door chime the hour, the old

up

Oh dear

up all sorts of rumors.

start

already eleven o'clock." Listening to the clock in the

at

the octagonal clock

"Sensei, if

Please

do

It

I'll

looked

utility chest.

you can wait another hour,

wait.

"Auntie.

on top of the

she'll

be back.

put some more coals on the brazier."

doesn't have to be tonight.

I'll

morning." So saying, Kiyooka slipped

come by

his

pack of

Shikishimas into his kimono sleeve. But the old

woman

in the

had put two and two together. From Kiyooka's hanging around this neighborhood

at

such an odd hour, and

Kimie's slatternly behavior, which she'd kept an eye on night and day, she surmised the general situation. Pre-

tending to unless

I

know

nothing, though, she said: "But, sensei,

keep you here,

I'll

be scolded for

it

afterward by

Kimie-san." "If you don't

tell her,

"But somehow telephone in the

at

don't

I

feel

know

anything."

easy about

it.

I'll

use the

the sake shop and call her up." Groping about

drawer of the

scrap of paper

brazier, the old

on which was written

"Well then,

But

she won't

I'll lie

she's sure to be

need for you to

down

a

woman

took out

telephone number.

upstairs until

you

back herself by twelve, so

call."

Getting to his

86

a

feet,

get back. there's

no

Kiyooka added:

During

the Rains

"I'll

watch over the house, Auntie, so go and have your

bath

if you like."

When

he'd sent the old

Kiyooka went

upstairs. If

woman

off to the bathhouse,

any secret love

letters

lying about, he meant to lay hands on them.

woman, having

were

The

old

often been urgently requested by Kimie

to telephone her if anything unexpected

came up, decided

make the call at the sake shop or the drugstore on her way to the baths. Tucking away the scrap of paper with its scribbled phone number in her obi, she set out. to

87

^) Seven When

the phonecall

luckily

was drinking with

came from

phone booth. She went

summoned. But

a

the old

customer

to the

phone

woman, Kimie

at a table

near the

soon

she was

as

in addition to being rather

as

drunk

thirty or forty minutes to closing time), she

(it

was

was pre-

vented by the noise around her from hearing well. She

understood that Kiyooka had come to her place, but could not

make out

a

word of

was supposed

to

the old

woman's lengthy ex-

was not one of the nights Kiyooka

planation. Tonight

come, and there had been no advance

word from him. Kimie had felt free to make an engagement earlier in the evening to spend the night somewhere with a dancer called Kimura Yoshio, who had recently returned from the West. Then Yata-san, the foreign-car dealer with times, had

whom

shown

she had been intimate two or three

up. Also inviting

he'd insisted that on their

newly opened noodle shop on Matsuya Dry Goods

Haruyo and Yuriko,

way home Kimie

stop off at the

the street in back of the

Store. If she

had another engage-

ment, an hour or half an hour would be fme, Yata had

Going out

for a while, he'd just this

and was treating four or

five waitresses to various snacks.

At about the same time, the old gentleman zaki,

who

called

almost never went to cafes and the

Of

Matsu-

like,

had

course, he explained, he

was on

way back from seeing somebody off at Tokyo

Station.

suddenly appeared. his

said.

minute come back

At

all

the cafes

on the Ginza, not just

88

the

Don Juan,

During

the Rains

toward closing time,

after ten o'clock,

crowded

all

of

a

The

sudden.

clamor of voices, mingled with the

ters

motes of dust and

drowned out by

cigarette

clatter

the

of plates amid

smoke. To make mat-

when even she had had a little too much to

worse, Kimie had a headache. Just

begun

maybe

to think that

drink this evening, three

she'd

men had descended upon

here at the cafe, and back

to do?

Why

unfavorable?

more

tonight of It

all

her

her place another one was

at

waiting for her. She was practically

her wit's end.

at

What

nights were circumstances so

was enough

to

make her envy people

in

respectable professions. If she could drink herself

would

into a stupor, the others

or another.

With

this in

Matsuzaki's table.

me

usually got very

noise of the constantly

playing phonograph, intermittently

drifting

it

"I

take care of her one

mind, Kimie approached old

want to

get dead

drunk tonight.

way man Buy

an 'auto-car,' please."

"Are you in some kind of trouble? Did you quarrel with

one of your customers?"

seemed to know

once

at

"No. That's not " 'But'

At

— so

a loss for

it is

it.

By virtue of his years, Matsuzaki how things were with Kimie.

But

." .

.

something of that

sort."

an answer, Kimie was

silent.

Then,

it

oc-

man had known her from the days before she'd become a waitress and knew everything there was to know about her, it might be well to tell curred to her that since this old

him her problem and not

a single

other waitress

Matsuzaki, Kimie is

the

first

plied:

said:

at

the table. Snuggling up to

"I'm really in

a fix tonight.

This

time circumstances have been so unfavorable."

Matsuzaki, instantly

ask his advice. Luckily, there was

who seemed

to have guessed everything

from Kimie's manner and way of speaking,

"I'm leaving

in a

few minutes.

89

I

re-

just thought I'd

During

drop by and see

how

things were

Let's

meet again soon, during the

more

time."

the Rains

the cafe tonight.

at

when

day,

you'll have

"I'm sorry. Please don't be angry with me."

"Of

course not.

I

understand. You've probably got

more than one customer on your hands."

"When though.

mouth

all

said

is

and done, you're the only one,

How did you know,

Uncle?" Kimie, putting her

to Matsuzaki's ear, gave

him

the

lowdown about

tonight, not holding back a single detail.

"Can't you suggest some good plan?"

"There

are

any number of things you can do.

It's

problem." Matsuzaki promptly imparted to Kimie

scheme of action.

First,

on her way back from the

no his

cafe,

she was to rush one of her customers to an assignation house. Since there would be no question of her staying

man

overnight, after a while, before the leave,

Kimie could apologize

be hurrying home, and hide she

would have

for leaving

unsuspectingly accepted

tell

first,

pretend to

in another

room. Previously,

whom

she could trust to

sent a waitress

the house in Ichigaya to

got ready to

the old

a ride

woman

from

a

that they

had

customer only to

be taken off by force to an assignation house. While the

customer was

calling for a geisha

and plying them with

food and drink, the waitress alone, seeing her opportunity,

had escaped. The old

woman must come

fetch Kimie-san. Undoubtedly,

came

to the assignation house.

it

As

at

once to

would be Kiyooka who it

would

take

him more

than an hour to get there, Kimie would easily be able to take care

of one customer. As for the other customer,

with the excuse that she was

afraid

of being seen, Kimie

would send him on ahead to another assignation house. It was too bad, but he would have to sleep by himself

90

During

the

tonight.

Rains

Of course,

he would be very angry, but his long-

grow stronger in proportion would certainly come to reproach her. If, on that occasion, she gave him his heart's desire, the result would be more felicitous than if noth-

ing for Kimie was sure to

The next

to his chagrin.

day, he

ing had happened. Stroking his clipped gray mustache,

Matsuzaki smilingly added: "However, to carry off a job like this,

it

has to be a place where the people are intelli-

gent and resourceful.

Is

there

some house you're

friendly

with that would be suitable?"

There

"Yes.

there with

That place out in Ushigome.

is.

you two or three times when

Suwamachi. And these days, I

I

was

there's a place in

I

went

living in

Sanban-cho

go to occasionally." Just then, a waitress

came

to take Matsuzaki's order.

Kimie, making some irrelevant joke, got up and table. Since there

was only half an hour

Matsuzaki thought he might fmd^ut tomers were in the

interval.

He

left

the

to closing time,

who

Kimie's cus-

also felt curious to see

what kind of action Kimie would in fact take. But, thinking that

would be

it

soon paid the street, the

bill

and

difficult to sit still that long, left

the cafe.

On

he

both sides of the

shops had turned off their lights and closed

What with

their doors.

the rain that had fallen earlier and

the late hour, only a few stand-up eating and drinking stalls

were

still

the Ginza, the left

were

all

open. Along the main thoroughfare of

wide

deserted as far as the eye could see.

was the dark night

more

rain,

streets that led off to the right

sky,

and below the colored

cafes reflected in the

theaters

which loomed with

and variety

lights

a

and

Above

promise of

of the bars and

wet surface of the pavement. The

halls

had already closed an hour ago.

All the couples strolling about idly at this hour seemed to

91

During

be coining or going to or from the

no apparent

The

cafes.

passed by were comparatively empty.

the

trolleys that

Only

taxis,

Matsuzaki,

who nowadays came to the Ginza only now felt

something of the curiosity of

the sightseer. Without actually stopping, he loitered

the trend of the times

wake

the

him

to

high

come home

that only

to him.

memories of half a

who

Matsuzaki, a

the

now,

at

hour, did the transformation of this district and

this late

been

seemed

it

at

As always, when he observed

intersection.

the scene around him,

in their

with

destination, cruised the intersections.

and then on business,

Owari-cho

Rains

They brought

lifetime.

held a law degree, had

at

government ministry

official in a

one time

in

Kobiki-

cho. Implicated in a graft scandal that had shocked the nation, however, he had been tried and sentenced to

from

prison. After his release clear sailing.

Thanks

of his

life.

him enjoy himself for the grown and on

let

When

he compared the Ginza that

he'd seen every day on his

own

was

His children were already

the road to success.

rickshaw from

years,

all

to his deals, he'd accumulated a pri-

vate income sufficient to rest

prison, however,

his

way

mansion

to the ministry in his

in

Kojimachi for several

and the present-day scene, changing day by day

since the Earthquake, Matsuzaki could not but feel that

he was dreaming. The dream did not hold the deep emotion with city

which

of Rome.

It

a

modern Roman

implied only the shallow admiration that

show

the spectator at a variety a juggler.

Tokyo

When

a city

did, the spectacle

provoked

dexterity of

in the observer an as-

a certain sense

than merely from the appearance felt

feels for the

aped the West to the degree that

tonishment, along with

was

thinks of the ancient

especially keenly

of pathos. More

of the streets, this

pathos

when one thought of the

92

cir-

During

the Rains

cumstances of the waitresses

sense of feminine

among

not few

prostitute like

from the

who had to make their Hving

Women hke Kimie,

in this district.

decorum and

by nature lacking any

chastity,

were doubtless

Even though she was

the waitresses.

a

them, Kimie was of a totally different kind

was the same

geisha-prostitutes of the past. She

type of unlicensed prostitute that flourishes in the

of the West. The

fact that

such

women

the streets of Tokyo, if one attributed

had appeared

to the

it

cities

in

atmosphere

of the period, prompted the reflection that nothing was so surprising as the changes of time. Looking back

own

his

life,

Matsuzaki

felt

no

shame

particular

on

as

he

recalled being hauled into court and being convicted of

malversation. Perhaps this also was one of the the atmosphere of the period.

More

had passed since then. Even though

eflfects

of

than twenty years

this

man who

old

at

one time had been so noisily discussed was today having a quiet

drink in

a

Ginza

would have thought

it,

cafe, it

no one,

had buried the uproar, along with its,

in oblivion. That, indeed,

truly like a dream.

Matsuzaki

career,

Toward felt

if they

had known of

strange or criticized him.

the

his merits

Time

and demer-

one would have to

say,

the world and toward his

was

own

same melancholy mixture of

resentment and cold contempt. In

there

life,

was neither

past nor future, only the pleasures and pains of day-to-

day existence. Matsuzaki had come to

no need If that

to take either praise or censure too

were

so,

good

was

much to heart.

he was bound to consider himself as the

most fortunate of human in

feel that there

beings.

At age

health. Occasionally, without

sixty,

any

fear

he was

of what

people would think, he put his arm around twenty-yearold waitresses and flirted with

Moreover, he

felt

no shame

93

in

them

like a

doing

young man.

so. In this alone,

During his happiness

exceeded by

the

Rains

of royalty. Matsuzaki

far that

could not help laughing out loud.

KTimie, as previously arranged, after leaving the cafe

met the dancer Kimura Yoshio on went by

car to the friendly

As

in Sanban-cho.

prome-

the dark river

nade that runs toward Yuraku Bridge. From

there, they

Chiyoda assignation house

instructed to by old

man

Matsuzaki,

Kimie meant

to pretend to leave ahead of the customer

and hide out

in another

room, where she would await

Kiyooka with an innocent expression on her

face.

On

the way, however, Kimura's conversation revealed that

he was

a surprisingly sophisticated person.

thought

two or

it

a

matter of course that

three lovers.

When

Apparently he

a waitress

should have

they'd gone upstairs to the

second floor rear of the Chiyoda, Kimie immediately told

him about

tonight's situation.

As

Kimura

she'd expected,

went along with everything. "If you

cause you

wrong

had told

me right away,

I

wouldn't have had to

trouble. Please forgive me. I've

all this

thing. We'll

done the

meet some other time, when you're

not quite so busy."

As

if deliberately

urging her on, Kimura helped Kimie

with her preparations, even tying her obi for

Ever since she had seen Kimura perform mission between movies

had been this

ing.

stirred

manner

left

Kimura's

at

the

her.

in the inter-

Horaku Theater, Kimie

up by her usual

curiosity. Parting in

her with an unbearably dissatisfied feel-

art, to

go by

articles

he had published in

newspapers and magazines, was an amalgam of the Russian dance since Nijinsky and Chinese theatrical dance,

in short a mixture of East and West.

The

linear

beauty

of the movements of the male and female body, Kimura

94

During

the Rains

claimed, was far superior to the stationary effect of sculpture and the plastic arts. Furthermore,

found than the

it

was more pro-

power of music. To

intuitive, suggestive

the waitress Kimie, however, this sort of aesthetic discus-

was

sion

women

all

one.

When

she'd seen naked

young men and

cavorting about the stage, striking various poses

and occasionally embracing each other in front of a large audience, she'd the

wondered what

man who made

would be

it

from

his living

There was no difference between her the shameless geisha the girl student "Sensei,

it's

who

already

late,

is

wrestler or

believe me, try calling

me

Kimura added: "Kimie-san, Please.

done something

you won't go home,

so

will

I'm jealous."

place.

coming. You don't have any

do you? I'm going

let's.

and that of

sumo

who develops a crush on a baseball player.

"But your patron

"Yes,

of show.

feeling

patronizes a

you? You'll go to some other

choice,

meet

like to

that sort

home.

straight

up."

you don't

Handing her

please

Somehow

If

I

let's

his card,

meet again."

have the feeling

really unforgivable.

I

I've

don't want to

send you away." As usual, Kimie was unable to repress her interest in

Kimura,

a

new man. Leaning

who had

already

begun

against the knee of

his preparations for de-

parture, she took hold of his hand.

After a while, saying that she would engage a car for his return,

Kimie stepped out

into the corridor to call

the maid. Asking the time, she

was

now

called

struck two.

The customer

told that

yet appeared, nor had there been a phonecall. rived,

and the dancer Kimura took

had just

his leave.

The The

car ar-

writer

was now past When the cafe closed, Kimie had sent a fellow

Kiyooka, however, two-thirty.

it

Kiyooka had not

still

hadn't

shown up.

It

waitress called Ruriko to Ichigaya with her story.

95

From

During

the

Rains

I

her days as an assistant in a Western-style hairdressing

Ruriko had the entree of many assignation houses.

salon,

She- was not likely to

make

a

mistake in an

affair

of this

kind. Perhaps Kiyooka, without getting Ruriko's mes-

had gone home early

sage,

and more

inside her obi,

calling him,

from the

more

Kimura

it

the sudden reckless idea of

down the backstairs. Just then,

was the sound of somebody's

must be Kiyooka, Kimie

as she listened to the voice

it

was not Kiyooka.

At the

cafe,

had

that she

seemed

It

to

ar-

strained her

of the visitor

upstairs to the second floor front,

Yata.

him

started

front, there

But

that

Kimie

Thinking

rival.

came

felt

had the phone number of his residence,

it

Showa Apartments. With

ears.

Kimie

When she looked at his card, which she had slipped

away.

the

in a rage.

regretful, unbearably so, at having sent

Kimie

as

he

realized

be the untimely

although urgently invited, she had told a prior

engagement and could not go

to the back-street noodle shop with him. Instead, she'd said, if

liked.

sent

it

were

him on ahead with

there

she

a little later

would go anywhere he

Giving him the name of an assignation house, she'd the

lie

that she

would meet him

later.

Yata, for his part,

had taken Kimie

to the assignation house, the

at

her word. Going

one behind the Kagura Slope

where he'd taken Kimie the first night, he waited patiently until after call.

two

o'clock.

There had not even been

a

phone-

Guessing what was up, Yata remembered the Chi-

yoda house

in Sanban-cho,

ten days ago

on her way

where Kimie had taken him

to

work.

If she

was

there,

he

commotion and make a nuisance of himself by way of revenge. It was with this in mind that Yata had would cause

a

suddenly arrived gate, the

at

the Chiyoda.

maid came out

to slide

96

When he knocked at the

open the

rain shutters. "Is

I

During

the Rains

Kimie-san here?" To it

this crafty inquiry, the

for granted that Yata

maid, taking

was the customer Kimie had been

repHed: "The lady has been waiting for ever

waiting

for,

so long.

You men

are really inconsiderate." Suffocated

own

cigarette

smoke, Yata could say nothing. Obe-

his

diently going upstairs, he sat

down

by

tailor-style in front

of the ornamental alcove. Not even taking

his hat off,

he

looked around the room dubiously.

Informed of the situation by the maid

Kimie decided

the backstairs,

that she

the foot of

at

would have

to

make the best of things. Immediately going back upstairs, she slid open the opaque paper door. "Ya-san, this

too

is

much." Her voice sharp, Kimie upbraided him. Yata,

still

not over his surprise

and speechless blinked "I

at

the maid's reply,

Kimie's extraordinary attitude, merely

at her.

was thinking of going back." Primly

Kimie looked down

"What on the

at

first

earth

at

is

seating herself,

the mat.

going on?" Seeming to notice

time, Yata took off his hat.

"Somehow I'm

it

for

all

up

in the air."

Kimie, her eyes lowered, kerchief in her lap. Bringing

silently

some

maid entered the room. "You've miss. Shall "It's

I

brewed

had

a

tea, the

long wait,

bring some sake?"

stay

terribly sorry to have

made

up so long."

"I'm used to

late

Yata's hat and light feet.

freshly truly

already too late," Kimie said, her voice curiously

low and melancholy. "I'm

you

toyed with a hand-

hours. If that will be

summer

There was no chance

overcoat, the

all

.

.

."

Taking

maid got

to her

for Yata to say anything.

The

maid leading the way, he wordlessly entered the fourand-a-half-mat

room

at

the rear of the second floor,

97

all

During

unaware

that

it

was the same room

in

the

Rains

which the dancer

had been entertained.

Although hearing

downpour night,

that

in her sleep the

came

Kimie dozed

at

sound of the brief

daybreak of the short summer

for a while longer. Suddenly, at the

woman in the alley, exclaiming right under her window how hot it had gotten, and the staccato shrill

voice of a

clip-clop of clogs as

someone ran by, she opened her eyes.

In the eaves, sparrows

there sen.

were singing. From not

was the sound of someone

From

practicing

far

away,

on the sami-

the front of the house, along with the sounds

of housecleaning and wooden and paper doors being

open and as

shut, there

someone went up

The

rain

to the roof to

hang out the laundry.

had gone away, and the sun was

a clear sky. Inside the

room,

closed and the light bulb

its

still

was even more

stuffy heat

slid

were footsteps from the neighbor's

on from

oppressive.

from the musty odor of sleep,

glittering in

windows and doors last

all

evening, the

Her head aching

despite her experience of

such evenings, Kimie crawled off the bedding and began

opening the rain shutters. "Leave

it.

humor had

I'll

do

taken

"Oh, my.

a

it.

It

really has gotten hot." Yata's

turn for the better during the night.

Just try touching this." Taking off her long

underwear of bleached cotton with

a delicate red collar,

Kimie, on

all

arm toward

dow

the garment dry in the breeze. Observing her

to

let

pose, Yata

fours, reached out her

commented: "You're

the likes of the

"How

a lot n.^ie

the

win-

charming than

Kimura Dancers."

do you mean, charming?"

"I'm referring to your physical charms."

Thinking what

a

good saying

98

that

was about ignorance

During

and

the Rains

Kimie

bliss,

"Ya-san,

stifled a desire to laugh.

I'll

bet

you know somebody in that troupe. They all have good figures. Even a woman thinks that, looking at them. For a

man, "It's

it

must be seventh heaven."

not like that

They're fine

at all.

on the stage. Face to face,

they're not

know how

Dancers and models don't cept take their clothes

You've spoiled

me

long

as

as they're

worth talking about. to

do anything ex-

Conversationally, they're duds.

off.

women, Kimie-san." make fun of others like

for other

"Ya-san, you mustn't

that."

His face suddenly serious, Yata was about to say something. Just then,

quired: "Are "It's

from outside the room, the maid

you already up? The bathwater

already ten o'clock."

him from

Drawing

in-

ready."

wristwatch to

beside the pillow, Yata said: "I've got to drop

over to the office on a

you on the

business. But, Kimie-san, are

little

today?"

late shift

"Today, I'm on from three o'clock.

back to

his

is

It's

too hot to go

my place, so I'll rest up here until then. Why don't

you do the same?"

"Hm. moment.

I'd like to,

but

"Well, anyway,

Calling his

.

.

."

let's

Yata thought

it

over for a

have our bath."

showroom, Yata was informed

that

some-

thing had arisen which absolutely required his presence.

Not even having any breakfast, he took his leave of Kimie and hurried

off.

By now,

it

was getting toward noon.

Still

puzzled as to what had become of Kiyooka, Kimie phoned the fish dealer's in front of her place, relied in such matters,

to the phone. She

was

on whom she usually

and had them

call

the old

woman

told that last night her friend the

waitress had come, and the sensei had gone out together

with

her.

That was

all.

Perhaps Kiyooka and Ruriko had

struck up an amorous acquaintance, Kimie surmised. If

99

During

would explain

so, that

However,

no

that

was just

not having shown up here.

his

thought of hers, and Kimie

a

inclination to exercise herself about

home

felt

Since leaving

it.

of her seventeenth year and coming to

in the fall

Tokyo four years

Kimie had

ago,

And

that she'd lost count.

the kind of love that

why

the Rains

slept

with so many

men

Kimie had never sought

yet,

described in novels. That was

is

she had never experienced the emotion called jeal-

ousy. Rather than have one

man

deeply

fall

for her,

and

because of that enduring his angers and grudges, getting into troublesome entanglements and being

bound

to

him

it

best

because she had taken his money, Kimie thought to frolic

on the

spot, as the spirit

heart's content with

anyone

who

moved

her and to her

presented himself, be

he young or old, handsome or ugly. That way there was

no bad

down

aftertaste.

From

the end of her seventeenth year

to this very day in her twentieth year,

Kimie had

been pursued by the insatiable demands of such

She had not had the

leisure to consider deeply

frivolity.

what man-

ner of thing the true emotion of serious love might be.

was not

that (every

once in

a

It

very long while) Kimie did

not sleep by herself in her second-floor rented room, but her principal desire on such nights was to catch up on her chronic lack of sleep. Also, she would begin to imagine the

new

pleasures that

would

recovered from her fatigue.

how serious,

as

was so enjoyable tions at the

Today she'd

dim and

were dreaming. To Kimie, nothing

as that

mixture of feelings and sensa-

moment of waking, reality

also,

other subject, no matter

she dropped off to sleep, became

insubstantial, as if she

which was

naturally follow once she'd

Any

and which

a

as she tried to

indulging herself in

this pleasure,

awakened from her doze, Kimie was

100

make out

dream.

when

loath to raise

During

the Rains

her head from the pillow, although aware that

it

was

nearly three o'clock. Looking around her, she saw the clothes that she'd stripped off herself the night before

and her sash lying in

Kimura had

a disorderly pile.

come room at the back of the second

to this four-and-a-half-mat floor.

This morning he had gone, leaving

open for still

After the dancer

the automobile importer Yata had

left,

her.

cast the

Dangling from the

a rain shutter

ceiling, the light

bulb

shadow of the flower arrangement against the

wall of the ornamental alcove. Carrying the cries of vendors and the languid sounds of song practice, a breeze that

flowed along the narrow openings between houses came in at the

window,

herself cheek

caressing her face

down on

At

the mat.

where she had flung a

moment

like this,

Kimie wished that Yata or indeed any man were here. She

would throw

all

the desires in her

body

her fantasies that surged up more and

Kimie embraced

lightly closing her eyes,

the strength in her arms.

amorously with her

at

own

Heaving

him. Forlorn in

more powerfully, herself with

a sigh, she

body. Just then, there was the

sound of the opaque paper door softly sliding open. stepped into the screen.

It

all

wrestled

room and stood

in front

was none other than Kimura Yoshio,

Kimie had been thinking of so

A man

of the folding

whom

regretfully since last night.

"Well." Just barely raising her face, Kimie did not at-

tempt to get up. Gazing

at

him from where she lay, she Kimura to bend down to murmured: "I was dreaming

held out her arms, waiting for her. Pulling

him

close, she

later,

Kimura

about you."

A

while

silver filigree pencil the

the off chance that

When

the

it

told

Kimie

that

he had

lost a

evening before and come back on

might be

here.

two had gotten up and were putting

lOI

their

During

the

Rains

chopsticks to a fish in the front parlor, a phonecall came

from the waitress Ruriko. Last

night, as requested

by

Kimie, she had gone to Honmura-cho and assuming an agitated

demeanor had informed Kiyooka

been taken against her will

that

Kimie had

Chiyoda assignation

to the

house in Sanban-cho. Abruptly displeased and not

lis-

tening to her explanations, Kiyooka had shaken her off

way and gone somewhere by himself Anxious let Kimie know, Ruriko had waited for her to come the restaurant. But when she'd failed to appear even

along the to

to

Ruriko had gotten in touch

for the three o'clock shift,

with Kimie's landlady through the ing the situation from the old

fish dealer's.

Surmis-

woman's answer, she had

then called here. It

was dark by the time Kimie and Kimura completed

their repast.

Announcing

that

he had an opening day

tomorrow at the Maruen Theater and must go for rehearsal, Kimura made hasty preparations to leave. Handing Kimie five or six special-price tickets and asking her to sell them to the waitresses at the cafe, he departed, without paying either for the meal or the taxicab Kimie, just

as if she'd

storyteller or a kind

The

been amusing herself with

of male geisha,

felt a

carefully nurtured illusion that

living in a

all

day she had been

dream had already faded away. With

nothing to do tonight came

It

bill for

ing

on

she had

with an abrupt

was the hour when

food and drink, she went the

geishas to their engagements was late to

to her

the last of

at least

She could not stay by herself at the assignation

house. Paying Kimura's outside.

home

a

sudden letdown.

the light, the fact that for the time being

loneliness.

fare.

go to the

cafe, yet

the spur of the

coming and going of

at its

height.

