The social conservatism of rural Japan only became apparent when I finished my bowl of rice at the breakfast table. When that happened, Mr. Funatani yelled for his wife to give me some more. We were sitting no farther than an arm’s reach from the rice cooker, but his ass wasn’t about to become unglued from his chair, and I watched his wife return to the kitchen from the rear of their weird, rambling, wonderful house, and give me another bowl of rice, which I thanked profusely. It’s not that Mr. Funatani was opposed to nourishing me personally, quite the contrary: the previous night, he first poured me sake, then he poured me Kirishima shōchū while he sang enka with the sassy bartender, then he poured me whisky in his kitchen, and I retreated to his guest bedroom with a pleasant buzz. But that was alcohol in the evening, and this was rice in the morning, and there was a difference, and when I left, I thanked them both for their kindness.
When I picked the penultimate ¥100 coin from my purse to pay for a skewer of dango, and saw the coins that were left, I realized that when you have one of each Japanese coin, you’re worth ¥666.