It

was too

too early to go home. Think-

moment

102

that she

would go

see

During

the Rains

Kyoyo

at

Blossom House, Kimie had no

the Paulownia

sooner turned the corner than, coming toward her, holding up the skirts of her banquet kimono, the edges of her red undergarments aflutter in the evening breeze, in

full

geisha regalia, was none other than Kyoyo.

"Kimi-san. Are you on your "It's

already too

"You've been

"How "How go

at

did you did

late.

to the Ginza?"

I'd take the

night off."

the Chiyoda house, haven't you?"

know?"

know, nothing. Kimi-chan. You mustn't

I

there. Last night

"You

way

thought

I

I

saw Mr. Kiyooka."

did?" Kimie's eyes widened in surprise, as well

they might. "Yes.

I

saw Mr. Kiyooka during the evening

Noda house. He was with three or my way to an after-engagement, so of him. At the time,

saw

his friends later,

I

the Chiyoda.

you can

I

heard

know

The houses

see everything

I

that

I

at

the

was on

just caught a glimpse

didn't notice

and

sation. All the geishas

four people.

all

who

it

was. But

I

about their conver-

you occasionally go

are right next to each other,

from the window.

In the

to

and

banquet

room, they were talking away about you without knowing that here.

I

it

was Mr. Kiyooka.

or the day after really

ought

"So.

your

Well, anyway,

we

can't talk

have business with the old woman, so tomorrow

It

I'll

come by for a good long away from that place."

chat.

But you

to stay

was

that sort

of thing, was

it?

Well,

I'll

wait for

visit."

Dogs of the neighborhood, samisen carriers, shopboys delivering cooked food, geishas, and the like were pass-

ing by in an endless stream. Quickly ending their chance

encounter, the pair parted and went their separate ways.

103

^) EIGHT Since her husband generally got up toward noon, each

morning Tsuruko would have her milk and

toast instead

of

solitary breakfast

of the usual

rice,

clean out the

cage of the parrot she'd kept the past several years, water the bonsai, do up her hair, get dressed, and wait for her

lord and master to arise. This morning,

among

the mail

that the maid brought her with the milk, there was

with both the address and name written

letter

ern characters. Casually picking ered

it

was

it

a

West-

up, Tsuruko discov-

The handwriting was

for her.

from Madame Joule,

in

the French lady

from

familiar.

It

was

whom she had

taken lessons for more than two years before and after her

graduation from

girls'

Madame Joule, Joule, in

had accompanied her husband

China

for

upward of ten

eral years in Japan.

own

school.

wife of the noted Orientalist Alphonse to the East, living

years and afterward for sev-

At one time she had returned

to her

country, but after her husband's death, to console

herself for her

America and

Tokyo

widowhood

later

she had traveled by herself in

returned to Japan, where she'd lived in

for a couple of years.

It

was during

this

period that

Tsuruko and two or three of her schoolfriends had studied French and etiquette with

her. After

Madame Joule's

re-

turn to Paris, an urgent matter had arisen in connection

with the posthumous publication of her husband's work.

And

so four or five days ago she had once again returned

to Japan.

She was staying

Tsuruko to come and

at

the Imperial Hotel and wished

visit her.

104

During

the Rains

Tsuruko,

after

waiting until the noon siren for

to bestir himself, telephoned the hotel

Madame Joule was

a

with narrow eyes and

among

sees

plump,

genial,

set out.

round-faced lady such

flaccid cheeks,

women of a

foreign

and

Susumu

certain age.

one often

as

Her modern

Japanese was quite passable, and she could even read a little

of the old Chinese-style compositions. In her

to look

up words

in

An

ability

Etymology of the Chinese Language,

may well have excelled present-day Japanese students. It being the luncheon hour, Madame Joule led Tsuruko

she

to a table in the hotel dining

compilation of her her

first

task

was

shrines, temples,

late

to

room. In connection with the

husband's work, she told Tsuruko,

make up

for a lack

and old utensils by buying up

of these. Her second task was to locate to

of photographs of

accompany her back

a

number

a suitable Japanese

to France, a person to

whom

she

could entrust the organization of the numerous volumes

of Oriental paintings and writings at

her principal residence.

that

were stored away

When Tsuruko inquired what Madame Joule re-

degree of scholarship was necessary,

plied that she wasn't particularly looking for a specialist. If,

for instance, the person could distinguish

tanka

between

a

and a ha-uta* that would suffice. Rather than scholar-

ship, she

was looking

for a person possessed of the taste

and discrimination peculiar to the Japanese and also of a

modicum of French. Such to be desired.

a

person would leave nothing

Madame Joule

continued: "The

be completed in about half a year. at liberty,

I

would

longer the case,

I

If you

certainly ask you.

must ask you

to

But

work

will

were single and since that

is

no

recommend somebody

you know." *A

tanka

is

popular song

a

(tr.

poem of

thirty-one syllables; a ha-uta

note).

105

is

a short

During

Rains

the

Hearing these words, Tsuruko nearly pushed the back in her excitement. Almost forgetting leaned across the table and a year,

I

.

.

if

.

someone

said: "If

table

herself, she

for half a year or

it's

myself would be of use, no

like

matter what arrangements were necessary,

I'd like to

go

with you."

"Would you be in surprise

Madame Joule's eyes widened

able to?"

and pleasure. thought I would

"I've always

once." Trying not to

show

go

like to

emotion

the

West just

to the

that

had instantly

welled up in her, Tsuruko lowered her voice.

Madame

Until she had received

morning, come table,

and

to the hotel,

Tsuruko had never so much

change

As she had

fate.

Madame Joule's conversation,

Tsuruko,

under

a spell,

found herself longing

place.

Tsuruko had known

what awaited her was necessary

new act

life.

on

But

that

at

for

listened to

as if suddenly laid

go to some distant

to

some time

that

first to

until today, she

had not had the chance to

that everything

deep despair, she

in

was her punishment

old quickly, to wait for the day

Now, however,

this

and

that.

If,

more than

in the past, obstacles

the energy to expel the latter with in her

a tea-

to waste thinking

because of her habitual hesitation, Tsuruko

what was

but to

an extraordinary opportunity

had come her way. There was no time about

for the

it

when the regret and

sadness of half a lifetime would be no

time story.

it

leave her husband's house to find a

error she'd committed. There was nothing for

grow

whether

her destination was good or bad,

knowledge. At one point,

had decided

that a great

There was noth-

life.

ing so difficult to calculate as

the lunch

at

dreamed

as

could occur in her

like this

Joule's letter this

down

sat

all

mind, had come to

io6

had arisen

felt

that

now

her strength, to do

her.

During

the Rains

After lunch, as she and the old lady

on

sat

a sofa in

the corridor and sipped coffee, their friendly conversa-

went on

tion

blithely

for another

hour or

so.

Leaving the hotel,

unconcerned about the steamy noonday heat that

had suddenly followed a clearing in the rainy-season cloud cover,

Tsuruko caught

a cab at the

Hibiya intersection

and went out to Setagaya to pay her husband's old father a visit.

When she told him

about the proposed

trip to the

West, Akira replied that during his teaching days

met Professor Joule two or

university he had

"When you

get there, if there's anything in the

don't understand,

feel free to

and more overjoyed

write

at

the

three times.

me and

books you

ask."

at the prospect of leaving

More

home, Tsu-

ruko hurried back while the long summer evening was still

bright with sunlight to get her husband's permission.

But Kiyooka had already gone usual message

came

that since

out. it

Toward midnight

was

late

the

she was not to

wait up for him. Tsuruko had no choice but to go to

The next morning, since her husband was not there him to get up, she left a note saying

bed.

for her to wait for that she'd

Joule,

Madame Madame Joule

been requested to do something by

and once more

set

out for the hotel.

intended the following day to go to Kyoto, and also to visit

Nara. Sojourning two or three days in Nagasaki, she

planned to return to Kobe and wait for the steamer. Asking Tsuruko to to

come

to the hotel in

make ready

first

available

for that day,

Kobe, she wrote out

and

a detailed

schedule of her movements. To expedite the matter of

Tsuruko's passport,

embassy deal It

the

directly with the authorities concerned.

wasn't until

world was first

Madame Joule would have the French

late the

asleep, that

following evening,

when

all

the

Tsuruko met with her husband for

time and told him her plans for

107

a trip abroad.

During

Susumu, although so surprised

the Rains

that he instantly sobered

up from the sake he'd been drinking somewhere, spoke with deliberate nonchalance. "Is that so? It's all right with me. You may go."

"The agreement I'm thinking

is

for half a year, but if

I'd like to

all

"There's no particular need to hurry back.

much

goes well,

return earlier." It'd

be too

trouble to go again, so take your time, study and

sightsee and things like that."

The conversation of the two went no Susumu, although surmising hind too

of Tsuruko's, decided

this trip

late at this

a regretful air,

further than this.

the thoughts that lay bethat

was already

point to detain her. If he were to put on

would be mortifying

it

to have her think:

"Well, in that case he might have been a

me

it

in the past."

If,

little

kinder to

on the other hand, he assumed an

indifferent attitude that

would make her think

been waiting for her to go away, he would deepest desire had been seen through.

The

that he'd

feel as if his

best thing

was

to adopt an ambiguous attitude that was not quite either

of the two. This way of approaching the matter was the same,

as far as that

to put

on an

air

went, for Tsuruko

herself. If she

of sorrowful parting,

sance to be forcibly detained.

were

to act overly cool,

to be

thought

it

On

it

would be

were

a nui-

the other hand, if she

would of course be undesirable

a shallow, unfeeling

woman. Husband and

wife, covertly observing each other, doing their best not

on the

to touch

this scene

About

real state

of

affairs,

aimed

at

concluding

peaceably and in good form. a

week

later,

press train for Kobe.

Tsuruko boarded the evening ex-

Although there had been talk among

Susumu's friends of a farewell banquet, Tsuruko, saying that she

wanted

to avoid having her

name appear

in the

newspapers and seen by her family, resolutely rejected io8

During

the

Rains

the idea. The party that saw her off at Tokyo Station numbered only her husband, Susumu, and his disciple Muraoka, the student-houseboy Noguchi, and two or three of her schoolfriends, each of

spectably married.

Her

whom

was now

re-

elder brother, although sanction-

ing the trip to the extent of secretly providing travel ex-

come to see her off for fear of what people The old man in Setagaya, also, pleading his advanced years, did not come to the station. When the train had pulled out, two of the men, Susumu penses, did not

would

say.

and the

in the fore,

groups

rate

Only Muraoka, even

when

ladies naturally fell out into sepa-

made

they

as

their

way out of

the station.

hat in hand, stood gazing after the train

had disappeared. Looking around, Susumu

it

barked: "Hey, Muraoka, what are you standing there staring at?" "It at

was such

a lonely departure."

Looking around him

the already deserted platform, only

now

did

Muraoka

begin walking.

"Thus ends Book One of The

Life Story of Tsuruko.'"

With this comment, Kiyooka tossed his half-smoked cigarette

onto the

"Even "Oh, be to

tracks.

coming back in six months." come back all right. But it probably won't

so, she's

she'll

my house."

"Sensei,

I

had

that feeling myself.

Today was

a sort

of sign." "Hey, Muraoka,

paramour?

I

why

could see

didn't

it all.

timental, comparatively pure

Muraoka,

a

youth

still

you become her youthful

She was looking for

young man

a sen-

like yourself."

shy of his thirtieth birthday,

blushed crimson. "Sensei, don't make that kind of joke. It's

not true. That kind of thing."

"Ha ha ha.

It

won't be too late even after she gets back." 109

During

For the

time,

first

Kiyooka smiled

as if he

the

Rains

were genuinely

amused.

When

they got to the ticket gate, the three were sud-

denly engulfed in a crowd of people coming and going.

Breaking off their conversation, they emerged from the station.

The evening wind,

and desolate,

"Hey, Noguchi, a

was blowing lonely

after rain,

chill against the skin.

movie. Here's

houseboy on

a

his

it's still

you can go and

early, so

complimentary

ticket."

see

Sending the

way, Susumu aimlessly strolled along

with Muraoka among the crowds of pedestrians beneath

Maru Building. As if he'd suddenly remembered, Muraoka said: "Sensei, what about the Don Juan? Is it

the

all

over?"

"Hm.

I've

been doing

"What

sort

"Well,

I

thinking about that."

a little

of thinking?"

still

don't have anything particular in mind.

don't intend to bother you about

it,

Your trouble

a

you're too good

is,

"Is that so?

I

man

person."

that

sound just

like

some

in the country."

"Even

so,

I

don't think you should hold

against Kimie-san the

I

I

rest easy.

wonder."

"Sometimes you say things old

though, so

way you

grudge

a

do."

"That's because you're only an onlooker.

It's

not that

much. She just annoys me.

It's

nothing

dislike her that

as serious as

things a

revenge or retaliation.

little

hard for her.

If

I

mind, you'd be sure to say that

I

told it

just

want

you what

to I

make

had

in

was cruel or departed

from the path of virtue or something."

"What "It's

exactly

not that

I

do you have

in

mind?"

don't trust you, but

right now."

no

I

can't talk about

it

During

the Rains

"Are you going to report her to the poHce?"

"Don't be

a fool. If

I

did something Uke that, Kimie

would think nothing of it. They'd hold her for two or three days, and she'd come out free as a bird. Even if she isn't a waitress, there are I

want

do something

to

want

do anything.

I

won't have to

lay a

Ha

ha ha.

I've

this

the

up the

up some situation

to set

hand on her

— others

kind of psychological

theme of one of Balzac's

closet in

Then he

sits

which his

which

in

do

it

A

It

I

me.

believe

I

husband

hiding into

my fantasy

seals

a wall.

... in the story I'm thinking

I'd like to strip the

woman

naked and

stark

throw her out of a taxicab on some thoroughfare Ginza.

for

a short story

man.

state in a

is

.

matter of fact,

as a

stories.

wife's lover

.

and drinks wine in front of it with the un-

faithful wife. In

of writing,

No,

will

about writing

a lot lately

.

won't be able to

to her so she

fantasy of mine.

been thinking

about it's

It's a

plenty of things she can do.

would be amusing

also to tie her

up

like the

to a tree in

Hibiya Park. In the old days, they used to expose adulterous couples to public view

at

Bridge. That sort of thing.

the approach to Nihonbashi

What do you

think? Perhaps

the contemporary reader wouldn't accept such a story."

Muraoka could not

tell

whether Susumu was actually

talking about the plot for a story, teasing

of it, of

or,

pretending

his plans for

it

was

for the fun

revenge on Kimie. But he was vaguely

aware of something ominous, to rise

him

for a story, speaking obliquely

as if all his hairs

were about

and stand on end. Forcing himself, he

sounds interesting. Readers are getting

tired

said: "It

of sugary

love scenes." "It

might be amusing

also to set fire to the place

she was staying with her lover. Then, side in her

when

where

she ran out-

rumpled nightgown, grab her under cover of

III

During

the Rains

the confusion, take her off somewhere, and do whatever

one

felt

hke doing

to her."

"Indeed."

"There's something else "Sensei, please stop.

I

have in mind

Somehow

it

gives

." .

.

me

a

bad

feel-

ing. Please stop." "It

looks

as if

we're going to have

a

storm tonight."

The sky had clouded over blackly and looked as if it would send the rain down any minute. In the interstices of the clouds, tattered by the violent wind, appearing and disappearing.

stars

were

From the sidewalk trees, new leaves, so freshly

thrashing in the wind, the delicate

went flying helter-skelter to the pavement. Amid wind and the gathering darkness, the streets of this Marunouchi district, which at night tended to empty of green, the

seemed

passers-by, that

One had

the lonelier.

all

muggers might spring out from

the

the feeling

narrow

streets

between the towering buildings. "There's

a story

who was

Theater

home. She

about an actress from the Imperial

hit

lost a leg.

and dragged by

on her way

a car

The person who

did

it

was never

caught." "Is that so?

"Then

That kind of thing has happened, has

there

it?"

was the geisha who had her eyes rubbed

with germs while she was asleep and went blind.

woman

like

Kimie

is

sure to meet a similar

Suddenly there was

Muraoka stepped

a

fate.

A

." .

.

gasp from Susumu. Startled,

closer to him.

A

gust of

the side had snatched Susumu's expensive

wind from

panama

off

his head.

Without noticing

it,

they'd

come almost

as far as the

Mc/zi-Mc/zi

newspaper building. Somewhat fatigued, they

stopped to

rest at a small cafe in the

112

neighborhood. After

During

the Rains

Susumu had had a whiskey and Muraoka lowed

toward the Ginza.

their feet

to separate

and go

own

his

Kiyooka. Tonight, the

they fol-

he meant to study con-

where

wasn't known.

his face

In rapid succession, they visited five or six cafes.

four or five whiskies in each

Kiyooka was

on

rather unsteady

let's

stop

go to some place

this. Let's

the hell time

not

is it?"

"It's

already twelve o'clock."

"It's

already that late?"

"That's

why

Thinking

I've

that at

wander around

had enough of these any

rate

"Sensei,

cafes."

was risky

it

this area in a

they would be

went on:

we

that's

I'm tired out."

"What

least

He was when Muraoka

his legs tonight.

at his sleeve.

"Sensei, a cafe.

Having

even the heavy drinker

cafe,

about to enter another cafe along the way plucked

tried

way, he was prevented by

latter said,

ditions in back-street cafes

a beer,

When Muraoka

drunken

for

Kiyooka

to

state,

and that

at

safe in an assignation house,

let's

have

a quiet

Muraoka

drink someplace where

can relax."

"Hm.

You're quite talkative tonight, aren't you? All

right, take

me

to

some

place

you

like."

"Let's catch a taxi then, sensei."

Immediately tugging

at

the sleeve of Kiyooka's haori,

Muraoka began to head for the recently opened thoroughfare

of West Ginza, which ran toward Chichibashi Bridge.

"Wait. Wait."

Kiyooka had begun

to piss against the wall of a pitch-

dark building. Muraoka, standing corner, idly watched as three resses,

happened

a short

women,

ways

off at the

evidently wait-

to pass by. Abruptly, he realized that

one of them was Kimie of the

113

Don Juan.

Kimie,

also, see-

During ing Muraoka, seemed to utter a cry violent wind,

away unheard. Muraoka,

voice

Kiyooka had a

ara or oya

which even now hadn't

the Rains

— but the

left off,

bore her

instantly recalling

said as they'd strolled

what

through Marunouchi

while back, feeling some unidentifiable

fear,

desper-

ately signaled her

with

away. If Kiyooka,

who unusually for him was dead drunk

his

were suddenly

tonight,

head and hands to quickly go

to catch sight

of Kimie on

this

deserted back street, there was no telling what he might do. If he caused a ruckus that got into the newspapers,

would be

it

a disaster.

Kimie, whether she had guessed Muraoka's meaning or not

it

was impossible

to

tell,

passed by without fur-

ther ado. As, with her companions, she

was about

enter a noodle shop across the way, Kiyooka,

then completed after

very long

piss,

swaying

them."

don't.

There seems

"What

the hell

Muraoka clung to be a strange

do

strength in his arms,

a

Although

to his sleeve. "Please

man

following them."

care? I'm going to treat them."

I

"Sensei, please don't." Holding

it,

gazed

are those waitresses over there? I'm going to

In consternation,

taxi.

slightly,

them,

"Who treat

a

to

who'd just

Muraoka

him back with

all

the

hailed a passing one-yen

in the confusion he hadn't

been aware of

misty rain had begun to mingle with the wind. After

getting in the cab, he noticed that the outsides of the

windowpanes were wet.

The caught got off

three a

women, who

after leaving the

noodle shop

cab, were Ruriko, Haruyo, and Kimie. Ruriko

first,

in Akasaka-Hitotsugi. Next,

off in Yotsuya-Samon.

The

driver,

114

Haruyo got

who'd been given

the

During

the

Rains

destination beforehand, turning off the trolley avenue in

Shiomachi, started

down the Tsu no Kami

of night, with a drizzling

as she

was by herself

At dead

grow

sleepy as

Do what she would,

she could

deserted. Kimie, intoxicated, began to

soon

Slope.

were completely

rain, the streets

not keep her eyes open. All of a sudden, she heard

man's

a

voice say: "Kimiko." Surprised, Kimie realized that the voice calling out what he thought was her

of the driver, ing

him

name was

whom she'd never seen before.

a terrible oaf,

Kimie decided

that

that

While thinkhe must have

been listening to their conversation and was trying to be

him no mind, Honmura-cho." funny. Paying

Slowing the

from the

start,

taxi to a crawl, the driver I

thought

it

forgotten me, have you? at

Kato house

the

she said: "Ah, here

in

we are in

went on: "Right

was you, Kimiko. You haven't met you two or three times

I

Suwamachi." Taking off his

turned around and showed her his

cap,

he

face.

The Kato house in Suwamachi had been where Kyoyo had worked before moving on to Fujimi-cho. Now that the driver had said so,

deed have been

Having long

a

Kimie thought

that

he must in-

customer of hers on several occasions.

since forgotten his face, though, she could

not remember him

at all. It

was not

that

Kimie hadn't

given some thought to the appropriate attitude to adopt if

among

she should encounter a client from that time

the customers at the cafe. But, city

it

Tokyo being

cafe or another for nearly half a year

day on the Ginza client

gone

the

was, although Kimie had been employed

from

down

one

now, from her

first

to today she hadn't

that other time.

As

huge

at

the days and

met

a single

months had

by, she'd naturally relaxed her vigilance, only to be

abruptly accosted tonight by a taxicab driver. Although

"5

During

might

flabbergasted, as she well

best thing

was

to brazen

"You must have

the

it

wrong

Kimie decided the

be,

out with

a

the Rains

know-nothing

person.

I

face.

know what

don't

you'' re talking about." "It's

not strange you've forgotten me, Kimiko. Be-

cause I've fallen so low in the world I'm driving a one-yen

But you haven't

taxi.

risen so high yourself. After

you're just a waitress. Even a high-class lady

"Let

me

"But it's

a waitress

is

no

all,

from

different

of the night, eh?"

out, please. Right here's fme." raining. Let

"It's all right.

I

me drive you back to your place."

don't want to inconvenience you."

"Kimiko-san, back then, you charged ten yen." "I said, let

think

You

I'd

me

be out

out.

Why

late at

aren't

night

if

were

Do you of men?

afraid

fool."

At Kimie's show of

fearlessness, the driver,

because he thought that even

if

work, obediently brought the a

you stopping? I

gust of

wind blew

to say "serves

you

he tried force

it

perhaps

wouldn't

car to a stop. Just then,

the rain against the

window. As

right for not having brought an

brella," the driver reached

if

um-

back and opened the door from

inside.

"If here's

all

right for you. Get out, please."

"I'm leaving one yen here." Tossing fifty-sen coins

Timing

onto the

the exact

seat,

moment

Kimie

a

couple of silver

started to get out.

her foot touched the ground,

the driver suddenly stepped

on the

gas.

The

car shot for-

ward. Kimie, screaming, went flying head over heels out into the rain.

"Look voice was

at

you now, you whore." The

drowned out by

the

sound of the

immediately sped off into the night.

ii6

driver's jeering rain.

The

car

During

the Rains

Coining to around

her.

herself,

Kimie sat up in the mud and looked

Although she'd thought

the pitch-dark road that ran

Kami

that this place

was

from the base of the Tsu no

Slope to the police substation in Sakamachi, she

now saw that it was a neighborhood

of walled residential

compounds. She had no idea where she was. There were no

cars passing by,

herself along, she

and of course no passers-by. Dragging

came

to a pair of stone

gateway posts

surmounted by lamps. Under the provisional the foliage of an oak that reached wall,

Kimie began

to

do up her

at

instant she

knew

her palm. there

pulse began to pound.

It

hair,

of

disheveled from

was sticky with blood. The

was blood on her

The

and clothes went out of

shelter

branches over the

mud. Stroking her forehead,

the rain and clogged with

she looked

its

face,

Kimie's

heart to care about her hair

her. Just barely controlling

impulse to cry out for help, she

set

out

at a

the rain in search of a doctor's office or a pharmacy.

117

an

run through

^1 NINE The doctor, whose office was on Yakuoji-maemachi Avenue

at

the top of Ichigaya-Kappa Slope, not only gave

Kimie emergency

The rainy dawn by the time Honmura-cho. The

aid but called a cab for her.

night was beginning to lighten toward

room

she returned to her rented cuts and scratches that serious.

on her

face,

However, thanks

her soaking-wet clothes

all

in

hands, and legs were not to her not having taken off

night,

from daybreak on her

temperature gradually rose, climbing past forty degrees centigrade.

no

Even by

signs of going

the following evening,

down. Saying

that there

showed

it

was

a risk

of

typhus or pneumonia, the doctor gave instructions to the old

woman.

far.

By

Luckily, however, things did not develop that

the third day, talk of hospitalization was dropped,

and by the end of the week Kimie was allowed

to

sit

up

in bed.

Thinking not only a

stream of bedside

that

it

would be

callers if

a

nuisance to have

people found out about her

mishap, but that rumors of rape might even

arise,

decided to merely inform the cafe that she was

with

a cold.

On the afternoon of the eighth day,

came around

to see her for the first time.

By

Kimie laid

up

Haruyo

then, the

bandage on her forehead had been removed, and Kimie could explain away the scars with a story about having tripped and fallen in the alley that night.

Ruriko came that

by, but she also

Kimie had caught

a

heavy

ii8

The next

day,

went away thinking only cold. Kimie's temperature

During

the Rains

slowly sank to normal, and her appetite came back. As yet,

though, the bruises around her hips and on her arms

and legs hadn't healed.

When she went down

the ladder-stairs, she sometimes

having told her about in Ichigaya-mitsuke,

a

or

came up

The old woman

bathhouse with medicated waters

Kimie went

by forcing herself a

day,

pain.

felt

little,

that evening.

The next

would do her

she

coiffure,

she decided.

When Kimie got back from the bathhouse, arrived for her. Although there

was no return

had

a letter

address, as

she read it became clear that the letter was from Kiyooka's

Muraoka.

disciple,

have written

"I

whether cause if it, it

in fact

my

I

this letter after

debating with myself

should write such

a letter.

mentor Kiyooka-san were

That

is

be-

to find out about

would likely mean the end of our relationship. How-

ever, believing that

you

feel sufficient

me

to keep the matter a secret,

ter.

I

don't

know whether you

friendship toward

have written

I

are

this let-

aware of this, but

late

month Kiyooka-san's wife abruptly left Japan in the company of a certain foreign lady. Kiyooka-san pretends

last

that this parting has occasioned

no great emotion

in him,

but his behavior gives the pretense away. In the ten days or so since his wife's departure, what with drinking and dissipation the sensei's

life

has suddenly gone to seed.

my belief that it is only your love, power

to console the sensei in his present

Of course,

It is

Kimie-san, that has the

and future

life.

nowadays, the sensei avoids the very mention

of your name in front of

us.

avoidance, from that alone,

I

.

.

.

But from

that very

deduce that the sensei

is still

unable to efface the thought of you from his inmost heart. It

occurs to

me

that the sensei

blame on you alone

is

attempting to

for his having lost his wife.

119

fix the I

shall

During

have to

tell

My

year.

you everything

making bold

that has

to inform

happened since

you of the

venge that have been continually hatching

of the

sensei's heart ever since last year

you and

the sensei

of duty,

a sincere desire that

much

from each

the Rains

is

last

plots of re-

the

at

bottom

not to estrange

other. Rather,

a spirit

it is

you should know just how

the sensei loves you, even to the point of imagin-

ing bloodthirsty things against you. In the sensei will be traveling district, in

two or

from Sendai

order to deliver

three days,

Aomori

to the

con-

a lecture at a literary

Maruen Publishing Company. The sensei has expressed his intention of escaping the heat this summer at some hot-springs inn in the Northeast. I ference sponsored by the

myself have not

set foot in

my own

part of the country

in a long time, so after seeing the sensei off

take advantage of his absence to leave

Wanting

to see

Juan yesterday. I

am

forced to

you once before I

was informed

feel grateful that

you from going out

more than I

believe

that. If

you

I

then,

that

I

your

I

to the

I

Don

sick in bed.

illness has

these past several days.

say that

for a while.

went

you were

prevented

will say

no

hesitate to state the reason,

will instantly guess

all.

in the country until that time of year

wind shakes

Tokyo

intend to

I

So then,

when

will be

I

the

autumn

the stems of the tall-grown dahlias.

I

look

forward to meeting you on the Ginza in the cool of the evening

when

the crowds are lively once more.

July 4th."

Observing the ized only

now

letter's date,

that

it

was

Kimie

July.

felt as if

She also

she'd real-

felt as if

incident of barely ten days ago had taken place a

or

two months

in the past.

That was

how

long she

she had been in bed. Simply not having gone to the

where she'd been working every day 120

for

the

month

more than

felt

cafe,

a year

During

the Rains

now, made her

The

rains

clear.

During

but ceased

feel as if her hfe

were suddenly

over.

had completely changed.

The sky was

the day, a cool breeze

at nightfall.

The

absolutely

blew continuously,

night turned hot and steamy.

Even when she sat still, greasy sweat poured off Kimie.

In

contrast to the rainy season quietude of until just yesterday, the

narrow back

jammed with

alley

little

houses

suddenly came alive with people's voices and the sound of

sewing machines doing piecework.

On the streets outside

the alley, radios had started up amid a variety of other, unidentifiable noises. Called downstairs

Kimie yet

ate supper.

done up into

by the old woman,

Afterward, her freshly washed hair not

a coiffure,

with only

a

perfunctory dust-

ing of face powder, she sallied out into the world beyond

Not only was it bothersome to be talked at every woman, but with the sudden advent of midsummer she wanted to be out of the house, out walking somewhere, it didn't matter where. When, just before

the alley.

night by the old

leaving, she'd taken out her purse

from

a

drawer of the

mirror-stand, Muraoka's letter had caught her eye. Just so, she'd slipped

obi and kimono.

it

together with the purse between her

What with

the gathering dusk and being

called downstairs to supper, she

had only skimmed the

second half of the letter by the dim light from the window.

Kimie meant

Moat and fmd a quiet embankment where she could

to stroll along the

place at the edge of the

read the letter again under a bright park lamp. But

was heavy along suitable place

the Moat, and she

still

by the time she had come

Approach. Ahead, the

traffic

hadn't found a

as far as the

of the boat rental pier

New at

the

Ushigome Approach were visible. Two or three girls,

ap-

lights

parently students, were sitting on a fence that lined the

Approach, enjoying the evening

121

cool.

Taking advantage

During

of the

yukata with

fact that her

its

the

Rains

pattern of interwoven

ivy leaves was not overly conspicuous, Kimie loitered

at a

slight distance. Letting the wind blow against her loosely bound hair, she opened the letter by the light of a park lamp. The letter's style seemed to Kimie as affected as that

of a schoolboy's love

letter, as

circumlocutory

as

some-

thing one might read in a translated novel, and even gave

her a weird feeling somehow. But she found to

make out which were

flourishes. If

contents,

Kimie and so

seemed

it

his

one were

the facts and

to briefly

that since

second wife,

it

which

summarize the

Kiyooka had

his first wife

in effect

Kimie, would have to do something.

she,

there

was no

what desperate revenge Kiyooka might attempt her.

stall

over,

letter's

Muraoka seemed

such an event

made

had run out on him

went on pretending to know nothing, on

difficult

rhetorical

Kimie

to be cautioning

as best she could.

to

If

she

telling

wreak

to fore-

As she thought

Kimie grew more and more angry

at a

it

man who

could write such senseless, unreasonable things. After

a

while,

it

occurred to Kimie that

this letter

was no spontaneous outpouring of Muraoka's heart but something

that he'd

been put up to by Kiyooka. Recalling

Muraoka's behavior

that night

when

she had unexpect-

edly encountered

them on

about to enter

noodle shop with her

thought

it

of the cab

a

the West Ginza as she'd been friends,

quite possible that her having been later

Along with

on

a sense

the nape of her neck,

like a

Kimie

thrown out

was Kiyooka's handiwork.

that night

of fear

Kimie

felt

sudden cold gust against defiance surge up in her.

Kiyooka might be Kiyooka, but Kimie was Kimie. She

was not about

to knuckle

under to him.

anything he liked, she didn't

He

could do

care.

Since she could not stand forever in the same place.

122

During

Rains

the

Kimie moved on, thinking and thinking Approach.

By

the edge of the

cho where there

is

as

she passed the

embankment

in

Yonban-

pubhc garden, she found

a

a

bench

under a park lamp and sat down. Probably because it was

a

Sunday, there were none of the usual students about, teasing

young women on

their

way home from night

At the foot of the embankment,

school.

and

directly beneath her,

along the avenue across the waters of the Moat, there was

coming and going of

a continual

vals

trolleys. In the inter-

of their passing, from the surface of the dark water

the voices of the quiet

became

young women

floated up,

mingling with

sound of oars. Every summer, when the Moat

lively

with rented boats, Kimie always thought

back to the time when she lived together with Kyoko in the house in Koishikawa bought by the latter's patron.

Any number of times, rowing Moat where

the lights

deliberately

bumped

using that

down

as their

out to the middle of the

from shore did not

reach, they

into boats with only

men

had

in them,

cue for seduction. Since that time,

to this day, a period of three or four years, vari-

ous riotous scenes of Kimie's lewd and self-indulgent

about which she could

tell

life,

no one, had unfolded against

the backdrop of this moatside view

from lidabashi

to the

Ichigaya Approach. At the thought, the feeling came to

Kimie

that

somehow

latest incident

or other the curtain raiser of this

was naturally drawing

Aroused from her revery by

to an end.

a tiger

moth

.

.

.

that grazed

her cheek like a flung pebble, Kimie gazed once more the view that stretched

Suddenly, somehow, she if

would

it

it all

would not

it

at

to Koishikawa.

became dear to her. Feeling that

like to fix the scene in her heart, so that

she never saw

that

from Ushigome

again she

would have no

fade out of her

123

memory

even

regrets, so

for a long, long

During

Kimie stood up from

time,

the bench and

the Rains

went toward

the wire fence. Just then, hke a quivering shadow, a

approached out of the darkness under the very nearly

bumped into him. As

man

Kimie

trees.

they each veered out of

the other's way, their eyes met.

"Ya-a. Kimiko-san."

"Uncle, what are you doing around here?" In their surprise, the

two stood where they were. "Uncle" was

the patron

who

the geisha

from Ushigome, and

in

When Kimie

Gyutenshin.

and was staying tinually

came

had bought out the contract of Kyoko,

Kyoko's house, the geishas

at

house

who

there for visits always referred to

"uncle." Imitating them,

His

installed her in a

had run away from home

Kimie had

also called

con-

him

him

as

that.

name was Kawashima Kinnosuke. Formerly he had in charge of the stock department of a certain com-

been

pany.

When

it

was discovered

that he'd misappropriated

funds, however, he'd been sent to prison. In the old days,

he had been wont to dress entertainer, going about in

Now, however, a

as stylishly as a professional

Yuki pongee

not even wearing

and the

silk

obi, his feet

shod

Something about him suggested

emerged from

The

the waist

wooden

clogs.

that he'd only recently

his towel-cloth

he were cold, Kawashima

was.

cheap

at

prison.

Drawing together as if

in

like.

he was garbed in

laundry-faded towel-cloth yukata, cinched

with an undress

I

a hat,

past

is

Although forcing

a

said:

kimono

the past, the present

smile to his

lips,

at

the neck

"I'm not the person

the

is

the present."

man seemed un-

accountably agitated, constantly on the lookout from the corners of his eyes. Back then,

Kawashima had

already

been forty-five or -six years old, but his white hairs hadn't been particularly noticeable. Seen from behind, accom-

124

During

the Rains

panied by his young concubine, his medium-build figure

had seemed

that

of an exceptionally well-turned-out

prime of

in the

life.

Now, however,

man

his strangely yel-

lowed face was gouged with deep wrinkles, and his bushy

which looked as

hair,

ashes,

fore

was

had been

their

if he'd

lively

and sparkling,

deep-sunken sockets

"Back then, you did for a greeting,

remembering "Still

been showered with dust and

white and unkempt. His eyes, which be-

all

now glittered eerily in

as if staring

a lot

out

at

something.

of things for me." At

Kimie thanked Kawashima

a loss

as if only

now

to.

hanging around

this area, are

you?"

"I'm in Honmura-cho. In Ichigaya." "So.

Well then, we'll probably meet again some-

where."

With

this,

the

two had

started to

when it occurred to Kimie that know where he lived. Walking

she

move

past each other

would

like to at least

along two or three steps

with him, she inquired subtly: "Uncle, have you seen

Kyoko? Since

"Oh?

I

I

haven't seen her again."

heard something about her being in Fujimi-

cho. But if I get near her.

"No,

then,

it's

went the way I am now, she wouldn't So

it's

let

me

better not to go."

not like that

at all.

Do

go and

see her."

"What have you been doing since that time, Kimikosan? I suppose you've found some man you like and are living together."

"No, Uncle.

coming last

It's

a waitress.

week or

the

same

Although

as before.

I've

I

ended up be-

been sick in bed

this

so."

"Is that so?

A

waitress, eh?"

The two walked along

talking.

As well

as

young

couples sitting together on the benches under the trees,

125

During there

were

who

few passers-by,

a

also

seemed

Rains

the

to be stu-

dent types. Apparently somewhat reassured, Kawashima

doy^n of his

sat

"There are

own

accord on

of things

a lot

nearby bench.

a

I'd like to

you about. See-

ask

ing your face brings back the past. Even though

"Uncle, ing

at

when

before,

by myself,

I

I

really

been

lost in

I

met you. Uncle.

really

It

strange."

"That's so.

Kawashima

You can

Koishikawa quite

see

Slope

is

is

Gyutenshin. Yes,

days. If there

it's

I

Kagura Slope. That means the

carried

it

why

the country. Even

pleased in those

I've

been thinking of going

as a waitress, although

I

don't

been badly thought of and had grudges

trivial incident I've

It's

unpleasant, and

me,

to

somehow

I

Uncle, about ten days ago,

and was injured. one on

I

in one's life

one way or another, because of some

particularly care

might happen

as

the trees

up, you've got to resign yourself."

"That's true. That's

held against me.

on just

all

when one has enworth having been born. And when the

time comes to give

back to

from

"That brightly

And that place with

one time

is just

joyed oneself,

the

over there.

clearly

beyond the Moat,

also gazed across the water.

place over there

Ando is

and got

it

stay-

Even

fun.

a strange night. Just

here." His attention caught by the view

lit

most

the old days and staring off in a

daze toward Koishikawa, then is

when I was

the

was thinking of

was thinking about

thought

.

Suwamachi was

in

memories. Tonight has as

.

think of it, that time

I

your place

I

."

forgotten about the past

I'd

my arm."

I

still

Kimie

I

when I feel

think of what

frightened.

.

.

.

was thrown out of a taxicab

have the rolled

scars. See?

And

there's

up the sleeve of her yukata

and showed Kawashima.

"You poor a lover's

girl.

You've had

grudge?" 126

a

rough time of it. Was

it

During

the Rains

men

"Uncle,

more unforgiving than women.

are far

Recently, I've thought that for the

"When you

think about

first

men

it,

are

time."

no

different

from

v^omen."

"So you've thought the same thing, Uncle. From those

when you were having

days

."

good time

a

.

.

Suddenly, from the foot of the embankment, the sound

of

going by arose with

a train

a

cloud of coal smoke,

drowning out Kawashima's reply and obscuring Covering her

farther view.

face

with her

stood up. Kawashima also got to his "Well, like to

trouble, I'd

noon

90.

It's

KameWhere are

near

or one o'clock.

now, Uncle?"

living

"Me?

till

much

at least."

Honmura-cho, number

I'm always in

saki.

the

Kimie

feet.

on. If it's not too

have your address

"Ichigaya,

you

move

let's

sleeve,

Well,

I

.

.

If

.

I

fmd

a place,

I'll let

you know."

There was only one path through the park. Before they

knew

it,

Kimie and Kawashima had come out

the

at

New Approach and onto the trolley avenue alongside the Moat. Since it was only

a

one-stop ride to Ichigaya, Kimie

thought she would walk back

on the

trolley.

Kawashima



after seeing

by

side

off

As she stood waiting with him, however, in

their conversation just yet, again

without really seeming

to, step



two board them. Not

which direction was he going?

or three trolleys pass with no attempt to

resuming

Kawashima

by

let

walking side step, the

two

neared the Ichigaya Approach. "Uncle,

it's

right over there, so

come in for a moment."

went back to the country, there was no telling when would see him again. Kimie somehow had a lonely

If she

she

feeling.

she

She also

would

felt

that as a return for all his past favors,

like if she

could to cheer him up with stories

about the old days. 127

During "It's

no trouble

"Of course it "You have "Yes.

a

for

you?"

isn't.

Come

the

Rains

along."

rented room,

suppose."

I

have the whole second floor to myself. There's

I

nobody but to be afraid

the old

woman

downstairs.

You

don't have

of anybody."

"In that case,

I'll

impose on your hospitality

mo-

a

ment."

come

"Yes,

Whenever

up.

a social call, the old

the house. She's a

When

man, even

terribly tactful

is

little too alert. It

makes me

they turned off the avenue along the

would have

the alley, as luck the sake shop side.

woman

a

it's

the

it

Kimie ordered

feel

bad."

Moat

into

young man from

three beers and

some tinned

During her absence, the old

some

crab

the door of the entryway, she

called out: "Auntie, I'm back," and ushered

dently done

and leaves

was cooling himself on the sidewalk out-

from him. Sliding open

upstairs.

if it's just

A

cleaning up.

Kawashima

woman

had evi-

scrap of Yuzen silk

had

been hung over the mirror of the dressing-stand, and in the six-mat

room bedding had

Kawashima, standing

in the

already been laid out.

doorway, looked around the

room as if surprised. Only his glittering eyes showed anything, however, so that

woman

thinks I'm

Kimie guessed nothing. "The old

still sick. I'll

just put this away." Slid-

ing open the door of the wardrobe, Kimie started to put the pillow away.

As

if

he'd just then returned to himself,

Kawashima

hurriedly said: "Kimiko-san. Please don't trouble yourself. If I'm

"Well then, living at I

I'll

leave the

O-Kyo-san's

never so

know how to act." bedding as it is. When I was

treated like a guest,

much

place,

I

I

won't

was always being

as folded up a single kimono.

128

told that

My messi-

During

the Rains

ness dates

from

Turning over

a

the mirror-stand,

Hearing

Kimie

at

it."

offered

Kawashima.

to

it

the head of the ladder-stairs and withdrew.

Kimie got

her,

back into the room, she

is

about

old

board floor

you

treat

I'll

all

woman, bringing the beer and the tinned along with some pickles, silently placed them on the

The crab

you know

that time, so

muslin-covered cushion from in front of

to her feet. Bringing everything

a fish store. If

you

if it's fish

you want,

The house

like.

in front

out the window, they'll deliver

call

I

"Uncle,

said:

to anything

anything."

Kawashima, draining that

Kimie had poured out

seemed

for him, not saying a

on

to be keeping an eye

borhood

if this

was how

fearful

of the world

son became once he'd been in prison, sorry for

Kawashima

"Perhaps

as

felt

I

just got out of

felt

more and more

unbearably hot, Kimie

bed today, but

Although

despite this heat the breeze feels chilly."

she

per-

a

she observed him.

because

it's

word,

of the neigh-

that part

from the window. Kimie,

that could be seen

wondering

the glass of beer

at a single draft

paper

slid the

in fact

window

halfway shut. His eyes instantly reddening around the edges with second glass of beer, Kawashima

one

says, the

world

making another

is

effort

my

health isn't up to

you

still

have your

life

women

half a

There's nothing

a red quilt

You were

to the country, but could

month? Even

I,

and drink

I've

I

before you, Kimiko.

perience the true savor of life.

might go back

"Whatever any-

said:

and drink.

and getting back on it.

broken-down a glass

to me."

129

as

of sake,

his

I

thought of

my

but

feet,

can do. But

You

will ex-

saying that you

you stand am, when

it all

it

for

I

see

comes back

During

the

Rains

"Uncle, you've become quite respectable."

Kimie, although wanting to ask what sort of life Kawa-

shima had led since leaving prison, could not ask him and so adopted

straight out

speech.

Kawashima seemed

roundabout manner of

a

to be in a considerably better

mood. His voice taking on a tinge of animation, he said: "You can't dance in a sleeveless robe, as they say. So it's for the best. Since I've returned to this vile world, I've lived

gone without food,

like a beggar. I've

my

son were

alive,

he died of pneumonia while

was

I

and daughter have been sent back even

sell

years.

let

alone drink. If

he would have helped

me

But

out.

His wife

in prison.

to the country.

I

can't

the girl to be a geisha for another four or five

not that

It's

if

whom I've helped in

asked, people

I

the past wouldn't do something for me, but sooner than

walk around exposing

my

Kimiko-san. Even

leave this world, this old

not forgotten the

if

I

past.

He

"Oh, Uncle. Talking

disgrace I'd rather

.

has

that

way

.

.

.

It's

you who have

When one down to it, isn't it thanks to you that I've been make my own way? You got me that office job at can count.

I

right

able to first

myself,

man

thanks you."

helped me, in more ways than

comes

kill

.

.

and then

and the things

I

I

my way

slowly learned

around

learned about assignation houses

over Tokyo, and the other things

.

.

.

it's all

.

.

.

all

thanks to

you, Uncle."

"Ha-ha.

Is

tonight's beer a thank-you for

things I've taught you? If so, this old

accept your hospitality.

Even

man

is

all

the bad

pleased to

a professional like

Kyoko

was surprised by you back then. By now, you must really be something."

"Oh, not deal with

all

that

men from

much.

I

used to go around a great

the office.

130

I

wonder what's become

During

the Rains

of them at

I've

all.

never seen any of them again, not even

the cafe." "Is that so? That's

that

company

because they've

And

gotten older.

has gone under. Probably I'm not the only

one who's been

in straits."

"You, Uncle? You're not

who

of sixty

all

are

that old yet.

all

too energetic."

all

the old gentleman Matsuzaki as

About

I

know men to

mention

an example of what she

meant, Kimie checked herself "Pleasure, too,

when

it

Uncle

— the

becomes

a habit, is difficult to

give up."

"Even habit

for you.

past

is

the past, and so the

comes right back."

Kimie hadn't had anything days or

so.

As they were

to drink for the past ten

talking, the three bottles

of beer

were quickly emptied. "Your business has made

some whiskey over

Isn't that

"Oh, what with being gotten

all

about

down from "I

it."

a

very naughty

girl

of you.

there?"

sick

and everything,

I'd for-

Taking the square bottle of whiskey

the shelf,

Kimie poured some

into a teacup.

don't have any glasses, so please put up with this." "I've already

had too much."

"Well, you'll have

some more beer

"No, nothing more. Drinking again

then, or sake?"

after so long,

I'm

getting tipsy. It'd be awful if I couldn't go back." "If you can't

mind." Saying

go back, you can

this,

rest

Kimie drained at a

over there.

I

don't

single gulp the half

teacupful of whiskey.

"You "It's

waitresses really are splendid drinkers."

better than sake.

You

don't have a headache after-

ward." To moisten her burning throat, Kimie drank off a glass

of the remaining

beer.

Giving

131

a

deep sigh, she

irri-

During tatedly

combed back with

hair that

had begun

how much

to

her fingers her freshly washed

tumble across her

face.

Thinking

she had developed in just two years,

shima could not take

Kawa-

Kimie. Back then,

his eyes off

though there had been what one might quality,

the Rains

call a certain

al-

loose

something of the innocent maiden had lingered

about her shoulders and hips. Now, however, from her cheeks to her chin the profile of her long, narrow face

was supremely

The

elegant.

ders suggested a

line

more lissome

her opened yukata, from her knelt, her flesh

of her neck and shoul-

slenderness than before. In

bosom

to her thighs as she

was of an inexhaustible

fullness.

Every-

thing about her, not just particular parts of her body,

charm not

breathed out

a lovely, alluring

a respectable

woman. Such charm, no

same

doubt, was the

in kind as the difference in the everyday

of a tea-ceremony master from

relaxed.

demeanor

of an ordinary per-

that

swordsman even

son, or the physical alertness of a

most

to be seen in

at his

Even though the woman was not being par-

ticularly seductive,

despite himself,

Kawashima's

drawn

"Uncle, I've gotten

in

by

feelings

were aroused

her.

a little

drunk myself" Breaking

her formal seated posture, Kimie eased her legs out to

one side and leaned on her elbow against the windowsill. Propping her cheek on her palm, she turned her

toward the room

to let the breeze

Already quite drunk, Kawashima

where he

sat

was

fleetingly

blow

as

face in

against her hair.

he watched her from

reminded of Kimie lying

in

bed, her hair tumbling disheveled from the pillow onto the mat.

Half-closing her eyes, Kimie

popular song. "Samurai Japan

Kawashima seemed

to

.

hummed .

."

a line

from

a

Listening intently,

suddenly make up his mind.

132

During

the Rains

Serving himself, he drank ofFa glass of whiskey

at a single

draft.

Somehow

with

Kimie awoke

ing,

heat?

vague sense

a

— was

fmd

to

that she

herself

— lying on top of the bedding The whiskey

was dream-

because of the

it

nothing but her

in

bottle

and the beer bottles stood

scattered about just as they

had been. But the second

singlet.

was empty. From

floor

was chiming,

the neighbor's in back, a clock

either eleven or twelve o'clock. Suddenly,

Kimie noticed by her pillow double.

It

seemed

to be her

a sheet

own

of letter paper folded

drawer of the mirror-stand. Opening

Kimie saw

side,

that

from

stationery, taken

she lay on her

as

it

was from Kawashima.

it

"There's no time to say anything. Last night, I

happened

to

meet you,

for a place to kill

more

myself Thanks

completely despaired that

I

of.

to you,

Now

there

By

will regret leaving.

with Kyoko and are talking about

no longer be

you

for

ment

I

wanted

you were,

What

in this world.

your kindness. To to take

farewell.

I

tell

am

was

I

As thanks

for

watch over you from

is

this,

I

had

nothing in

this

will

you meet

most

likely

profoundly grateful to

you with me, I

I

able once

which

the time

you the

to that other world.

a terrible thing a

when

was walking around looking

I

to experience the pleasure of the past,

world

a

truth, in that

unknowing

all

was shocked

man's will

is, I

mo-

at

as

myself.

thought. So then,

your kindness in

this

that other world.

I

world,

I

will

pray for your

future happiness.

Kawashima Kinnosuke" "Auntie! Auntie!" Leaping up from the bedding, Kimie

went on desperately

calling out for the old

133

woman.

Flowers

in the

Shade

^

ONE

Outside

the glass

window of

the second-floor

room

rented by this couple was the laundry-drying platform of the house.

nowhere

The day was drawing on toward noon. From

in particular, there

Kimono

dines.

a

skirts hoisted, the

the front part of this floor to dry.

was

smell of broiling sar-

woman who

lived in

was busily hanging things out

Her shadow moved about on

the frosted outside

of the window. "Ju-chan, today

you go

is

the last day of the month.

to the post office for

me

later

Won't

on?"

The woman, who had looked around at

a

man lying in

bed reading the newspaper, seemed to be well past

thirty.

Without even an undersash, her laundry-worn yukata

open

in front, sitting

stand, she

with one knee raised

at

the mirror-

was doing up her sleep-disheveled

hair into

a bun.

"Yes,

I'll

go.

or three days,

showed no "It's that

Year's."

the

Are there any gotten

it's

live coals?

much

colder."

These past two

The man

still

signs of getting up.

time of year again. Only

Holding her

hair with

a

month from

New

one hand, with the other

woman drew toward herself the round porcelain braAn aluminum teapot was suspended over it.

zier.

"Hm. Time unlucky for me

certainly goes

in his

prime

is

too."

"That's so. ... is

by quickly. Next year

I

feel

very melancholy about

after forty, so he's all right,

137

but

a

it.

A man

woman is

Flowers

already finished."

On some impulse or other,

Shade

in the

the

woman

squared her shoulders and drew a deep breath. To the

man^ it somehow seemed 'Everybody

like a sigh.

woman.

suddenly, as if to soothe the right. If

we

can go on living like

complain about. Isn't that so,

man

gets a year older each year," the

not

It's

as if

O-Chiyo?

If

this, there's

we had any

all

nothing to

great hopes.

can live like

I

said

"Everything's

.

.

.

I'm per-

this,

fectly happy."

"That may be this

much

but

so,

we

longer. Already

can't even

go on living

like

." .

.

What do you mean?" "What, you ask. Because we are almost the same age. ." Noticing Even if I wanted to work, the customers the shadow moving around on the laundry platform, the woman abruptly lowered her voice. The man, crawhng "Already?

.

out of the bedding, after

for

— I'm not good

what people think

I

been doing nothing future.

it

comes

to that, I'm a

man,

I'm not just living off you. You have no respect

all.

me

said: "If

.

As you

for very

can't help like this

much in life,

so

But

not

it.

it's

no matter as if I've

without thinking about the

get older, you're always thinking about

the future. That's why, to this day, I've never wasted a

cent of your earnings. that so,

You must know

Although speaking almost

that yourself Isn't

O-Chiyo?"

a

in such a

low voice

that

it

was

the man put a strong emphasis into Coming up right behind the woman, and

murmur,

every syllable.

even gripping her hands, he went on: "Don't you

like

me

anymore? Already?" "That kind of thing a

sudden?" As

hands over her

if

.

.

.

What

are

surprised at him, the

breasts.

138

you

saying,

woman

all

of

placed his

Flowers

in the

Shade

There was

a

sound of a door

sliding open,

woman who

heavy sound of the

had been outside on the

laundry platform stepping

down

A moment later,

siren

her mind, the

noon

the

woman

and then the

onto the wooden

went

off.

As

"Yes.

I'll

office for

me

go right now.

padded garment with

a

From

wall.

you? Please

later on." .

.

.

had

my

man put on a sham

silk

go before

I'll

breakfast." Getting to his feet, the

up on the

changing

sat up.

"Let's not talk about that sort of thing. Eh,

go to the post

if

floor.

haori over

that

it

I've

had been hung

downstairs, a man's voice called:

"Nakajima-san, phonecall." "Yes.

Thank you." Seeing

that the

woman was

still

in

her sleeping dress without having even put on an undersash yet, the man, his hand

on the door, asked:

"Is

it all

right if I answer it?"

"Yes. I've told the houses a

I

do business with

that

I

have

younger brother."

The man soon came back upstairs. They say to come right away."

"It's

the Yoshizawa.

"Ah, so?" Picking up the man's narrow obi, which had

woman

fallen to the floor, the

soap and stairs.

a

put

it

on. Taking a cake of

towel from the mirror-stand, she went down-

The man,

taking

bottle of milk,

a

small

aluminum pot from

ornamental alcove, poured into

tea shelf placed in the

which had been standing

and began to boil

it.

the it

a

in the corridor,

There were phonecalls

at all

hours

of the night and day, and often there was no time even for a

bowl of

rice.

fortified herself

the milk had

The woman would go

with hot milk or

begun

to

a

out, having

raw egg. By the time

simmer, the woman, her hair done

up and even her neck powder on, humming through her nose,

came upstairs and

seated herself at the mirror-stand.

139

Flowers

"Ju-chan, have some.

I

Shade

in the

ate late last night, so

don't

I

need anything." "Really?

You have

a

very strange constitution. How^

can you not eat?"

"Ever since

I

was

a child, I've

And

square meals a day.

yet,

don't care for soup either. ... "It certainly does.

man the

The wrinkles

at

round

in the

now

took on the

face that

.

were the

face

lipstick's its

lively,

face

of a different per-

powder, the color-

Not only did it a modern would become. The small

narrow

it

chin.

seemed somehow

and slender torso,

the heavy-fleshed thighs.

ness of a

O-Chiyo gave

woman

under

ruby hue, the eyes sparkled

even foreign clothes

fully sloping shoulders

more

it?"

The

."

makeup, grew

compact body, when seen from behind, with

leg raised,

.

As she

its

grace-

set off all the

sat there

with one

off the oppressive seductive-

in her prime.

The man,

although she had turned thirty-six

this

year

satisfied that

O-Chiyo

still

possessed that kind of powerful glamor, took courage the thought that she could go

four or five years.

As he

on working

so that despite himself he

low

based,

mental

it

in

life.

felt it

When human

was the end. Not only

state

at

for another

did so, a sense of shame and

despair that had lain latent of late began to

this

I

the corners of the eyes, the freckles,

with

face

appear more

smoke

face in the mirror,

were stroked away by the white less lips

money, doesn't

don't

fingers applying the

instantly younger, as if it

son.

saves

It

And you woman's

w^atched as the

movement of her

almost never had three

don't like to drink and

I

stir in

him,

strange that he had fallen

beings became this dehis

own

feelings,

but the

of O-Chiyo seemed strange to him. He'd

become unable to clearly understand them. With what feelings had O-Chiyo come to be living with a feckless

140

Flowers

in the

Shade

man like himself these past months and years? Most likely, without knowing it herself, habituated by now to life as an unlicensed prostitute, she had come to think even of

shameful things

as

No doubt,

not shameful.

from time

to

time, she had had thoughts of changing to another line

of work. But the

fact

of her having gone no further than

grade school would make a shopclerk or

an

it

difficult to find

employee. Even

office

job, the salary doled out to one

an

illicit

in the

trade

would be

whole world

there

lowly status other than least she

was

the need of someone,

work even

had once practiced

was no profession shameful

this

suited to her

which

calling,

at

At the same time, contem-

woman's

lot,

no matter how

she must have

felt

whom she

feckless,

designated her lord and master, her companion in

There was no other way

as

she did get a

derisory. Probably she felt that

familiar with.

plating the loneliness of a

who

if

life.

to interpret the situation.

Noticing that the milk was on the

boil, the

man took

the pot off the brazier and poured the milk into a glass. Just

then completing her makeup, the

padded

silk

garment with

colored haori of expensive a

white shawl and

changed into

a "flying" pattern

ground, an embroidered Nagoya

with

woman

twill.

a scarlet

and

on

a

purple

a

gardenia-

Completing

this outfit

sash,

handbag, she seated her-

self again at the mirror-stand to put the last touches

her face.

141

a

on

^) TWO

After O-Chiyo had gone

out, Jukichi

made

a

combined

breakfast and lunch of the leftover milk and a soft-boiled

When

egg.

he had opened the

window and

bedding, the cafe waitress (Ito by name) front part of the second floor, a haori

put away his

who

rented the

thrown over her

kimono worn next to the skin and sticky with grime and makeup from her neck, looked in from the

lined night

corridor.

"Nakajima-san

.

.

.

Oh, has your wife already gone

out?" "Is there

something I can do for you?" Nakajima seated

himself by the window.

"About before, I'm sorry. While you were sleeping Leaning against the sliding door, she went on:

you but

to address an envelope for me. it's

I

." .

.

"I'd like

apologize for asking,

got to be in a man's handwriting."

"Of course.

That's an easy task. ...

To your

lover's

place?"

"Uh uh." The woman shook her head like a child. "To

my

patron's place.

start

Next month

is

December. Unless

I

badgering him now, the money won't come in time.

Even begging

"No

isn't easy."

matter what

it is,

"I'm sick and tired of

you have life as a

to

work

at it."

waitress." Taking out

some envelopes from her pocket, the woman handed them to Nakajima. As he wrote out the name and address for her, she went on: "Nakajima-san, I'd like to ask your

142

Flowers

in the

Shade

wife about joining the housekeepers' association.

about

it,

Nakajima-san? Perhaps

it's

something

How

can do.

I

The kind of housekeeper your wife is doesn't have to cook rice

Hke an ordinary housekeeper."

Nakajima did not hke about what O-Chiyo

did.

to be questioned too deeply

Merely nodding, he wrote out

same name on four or

the

five envelopes.

conceal her shady profession, had as a

Sometime be-

with him, O-Chiyo,

fore, after consulting

let it

be

in order to

known

temporary housekeeper she went out on

any

call to

When, now and

place the association sent her to.

that

then, she

stayed overnight, that was because she'd been hired for a

banquet or some other entertainment

Handing back

the envelopes to the



said:

"Housekeeper, nothing

class

day maid. She's always saying

young, she'd

like to

be

Thanks "I'll

woman, Nakajima

she's really a sort

a waitress.

"Then, no matter what

at a distant villa.

it is,

how

if she

of high-

were only

She envies you."

it's

not that interesting.

for doing the envelopes."

drop in

"Please do.

at

your

We

cafe for the reward."

serve doughnuts.

I'll

give

you some

tea.

Shortly after the

woman

left,

Nakajima, putting the

downThe house fronted on a back street, lined with retail shops, in Shiba Sakuragawa-cho. The glass shop, open to

post office savings passbook in his pocket, went stairs.

the street the full length of its eighteen-foot frontage,

half an entry way a

man of about

fifty

with

a

mustache, his bucktoothed

spouse, and their fourteen- or fifteen-year-old son

was by way of a shopboy, six-mat

room

was

where plate glass was stored. The owner,

at the

lived here. Passing

foot of the stairs

who

through the

where the family

was having its lunch, excusing himself, Nakajima stepped

143

Flowers

out the kitchen door. Walking along the ently

emerged on an avenue and made

trolley stop.

The branch

post office

her account was in Tanimachi,

at

year, until

rented a

from

moving

room

way toward a where O-Chiyo had

the base of the slope for

more than

a

Sakuragawa-cho, she'd

this spring to

in an alley near there.

their second-floor

he pres-

alley,

his

Azabu-Roppongi. That was because

in

Shade

in the

One

day, however,

windows, O-Chiyo had seen and

been seen by one of her former patrons,

who had moved

into the house with lattice doors diagonally opposite. She

had met him two or three times in Ikenohata, she said,

and

lest

house

in an assignation

her secret profession

come

known among the neighbors, she had immediately moved to her present room. Although meaning to trans-

to be

fer it

her account to

where

it

a

nearby branch, she'd ended up leaving

was.

yen of the room

In addition to the twelve

jima had promised to chip

in five

paying for the cost of every

as well as

call.

seventeen yen. Calculating O-Chiyo's tailor eral

rent,

Naka-

yen for the telephone

That made and gen-

bill

end-of-the-month expenses, he withdrew about fifty

yen. Quickly returning to the trolley stop, he found seven

or eight people waiting on the usually deserted pavement.

There was no sign of a

trolley.

never ventured out on day.

Even

that

of summer.

cape.

a

Of late, Jukichi had almost

main thoroughfare during the

the winter sunlight instantly dazzled

The wind,

Suddenly, he

felt

He had come

him

like

out without his Inverness

cold and desolate, blew against him.

hungry. Anxious to avoid meeting any

when he saw the grow larger, Jukichi threading his way be-

old friends or acquaintances these days,

crowd

at

the trolley stop gradually

walked on toward the next

stop,

tween telephone poles and sidewalk getaway. 144

trees as if

making

a

Flowers

When him,

Shade

in the

he'd gone as far as Tame-ike, from behind

woman,

along.

It

was

A

full.

barely slipping free of the press of people impa-

tiently waiting to get off,

came

a trolley car

at last,

glanced

at

on and people pushing

Nakajima

as

way

their

she was about to pass him.

"Nakajima-san?"

"Tama-chan. relaxed since

How have you been?" His tone unusually was not

it

a

male acquaintance, Nakajima

looked her over. Age, twenty-seven or -eight. Over

a

purple haori, evidently readymade, an ordinary woolen

Red lacquerware sandals, and a folded "And Chiyoko-san? Is she all right?"

shawl.

parasol.

"Yes, she's fine."

bad of me not

"It's I

didn't

to have visited

woman

took advantage of the momentary

and the deserted stop for in this

you even once, but

know where you were." Looking around her, a bit

lull in traffic

of chitchat. "Do you

Sakuragawa-cho

in

.

.

number

.

from Toranomon, so

if you like,

do come

you don't mind the imposition

looking for

a

room. I'm

around here are

As they

in Setagaya

.

.

On

eighteen.

the second floor of a glass seller's called Ota.

streets

live

neighborhood?"

"No,

"If

the

It's

not

far

by." .

Actually, I'm

now. But the rooms

terribly expensive."

talked, the

two were

strolling along the

back

of Tame-ike.

"After that time,

we

didn't see anything of you.

Even

O-Chiyo thought that you'd probably left Tokyo. But you haven't altogether shaken the dust off your feet, have you?" "I started to

shake the dust

off.

I

shook the dust off one

foot, ha-ha."

"Are you

"No.

We

still

with your friend?"

broke up. This summer, 145

we

finally

came

to

Flowers

And

an agreement and separated.

that,

was

*I

at

arrested.

madam

loose ends for a

went on the same with at a

small cafe in Shibuya. it

what split

a

friend

everything

hundred yen. be

is like.

live

to everything,

myself found

I

been working

it

was

It

all

tips

you know

We

money

the

done nice and proper through

now

free

thought,

I

on the

too much.

we had. We even agreed on

much more

"Is that so?

you

I've

was busier than

It

Although he'd agreed

my

go-between. So from It'll

or so. But things

wasn't likely that two people could

alone.

too. After

and there was nothing

could do, so until just recently

I

but

month

my friend,

else

of the Naka-

was rounded up

I

Shade

other things have hap-

pened. Last year, in the spring, the

nawa Club was

in the

and easy

But have you

a

my own.

working on

on, I'm

that way."

him up? Won't

really given

get back together soon?"

"Stop

that.

going to

may be

I

live off

.

.

."

a

the

complete

woman

fool,

man

but no

is

remem-

began, then,

bering Nakajima's relationship with O-Chiyo, abruptly

changed her tone. "That's

so,

you know.

me understanding and sympathy like

you, Nakajima-san

anything for such

"But

in the

a

— I'm

man.

I

a

.

gave

me

understood

woman, and

would be happy

end you'd probably get

man

If the

If he

.

.

tired

I

would do

to."

of me.

When

Isn't that so, Tamaman has no self-respect at all When we were living in the same house, somehow we never had this kind of talk. O-Chiyo, you know I can't figure out why she wants to live with me. It gives me a strange feeling sometimes."

the

.

.

.

chan?

.

"Oh, come now, Na-san. What late stage in the

"I

game, to suddenly

mentioned

it

are

you saying? At

.

this

." .

.

because the subject came up.

that I'm particularly worried about

146

.

it.

But

a

It's

not

woman's

Flowers

in the

Shade

feelings, unless

you ask her about them,

standing without understanding

"That may be

You seem

But

so.

it's

it's

like

under-

." .

the

.

same

women.

for us

to understand a man's feelings, without under-

Why wasn't my loverboy as

standing them. Oh, Na-san.

mature and sympathetic

you?"

as

"Are you already wishing he'd come back?"

"No. That's over with. Next time, I'm going

to

look

for a congenial lover, like you, Na-san."

"What do you mean, a congenial lover?" "O-Chiyo told me about you. She says you sort

of life. She says you talked her into

"Did O-Chiyo say

how much

matter

it."

kind of thing? Ha-ha. But no

that

talked, if the

I

like this

woman

herself hadn't

wanted to, I couldn't have done it. We're birds of the same feather. That's

why we're able to get along so well. There

are reasons for that. There's a real story behind

At

first,

Nakajima had

half-jokingly,

had come to him, just

as he'd

him, the story of half

was unable "It

chan?

was while I

.

.

."

was

I

tell,

alley,

he'd

still

think

I

you know, Tama-

a student, say.

I'll

But

just then

O-Tama,

window of a house

ask here." She had stopped

his discourse

awoken from as

took

which ordinarily he

interrupted him.

Nakajima,

behind

an

with anyone.

he began to

"Excuse me. short.

whatever

as far as his feelings

spotting a room-to-let sign in the bay

up an

.

to feel an intimacy,

his lifetime,

to talk about

." .

been prompted. But some-

where along the way, he'd begun uncontrollable desire to

said

it.

O-Tama

a

broken

off,

looking

as if

dream, vaguely watched her from

slid

open the

opposite.

147

lattice

door of the house

s% THREE Nakajima,

or to

call

had graduated from

him by

name, Jukichi,

his personal

a private university in the sixth or

seventh year of Taisho. During

this period,

thanks to the

European War, thejapanese business world was prosperous. Jukichi had no difficulty fmding

at its

most

a position as

the editor of a magazine put out by a certain firm by

of publicity. Although not particularly good he lacked sincerity and even tended to be

He was

for not having to

away

But he had

fired after a year.

at

way

the job,

late for

work.

a reason, just then,

worry about making

Whiling

a living.

the tedious days with such things as billiards and

fishing, he also tried his

hand

at

writing.

But he had

neither the enthusiasm nor the self-confidence to a writer.

Making

his rejection in a

become

newspaper short-story

contest his farewell to literature, he gave up that diversion as if he'd forgotten

all

about

it.

Discarding,

at

one

point or another, the five or six stories he'd taken the trouble to

make

clean copies of, he had retained just one

piece, an autobiographical account he evidently

hard to throw away. Even now, he kept

it

found

it

carefully stored

away

in an old briefcase in the clothes closet.

nings

when O-Chiyo was

On

eve-

staying overnight somewhere,

Jukichi often took out this old

This story related almost

work and

reread

it.

fact for fact Jukichi's life

dur-

ing the five or six years before and after his graduation,

when he was

living with a

widow more

older than himself.

148

than ten years

Flowers

The

in the

Shade

lady operated a billiards parlor in the Hirakawa

section of Koji-machi.

Accompanied by four or

five stu-

dent customers, she would often go to the movies or take strolls

along the Ginza or in Asakusa Park. Jukichi w^as one

of those invited on these outings. Every year the vv^idow closed up shop and

Kamakura

to escape the heat.

went

One summer,

lowed her there and promptly became her the cool weather

came and they returned

widow immediately left his

Just at that time, Jukichi received in the country that they could

for his academic expenses.

his parents

When

Tokyo, the

house together.

a

his family

to his liaison

with the

able not only to complete later,

when he lost

and enjoy himself.

were proprietors of an inn

had died

early,

taken over the family headship. lose

to

word from

without impediment but

Jukichi's family

Both

Jukichi fol-

lover.

no longer send him money

Thanks

widow, however, Jukichi was his job, to relax

August,

sold the billiards parlor and Jukichi

boardinghouse. The pair rented

his education

in

to the seashore at

and

in Niigata.

his older brother

The inn

had

did nothing but

money, however, and debts simply

up from

piled

year to year. Finally, having settled his financial

affairs,

the brother had emigrated with his family to Seoul and

was strenuously seeking

his fortune there. Jukichi, in his

reply saying that student though he was here

was

a fine

opportunity to support himself and that they were not to worry,

At ing

moved

in

with the widow.

that time, after his graduation, Jukichi

at his editor's job.

One

day, the

was work-

widow, who always

waited for Jukichi's return, was out of the house

when he

got back and did not get back herself until nearly midnight. cess

Her breath reeked of sake. When Jukichi,

of his mortification, upbraided her

149

in the ex-

in a tearful voice.

Flowers

woman,

the

forgive me. to have a

as if

soothing

You

can't hold

little

meal with

needn't worry, Ju-chan.

a child, said: "Ju-chan. Please

your

liquor, so today

a friend

bad of me to come back so

I'll

who

I

likes sake.

went

It

was

and I'm truly sorry. You

late,

never be unfaithful to you."

Then, displaying such passion

that

even though Jukichi

tried to suspect her he could not, she in

Shade

in the

made

up

it

to

him

bed by way of apology.

One morning Jukichi, as usual leaving the late-sleeping widow upstairs in bed, was Nearly half

sitting

the

a

year passed.

on the threshold putting on

postman tossed

in right

under

his shoes. Just then his

nose

bundle of

a

printed matter, apparently magazines. Taking them with

him, Jukichi as

set

out for work. After boarding

a trolley,

he began to tear through the half-wrapper, he noticed

a letter

msertcd between the rolled-up magazines.

addressed to Taneko (the

name was

also a

woman's. But Jukichi,

kind of premonition. As soon skillfully pried

as

Its

different

Among

office,

he

letter. In a

from the super-

every line and word were such

Jukichi's feelings to the boil. as "so,

was

that instant, felt a

he got to the

open the envelope and read the

man's handwritmg completely scription.

It

widow's name), and the sender's

as to

bring

them, such phrases

looking forward with pleasure to next Wednes-

day," "please don't forget that day yourself," and "at the

usual time" pierced Jukichi's heart with especial sharpness.

He

ing

the calendar, but

at

could

tell

when

"next Wednesday" was by look-

what was "the usual time"?Jukichi

thought of a plan. To investigate the widow Taneko's conduct, rather than something like following her around,

the quickest

way would be

to have a private detective

who specialized in such matters look into her antecedents. Making up

his

mind, Jukichi

150

set aside the

unspent por-

Flowers

in the

Shade

payment

tion of that month's salary as a

to the detective

agency.

Taneko,

it

turned out, was not

a

widow. Ten years ago,

she had been the concubine of an industriahst

who had

hanged himself in prison where he was serving

a sentence

for breach

in the

of trust. Previously, she'd been

a private tutor

household of the industrialist. Perhaps the personal

property and real estate presently in her name were part

of the wealth that had been legally squirreled away by the criminal before his arrest. Moreover,

whom

Taneko was currently having

among

the

men

relations with, the

detective agency discovered, were a biwa * instructor in the

Chikuzen mode,

a

New Method

actor,

and

a traditional

painter.

Before long, however, Jukichi was dismissed by the

company. About

from the

lips

a

year

of the lady

he was privileged to hear

later,

herself,

with nothing held back,

were even more circumstantial

detailed accounts that

than the detective agency's report. Whether she thought

much

she could not

whether

to

longer conceal her indiscretions, or

draw out her

lover's

sympathy, Taneko even

made bold to say this: "Ju-chan, for more than ten years, from when I was nineteen until I was thirty, I was the plaything of a really terrible person. I wonder how I ever stood it. I'm impressed despite myself that I did. I made up my mind, during that time, that when I got my freedom, I would do what pleased, to try to make up for I

my

lost

youth. So,

if

you sympathize with me and

sorry for me, please overlook little

fun.

No

matter

it

how bad

if

I

feel

go around and have

I've been, I've

a

never even

dreamed of leaving you and taking up with another man. *Japanese lute

(tr.

note).

151

Flowers

I'm just playing around. Deep in

To prove

faithful to you.

him

it,

man, haven't they

that

around with

a

after

been married men? Since I

man with whom

cations afterward. If it'll give

I'm absolutely

man, and

hasn't that

all

you've been living with me,

my heart,

Shade

in the

have never once fooled there

might be compli-

you peace of mind,

put

I'll

anything you like in writing."

when

Jukichi,

had

said,

he'd quietly thought over what Taneko

realized for the

who had

male concubine

ally a

first

civious female ex-concubine.

time that he was virtu-

been purchased by

another way, she was telling him: "You are graduate and won't make any trouble.

sity

you with an easy mind. Other men, That's

why

distance,

doing, so

too

don't

I

what

it

them

let

if you'll just

I

different

amounted

to.

from you,

my

money.

them

at a

it

without worrying right."

all

That was

Feeling a humiliation he'd never

before experienced, Jukichi

woman's house. Then

univer-

know exactly what I'm

go along with

everything will be

it,

said

can live with

into the house, keep

and meet them outside.

much about

a nice I

and might have an eye on

are worldly-wise

a las-

To put what she had

made up

his

mind

to leave the

again, however, he quietly thought

over his position. In the nearly twelve months that had

gone by since he'd

lost his job, the

energy to

start

look-

ing for another job had slackened in him, accustomed as he'd

become

to a

life

of idleness. Even

if

he went back to

the country, his family there had long since broken up.

Along with the

make

a living,

realization

of just

how

difficult

Jukichi was clearly aware that

only swallow the insult and resign himself to

would

circumstances, he IfJukichi

were

lack for neither

if

it

to

his present

money nor

to continue living off Taneko, he

152

was

he could

sex.

would

Flowers

first

Shade

in the

of all have to

rid himself completely

of a man's

self-

respect.

many

In this world, there are

persons who, to follow

the road to success, have themselves adopted into wealthy families or

marry into

among famous this sort

politically

of thing

is

not unusual. Compared to them,

Jukichi did not have that

paid for by a

woman,

to the official is

as

nothing.

powerful families. Even

people, highly praised in today's world,

who

much

to

be ashamed of To be

to live the life

takes bribes and

Drawing

of a drone: compared

wallows

in luxury,

it

examples from others' gossip,

his

the events of society, and what he saw and heard every day, Jukichi

found

a

way to

anesthetize his conscience and

buttress his self-respect.

had de-

In his autobiographical short story, Jukichi

scribed his struggles with himself and

made them

the jus-

tification for his conduct.

Apparently he had had trouble

with the

The

title

of the

story.

characters

on the

title

page

of the manuscript had been rubbed out any number of times and remained

illegible.

153

^) FOUR Even

two or

afterward,

would go out late at night. visit the

and not come back until

At the beginning of each month, she would

grave of her benefactor,

wealth with her, and to the

month, Taneko

three times a

in the afternoon

at

who had even

the end of the

shared his

month she went

bank where her money and promissory notes were

deposited. In addition, there were shopping trips to the

department

Even

stores.

for a short distance, she

send for an expensive taxicab to pick her up Jukichi, already inured to his

about such things time passed

it

as

much

as

Jukichi's

would

her door.

did not fret himself

lot,

he had

at first. In fact, as

gradually became clear that Taneko's con-

duct, even tacitly acquiesced in, had

on

at

own

introduction of

career.

a

Not only

no harmful influence but through an

that,

friend of Taneko's he

was hired

as a

was

able

publicity writer by a real estate company, and so to earn his living again, albeit a

meager one. He

now

felt

much calmer about his situation than he had before. The life of the pair, as they moved from Akasaka where they'd

first

from there

area,

and

Higashi-Nakano, in the eyes of those

who

rented to

a

house to the Shiba Park

knew nothing about them, seemed enviably fortunate and tranquil.

At the time of

the

Tokyo Earthquake, Taneko was

forty-five and Jukichi just thirty-three.

made herself up and

dressed as a younger

swarthy, diminutive Jukichi,

154

who

Taneko,

who

woman, and

the

had been prematurely

Flowers

Shade

in the

gray since his twenties, no longer seemed that in age

when

even

caked with white

done

they rice

sat side

by

side.

Taneko, her face

powder and cheek rouge, her

in the then popular "ear-covering" style,

kimono with

far apart

a "flying" pattern

and

hair

wearing

a

embroidered

a flashy,

gold brocade half-collar, would utter peals of shrill, noisy laughter.

At her

side, dressed in a

sober mosquito splash-

kimono of Oshima pongee with a matching haori, Jukichi would significantly clear his throat and pass his hand over his gradually balding forehead. They seemed a pattern

respectable couple, rather than a pair of lovers twelve or thirteen years apart in age.

When

the earthquake struck that

ber, Jukichi,

Shita

showing

Meguro, was

in

a client

Store.

Rushing outside

the crowd,

now

at

at all.

the Shirokiya

now

assisted

Department

and buffeted by

running, Taneko lost her

sandals and then injured her foot

Toward nightfall,

lots for sale in

Taneko, however,

in a panic, jostled

walking,

day of Septem-

around some

no danger

was caught while shopping

first

on some sharp

by passers-by, she

object.

finally

made

back to the house.

it

The

cut in her foot presently healed. That winter,

however, she caught

took

a

turn for the worse.

the patient's request,

other from Sendai to

a cold that

two

Hospital, she

On the doctor's

advice and by

on

relatives

— one from Mito, the

— neither of whom Jukichi had met up

now, were summoned

died

developed into peritoni-

Red Cross

Shortly after entering the

tis.

to the hospital.

When Taneko

the evening of the next day, a discussion

ately arose

between the

relatives

immedi-

concerning the disposi-

tion of Taneko's assets. (The relative

from Mito,

a

middle-

school teacher, said he was Taneko's older brother; the

one from Sendai,

a local lawyer, said

155

he was her uncle.)

Flowers

in the

Shade

Although they ransacked the house, they could not It was would divide the

the deceased person's will. the

two

overs

relatives

— the approximately

to Jukichi.

therefore decided that

leaving the

assets,

as well as the accessories

Although Jukichi protested, the lawyer-uncle

explained to him that legally he was not entitled to plain.

left-

thousand yen in the bank

five

and the furniture and clothes,

find

The brother from Mito, an

composition with Jukichi as to

how

degree in judo, interrogating

a third

he had

com-

instructor in Chinese

wormed

his

way

into Taneko's

house, displayed a moral energy that stopped just short

of taking Jukichi to court. Jukichi had no choice but to reluctantly agree to whatever they did. In school, Jukichi

had once gotten into threatened

him with

a fight

with

dagger

a

a

boy from Mito, who'd

wooden

in a plain

sheath.

Ever since then, he had been extraordinarily afraid of people from Mito. After the funeral, the

somewhat triumphant

air.

two

relatives

Left behind

departed with

all

by himself,

a

feel-

ing as if he'd awakened from a long, long dream, Jukichi

wondered what he should

Nothing presented

do.

"Master, I've cooked some

prised, Jukichi looked around.

Without

his noticing,

had begun to grow dark. The room was dusky.

wind

stirred the trees in the garden.

and turned on the of a

girl

itself.

rice ..." a voice said. Sur-

light, Jukichi

saw

A

it

lonely

When

he'd stood up

at his

knees the face

who had brought in a small supper table. She was woman they usually employed. He realized

not the young that she

was

the temporary housekeeper they'd hired the

day before the deathwatch, when they were short of help.

Her

age, at a glance,

Although she was not

seemed

to be twenty-five or -six.

especially good-looking, the ex-

traordinary whiteness of her skin, her bright, clear eyes.

156

Flowers

in the

Shade

and her conspicuously long, thick eyelashes enlivened the of her round

features girl

Her

face.

voice, too, like that

of a

of sixteen or seventeen, had an indefinable innocence

about

it.

Jukichi noticed

me

"Will you serve

for the first time.

it

Without appearing

boM^l.

Serving the I

held out his rice

particularly embarrassed, the

forgotten the tray. Please forgive me."

girl replied: "I've

anything.

He

some, then?"

she went on: "Perhaps you can't eat

rice,

didn't

know what

to

make

for you."

Outside the room, the housemaid began to

roll

open

the rain shutters of the veranda.

"No,

this

is

good.

single gulp half the

delicious." Jukichi

It's

soup with

a

poached egg

in

drank it.

at a

During

the three or four days before and after the funeral, there

had been no time ning to realize taste the

for a leisurely meal.

how hungry

Only now begin-

he was, he could not actually

food very well. The

girl,

seeming happier and

happier for being praised, said: "You must eat

Because your fatigue will come out

"O-Chiyo-san.

Is

that

a lot,

now.

once."

all at

your only name? Evidently

you've been through funerals yourself, O-Chiyo-san."

"There haven't been any

in

my family,

but I've worked

at funerals."

"Have you been doing "It's still

only

this for

a short time. I'd

fore the Earthquake, then started again last

took

a little vacation,

and

I

month."

"You weren't hurt ents

I

long?"

been working since be-

in the

Earthquake?

And your

par-

?" .

.

.

"No. They

live outside the city.

.

.

.

They're in the

country."

"You haven't gotten married as if you had."

157

yet?

Somehow you

look

Flowers

"Do

I

look

in the

Shade

had? Ha-ha."

as if I

"You mean you were married, and "Yes. I've learned

my

lesson.

it

didn't go well?"

working

easier

It's

in

other people's houses."

"But

that can't

go on

forever, surely.

Working

people's houses. You're not yet at an age

in other

where you have

to be pessimistic about your prospects. If you look, there are

bound

to be plenty

of men."

"That's very kind of you. But marriage that's

when it seems to be." there when it seems not to

something

is

not there

"Or

it's

how you

look

"Well then.

be.

It

depends on

at it."

If there's a

promising candidate,

I'll

ask for

your help."

How

"O-Chiyo-san.

old arc you? Twenty-five or

-six?"

"I'm glad

1

look so young. Actually, I'm already

twenty-eight." After the

smiling pleasantly, had removed the

girl,

supper

table, she

chatted

a

came back

directly for the rice server,

while withjukichi, and went back to the kitchen.

There was nothing

Although thinking

for Jukichi to

do but go

that in addition to disposing

to bed.

of the de-

ceased Tancko's clothing and precious jewelry, he would

have to immediately

now

solely

on

sell this

own

his

salary,

wish to begin. Letting the into ashes, his arms

of shadows on the with some green

house and learn to he

fire in

felt

live

from

not the slightest

the brazier die

down

folded, he vaguely watched the play

wall. Presently the

housemaid came

in

tea.

"What about O-Chiyo-san? Tell her she can go to bed." "Yes." Shortly after the maid had

158

left

the

room,

Flowers

in the

Shade

O-Chiyo, bringing

hot water bottle,

a

slid

open the

paper door.

"Oh.

thought the bedding had been

I

laid out.

For-

give me."

"But the master didn't say anything." The housemaid

went off again with

down

a

the bedclothes

sulky expression. O-Chiyo, taking

from the

closet, after

spreading out

Not knowing which

the sheets, began to take out a pillow.

of the two identical pillows stuffed with buckwheat chaff

was the man's, she these

.

.

."

But

that she'd said the

Taking out

a

which of

started to say: "Master,

then, quickly realizing

wrong

by Jukichi's

silence

thing, she blushed slightly.

pillow without having ascertained which

was which, she placed

it

at the

head of the

sheets.

Then

she knelt formally on the mat.

As his

if

he'd been waiting for that, Jukichi abruptly put

arms around her from behind.

"No. You mustn't

.

.

."

Her voice unexpectedly low,

O-Chiyo writhed in an attempt "Please stop. The maid will come

to get free

of Jukichi.

." .

.

Jukichi, as if brought to his senses

by the mention of

the maid, relaxed his grip and looked into O-Chiyo's face.

He'd thought

that

O-Chiyo would

say something angry

or stamp on the mat and storm out of the room. Instead,

merely saying: If you

do

it

"It's

again,

not right. You'rejust playing around.

I'll

scream for help," she took what she

guessed to be Jukichi's nightclothes from the laying

them by

bedding to put

the pillow, in the

went around

hot water bottle. Jukichi, observing

her closely, had the thought that

good-looking for

a

closet, and,

to the foot of the

O-Chiyo was

a little

too

housekeeper and must have come up

against this sort of thing often. That

159

was why she was

Flowers

surprisingly calm about

it.

later

occurred. His

"Sleep well." Putting both hands to the mat,

bowed

Shade

There might be trouble

would deal with that when it grew more and more disorderly.

on, but he feelings

in the

O-Chiyo

her head to him. As she was about to leave the

room, Jukichi

called her

"Please don't go.

I

back in an agitated voice.

won't do anything.

unbearably lonely."

i6o

Somehow I

feel

\^

FIVE

According

to

O-Chiyo's

story, she

was

the daughter

of a shipping agent in Nishi-funabori, on the Nakagawa

Embankment. Longing parents' advice and run

tance in Tokyo,

mansion

in

for the city, she'd ignored her

away from home

where she went

to

Takanawa. That was

work

maid

as a

in a

of 1912,

in the spring

name changed from

the year the era

to an acquain-

Meiji to Taisho.

That summer, practitioners of various strange

arts

were

holding forth every evening in Shibahara of Marunouchi. People would gather in great numbers to watch the faithhealing ceremonies. O-Chiyo, sneaking out late

at

with the houseboy and the rickshaw man, would for the pitch-dark ever, she

Marunouchi

district.

night

set

out

One night, how-

was caught and reprimanded by

a

policeman,

and sent back to the country by her employers. By then,

O-Chiyo was

already pregnant.

The baby was

O-Chiyo's aged mother undertook ing she

at least

wanted

O-Chiyo returned

to

Three or four years

later,

to earn

to bring

enough

for

Tokyo and entered through

a suitable

a girl,

up. Say-

its

upkeep,

service again.

intermediary,

she married into the family of a sundries dealer. after,

and

it

Not long

her mother in the country died. Confiding the cir-

cumstances to her husband, O-Chiyo took the child into her care. But things went well for barely a year. After her

husband's parents and brothers had descended upon them

from the country, the household

fell

apart in chaos.

The

shop had to close down, and poverty was upon them.

161

Flowers

O-Chiyo had

work

disliked rough, dirty

Having

in this marriage.

husband agreed

the child for adoption by neighbors

start

her heart

and her

a talk, she

to separate. Luckily, she

Shade

since girlhood

days in her parents' house, and from the

had not been

in the

was

at their

able to place

own

request.

On her own now, O-Chiyo diverted herself with a series of maid's jobs and then signed on with

a

housekeepers'

agency.

The next morning, Jukichi, after he'd sent the maid out on errands, had O-Chiyo open the drawers and doors of the chest where Taneko's clothes were stored. Inhaling with evident pleasure the smell of camphor,

exclaimed

in

wonder each time she

"Master, you say

now?

Master,

it

"Why would go ahead and

all

must be I

sell

tell

you

O-Chiyo

pulled open a drawer.

splendid clothing

this

is

mine

a lie."

a lie? If you

don't need them,

I'll

them. In that chest of drawers, there are

rings and other jewelry. They've been divided between

You can look

her relatives.

"Yes. Please

let

me

at

them,

see them. If

leisurely look at just the clothes,

O-Chiyo's

face

she were having

if

it

if I

you

were

would

like."

to take a nice

take

me all day."

was flushed and her eyes bloodshot, a

as

rush of blood to the head. Excitedly

taking out the rings and wristwatches from their boxes,

she tried them on and took them a

deep

off,

each time breathing

sigh.

"There's no hurry about the division of the jewelry. If

you don't

lose anything,

you can wear

it

for

two or

three days."



"Oh, you if would have liked

it

to

had been before the Earthquake,

wear

this ring

and walk around

the Mitsukoshi Department Store. But place to go."

162

now

there's

I

in

no

Flowers

in the

Shade

"Ha-ha." Laughing despite himself, Jukichi nevertheless felt a strange,

pitying melancholy

O-Chiyo's excessive happiness. Was

were

come over him what

this

at

women

like?

Right

after lunch,

O-Chiyo went off to

cancel her con-

with the housekeepers' agency. Jukichi dismissed the

tract

who had been hired while Taneko was alive.

maid,

together with O-Chiyo, who'd returned time,

Then,

lamplighting

at

but holding hands with her, he went off to the

all

neighborhood bathhouse. For some time estate business

after the

Earthquake, profits in the real

were extraordinarily good. Even Jukichi,

who worked for a land company,

received unprecedented

The Kabuki Theater had just been rebuilt, and Jukichi attended performances with O-Chiyo decked out in Taneko's finery. During the hot weather, they would go off to Hakone for three days or so. Having sold the house in the suburbs, they moved to Yarai-cho in Ushibonuses.

gome. Every night, they went around hand ing at the life,

stalls set

like that

However,

up

at

hand look-

night on the Kagura Slope. Their

of newly weds, was

a

happy one.

this happiness, as general

tions worsened,

in

economic condi-

was gradually destroyed.

In the spring

of the second year of Showa, nearly every bank closed

its

doors.

The

five

in

Tokyo

thousand yen that was Jukichi's

bequest from Taneko was

lost at this time.

Next, the

company

that Jukichi

By now,

every one of Taneko's precious keepsakes had

worked

for abruptly

long since been surreptitiously sold

Although

fit

that the

off.

secretly appalled at this

hard times, Jukichi invented

went under.

sudden descent into

a story for

O-Chiyo's bene-

company would soon reopen

after a financial

consolidation, and that she was to be patient. Meanwhile,

163

Flowers

he frittered away the days. As the

drew

O-Chiyo had

near,

Taneko's

articles

of clothing

taking possession

day of each month

last

pawn one

to

Shade

in the

that she

after the other

had so rejoiced

in

of.

how would it be if we rented a room somewhere? It would be much cheaper than owning a house." It was O-Chiyo herself, one day, who brought the sub"Ju-chan,

ject up.

although he had secretly waited for

Jukichi,

much

without so

as a

"Hm.

Is

"The company

usual calm demeanor.

work

will probably

things out before long. Actually, just yesterday,

summoned

to the director's house.

"If things

go back

.

what they were, wouldn't

it

be



cverythmg's gone."

"Is that so?

I

hadn't realized that. I've done something

truly unforgivable." Putting

learned of this for the on,

was

." .

We shouldn't try to live above you know except for my clothes for

our means. Also,

now

I

house then?

Jjetter to rent a

this season,

to

this,

that so?," displayed his

I'll

take

first

on an expression

as if he'd

time, Jukichi continued:

my own

"From

things to the pawnshop.

You

should stop selling yours."

"But to this,

a I

man

has to keep up appearances. If

don't care what

come

it's

wear." O-Chiyo's voice was

I

tearful. "It's truly

unforgivable." Jukichi, as

if

blinking back

his tears, covertly

observed the woman's manner. He'd

thought from the

first that

for

when

the supply of articles

pawning was exhausted, he would have

O-Chiyo had

to say

and carry out

to hear

accordingly. This "final resolution," whether

O-Chiyo's becoming

a shopgirl, a waitress,

keeper again for the necessities of endlessly

dog

life,

it

meant

or a house-

was bound

their life together, he thought.

164

what

his "final resolution"

to

Flowers

in the

Shade

In his student days

— from the time when, unhke today,

many

there had not been

and dance

cafes

halls

—Jukichi

had realized that he was a man who would put up with any humiliation to gain a woman's favor. During the seven or eight years

when he had

ingratiated himself with the

lady proprietor of a luxurious billiards hall and was living a

lewd and

licentious existence, Jukichi

had even experi-

enced pleasure in the humiliations he endured from the

woman. Women

loved best the

man who

let

them

inflict

whatever high-handed cruelty they pleased. Unless they could despise the unless

man and keep him under their thumb,

or

on the contrary they were abused by the man, they

were not

satisfied.

From

his

own experience, Jukichi had

confirmed that they would not leave off desiring either

one or the other of these extremes.

What would O-Chiyo do? She had lived with him for more than four years, and already was over thirty. During that time, she had been given everything that

want. Probably she

felt

both

a

women

debt of gratitude and a

lingering affection for him. Furthermore, in view of her

would cast him off. Seeing him even though for more than half a year he'd been selling off her clothes, that much was certain. From early on in this relationship, Jukichi had made certain calculations in his heart.

age, there

was no

fear that she

that she hadn't left

Jukichi, aware that for these last three or four years cafe waitresses

O-Chiyo

had been making

to be a waitress.

a lot

of money, wanted

But he was

afraid that if

he

broached the matter himself, he would be thought heart-

by the woman. He hoped to handle O-Chiyo in such way that she would suggest it of her own accord. Paying

less

a

no

attention to his attempts to stop her, she

go ahead and do Since

would boldly

it.

O-Chiyo had proposed 165

that they sell the

house

Flowers

and rent

a

room, Jukichi

that he'd already

felt

of

a residential

woman no

shop in lida-cho, Jukichi reasoned

home

that if he stayed

accom-

moved to the second

plished half his purpose. After they'd floor

Shade

in the

the time

all

time for leisurely

would give

it

the

When women,

reflection.

in uncertain situations, boldly carried out decisions su-

perior in resolve to those even of men,

it

was not the

of consideration and judgment. Generally,

result

it

was

from the impulse of the moment. This impulse, Jukichi thought, often came from their having endured loneliness

He

and boredom.

tances

decided to stay out of the house for

Of course,

irregular periods.

it

was

also to visit acquain-

from the defunct land company and

to ask for a job

that he did so.

Once, he

called

on an cx-colleague of fifty who

work

intervening year had found

man. After some desultory

as

chitchat, the

of thmg: "You're diflcrent from the still

If

got

it

Your

woman

you're stone-broke,

"Now a

easy.

damn

I've

that

she'll

we've sunk

is

go

man said this kind

likes

of me. You've

young and good-looking. to

this low,

work for you." we can't afford

to give

about appearances," Jukichi replied. "Actually,

thought about sending her out

a bit

in the

an insurance sales-

awkward having

as a waitress.

to suggest the thing

"What's so bad about

There

it?

are

But

it's

myself"

all

types in the

world. To take an extreme example, there are husbands

who

even make their wives become rich men's concu-

At the

bines.

real estate agency,

salesman Nojima, the wife worked

tall

as a clerk at a

lationship with the manager. a blind

of the

eye to

man

to

it,

she finally

open

do you remember

that

one with the buckteeth? His

a cafe in

stockbroker's and had a re-

Thanks

to

Nojima's turning

wormed enough money Ningyo-cho."

i66

out

Flowers

in the

Shade

"Is that so?

I

never

knew

that. It's a

famihar story, but

what do you think happens? Does the man the

woman up to it,

or does she start doing

it

secretly put

on her own,

and then he pretends he doesn't know?" "It's

or told

not hke other things.

them

woman

to

do

it,

it

If

you encouraged them

probably wouldn't go well.

who's been pushed into being

a waitress

A

or a

geisha cannot be said to be the right person in the right place.

Unless she's gone ahead and done

it

without

lis-

tening to the opposition of her family, she won't be very

good

at

it,

they say."

Another time, when Jukichi was else, this

person said to him:

visiting

somebody

"Why don't you forget about

some low-paying job, Nakajima? Why don't you yourself some rich widow? Since you're the sort of

finding find

man women

like,

you'd be sure to find something."

167

^)

SIX

On

way back from

her

Chiyo met someone she couldn't

was

remember

householder

the person even

She hadn't forgotten

called out.

whom

O-

the corner grocery store,

whom she hadn't seen in so long that

work

she'd gone to

when her name man was a

that the

for as a

tempo-

rary housekeeper before the Earthquake, but she could

not remember his name.

"How

did you ever

The man, keeping O-Chiyo:

"I'd like

you

remember my name?" an eye on the passers-by, said to to

come

again for

a

while. What's

your phone number?" "Right now, I'm no longer relatives

the agency.

One

my

of

I've come to help out," O-Chiyo said when O-Chiyo had gone to this man's

and

sick,

is

at

evasively. Before,

house from the agency, she'd been seduced despite herself

and ended up staying about

a

month.

In addition to her

regular daily pay, she'd received twenty or thirty yen.

"I'm

still at

you remember good.

the it,

When you

same

address. Kobinata-suidocho

don't you? Just

a

.

.

.

day or two would be

come over. It's rude The man pressed two or

get a chance, just

of me, but here's your

carfare."

three 50-sen coins into O-Chiyo's hand. Looking back at her,

he turned off into an alley across the way.

Lately,

how

O-Chiyo had been cudgeling

to pay at least part

of clothing to forfeit.

at

the

Now

of the

pawnshop that she

interest

that she

her brains as to

on

certain articles

was determined not

had been stopped

168

in the street

Flowers

Shade

in the

unexpectedly and even been given carfare by the man, occurred to her that she might

by paying him

a visit.

raise the

That day,

had gone out to apply for

a

job

as

it

it

money simply

happened, Jukichi

as a traveling

salesman

would not get back O-Chiyo prepared supper for

he'd seen advertised in the paper and until late in the evening.

him

and, leaving

on her way though

it

word with

was

after ten

when

get back until a half-hour

was buried

One

the people downstairs,

to Kobinata-suidocho before she

was

knew it. Al-

she got back, Jukichi didn't

later,

so that that night's affair

in secrecy.

day, after Jukichi

had gone out, O-Chiyo was

spreading her nightclothes to dry on the windowsill of their second-floor

from the

woman after

room, when

a voice called

"Ma'am. Nakajima-san's

street.

of about

fifty,

up to her

wife."

It

was

a

apparently a widow, who, shortly

O-Chiyo had moved

here,

had struck up

a free

and

easy acquaintance with her in the neighborhood bath-

On their way back from the baths, she would O-Chiyo up for a cup of tea. She even went so far say: "If you're ever in a tight spot and need some

house. invite as to

money,

I'll

lend

it

to you.

Without

a

promissory note

or anything." O-Chiyo, although thinking she'd like avail herself

was unable

of the

oflfer after

to say so.

hadn't gone to

visit the

to*

consultation with Jukichi,

The matter had rested there. She woman, nor had the woman come

to visit her.

Previously, in the Sakashita section of Otsuka, and before that in Negishi and before that in Takanawa, this old

woman ning

had been frequently arrested on charges of run-

a prostitution agency.

trade.

She had moved

same time

that

She was an old hand in the

to this

O-Chiyo

had.

169

neighborhood

From many

at

about the

years' experi-

Flowers

power of observation

ence, she possessed a at a

glance whether a

woman

women's

Especially in the

in the

Shade

that could tell

could be led astray or not.

bath,

from the way

a

woman

took off her clothes and put them back on, she could not only

tell

straightaway what that woman's past and present

circumstances were but also unerringly judge whether she was the sort

who would appeal to men. O-Chiyo had

caught

woman's

this

old

eye.

who had

client

developed

as a jewel,

a taste for the repulsive.

was nearly three months

It

She eyed her

even from the point of view of age for the satiated

ideal

to each other.

worn

since they'd first spoken

Observing O-Chiyo's

clothes,

which she'd

woman saw

ever since that time, the old

that al-

though of superior material they were worn threadbare around the sleeve-openings and the hems of the

When O-Chiyo came

to the bathhouse, the old

skirts.

woman

noted that she wore them next to the skin and that her

unbecoming

loincloth

was

a crude,

changed.

By

these appearances alone, the old

judged

was

that the time

ripe to

affair that

make her

she never

woman

proposition.

She had come by on her way to the baths to sound out O-Chiyo while getting a look at her place. In the secondfloor

room, with

its

tattered paper doors

and dirty mats,

everything, from the chest of drawers and the brazier to the writing table and

its

to the wealthy Taneko. likes

cushions, had formerly belonged

As

such,

it

was too good

for the

of O-Chiyo. The old woman, much thrown out

in

her original calculations and suspicious of the couple's

cir-

cumstances, nonetheless surmised that having fallen

this

low in the world O-Chiyo would be open to suggestions from the mere fact of having lived well in the past. "Is

this

your husband out every day?" She started by saying

kind of thing.

170

Flowers

Shade

in the

"Yes. He's never "It

must be

don't have

He's been out of work

in.

lonely, keeping

house

all

maid myself and have nothing

a

when

even sew. So

I

lately."

by yourself. to do.

occasionally visit people,

I

I

don't

end up

I

staying a long time."

women. They can't even stroll around

"It's different for

on

their

own."

"Ma'am, wouldn't you half for the fun of it?

It

go work somewhere,

like to

would give you something

"Unless you've graduated from

And

good.

I'm already too old to get

worked with look I

a lot

could even work

you

just

between

us,

never

I

I

don't believe

as a cafe waitress."

you went you'd be hired on is

no

it's

a job. I've

wanted the job, I'm sure

truly

to do."

school,

of people up to now. Every so often,

the newspaper advertisements, but

at

"If

girls'

but even

the spot.

if you

that

wherever

However

were so

.

.

inclined,

.

this

your

husband might not approve." "As long

might be so

as

we

.

.

.

way or another, that when you're down and out, you can't

can get along one

but

afford to care about appearances. telling

you

this,

but

my

you, Auntie, so I'm

It's

husband

.

.

of work since the summer. Even the

been out

well, he's

.

little

money we had

has gradually disappeared."

"That's truly

back soon, ing,

feel free to

soon.'

this,

It's

think: 'He'll

that feeling

When

come over and

even about foolish things.

to divert yourself.

not too much,

You always

that's so unpleasant.

yourself like

a carefree chat,

you

it is.

come back

he'll

of worrying,

home by for

how

I

As

can lend you

I

mentioned

money

come

of wait-

you're

at

we'll have

It'll

be good

earlier, if it's

anytime, so please

ask me. There's such a thing as comradeship

between women, too."

171

Flowers

"Oh, thank you. But on such

can't

could never impose upon you,

a short acquaintance."

"Yes, culty.

I

it's

But

in

little credit,

would

true a big loan

you can

"That's so,

I

get the

money without any the old

up her ultimate

if

your

woman

talking about, but

.

But

other," she began, keeping

to 1

be

a

It

would be

and trusting to

word

to

you

a

thing to be

sharp eye on O-Chiyo's ex-

waitress

.

.

.

is

if the

between

strictly

customer wanted

— you know what

like tossing yourself into the rapids

When

fate.

secretly, so just

O-Chiyo, looking gradually flushed

getting any."

a strange

it's

go somewhere and have some fun

mean?

good, you

you have no

if

way of

pression and overall demeanor. "This us. If you'd like to

is

be perfectly frank with each

let's

.

.

the

thought, was the time to bring

"Ma'am,

subject.

credit

trouble.

a

kind of problem."

this

back, there's no

it

expenses one

you have just

money anywhere. Even

suppose. But

hope of paying

little

to one's husband. If

most respectable housewives have

Now,

get us both into diffi-

any household there are

mention even

can get

Shade

in the

your husband's out,

come over

to

fixedly at the old

scarlet.

she lowered her eyes.

my

woman's

Then, without saying

The evening

I'll

place.

before,

a

get ."

.

.

face,

word,

she had

taken advantage of Jukichi's absence to go out again to

Kobinata-suidocho. Not only did she

know perfectly well

what the old woman was getting

but she

at,

had been seen through, even about

That was

why

felt as if

last night's

she

business.

she'd unconsciously blushed.

When O-Chiyo,

without either growing angry or

bursting into tears, merely swayed slightly to one side and

turned red, the old

woman

decided that her words had

been sufficiently understood. To her mind, O-Chiyo's

172

Flowers

in the

Shade

blush signified an acquiescence even deeper than that of a

spoken "yes." "Well, then, ma'am.

me." Saying

this,

Thank you

the old

woman

173

for putting

up with

quietly took her leave.

^) SEVEN "O-Chiyo, from now I'm going

to

work

at

home. I'm

just wearing out shoe leather by walking around every day.

no use.

It's

Taking ofFjust table.

I've

given up.

From now on,

his jacket, Jukichi leaned

Cupping

I

stay

home."

back against the

the back of his head in his hands, he flung

out both legs. "If

you work

said, starting to

"If it's

at

home,

I

make some

can help you too,"

O-Chiyo

tea.

something you can do,

let

I'll

you help me. I'm

going to mimeograph books."

"Docs good.

I

mean writing out

that

suppose the books will be

"No, they won't

show you

I'll

be.

It'll

characters? That's

no

diflficult."

be short stories and novels.

later on." Jukichi

suddenly burst out into

a

loud laugh.

"Ahh

— you

got

me

Not understanding

in the face."

what was so funny, O-Chiyo rubbed her cheek with her palm. After making the rounds following up help-wanted ads in the papers, Jukichi had resolved to inure himself to

work

as a copyist for

to the employer, the

uted to

a limited

one yen,

fifty

sen a day. According

mimeographed

material

membership and so

there

was

distrib-

was no

fear

of arrest. In the unlikely event of any trouble, the nominal

head of the society would bear

copyists and suchlike had nothing to

responsibility.

O-Chiyo, who'd been smilingly leaning back

174

The

worry about. against

Flowers

Shade

in the

"Even

Jukichi's knee, sat up.

me

peace of mind.

"That's what fifty

sen a day

"It really

is.

I

that, if it

be half like

It'll

thought, so

a

goes well, will give

game, won't

it?"

took the job. But one yen,

I

slave wages."

is

One yen and

fifty

sen



it's

what

a

house-

keeper gets."

The same as you used to earn in the old days. But it's better for a woman. Because occasionally you make some special income." "What a mean thing to say. There's no call to say such a thing, even to me. You were bad that time. It's too much, "That's right.

to say that kind

"O-Chiyo,

work

of thing now."

if

I

were

to get sick

me? Would you become

for

.

.

.

would you go

Putting his arm around her shoulder

up against him O-Chiyo's

to

do

.

.

down

into

thinking that she would broach

own accord,

he had been waiting for her

There having been absolutely no sign of that,

so.

however, he'd decided not to nity slip by.

and ask the "Yes,

to ?"

.

she leaned

as

coquettishly, Jukichi peered

face. Actually,

the matter of her

even

a waitress,

I

let this

evening's opportu-

He would introduce the subject woman how she felt about it.

point-blank

could do that."

"Do you

really

mean

"Yes. If you told

me

it?"

to,

O-Chiyo's reply being plicitness, Jukichi tried to

O-Chiyo had always

I

would."

slightly

make

vague

in

its

very ex-

sure of her. For her part,

lightheartedly thought that if it

was

something Jukichi told her to do, she would try to do it,

no matter what. This did not

a resolution that she

particularly arise

would begrudge no

Jukichi's sake. In short,

it

from

sacrifice for

was O-Chiyo's nature

to act in

everything according to the situation, blindly and with-

175

Flowers

out reflection. When, in her days

When

man

into sleeping

as if it couldn't

she had been proposed to by

Shade

temporary house-

as a

keeper, she had been inveigled by the

with him, she had done his will

in the

a

be helped.

respectable man,

she had married him. But what she could not endure

was

to be held to account

by those around

be

her, to

treated in a systematic manner, according to the rules.

was why she'd been unable populated by in-laws.

to be a wife in a

was why, without thinking

It

It

household it

humiliating or immoral, she had gone twice to the man's

house

in

Kobinata-suidocho, just

immediate acquiescence

become

a

waitress

as she'd

been asked. Her

in Jukichi's suggestion that she

was the same

of thing. Unable to

sort

think of any particular reason for refusing, she had simply assented. She didn't consider at

waitress

was

all

suitable for her or not.

whether work

To think

ahead of time and then to

act consistently

were impossible

O-Chiyo.

The next

feats for

day,

O-Chiyo had

as a

things out

on her decision

Jukichi look

at

the ad-

vertisements in the newspaper and then went to the cafe district

around the Ginza. At the

that she

was

slightly overage

first place,

she was told

and was turned down. At

the next place, not only did she feel intimidated by a

of thirty or forty applicants but, watching the large

mob

num-

ber of waitresses busily going back and forth, she realized for the first time

what conditions were

began to think

that she could never

long, her turn

came and she was

man of twenty-four liantine, full

age,

and

do the job. Before too

called into the office.

A

or -five, his hair gleaming with bril-

meticulously questioned her

name,

like in a cafe

and personal

as to

her residence,

history. After inquiring into

her job record, he told her that she would be notified

176

Flowers

later

in the

on

Shade

as to the results

O-Chiyo made

Much

of the interview.

relieved,

her escape.

She waited three or four days, but no word came. Since Jukichi had said that she should not be shy but just go in

and ask wherever she saw

help-wanted ad in the win-

a

dow, O-Chiyo once more set out for the Ginza. However,

were no such ads

there

in the

windows of the

cafes along

main thoroughfares. Walking around wherever her

the

O-Chiyo was

feet led her,

emerged into

a

back

by the time she

rather tired

end of which could be

street, at the

glimpsed the avenue along the river by Kyobashi Bridge.

Both

sides

of the

finally spotted a

In the

two

were lined with

it

a

of high-heeled legs were

was one of those

cafes

glass-bead curtain,

mouth

full

O-Chiyo,

visible.

where you had

foreign clothes, hesitated. Just then, a

nese clothes, her

Here she

cafes.

sign.

narrow entryway, beneath

pairs

thinking

street

help-wanted

woman

to

wear

in Japa-

and working, abruptly stuck

out her big face dusted with yellowish-brown makeup

and tossed feet.

a

banana skin onto the sidewalk

at

O-Chiyo's

Their eyes met. O-Chiyo, taking advantage of this

opportunity, bowed. "Pardon me, but are you hiring waitresses?" "Yes.

woman

Come right in. The boss is pushed back with her

mushy banana

that

here."

So saying, the

fingertips the

chewed-up,

had oozed from her mouth.

Shouldering her way through the glass-bead curtain,

O-Chiyo found

herself in a single dirt-floored

was so dark she could hardly far corner,

beyond

a clutter

that

of tables and potted plants,

light over the bar illuminated bottles of

lined

room

see people's faces. In the

up on shelves and the

faces

177

a

Western liquors

of two men, one in

a

Flowers

white kimono, the other in

a

dark business

in the

suit.

bhng, O-Chiyo made her way toward them. With she began: "There was

Breaking off

a

Shade

Stuma

bow,

help-wanted sign outside

his conversation, the

man

." .

.

im-

in the suit

mediately asked her for her name and address. O-Chiyo, thuiking that here too she would be told that they would notify her

adjusting the shawl in her hand, said:

later,

wait to hear from you, then."

The man

"You can

as

"Oh.

start

I'll

now. Pick

do

O-Chiyo

woman who seemed

a

man

"Our group go

head

is

room behind

made her

the bar,

haori.

red.

Today the second

floor

is

red, so

upstairs."

When,

presently,

it

grew dark

were turned on, the second

outside, although lights

floor

Amid

puscular than downstairs. a

to be the

introduced them. The waitress, leading

into a three-mat

remove her shawl and we'll

you go along."

that, then."

Calling over waitress, the

up

it

"I'll

casually replied:

seemed even more

cre-

the constant playing of

phonograph, and accompanied by

a voice calling

out

"Customers!," two men, surrounded by three or four waitresses,

came up

the stairs as if being dragged

up them.

Although none of them were drunk, waitresses and customers alike dumped themselves unable to remain on their

feet.

in a

The

corner booth as

if

six or seven upstairs

waitresses immediately clustered around the group.

One

of them, bringing two or three

as if

reproaching the customers:

bottles

of beer, said

"It's all right. It's

the

first sale

of the day, so they're cheap." "Before the

men

in the

we

drink,

show

growled. "Unless

mood,"

us one of your tricks," one of I

drink something,

the waitress chided him.

178

I

can't get

Flowers

Shade

in the

Three of the waitresses, O-Chiyo among them, stayed in the

booth

knees

a waitress

his

One of the guests, hfting onto his who was wearing Western clothes, put

a while.

hand up the kimono

hand up her

started to slip his

"What



the hell

The

women

that the

on her guard,

of

this

work

said:

today. Don't be too hard

shop

all

know what

waitress in Western dress,

around to the side of the customer, just started

him and

away.

their clothes next to the skin, did not

the matter was.

to

sleeve.

this one. She's really

O-Chiyo, unaware

wore

O-Chiyo

The man pushed O-Chiyo

the bitch."

At

sleeve of another waitress.

the other guest abruptly pulled

this,

coming

"This person

on

her."

With

these words, she hoisted up her short skirt and straddled

the man's lap.

Two or three more bottles of beer had been

brought to the

By now

it

table.

was midnight. Afraid

the last trolley,

O-Chiyo

hadn't yet closed.

was

at his

left

When

by herself although the

she got back, Jukichi,

desk copying out

They began

would miss

that she

a story to

still

cafe

up,

be mimeographed.

talking about today.

"Is that so.

there can't be

You certainly picked an awful place. But many like that. You've got to be patient and

keep looking." "Yes. That's

all I

can do.

The good

thoroughfares won't hire me, and suitable dress. That's

clothes at the

how

my

pawnshop

gorgeous they

are,

all

cafes

on the main

of the

cafes require

main problem

are

all

right

Taneko-san's.

now. The

No

matter

they aren't any use."

"Hm. They would be rather flashy for the Ginza.

why

don't you start looking in

work your way up

some other

to the Ginza?"

179

Well,

section and

Flowers

in the

Shade 4

"That's really to

work

as a

all

I

can do. I've already become too lazy

housekeeper. Cafes after

all

are the places

where^the money's to be made."

The next

had the day before, O-Chiyo

day, as she

out to look for work

Today, however, since

as a waitress.

she had no particular place in mind, less search.

Not only

of the inside of the

that,

it

seemed

but from the

cafes as she'd

little

to be a waitress.

But

whom

gone

know

at

the bathhouse.

as far as the trolley stop,

had no other

to seek advice.

went on her way, O-Chiyo remembered she'd gotten to

hope-

lost the desire

for the time being, she

prospects and no one from

like a

she had seen

walked around the back

of the Ginza, O-Chiyo had already

streets

set

the old

As she

woman

Although she'd

she abruptly turned around

and came back.

When

she had heard O-Chiyo's story, the old

said: "Well, then,

ma'am, why don't you do

Jukichi that she was on at this

trial

or that restaurant,

woman

this." Telling

service for three or four days

O-Chiyo was

to pass the time at

woman's house.

the old

Since there was a telephone in the house, the old

woman

didn't keep a

out. Occasionally, she

maid

for fear

would order food from

over the phone. Once or twice

would

call in a

of her secret leaking

a

a

restaurant

month, the old

woman

temporary housekeeper and have her do

the housework. Consequently, the kitchen sink and cup-

boards, rather than the uncared-for look of a large, poor

household, had

a neat

and pretty appearance. Generally,

men came calling from the afternoon into the evening. Summoning one of her girls by telephone, the old woman would show

the guest up to the second floor. If there

were two or three customers, having previously arranged it

with the young woman, she would have the man go

i8o

Flowers

in the

Shade

directly to an assignation house or inn that she did busi-

ness with. Regular customers,

way of handling

telephone, going to reasons, there at

knowing her circumspect

things, got in touch with her only a place

of their

own choice.

by

For these

was no very conspicuous stream of callers

the house.

O-Chiyo, spending her days

from noon to evening,

in the

at

the old

woman's operations. For her part,

the old

woman's house

end saw all there was to see of the old

by showing her how everything worked

meant

to silently instruct

on her way home, too

much time

that

it

woman,

in the house,

O-Chiyo. Although thinking,

would be better not to spend O-Chiyo disliked trudg-

in such a place,

ing about looking for

work

as a waitress.

And

there

was

noplace else to go. So she would go back the next day

and pass the time

two or

away from eral

there.

Taking

a

day off and then coming

three days in a row, she the old

became unable

to stay

woman's house. Sometimes,

customers came

at

once, she helped the old

out by making phonecalls. She was also

left in

if sev-

woman charge

of the house in the old woman's absence. Since not even Jukichi

would

believe that she

going around working the old

woman

call

up

as

was doing nothing but

an apprentice waitress, she had

a bar she did business with, in-

venting a story that she worked there. This meant she

had

to stay at the old

woman's house from evening

midnight. She had to show Jukichi the

supposedly accumulated. that a

One

until

tips that she

had

evening, despite the fact

customer was waiting upstairs, the woman who was

supposed to come, for whatever reason, did not come. It

was already nearly eleven

a substitute

Unable

o'clock.

could suddenly be

summoned

to bear the sight of the old

i8i

There was no way at this

woman's

hour.

distress, at

Flowers

her prayerful entreaty

second

floor.

O-Chiyo ascended

in the

Shade

the stairs to the

She couldn't bring herself to say

that if she

gave -in once there would be troublesome consequences.

Two

or three days

again.

When

as before,

so, night

later, that

night's customer

came back

he said that he must have the same

it

was

all

the

more

diflficult

woman And

to refuse.

by night, O-Chiyo descended further into the

depths. However, she was able not only to pay off the interest at the

back

pawnshop, but

rent.

182

to pay in full that

month's

\$

EIGHT

O-Chiyo pen

if

had not

what would hap-

really considered

Jukichi found out about her secret. She hadn't

even thought

much about whether

her secret could be

preserved like this indefinitely. She merely hoped that

would continue not time to think of

do should

be revealed.

it

ability to think

O-Chiyo's if

to preserve

Or

But

that

would

.

.

.

had

about

on

would not change

they came together

a secret until Jukichi

found

could

it

a regular

such was O-Chiyo's vague prayer.

Toward

the end of that year, the cold

than usual. Eve.

talk

Jukichi's joblessness go away. If

somehow remain job

if

after Jukichi

would

particular effect

in life

she separated from Jukichi, nor,

again,

they

would have no

Her road

situation.

have the

rather, she didn't

a beating,

the

or of what to

it,

of such things. Perhaps,

found out and given her a separation.

known. She did not have

to be

method

a

it

About

It

was

was two or three days before

less

severe

New

Year's

half-past midnight, her usual time,

came back, ostensibly from

O-Chiyo

the bar, actually by cab

from

Karasu-mori, where she had gone from the old woman's house. stairs

Undoing

the belt of her overcoat, she

and found Jukichi,

went up-

who seemed himself to have just

gotten back. His hat and Inverness cape had been hung up,

but without having taken off his scarf he was squatting

at

the brazier and blowing on the half-extinguished coals.

"The Ginza was "It's

the Year

so

End

crowded you couldn't walk on

Festival."

183

it."

Flowers

"The

in the

Shade

have stayed open until two o'clock

cafes there

since the twenty-fifth. They're even cheaper than Kanda."

As she

"Well, they're in the right location."

O-Chiyo might

realized for the

open

also be

and began to

took out

To divert the conversation, warmer that had been put to one

stir

up the coals

Of course,

I

did something really dangerous.

was just by chance."

it

O-Chiyo looked worriedly "I'd

at Jukichi.

heard there were 'escort

girls'

on the Ginza.

one of them and was just about

I

was

to turn off into an

when was accosted by a man in a cape. He wanted go to some place where it was dark and buy some post-

alley,

to

in the brazier. Jukichi

his wallet.

"O-Chiyo, tonight

tailing

said this,

time that the cafes in Kanda

until two.

she pulled out a foot side

first

I

cards. Actually,

I

just

happened

I've

mimeographs.

suddenly

the Ginza

all,

up the

is

some good ones

been carrying them around with the

on me. Recently, I

to have

the Ginza.

doing business. After

felt like I

made two

yen." Jukichi held

silver coins.

Rather than being surprised, O-Chiyo thought of her

own

secret.

"It

She was

would be

night. If I just

walk,

it'll

"But ful

all

I

went

to the

every once in

same place every

a while, as

I'm taking

a

right."

dangerous. Unless you're extremely care-

." .

.

"That's it,

be

It's

do

it

good answer.

at a loss for a

risky if

it's

why

like a

it's

game.

an adventure. It's

When you

interesting.

Not

It's

like

think about

being

a

pick-

that I'm a pickpocket or a

pocket or

a shoplifter.

shoplifter,

of course, but shady, secret things are interest-

ing.

They're curiously entertaining, somehow.

how hard up

I

was,

I

could never be

184

a

No matter

respectable person."

Flowers

in the

O-Chiyo,

Shade

was already known,

feeling as if her secret

thought it might be better to confess everything now. But she did not

know how

teapot, she started to stir

begun

to

burn

Lowering the earthen

to begin.

up the

coals again,

which had

brighter.

"Why don't we buy something to eat with this money? The shops

are probably

we

as the Slope,

still

open tonight.

If we

go

as far

can have some noodles. Don't you want

something? Are you tired?"

"No

." .

"Let's it?

.

go out, then.

Maybe

It's

awfully

warm this winter,

isn't

we're in for another earthquake."

"Yes. There

Although

was

a

sudden shower yesterday evening."

fearful that

he was enticing her outside with

something in mind, preparing herself

for

it,

O-Chiyo

went out with Jukichi.

A

soft

wind had begun

descended over the

city.

to blow, and a light mist

The pale, hazy

had

aspect of the quiet

was like a summer dawn. Even the thinly veiled light of the stars did not seem at all like winter. Although all the shops were closed, the still flowing crowds of promenaders grew ever more lively as Jukichi and O-Chiyo neared Ushigomemitsuke. Strolling ahead of them was a similar couple.

late-night streets, wherever one looked,

From their conversation, shift"

the

thing, said:

Year's?

remembering some-

New

Are you off that day?" asked yet."

"They should give you It's

"early shift" and "late

as if

"O-Chiyo, what does your place do on

"I haven't

it.

words

could be heard. Jukichi,

already three

three days

months

since

you

off.

You've earned

started

working

at

They haven't given you a day off yet." Once again, O-Chiyo was at a loss for an answer. Why,

that bar.

185

Flowers

was Jukichi asking

just tonight,

in the

Shade

questions? She

difficult

even had the feehng that he knew and was pretending not to

know,

by embarrassing her he was taking what

that

revenge he could for her misbehavior.

"Something has come up. this once.

spoke

I've

was thinking of leaving

I

home just tomorrow." O-Chiyo got to go

quietly.

"Home? You mean "Yes. Since

Funabori?"

Mother

died,

haven't gone back even

I

once."

"O-Chiyo. You probably don't mean

come

to

that's the case, please say so." Jukichi's voice

Then, noticing the couple up ahead, he stopped.

somebody

said: "Is

seemed

there?" There

was

back. If

had

A

risen.

voice

sound of what

a

to be a kiss.

"But,

I

.

.

O-Chiyo began, dragging

."

voice was almost inaudible.

thmg unforgivable

"It's

her

feet.

Her

because I've done some-

." .

.

"Are you saying you want to separate?"

"But you probably won't forgive me." "If

up

I

hadn't forgiven you,

now. O-Chiyo,

to

account of me that you ...

"Before long

Chiyo, longer.

I'll

find a

I've trusted you, I

I

all

it's

It

wouldn't have kept

my

.

.

.

well,

it's

silent all

on

can't be helped."

way of making so please stick

a living.

it

out

O-

a little

beg of you."

arm around her from behind, he quietly him. O-Chiyo pressed herself to him.

Passing his

drew her "I

.

to

.

.

so long as

have thought

and yet

I

was

you forgive me. But you must

a terribly

." .

.

i86

brazen

woman.

That's so,

Flowers

in the

"It's all

Shade

now.

right

everything

I

I

understand. As long as you

me

tell

won't think badly of it."

"Really?" O-Chiyo, laying her head onjukichi's shoulder,

looked up into

his face.

Caught off balance by her

weight, Jukichi steadied himself. Holding her tight, he

went on: "As long

you

as

feel the

same about me,

I

won't

think badly of you. For a long time I've thought there

was something mention kept

And

it.

But

strange. I

I

couldn't bring myself to

thought that you never would. So

You must have been

silent.

I

racking your brains."

The nearest person of the couple ahead of them,

appar-

ently catching the sound of their voices, dropped back a

two and turned around. Then, evidently reassured that it was the same kind of couple as they were, the figure once more drew close to its companion and walked on. step or

O-Chiyo, watching the couple recede swered: "Yes,

I

was worried about

come to understand?" "How, you say. understood, I

told

me you were working

it.

that's

at a bar,

into the mist, an-

But how did you

all.

Although you

you

didn't

come

back drunk even once. Even your clothes never smelt of liquor. I

And your

thought

it

tabi

socks were never dirty. That's

couldn't be

"That's just

how

it

a

why

bar or cafe."

was."

"And it wasn't only that. There were other ways in which I understood." Once again drawing O-Chiyo close to him, walking two or three steps in silence, Jukichi added: "I can't really talk about it. In this kind of place

"What?

Tell

." .

.

me."

"It

would be too

"I

don't care. Tell me,

coaxing manner,

insulting."

as if

tell

me." With

making

87

a

joke of

a deliberately it,

O-Chiyo

Flowers

opened her eyes wide and gazed up

Her expression, seemed

in the slanting

into Jukichi's face.

to Jukichi especially captivating and

she looked up

as

at

winsome.

O-Chiyo on

the fore-

him. But then, startled by

woman, he stood

a car's

upon them from behind,

headlights that suddenly flashed shielding the

Shade

hght from the streetlamp,

Stopping, Jukichi started to kiss

head

in the

one

to

side.

Glancing up

ahead, he saw that the other couple had also stood aside.

A

went by

train

Through

in the distance.

the

shadowy

mist, electric advertising signs atop the roofs of houses

on the At a

far side

of the Moat were

nighttime

a

cup of

sake,

stall

visible

behind the

trees.

along the Moat, the two shared

something they had never done before.

chill that with the rising wind grown intense, they leisurely made their way back. From that night, in the flesh and in their hearts, the two became more and more inseparable.

Oblivious of the late-night

had

at last

Having had the experience of

living with a willful,

immoral older woman, Jukichi knew how

women

by submitting

to them.

to

manage

What would have been

impossible for anyone with ordinary self-respect had by

now become

second nature with him. In Jukichi's eyes,

the lives of respectable people seemed absurdly con-

and somehow hypocritical. By

stricted

contrast, a lewd,

indolent existence such as his seemed the happiness of life

without

its

gone on

for four or five years

pretenses. His

life

other fallen into monotony.

suddenly picked up his

with O-Chiyo, which had

now, had

From

at

some point or

that night,

a peculiar liveliness.

however,

it

The thought that

woman was occasionally intimate with other men gave

rise to

various fantasies and violently aroused Jukichi's

sexual desires.

As

for

O-Chiyo, knowing

that she

had her husband's

Flowers

in the

Shade

open permission not only removed any shame from her

was working

heart but, since she

feehngs of shyness. She even herself.

And from

simple pleasure in the sorts

When

of men.

made much of by

felt

her girlhood,

the

When she went into

fact that

for Jukichi's sake,

proud somewhere in O-Chiyo had taken a

she was attractive to

all

she lived in Funabori, she'd been

young men of the neighborhood.

service as a

maid

in a

been teased by the amorous houseboys. as a

any

mansion, she'd

When she worked

temporary housekeeper, she'd had advances made

to her

by the heads of several households. O-Chiyo did

not think of

this as humiliation,

men

possessed something that

but

liked.

as

proof

that she

This something,

as

time went by and the number of men she'd been intimate

with increased, gradually became heart of hearts, she

was loved by

felt

Jukichi.

clearer to her. In her

more and more triumphant. She

And,

in the

same way, she must

be loved by the other men, she thought, in her extreme simplicity.

And

so, as if she'd forgotten that she

turn thirty-three with the lightheartedly,

from day

New

to day.

189

Year, she

was

would

able to live

^) NINE That

by the timcjukichi got back

day,

after

making

a

withdrawal from their postal savings account in AzabuTanimachi, O-Chiyo had gone out to work. The evening

deepened into night, but she did not come back.

It

wasn't

unusual for her to stay out overnight, sojukichi did not particularly

worry about

her.

As he always did on such

frequent nights of sleeping alone, he took the opportunity to rest

up from

The next O-Chiyo

his habitual fatigue.

still

worry

slept insatiably.

did not return, nor was there

Thinking there might have been to

He

drew on,

day, however, even as the evening

a

a

phonecall.

mishap, Jukichi began

a little.

Reheating the remnants of the midday meal, with seasoned and fried miso and baked laver on the Jukichi had

Yoshizawa

noon of

a solitary

Inn,

side,

supper. Afterward he telephoned the

which had summoned O-Chiyo the

the previous day.

there until the evening.

He

after-

learned that she had been

Her whereabouts

after that

was

a

mystery. Jukichi then called up two or three assignation

houses that O-Chiyo used, but learned nothmg further. Increasingly worried, Jukichi could only think of call-

ing up

some of her

but he didn't there

know

friends and

companions

their telephone

numbers. Thinking

must be something written down

her mirror-stand or somewhere, he

found nothing.

.

.

in the trade,

in a

drawer of

rummaged about but

.

"Nakajima-san, you have

a caller." Just then,

the voice

of the glass-dealer's wife called to him from downstairs. 190

Flowers

Shade

in the

Descending three or four steps of the ladder-stairs, Jukichi peered around below him. His girl

caller

was Tamako, the

he'd met yesterday on a street corner in Tame-ike.

come

"Please

Chiyoko

"Is

up."

in?"

"She's out right now. There's something I'd like to talk

about, though. Please,

come

up."

Briefly exchanging civilities with the family of the

Tamako followed Jukichi up the ladder-stairs.

glass dealer,

"I'm sorry about yesterday."

thought you'd come to the house

"I

and

after that

waited for you. Did you take the room?"

"The one

in Tame-ike,

you mean? Actually

I

did, but

then they said the downstairs tenant worked for a news-

gave

paper, so

I

searching

all

up. Today, I've been walking around

it

day, but there aren't

many rooms where you

have the use of a telephone." "If you're in this neighborhood, they'll

telephone here.

I'll

come and

tell

you use the

let

you when you have

a call."

do

"I'll

then.

that,

Chiyoko-san

already decided on

it.

Is

not back yet?"

still

"Actually, she

I've

went out

at

noon

yesterday, and that's

the last I've seen of her. I'm worried that she might have

had

a

have

mishap. I've tried calling most of the places that but she wasn't

a telephone,

called

up old

at

any of them.

I

even

woman Araki from when she was staying in I couldn't reach her at all. Because now

lida-machi, but

she's in Yotsuya.

I

was just thinking of going

there."

Tamako, because she hadn't worked out of

woman's house in for a

new

a

the old

long while and wanted her to arrange

base of operations, said she

would go with

Jukichi.

Turning

left

from the banks of the Moat 191

in

Honmura-

Flowers

wound

cho, they

back

street

here

two

their

hned with

way through

dusky

had only come

or three times, so that once out of sight of the

mailbox which had served him

Not

lost.

this or that

Httle houses. Jukichi

Shade

in the

as a guide,

they were

finding a drink shop or tobacconist's where he

could ask the way, they wandered about until they came

out

midway on

the Tsu

no Kami

retraced their steps, peering

the

at

Slope. Surprised, they

numbers on nameplates

under the house caves and on the gates by the dim of streetlamps. Finally they found they were looking

their

way

it

rang out merrily. But

lattice

house

for.

When Jukichi opened the wicket gate, to

to the

light

the bell attached

was pitch dark behind the

it

door of the entry way. Although he

called out

two

or three times, no one came. Just then, the telephone

began ringing inside the house, but there was no sound of anyone's voice. The phone went on ringing little

time, then suddenly

for some Only then did Jukichi of someone moaning in agony

fell silent.

and Tamako hear the voice

from the back of the house. They exchanged looks.

"The old woman's

Maybe

sick.

she's

alone."

all

"She's rich. Probably she's been murdered."

"Oh, how awful. Don't

frighten me."

Tamako clung

to Jukichi. "I'll

go

in

and take

Despite these brave words,

a look."

Jukichi, with a sense of something uncanny, stood rooted to the

ground

in the

out his hand, he

slid

There didn't seem

moaning to be

voice,

entryway. Then, furtively reaching

open the paper door an inch or two.

to be a single light

much more

on

in the house.

clearly audible

The

now, seemed

emanating from somewhere near the kitchen.

"Somehow

I

can't

go

around to the back. She

in

by myself Tama-chan, go

really

the house." 192

should keep

a

maid

in

Flowers

in the

"What over?

I

if

Shade

I

went next door and had someone come

don't hke this

ing voice

at all."

As Tamako spoke,

grew even more intense.

moanTamako

the

Involuntarily,

bolted outside, followed closely by Jukichi.

"Even

if you

think she has

what

to

do

went around the neighborhood

much to do with the neighbors.

after

I

I

don't

We'll decide

take a look and see if she's sick or what."

Going around back to open the



the kitchen, Jukichi fearfully slid

By

glass door.

the light of a bulb that

was on

somewhere in the house, he could make out the figure of the old woman, her white hair in disarray, face down by the sliding paper doors between the

wooden

floor

of the

kitchen and a sort of tea room. Staying outside, sticking just his face inside the glass door, Jukichi called: "Auntie,

Auntie Araki. Are you

The

woman

old

right?"

all

simply moaned. Evidently she was

in serious condition, almost unconscious.

assured, however,

and by the

by the

Somewhat

re-

tidy appearance of the kitchen

fact that there didn't

where, Jukichi came inside

seem

to

be blood any-

as far as the sink drain.

Leaning

over the movable floorboard, he called out again: "Auntie,

Auntie Araki." His repeated loud to the old

calls

seemed

woman. Clutching

raise herself.

Seeing her

tary exclamation.

finally to get

through

the paper door, she tried to

face, Jukichi uttered

an involun-

Tamako, who'd been standing

outside,

now fled for dear life,

stumbling over things until she was

past the wicket gate.

The

to about twice

its

to have vanished.

one lit

side.

by the

At

normal

old size.

woman's

face

was swollen

Her eyes and nose seemed

There was only the mouth, twisted to

his first

glimpse of this horrific visage, back-

light bulb

through the translucent paper door,

Jukichi thought he was seeing

Tamako came

a goblin.

back, bringing a neighbor with her.

193

Flowers

from the neighborhood

Presently, a doctor

suffering

accompanied by Tamako, went

main thoroughfare of Yotsuya

When

Ac-

and would require

called periodontitis

oral surgery. Jukichi,

the

Shade

arrived.

woman was

cording to his diagnosis, the old

from^something

in the

to

to look for a dentist.

they finally located one and brought hmi back, his

diagnosis was even

more pessimistic. The dentist in atten-

dance, they took the patient to Keio University Hospital.

According to the doctor,

if the

poison that was rotting

her jawbone attacked the old woman's brain, there was

nothing to be done.

It

was

when Jukichi and Tamako

past ten o'clock that evening

left

the hospital.

"Tama-chan. Tonight certainly has been

a

strange

night. Auntie Araki's a goner."

"You may be

The way

right.

she looked

"Something may have happened

Having the

taxi they'd hailed

to

." .

.

O-Chiyo,

way

along the

too."

stop in

from the

front of the glass dealer's, Jukichi ran upstairs

back entrance. Sliding open the paper door, he saw bedding

laid

out

in the

middle of the room. There, lying

in

bed with her back to him, was O-Chiyo. Both Jukichi and Tamako behind him, thinking she'd been accident or the

like,

in a car

inadvertently cried out.

"O-Chiyo, what happened?"

Awakened by

their

voices,

O-Chiyo murmured

drowsily: "You're back."

"What happened in the

to

you?" Jukichi stood where he was

doorway.

"Chiyoko-san.

It's

been

a

long time

.

.

."

Tamako

said,

from behind Jukichi.

"Oh with

a



It's

Tama-chan. You're together

strange look of her

own now,

"Didn't something happen to you?"

194

.

.

."

O-Chiyo,

started to get up.

Flowers

in the

Shade

"What do you mean, didn't something happen?" More and more suspicious of Jukichi's demeanor, O-Chiyo widened her eyes. "That's good, then. You're all right." As if noticing it for the first time, Tamako began to take off her coat. is

odd."

not odd

at all.

"Well, this "It's

We

were very worried about you.

You've been gone since yesterday afternoon and didn't even

call."

"Oh? I asked about

it.

the

maid

to

call.

"We've been out to Auntie going to

Araki's.

It

looks as

if she's

die."

was

"I

She must have forgotten

I'm sorry."

Her

frightened.

really

Mimicking

the old

woman's

was

face

expression,

like

this."

Tamako gave

a

detailed account.

"There's never been a stranger night than tonight.

were worried, thinking you'd been

we went

to

mat on

at

down

to

.

.

As

."

to,

I

if exhausted,

Jukichi sank

his side.

"Strange, indeed. night.

and then when

hurt,

Auntie Araki's, she was moaning away

death's door.

the

We

I

had

a lot

of trouble myself

Something ridiculous happened. Even

last

if I'd tried

couldn't have done something so ridiculous."

"What was

it?

We can't tell if you just smile to yourself

like that."

"But when I think about about it

it. I

picked up the

was stupid of me. "Chiyoko-san, "It

too

silly.

I

can't talk

was flabbergasted

at

myself."

that's awful."

happened on the spur of the moment. There was

nothing I could do. zawa,

I

it, it's just

wrong customer. Even I thought

when

I

I

was on

my way back from the Yoshi-

ran into a customer under the Shinbashi

195

Flowers

He

Bridge.

invited

me

to a meal, so

to a noodle shop behind the Ginza.

take

to a

n;e*

Shade

in the

went with him

I

I

thought he would

department store and buy

me something. We

wandered around the Ginza

for a while.

It

was the height

of the evening promenadejust then. In front of places

and bumped.

like

you couldn't walk without being shoved

the Matsuya,

was standing looking

I

at

the dolls in a win-

dow display, when a completely drunken student made as if he

were going

back.

me, so

to purposely crash into

The man was two

now. He'd stopped

at a

nighttime

so

stall,

I

There were swarms of people, and I couldn't tried to slowly

was

my

see a thing.

behind.

When

I

separated.

I

I

turned around, there

customer walking away from me,

hurried after

me by

stopped too.

make my way through, but someone kept

me from

pushing

stepped

I

or three steps ahead of

him and grabbed

his

thought.

I

clung to him, got separated again

thirty feet farther on, the

we

hand, but then .

crowd thinned out

.

I

got

About

.

a little.

I

him again, and said: 'You.' Then, when I looked him from the side, it was somebody else. From behind,

clung to at

he had the same

hat, the

same Inverness

cape, he

same height, but he was the wrong person. barrassed

I

couldn't even say 'excuse me.'

bright red and bowed.

and took

my

And

man

then, the

was the

I

was so em-

I

just turned

smiled

me

at

hand. 'I'm already tired of walking. Let's

take a cab,' he said.

He

hailed a one-yen taxi that

was

He was going to put me in that cabjust as if own woman. The driver had opened the door and

the curbside.

was

his

at I

was waiting. The sidewalk was jammed, and

no time

to stand

around and argue. So

with him. The driver said he'd go fifty sen.

'Do you

The man put cruise the

his lips to

my

seemed

got into the cab

as far as

Hama-cho

for

ear and whispered:

Ginza every night?'

196

I

it

He

thought

I

was

Flowers

Shade

in the

one of those

'escort girls.'

for an apology, so

I

There was no particular need

kept silent and did what he said."

"That was pretty quick-witted of you. What hap-

pened

Tamako,

out, said: stairs

I'm sure it's worth hearing," Jukichi

after that?

smiling.

from the

too,

"Where did he

It's

said,

drawing O-Chiyo

take you?" Just then, the

clock began to chime. Glancing

Tamako exclaimed: "Oh dear. I'll

side,

at

down-

her wristwatch,

already twelve o'clock.

have to say good-bye."

"Why

don't you stay overnight?

I'd like to

hear

more

about your loverboy." "That's

all

there

is.

I've told

you everything."

"Oh? So you've broken up for good?" "Yes." Tamako was starting to say something else, when this time the telephone began to ring. O-Chiyo knew that phonecalls at this hour could only be for her or the waitress floor.

who

rented the front half of the second

Hurrying downstairs, she came back up almost

immediately.

"Tama-chan. I'm already exhausted tonight. like

going out, could you take

them

that. It's a

trict. It's a

with her

good

my

If you feel

place? If so,

I'll

tell

teahouse over in the Tsukiji landfill displace."

O-Chiyo

signaled

some numbers

fingers.

"Yes. All right."

Tamako nodded. "Overnight?"

And so, this." O-Chiyo again signaled with When she'd done so, she went downstairs

"Probably.

her fingers.

again to give the answer to the other party.

197

^) TEN The

next morning, O-Chiyo, saying she would go see

how the old woman was,

set

out for the hospital. Jukichi,

with the intention of sleeping

noon, crawled back

until

As he thought he was dozing off, he heard woman's voice outside the paper door calling for

into bed. a

O-Chiyo. Thinking from

was Tamako, on her way back

it

last night's destination,

"Come

he called out:

in.

She's just gone to the hospital."

Turning over

saw

that

it

in

bed toward the door

was not Tamako.

It

was

as

it

slid

woman

a

open, he

of thirty or

so in an out-of-style Western hairdo, evidently a house-

maid. Although he'd seen her before, Jukichi could not

remember who she was. The woman stepped

briskly

up

to his pillow. Standing over him, she abruptly announced:

"Something "Ah,

so.

terrible has

Thanks

for

happened."

coming

to tell

me."

Immediately guessing everything by her demeanor and tone of voice, Jukichi sprang out of bed and took

some

"Who was "It's

away.

it

?" .

.

.

the Yoshizawa. Just

now

they took the

phone numbers

I

happened

then and was able to escape. But can't even

not long ago

I

make

came

I

of

tele-

to be in the privy just

don't have a cent on

a phonecall.

as far as the front

198

a list

fmd those numbers,

in the desk. If they

everybody's in trouble.

I

madam

And another detective is standing guard at the front

desk so O-Kimi-san can't get out. There's

me.

down

clothing from the wall.

I

came here because

door with O-Chiyo

Flowers

in the

Shade

on our way back from

came

to

warn

"The telephone in phone.

I'll

the Konpira Shrine. That's

why

I

her." this

house

isn't safe. Please

use a pay

loan you a yen." Jukichi fished some change

out of his sleeve. "I'll

pay you back

later."

"Whatever happens,

call

me

back again."

When

he'd

gone downstairs with the woman, Jukichi immediately put

a call

through

O-Chiyo paged

to

Keio University Hospital.

He had

and, using circumlocutions, told her

not to come back to the house. Going back upstairs, he quickly went through the drawers of the mirror-stand

and suchlike to see

Dragging out

a

if

there were any letters or receipts.

trunk, a wicker suitcase, and a valise

the wardrobe, he dashed downstairs and hailed

Coming back upstairs,

two

from taxis.

he stuffed everything he could get

into the trunk, the suitcase, and the valise, starting with

the bedding. Telling the glass dealer the

came left

first

story that

into his head and paying off the back rent, Jukichi

half the luggage at the baggage depository at Shinbashi

Station.

Then, boarding the

taxi into

which he'd loaded

the bedding and the valise, he paid a call

ware dealer named

Fujita in the

of Asakusa. The shop was on fare that ran past the

a

on

a

kitchen-

Senzoku-machi section

newly opened thorough-

Shochiku Theater straight toward

South Senju. This kitchenware dealer was the husband of O-Chiyo's younger

making

sister.

O-Chiyo, with the idea of

an emergency hideout, had previously

his place

introduced Jukichi to him. After dropping off the bedding and the valise there, Jukichi

at

once

set

about looking for

borhood.

When

O-Chiyo About

for the first time that day.

he came back

at

a

room

half an hour after she'd arrived,

199

in the neigh-

noon, he met up with

O-Chiyo

told

Flowers

him, Auntie Araki had drawn her

in the

last breath.

Shade

At

this

juncture, however, there was no time for the pair to have

about the departed person. As soon

a leisurely discussion

they'd finished a takeout lunch of rice topped with

as

fried fish, the

borhood

two decided of

in search

to fan out through the neigh-

room.

a

evening to the kitchenware a

room over

When

dealer's,

a rice-dealer's

they returned that

O-Chiyo had found

shop along an

alley diago-

nally opposite the Otori Shrine. Jukichi had found one

over

a

laundry up an alley lined mostly by residential

shops, near

a large

temple called the Nichirin

zaki section of Asakusa.

in the Shiba-

Although both shops had

phone, there were two Korean chauffeurs living

At the laundry there was only

rice shop.

The two immediately bedding and the

set

a

a teleat

the

concubine.

out for the laundry with their

valise.

"O-Chiyo, what

are

we going

to do?

I

left

behind the

mirror-stand, the brazier, the table, and the tea shelf

thought that before

it

got too

late this

evening,

back and get them and see what the situation "Call up

I'd

I

go

is."

Find out whether anyone from the police

first.

has come, or what

." .

.

come by now, it's probably all right." "Not necessarily. Last year when Tama-chan was taken in, it was two days after the raid that the summons came, "If they haven't

she told me."

"Everybody's taken tell

me

that

only ones

who

go to

same time. Didn't you

that sort

taxes, so

we had to

go.

But nobody

of place. I'm going to change

for a while."

"What name

the

weren't charged?"

"That was for to

in at the

you and O-Shun-san from Hattori were

will

you take?"

200

likes

my name

Flowers

in the

"Isn't

Shade

any name

right?

all

The

first

time

I

changed

it, I

chose Tachibana."

"Hm. You borrowed

name of

the family

the late

Taneko-san." "It's

already four or five years ago.

Araki's dead, no one's likely to

Now

that

Auntie

my name from

remember

that time."

make

"Let's

Tachibana, then.

it

downstairs. After that,

I'll

call

I'll

tell

up the house

the people in Shiba."

Borrowing the phone downstairs, Jukichi made about the situation dence until

this

the glass dealer's, their place of resi-

morning. Somewhat relieved to hear

no one had come,

Along one

at

inquiries

side

the

two

of the

that

the laundry together.

left

alley ran the tin-roofed fence

of

the Nichirin Temple. Keeping their eyes on the glittering streetlights

beyond, Jukichi and O-Chiyo headed for the

noisy thoroughfares. Soon they emerged onto the avenue in front

of the Shochiku. At the corner,

was ringing

haggled the vendor

and the "It

out

his bell. Fishing

down on

a

a

news vendor

copper coin, Jukichi

copies of the Evening

News

People's Evening Edition.

happened

this

morning, so

it

may

not be in the

papers yet." Glancing through the Evening News as they

walked along, Jukichi went on: "The Matsuoka

was

it

was part of the same

"Which

girls

raid."

got arrested?"

'Hongo District, Tomisaka Ward: OtaTetsu. Otsuka,

Tsuji

Ward: Miyabara Ko. Akasaka

Ward: Yoshioka Tsuyu



Nezu

raided. There's nothing about the Yoshizawa, al-

though "

in

District,

Hikawa

" .

.

.'

"They got Yoshioka-san too? You probably know her ." not too tall, the one who wore Western clothes .

"Hm. That one who

stayed overnight

201

.

when we were

Flowers

in

Tanimachi

.

.

.

News

the Evening

There

?

to

are a lot

in the

Shade

more names." Handing

O-Chiyo, Jukichi opened the

Evening Edition. Fearful of the eyes of passers-by,

People's

O-Chiyo

folded her newspaper. "It's

because only low-price

work out of

girls

the

Matsuoka."

"Have you ever been

"Two

there?"

or three years ago.

The

quality of their clientele

way down."

has gone

When

they turned onto the main thoroughfare, both

were lined with nighttime

sides

stalls,

and there was

a

thick flow of pedestrians. Without further conversation,

O-Chiyo walked

Jukichi and

"What

will

"Yes,

thought

I

you about one

who it

I

I

Do

go

to

as far as

was an

Thunder Gate.

you have someplace

I

'escort girl' I

to

I

told

met on the Ginza? The and took

would come

me along

tonight."

now?"

house on Hama-machi Park. Not one of our

regular houses. There's nothing to worry about.

make

start

to go?"

Hama-machi. That man

the one

promised him

safe right

"It's a

I'd

last night,

thought

with him. "Is

you do?

It's

a fresh start. I don't want to go broke right of the month from moving expenses ..."

The two

hailed a one-yen taxi.

On

the

way

time

at

the

to Shiba-

Sakuragawa, Jukichi dropped O-Chiyo off near the Meiji Theater.

Cutting across the broad avenue, O-Chiyo made her

way up a narrow alley that turned off toward the Hettsui Embankment. Outside the fifth or sixth house, there was a lantern inscribed with the name Fukakusa. As O-Chiyo slid open the lattice door, a maid whose face she remembered came out. "There was a phonecalljust now. He said

202

Flowers

in the

Shade

he was coming right away.

of him to please wait. ing

this,

the

He

He

said if you got here ahead

called

on

the telephone." Say-

maid showed O-Chiyo

where she had spent

the night before

203

into the last.

same room

^

ELEVEN

Together with

tea,

the

maid had

left

copies of the eve-

ning edition of the News and the Miyako News.

O-Chiyo

ing the Miyako News, the

Matsuoka and the Yoshizawa, but

Then she looked

at the

News, but

it

Remembering

that there

the pocket of her overcoat, article in

it

there

or thirteen

was nothing.

woman

to

was an Evening News

in

O-Chiyo

for a

silently

perused the

so as not to miss a single line or word.

went down the

list

open-

had only war reports

from Chin-chou and Tientsin, nothing read.

First

searched for an item on

Then she

of names and addresses of the twelve

women who had been arrested.

saw the name Fukazawa Tomi lightly closed her eyes

(19).

Suddenly, she

Tilting her head, she

and counted on her fmgers.

Fukazawa was O-Chiyo's own family name. The name Tomi resembled Tami, the name of the illegitimate child that O-Chiyo had borne in her eighteenth year. Just one character was different. And when she counted back from the age of nineteen given in parentheses, the child she'd given birth to in the

it

was the age of

summer of the second Tomi (19) whose

year of Taisho. Perhaps the Fukazawa

name was exposed in print was her child O'-Tami. For no particular reason, O-Chiyo thought she was.

When

separation talks had started up shortly after her

marriage to the sundries dealer, she had sent O-Tami out for adoption,

some fourteen

had been taken

in

or fifteen years ago.

by the family of a female

The

girl

hairdresser.

After that, however, there had been a complete break in

204

Flowers

in the

Shade

communication.

It

wasn't likely that

any news of her daughter's she had the feeling that the

her daughter O-Tami.

was she

career.

O-Chiyo would hear And yet, somehow,

O-Tomi in

When

the newspaper

than humiliation

a social outcast like herself, rather

only

felt

wanted

a desperate

From

main thoroughfare, she could hear

calling out an extra,

there

longing for her. Unbearably, she

to see her face, to talk with her.

tion of the

were

tea table,

was

she thought that the girl

and from

lively voices.

a

the direc-

a

newsboy

house somewhere nearby

Leaning on her elbows on the

plunged in vague thought, O-Chiyo presently

heard the sound of footsteps of someone coming up the stairs

and the maid's voice. Carefully, she folded up the

Evening News.

"He's here." With the maid's voice, the paper door slid

open. Laughing

as if

he'd begun to exert an effort,

the customer of the night before last entered the room.

No

"Have you been waiting long?"

of the maid looking on, he stuck

this than, regardless

out

a thick, hairy

cape and, pulling

sooner had he said

arm from the folds of his O-Chiyo to him, rubbed

Inverness his

man

cheek

against hers. Evidently well past

fifty,

on

white fringe above the

his

ears

gleaming bald head only

retained

and around the back. But he was broad-shouldered

and powerfully lips

a

the

built,

and

his oily red face, in

which the

and nose were particularly prominent, gleamed

liantly like his pate.

bril-

This old man, Sugimura by name,

was the owner of a wool business and the proprietor of a magnificent building on the West Ginza. In any red-light district or cafe, there are

lechers

who

surface in the gossip of the ladies, but

few

mold as well at a single glance as wool merchant. Over the past twenty or thirty years.

could have this

always one or two legendary

fitted the

205

Flowers

he had thoroughly famiharized himself with prostitutes.

As he grew

in the

Shade

all classes

of

he had become dissatisfied

older,

with ordinary methods of pleasure.

He was

always on the

new incitements. Since that night on when he'd happened to have his sleeve plucked by O-Chiyo in the crowd, and had thought that this was one of the "escort girls" he'd heard about, he'd come to

lookout for strange the Ginza,

feel that

he could satisfy

all

his habitual desires in

one

night with O-Chiyo.

bathwater heated yet?"

"Is the

"Yes."

"Then warm up stove. Please."

Even

the as

room

across the way. Light the

he spoke, Sugimura was undoing

his obi, to the maid's consternation. "I'll

the

bring your nightclothes right now." Saying

maid

"I

this,

fled into the corridor.

don't need such things." Sugimura clasped the di-

minutive O-Chiyo to

his

shaggy

chest. "Let's get in the

tub together. Eh?"

O-Chiyo, used

to such behavior,

without making any

particular outcry of surprise, allowed herself to be taken

off to the bath as the

man

The maid, following them little room across the way Then, a few moments later, she said.

with their yukatas, readied the

and

lit

slid

open the door of the bath preparatory

the electric stove.

in another guest.

Surprised the

at

The two were

to ushering

talking in the bath.

such a long bath, and hushing her footsteps,

maid withdrew. These

Jukichi

still

who was

nice to

days,

it

O-Chiyo.

was not only her own It

was not unusual

for

some of her customers as well to treat her kindly. That was why, even when she met up with an ugly man and was subjected to his irrational antics, the experience was not entirely without interest for her. Repressing her feelings

206

Flowers

in the

Shade

of disgust and outrage, she experienced the birth of a kind of thriUing pleasure, and at times even deUberately sought out such pleasure. Also,

this

sum. In order to gain

a tidy little a

mind felt

to

make

that Sugi-

a request for

of

his favor, she w^as

up with just about anything. O-Chiyo

to put

wanted enough money she

knowing

evening,

mura had money, O-Chiyo meant

to have the

was her daughter

experience, she

whom

young woman

from detention. From

customers

who patronized un-

no matter how

nicely they treated

knew

licensed prostitutes,

released

that

them, seldom came back more than three times. Generally, it

was only two

request, tonight

times. If she

was the

was going

make her

to

right time.

O-Chiyo 's scheme was

successful

beyond her

antici-

man of extremely crude mentality who never doubted his own pation. Sugimura, for

all

his playing

around, was

judgment. Observing O-Chiyo's complaisant

would not

he'd concluded that he

woman

it

was more than

prompted O-Chiyo last

easily

a spirit

of business that had

to pluck at his sleeve the night before

on the Ginza, he desired

make her

to

while. His only

worry was whether

the background.

Even

in the background,

that, if the

name

first

there

to

sound out the

you

I'll

make

this evening.

to take care of

you say

simply stay

was no great problem. But

woman

or occupation, he said:

you need,

own for a was a man in

his

man would

forward and even threatened Sugimura best to

attitude,

fmd another he might. Having arbitrarily

like her, search as

decided that

a

you?

it

I'll

.

Thinking

.

before she

end present.

the way, wouldn't set

came

knew

you up

I'll

you

in a house.

give like

restraints

on your freedom."

207

it

me

Won't

yes? I'm not suggesting anything unreasonable.

wouldn't put any

it

his

"It's all right. If that's all

a year's

By

.

if he

I

Flowers

way

"Fine. If that's the

Shade

in the

O-Chiyo's answer did

it is."

not sound overly enthusiastic.

"You

agree, then? If that's so, the sooner the better.

I'm the sort of person

dawdHng over

can't stand a

who

once he thinks of something

it.

Won't you

start

looking for

house right away? Tomorrow, even." "Yes."

"Anywhere's

would be this

for

all

Kyobashi or Nihonbashi

In

right.

most convenient

the

for

me. You can telephone

house any time of the day or night.

you

"Well, "Is

soon

as

I'll

you

as

find

I'll

rent the place

it."

looking right away."

start

your mother or somebody living with you?"

"Right now, we're not together."

"You don't have an older brother or an ha. Not that it matters, that sort of thing." "No, this sort

nobody.

there's

were,

If there

I

uncle?

ha

wouldn't be in

of business."

"I trust

you. Investigations of background are boring."

"Even though ingly honest.

"That's

I

I

seem

this

kind of person, I'm surpris-

won't make any trouble for you."

why

I

said right off

going to stay the night again? "Either

way

row morning grave-visit.

As soon

is

all

there's

I

trusted you.

Are you

How about it?"

right with me.

something

I

But early tomor-

must do. I'm making

a

." .

.

as the

money was

O-Chiyo felt find out news of the

in her hand,

she could not wait another minute to

young woman she thought was her daughter. toward midnight, there was

Making

Ha

a fire

Luckily,

over toward the Ginza.

hasty preparations, Sugimura took his leave.

208

TWELVE «^

Usually

with nothing to do,

at a loss,

had spoken

to

him

that evening

after

and they'd

course of action, Jukichi suddenly had so that he felt that even if he

had two bodies

it

O-Chiyo

settled

much

on

to

a

do

wouldn't be

O-Chiyo as Old Baldy's concubine, was to quickly fmd a house, move out of the rented room they had only just moved into today, and also, at the same time, to fmd another rented

enough. His

first task,

so as to establish

room in the neighborhood of the concubine's house so

he

could keep an eye on things. Another task was to go to the police station

and

and, after

O-Chiyo 's

By was

where the old madam

called

Matsuoka

number of her employees were being detained making sure that the Fukazawa girl was indeed

a large

daughter, to arrange for her release.

reading the advertisements in the newspaper,

easier than he

The other

thought to fmd

things were

immediate progress. the girl called

more

a

difficult,

When he went

and he made no

to the police station,

Fukazawa had already been

though by calculating from the

it

house for O-Chiyo.

girl's

released. Al-

permanent address

she was O-Chiyo's love child,

he determined

at least that

his suspicions

were aroused by the

fact that apparently

her records had not been transferred to the register of her adoptive family.

Now,

as at the

time of her birth,

she seemed to be O-Chiyo's. Ascertaining her address

at

the time of her arrest, Jukichi tried to get in touch with

the girl herself However, he was told by her landlady

209

Flowers

in the

Shade

had cleared out, leaving no

that after her release she

warding address. Waiting

for-

madam Matsuoka

for the old

to be released, he visited her estabhshment also, but again

without success.

Finally,

he tried to fmd out the address

of her adoptive family. But even time, had

with the passage of

become unknown.

That year seemed than other years. in

that,

to

end

in

even more hectic fashion

O-Chiyo greeted the new year in a house in a rented room in Shintomi-cho

Hatchobori, Jukichi

just

two or

ary,

but the whereabouts of the persons he was seeking

remained

a

three blocks away.

Soon

it

was nearly Febru-

mystery.

Calculating the comings and goings of Sugimura, Jukichi spent his days and nights in O-Chiyo's house until the dangerous hour. At the sound of the front door sliding

open, he was out the back door. Then, about midnight,

he came back.

If there

wmdows

back

was

a flicker

of the second

Sugimura was staying

of light

floor, this

The next

was

a

papered

sign that

and Jukichi would

for the night,

return to his rented room.

in the

would peer

day, he

through the latticework of the front door.

If the

potted

lily

atop the patten-box had been turned around backward,

was

this

a sign that there

were no

could enter the house openly.

If,

he would quietly continue on

so,

his

of husband and wife living together since

grown accustomed,

such

as

might appear

Jukichi a

One too

new

night,

late for

this life

in an

and Jukichi

visitors,

however, that was not way. Unlike the

to

life

which he had long

of an adulterer, exactly

Edo-period novel, provided

source of stimulus and interest.

when Jukichi had thought

it

was already

Sugimura, there was the sudden sound of

the lattice door sliding open. Surprised, Jukichi fled out the back.

A

cold

wind was blowing. But

210

the nighttime

Flowers

had opened along Hatchobori Avenue, and there

stalls

was

Shade

in the

a lively

Jukichi lights

flow of passers-by. Aimlessly strolling along,

came

to the Sakura Bridge. Across the canal, the

of the Ginza

in the distance

Continuing

his stroll, Jukichi

From amid

the

cries

of newsboys hawking

wind brought them

the

to

up the

now

to the ear.

news of

rather than the

the streetlights,

military songs and the

extras,

the congested nighttime scene.

It

now

near,

far, as

lent a harshness to

As he crossed

the bridge,

the Shanghai Incident, Jukichi

was thinking of the time when O-Chiyo had at

entire sky.

Kyobashi Bridge.

swarming crowds and

was the sound of recorded

there

lit

came

the sleeve of the bald-headed

plucked

Sugimura on the Ginza.

After that, mulling over Sugimura's ugly

without particularly minding

first

this,

face,

and how,

O-Chiyo welcomed

advances with pleasure, he thought there was nothing

his

so strange as a years,

woman's

nature. These past

months and

from the acidulous gossip of her colleagues and the

madams, Jukichi had been well aware that O-Chiyo was much in demand among the customers, but that after

old

was

all

hearsay.

Not

until

now,

after he'd

begun

to fre-

quent the concubine's house, had he been able to clearly observe

O-Chiyo

in action after

close look at her customer's face.

having gotten

a

And yet, Jukichi

good

did not

think her conduct either heartless or mortifying or shameful.

Only,

it

gave him

a

heavy, depressed feeling to think

about such things. Wandering through the night

streets,

he wanted only to observe the thickly made-up faces of the

women

sitting outside cafes, the legs

vealed by their Western dresses,

walking hand

or,

in hand, to eavesdrop

of

women

shadowing

on

their

a

re-

couple

murmured

conversation.

Turning off the darkened embankment into

211

a

back

Flowers

street

where

Becoraing aware that

woman

a

him, he turned around.

who had

its

window display.

had stopped not

was the

It

rented the

O-Chiyo had been hving on dealer's in

Shade

there were few passers-by, Jukichi paused

outside a pharmacy, his eye caught by

Haruko,

in the

waitress,

room

in front

far

from

by name Ito when he and

the second floor of the glass

Sakuragawa-cho.

"Ah, Nakajima-san.

been

It's

long time."

a

"Are you

still

"No.

moved to a street behind the Kabuki Theater.

Where

I've

are

living in the

same place?"

you?"

"Shintomi-cho."

"And Chiyoko-san? How is she?" "Something has come up. She's living by herself now." "Oh, really?" "It's

good

to split

"You taught me "It

up every once

a lot

in a while."

back then."

was mutual."

"Nakajima-san,

I

have

request to make. I've run out

a

of mimeographs." "I

you

don't have any right now, but

in

two or

make some

for

three days."

"Please. I'm at the

Carmen.

where the Hattori Clock shop

"You mean

in

understand what

It's

on

that

back

street

is."

back of Owari-cho?" Jukichi could not a waitress

from

doing around Kyobashi Bridge "If you

I'll

go from

here,

but you'll recognize

it

it's

a cafe in at

Owari-cho was

nine o'clock

on the

left. It's a

at night.

small cafe,

right away."

"Are you on your way there?" "Business

is

bad, and

I

have to think of other ways to

make money. When I'm off from the cafe, I'm out picking

212

Flowers

Shade

in the

up customers. be work

If things

way, there won't even

this

at cafes."

"Ah, yes

.

.

."

remembering what O-Chiyo

Jukichi,

had done the previous sorts

go on

year, reaHzed that there

must be

all

of women prowling the Ginza these days.

"Do you

take

them back

"There are some

to the cafe, or

?" .

.

.

among them."

real Lotharios

woman with her hair shingled and in West-

Just then, a

ern dress, apparently a friend of Haruko's, came up. "Back there in that alley, a

hobo was taking

a leak.

A

bit

much

even for the Ginza. Ha-ha." "You're in

a

"In a word,

good humor it's

a bit

this

evening,

much even

Jukichi, looking at the

woman's

She was Yoshioka Tsuyu.

When

I

see."

for the Ginza." face,

recognized her.

they'd been living

two

come to O-Chiyo and had stayed the night. And last year, she had been one of those whose names were bared in print by the Evening News in early December. Although recognizing Jukichi herself, in front of Haruko the woman said or three years ago in Azabu-Tanimachi, she had visit

nothing, merely acknowledging the acquaintance with the expression of her eyes. It

occurred to Jukichi that

this

something about the Fukazawa

woman might know

girl

from the previous

year's incident. "Is

your

cafe the

Carmen? Together with Haruko

"Yes." Tsuyuko's reply was guarded.

Haruko

said:

Last year

"Oh,

we

is

"This gentleman's name lived

on the same second

that so?

As they walked

is

From

?" .

.

.

the side,

Nakajima-san.

floor."

I'm Tsuyuko." along, Jukichi, taking advantage of

Haruko's being two or three steps ahead of them, drew

213

Flowers

closer to Tsuyuko.

Tomiko? From

"Do you know

the raid

on

know her." "Do you know where

"Yes'.

"I

the

in the

a girl called

Matsuoka

Shade

Fukazawa

." .

.

I

she

is

now?"

might."

Just then,

Haruko

called out to a passing

group of

drunken men.

"Hey for a

there, loverboys.

How about

going somewhere

cup of tea?"

Taking advantage of the interval, Jukichi gave Tsuyuko

O-Chiyo's exact address.

214

THIRTEEN

O-Chiyo had by the

Ward

given her daughter

O-Tami

for adoption

hairdresser's family in Shinei-cho of

a tidal

Kyobashi

of the sixth year of Taisho, when

in the fall

one night

wave had pushed

its

{^

way up

the

late

Sumida

River, inundating Tsukiji and reaching as far as Kobiki-

cho.

A

O-Tami was

five years old at the time.

frequent customer

the hairdresser's shop

at

now a concubine.

ex-geisha of Yanagi-bashi,

O-Tami being

was an

After seeing

by the hand by the hairdresser on

led

tival

days in the neighborhood, she took pity on the

girl.

Whenever she went

shrine-visit, she always

to such places as

fes-

little

Asakusa on

a

took O-Tami along and bought

various things for her.

Two or three years later, been

a

widow, took

husband did not treat

a

the hairdresser,

who had long

young husband. This adoptive

like children

and was prone to mis-

O-Tami. The concubine, whose

patron's

name was

Tsukayama, took O-Tami into her own house and had her attend grade school. Meanwhile, the hairdresser, hot

on

the traces of her inconstant husband, vanished one night

and was never seen again. With nowhere to go, O-Tami

was brought up by the concubine and

in effect

became

her daughter. Shortly

before

O-Tami's

graduation

from grade

school, a purse belonging to one of her classmates stolen.

was

Although there was no sure proof, O-Tami's de-

meanor was

suspicious.

A

note was sent from the prin-

215

Flowers

cipal to the concubine.

Shade

Taken aback, the concubine con-

ferred with her patron about "It

in the

what

to

do with O-Tami.

doesn't matter. Let her play around the house," the

patron

said.

This Tsukayama was the owner of an pliance factory,

electrical

which he had inherited from

However, foreseeing the labor

agitation that

ap-

his father.

would con-

tinually plague the business after the enforcement of universal suffrage, he quickly sold the factory. Distancing

himself from the disorders of contemporary society, he passed his self-justified days in reading and collecting antiques. In the year

eleven.

It

of the Tokyo Earthquake, O-Tami turned

was when she had

and was taking sewing

just left the grade school

lessons.

Although the concubine

rented a house in Shibuya almost the minute she had

emerged from the

shelter in Hibiya Park,

had gone for her sewing years passed.

Even

lesson, never

in the spring

Showa, when the concubine there

was

still

no word

of the second year of

lay fatally

as to

O-Tami, who

came back. Four

ill

with erysipelas,

whether O-Tami was

alive

or dead.

The following spring, however, Tsukayama went with a geisha to Hakone. The old couple who were staying in the next room at the inn had with them a girl whose face strongly recalled that of the child O-Tami.

When

yama made

was O-Tami,

now

enough the

girl

sixteen years old.

The in

inquiries, sure

Tsuka-

old couple,

who had formerly been moneylenders

Hakozaki-cho, had rescued O-Tami on the day of the

Earthquake

as

they fled helter-skelter through the

city.

hometown of Kiryu,

they

Taking her with them to

their

216

Flowers

in the

Shade

spent the rest of the year there. Since returning to Tokyo,

while waiting for someone to come and claim

had brought up O-Tami

Tsukayama informed cubine

own

child.

Promising the

girl a gift

there

was no

of money and

take a part in talks about her future,

the inn.

More that

in.

would

saying that he left

she were their

the old couple that since the con-

who had so loved O-Tami had died,

one to take her he

as if

her, they

than half a year

later,

Tsukayama had business

took him to Niigata. As he boarded the train, he once

again chanced to meet the old moneylender and O-Tami.

The old man said that shortly after their return from Hakone his aged wife had died. Taking along O-Tami so he would have someone to talk to, he was on his way to the hot springs at Ikaho. As he listened to the old man's story, Tsukayama idly observed O-Tami. In little more than six months, she had changed almost unrecognizably.

She

now seemed

unable not to wonder in her figure

the transformation. Indefinably,

and her looks, there was the precociously

seductive aspect that

who

completely adult. Tsukayama was at

conceals her

often seen in the apprentice geisha

is

young

age.

Tsukayama, fantasizing variously about the relationship between the old moneylender, on the far side of sixty,

and the sixteen- or seventeen-year-old O-Tami, thought he would

like to find

ever, there

so

out the truth of the matter.

was no opportunity

to.

How-

Another half-year or

went by. Then, unexpectedly, he received a letter from

O-Tami.

O-Tami had become

a

dancer

at a cafe.

Her

letter

was

an unabashed request for money.

For about two years

after that,

217

Tsukayama had no news

Flowers

of O-Tami. Then, coming across an item News, he learned of her

made arrangements "I

was

become

to be so.

It

was

life, is

he

kleptomaniac, but happily

a

would have been

probably

a

nuisance

it

if she'd

This sort of thing,

if it's

better. It's in the natural

order

a thief or a shoplifter.

her lot in

a lawyer,

for her release.

afraid the girl

seems not

Shade

in the Evening

Engaging

arrest.

in the

of things that she go from apprentice geisha to geisha.

It's

her fate."

Having

this

sort

Tsukayama spoke Although he intents

of conversation with the lawyer,

smilingly.

felt

sympathy

for

O-Tami, who

to

all

and purposes was an orphan, Tsukayama had no

wish to come forward

to

admonish and

instruct her.

Rather, with a cool interest, he merely observed the

progress of her eventful

life

from the

outside.

Both by

temperament and philosophical outlook, Tsukayama an extreme pessimism toward

human

life.

felt

Rather than

entering a respectable profession and either falling into dire poverty or else agitating herself with the pretensions

of success,

it

promiscuous

was happiness life,

for her to lead an ignorant,

like a bit

of trash floating along in

the gutter. Rather than moral intervention,

Tsukayama

way of understanding O-Tami was to help her out with small amounts of money and to extricate thought, the best

her from the occasional disaster.

One day, Tsukayama received a letter from O-Tami. was

I

a

long

letter, like a

have met

never meet in you, so I

met

I

short story.

my true mother, whom thought would all my life. thought it was my duty to tell I

true mother,

I

I

am writing this letter. To explain how,

my

It

I

and why,

have to completely expose not

218

Flowers

my

just

why a

in the

secret,

can't

I

Shade

but

tell this

my

mother's and her lover's. That

anyone but you.

to

My mother,

from

long time back, has been living the same kind of life

Most

myself.

and

one time or another,

likely, at

my

is

as

mother

have even slept in the same house, but that was

I

my mother, even heard stories any number of times from my friends about an older woman called Tachibana Chiyoko (Tachibana Chiyoko is my mother's professional name). we knew

nothing

about. Without

knowing she was

I

And a friend of mine called Tsuyuko, two or three years ago when my mother was living in Tanimachi in Azabu, even stayed

her place one night because

at

too hard to go back. For meet, and never had a big place

Tokyo

a

is, I

it

was raining

we never had a chance to to know each other. What

all that,

chance

thought.

Two or three days ago, Tsuyuko-san came to visit me. "There's somebody who very much wants to meet you," she said. "Will you meet her?" Since the police

working

I

felt

how

my

story,

I

I

say "happy,"

it

I

a

surprised.

woman who

I

When

I

did the

didn't feel sad about

it.

sounds strange, but some-

affectionate emotion.

felt a friendly,

was why, even when

was

mother was

true

for a living as myself,

— when I

by

bar in back of the Ginza called Carmen.

Hearing Tsuyuko-san's

same thing

fined

the end of last year, Tsuyuko-san has been

at

at a

learned that

we were

remembered how

my

Maybe

that

mother had

me in all the long months and years me away to other people, didn't feel any

never come to see since she gave

resentment

been

at

I

her heartlessness. Perhaps

a fine, respectable lady,

I

if

my mother had

would have hated

her.

I

my station in life could never have shown my face to my mother, no matter how much wanted to see her. It seems that my think, also, that if

I

had been ashamed of

I

I

219

Flowers

mother, after

all, felt

the

I

Shade

same way. The shame we both

under the circumstances drew us close

felt

in the

hurriedly set out for

to each other.

my mother's place in Hatchomy mother's hours from my

bori. Since I'd heard about

thought the afternoon would be the

friend Tsuyuko,

I

best time to call

on

her.

I

got there

at

A

about three.

girl

of twelve or thirteen answered the door and went upstairs

My

mother came down. She seemed

to have been asleep and

was pulling together the front of

my

to get

mother.

her yukata. "So. Please

My

heart

Tongue-tied,

come

was I

in. It

full,

was very good of you

and

I

followed her into

My

parlor or tea room.

come down

of downstairs

a sort

for the longest time.

another time, there was

call

on the

stairs.

I

listened closely.

person, but two. In a

"My to

sit

my

goodness

moment,

It

a

and

upstairs again

As

ing that perhaps one of her customers had

should

to say.

mother, saying she would put

something on over her yukata, went did not

to call."

know what

didn't

I

was think-

come and

I

sound of footsteps

seemed

one

to be not

the door slid open.

— they didn't even give you

a

cushion

on." Seating herself on the other side of the brazier,

mother immediately

started to

make some

able even to say "It's been a long time,"

I

tea.

Un-

tried to think

of

something appropriate. "You're very busy,"

I

finally said. It's

often say in our profession, by later struck

we It

me how funny it was to say that kind of thing know how my mother took it, but she didn't

don't

here.

I

seem

particularly offended.

"It's

not

a

customer.

It's

someone

to you." "Is

something

way of a compliment.

it

your man. Mother?"

220

I

have to introduce

Flowers

in the

Shade

Just then, a

man of about

showed

forty

his face in the

opening of the door.

"Welcome. end of

body

I've

this,

he

sat

down by my

everything about him from

name,

I

all

over for you since the

one doesn't

know where some-

no amount of looking around

is,

Saying

been looking

When

last year.

didn't greet

him

will find them."

mother. Since

my friend Tsuyuko,

I

knew

even his

formally.

"And I was practically next door. It's strange." I smiled. "Were you with Tsuyuko-san all the while?" my mother's lover asked. With that, I told all about how I'd

become friends with Tsuyuko at a dance hall in Shinjuku and had rented a room with her, and after that how first

we were both arrested and had our dancer's licenses away and could not even appear

at

any dance

taken

hall inside

the city limits, and then how, getting an introduction

from the owner of a

place in Gotanda, I'd switched to this

kind of work.

My

mother asked me

if

name, or think of some way

Or wouldn't it be safer to first I'd

was going

I

to

liked being a dancer, but

but a job

it

become

be a waitress,

got rather boring.

It

when

to a

my

dancer again.

like

it

change

Tsuyuko? At

became nothing

was such hard work, and

I

bound by the regular hours. I didn't want Even waitresses, if you worked at a place like Tsuyuko's, you had to go out into the street and didn't like being

to be a dancer again.

grab people you'd never seen before, so

of what might happen, explained

all this

In order to it

be,

my

it

was

you thought I

in detail.

economize on

mother asked,

She planned to stay in she had enough

if

really quite dangerous.

money

if

my room were

to

house

a

I

this

rent,

move

how would in

with

her.

while longer until

saved, and then start up a tea-

221

Flowers

house for

where

girls

rents

and

Up

When

future.

savings,

looked

now,

to

I

heard that they had two thousand yen in

my mother. My mother was eighteen when she thirty-seven.

good

hair

was

still

way

she

wore her yukata she looked

had

thick, she

a

And

yet her

and the untidy

figure,

mature young

like a

When she goes out, When was at the dance

of twenty-seven or -eight.

thought, she looks even younger. hall,

side

hadn't given a single thought to the

had me, and so she was already

woman

from the

in

had more than two thousand yen saved.

blurted out: "You've really worked hard," and

I

at

I

Shade

customers in some neighborhood

their

were low. Her lover chimed

that they already

in the

there were girls

who

were putting up houses

I

I

had saved

for rent, but

their

my

money and

mother looked

even younger than them. According to everybody, these girls

who had gone into

bit stupid

the housing business were a

and did whatever

a

man

never did anything but save money.

them

told I

to.

little

They

wondered if after

all

my mother were not that kind of person too. You can tell glance that she's not

at a

a

bad person. She's pretty and

looks young, but there's something weak about her. She

never gossips about others or makes small

talk.

of person puts her mind to saving money,

sort

When this there's

no

stopping her.

thought

I

I'd like to

ask

the

man who was my

up

that day. Besides, right

my

father,

knew subject didn't come start, I'd grown up

mother

but the

from the

without knowing there was such

a

much

meeting

for

my

my

she

person

Having never heard anything about him, that

if

I

as

still

my

didn't yearn

all

dearly beloved father. That was why,

mother

for the first time,

I

didn't

want

force her to talk about him. Rather than a father I

father.

have never seen, the person that

222

I

long for

is

to

whom the old

Flowers

in the

Shade

woman who brought me up in Funabori. was only three I

or four

But I

am I

at

stare

when she died, so I don't even remember her face. night, when I am all alone in the pitch dark and at one place, or on nights when I can't sleep and sometimes

tiredly half-dozing,

woman

can vaguely see that old

have the feeling that

and the countryside

You might even call it a vision.

along a

river.

who

dear to me,

is

I

it's

my

aunt

who

If I

am to say

lived in Shinei-cho

before the Earthquake, and yourself. As I've told you in

time of my

a previous letter, the happiest

lived in the house in Shinei-cho.

my

taken by the hand by

aunt,

I

I

memories

water.

And

are

the

was when

will never forget

went

for

the river in Akashi-cho and caught crabs. est

life

I

how,

walks along

My two happi-

both of places where there was flowing

two people

whom

I

loved the best in

my

childhood both died. I've

decided to stay

If anything

comes up,

at

I'll

my let

mother's place for

you know. Until

a while.

then, sayo-

nara.

Tamiko February

223

i6,

1932

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Nagai, Kafu, 1879-1959.

[Tsuyu no atosaki. English] During the rains & Flowers novellas

/

by Nagai Kafu

;

in the shade

translated

two

:

by Lane

Dunlop. cm.

p.

ISBN 0-8047-2259-5

:

— ISBN 0-8047-2260-9 (pbk.) Nagai, Kafu, 1879-1959 — Translations :

I.

English.

I.

hana. English. 1994. the rains. V. Title:

into

Nagai, Kafu, 1879-1959. Hikage no II.

During the

Title.

III.

Title:

During

Flowers in the shade.

IV. Title:

rains

and Flowers

in

the shade.

PL812.A4T7513

895.6'342— dc20

1994

93-24945 CIP

BOSTON PUBLIC

ym „

iiii...

Boston Hubiic Library. Sato orthto mitoriai bMwfltB tho

Ubraiy.

Boston Public Library

COPLEY S GENERAL LI

The Date Due Card

in the pocket in-

on or before which book should be returned to the

dicates the date this

Library. Please do not remove cards from this pocket.

7f frq§i front Jiap^J

achievements.

During

the

.

.

Rains

The

.

exceptional praise that

won from

discriminating critics

was occasioned chiefly by the noveHstic

The detached

analysis

the story read like a

though

work of French Naturalism,

few passages

a

interest.

of a group of people makes

.

.

.

evoke the beauty of

place and season in the typical Kafu manner." Flowers in the Shade might almost be called a

continuation of During the Rains. a

wealthy

his forties

Keene

woman

in his student days, ends

being supported by

says that

smell the dingy

hero, kept

Its

a prostitute.

Kafu "makes us see and

rooms he

describes,

all

up

by

in

Donald but

without ever

allowing us to pass judgment on them or their inhabitants.

Kafu neither approves or disapproves

of his characters, and their past

it is

if

he

tells

us in detail about

not in order to demonstrate

how

environment and heredity have determined lives

.

.

.

but to assuage our curiosity

as to

their

how

came to live off women, how a particular woman happened to become a prostitute or a pro-

Jukichi

curess,

The

and so on." present

volume contains

translator that briefly reer.

a

Preface by the

summarizes Kafu's

life

and

Visions of Desire Tanizaki's Fictional Worlds

Ken K. Ito "An

integrated, beautifully written life-and-works of Japan's premier

Tanizaki Jun'ichiro (1886-1965),

storyteller,

it

traces the

theme of

desire that evolved in Tanizaki's fiction over five-and-a-half decades

in a career remarkable for

produced one of the few

consistency and intensity. ... Ito has

its

truly excellent

books on

"This biography-cum-critical study of Tanizaki's

engaging

Japanese



long-standing need.

ful

a

Jay Rubin, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

author."

.

.

.

The book

is

life

and work

fills

a

an excellent and thoroughly

study, particularly illuminating in

its

dynamic and thought-

approach to the complex and subtle connection between life

and work

power

relations."

Tanizaki's

sexual



his

continuous examination of cultural and

—Nobuko Miyama Ochner, Momimenta xiv f 306 pages.

Nipponica

1991

The Miner Natsume Soseki Translated, with an Afterword, by Jay

Rubin

"Jay

has rescued from obscurity a

universally as a leading figure

Through

his translation

The Miner

strates that

Rubin

is

and

a pivotal effort in the

"Rubin's translation powerfully supports

was simply too

far

.

.

Rubm

its initial

original but also in the

still

189 pages.

The Miner

rejection

and subsequent .

.

.

more demanding and time-consuming

of bringing the work to

+

his thesis that

and penetrating reading of the

life

in English.

—William

xii

World Literature Today

has taken pains with this translation that

are reflected not only in his careful

task

Rubin demon-

development of

ahead of its time and that external circumstances,

not internal deficiencies, led to .

literature.

his significant afterword,

—Marleigh Grayer Ryan,

Soseki's art."

obscurity.

work by an author viewed

of modern Japanese

E. Nzff, Journal of Asian Studies

1988

Stanford University Press

ISBN 0-8047-2259-5