Cover image for Honeymoon to nowhere
Honeymoon to nowhere
Takagi, Akimitsu, 1920-1995.
Uniform Title:
Zero no mitsugetsu. English
Publication Information:
New York : Soho, [1999?]]

Physical Description:
277 pages ; 19 cm
General Note:
Previously published: [The Gap, Q.] : Anthos Pub. Co., 1972.
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Etsuko loves the shy, young lecturer who clumsily (albeit charmingly) courts her. Her family, however, have very different ideas; his past is suspect - unthinkable for a suitor in Japan. They marry anyway but on their wedding night he is called away by an urgent phone call and by morning he is still missing. A superbly crafted crime novel by one of Japan's most popular writers, this is a clever, quintessentially Japanese thriller that takes a fascinating look at the moral heart of Japan.

Author Notes

Akimitsu Takagi (1920-1995) studied engineering at Kyoto University and later worked for the Nakajima Aircraft Company. Over the course of his writing career, he published fifteen popular mysteries and won the Japan Mystery Writers Club Award.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This early mystery (1965) by Takagi was originally published in this country in mass market by Playboy Press. Takagi's masterful psychological portraits here recall those of Patricia Highsmith or William Irish in their depiction of individuals enveloped by intrigue that threatens to destroy them. A young woman, Etsuko Ogata, is being pressured by her father to marry a rather pedestrian lawyer, Tetsuya Higuchi, whom she respects but does not love. Quietly, Etsuko rebels and begins to seek a relationship with Yoshihiro Tsukamoto, a lecturer in industrial management whom she meets by chance. Against the backdrop of a culture rapidly changing amidst recovery from the devastation of WWII, Etsuko avoids Higuchi and pursues Tsukamoto despite doubts about his family's past. Eventually she marries her beloved, but the wedding night has barely begun when Etsuko's new husband rushes off and is murdered. As the plot of this involving mystery progresses, State Prosecutor Saburo Kirishima (who also appears in The Informer, reviewed above) must use all his subtlety to untangle the strands of jealousy and greed that have made Etsuko a bride and a widow on the same night. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Takagi (The Tattoo Murder Case), a popular Japanese mystery writer who died in 1995, wrote this novel in 1965. Etsuko Ogata, the unmarried daughter of a highly respected lawyer, has fallen in love with a university lecturer. Her parents do not approve of him because of his father's criminal past; her father wants her to marry a junior partner in his law firm who has already asked for her hand. Etsuko refuses his offer. In desperation, she lies to her parents and tells them that she is pregnant, and they reluctantly agree to let her marry her lover. On the night of their honeymoon, the groom receives a mysterious, urgent phone call. He leaves his young bride at the hotel and never returnsÄhis body is found the next day. The state prosecutor, Kirishima, is a typical detective whose methods, though routine and predictable, make for a solid mystery. This well-translated work is recommended for larger public libraries.ÄJanis Williams, Shaker Heights P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One     Etsuko Ogata was sweeping up dead leaves in the garden. She moved mechanically, biting her lip, her back toward the clear blue sky, her eyes on the black soil.     The sound of the piano next door pervaded the Sunday morning quiet. The girl's power of concentration was fantastic, Etsuko thought as she listened to the music. The neighbour's daughter was attending music school. Even during the recent Tokyo Olympic Games the piano had never stopped for a single day.     Right now she was playing Chopin's Étude No. 3 in E major, popularly known as the Farewell Melody . Etsuko wished the girl would switch to something else--this one was making her heart beat faster.     Sweet memories of love merged with the sorrow of farewell in the tune, and it was precisely this which upset her because she had no sweet memories at all of the parting with him . It had only left a wound, still fresh enough to start bleeding on any pretext. If it had to be a melody by Chopin, she thought, Sonata No. 2, the Funeral March , would be much more in keeping with the way she felt these days.     Etsuko squatted down in front of a small heap of fallen leaves until her buttocks touched her heels. She took out a box of matches and a square envelope from her apron pocket. Inside the envelope was an invitation to a wedding reception. She had declined it, of course.     She struck a match, lit the envelope and dropped it on the heap of dead leaves. The paper flared up and the leaves began to smoulder. She removed her glasses with one hand, and with the other raised her apron to her face to wipe her eyes.     She was angry--with herself, her own madness. How could she blame him? He probably wouldn't know to this day he had been anything more to her than the fiancé of her best friend. Love? The very idea was utterly ridiculous. It had been a crazy one-sided infatuation, the self-created agony of an imaginative woman of twenty-six whose chunky body was ready for a husband--for a gentle-hard man. That's what it was, and she knew it.     But even now, a year later, she only had to think of his face and his hand--especially his hand with those neatly patterned black hairs, those long, firm fingers--to feel a sudden weakness in her loins. As always, this disturbing sensation polarised into a sense of shame in her mind and an irritating hunger in her groin. It made her dizzy.     Still squatting, she shifted her weight till one heel was wedged between her thighs. She pressed down on it as hard as she could ...     Then she felt better and began to gather some more dead leaves which looked easier to burn. She put another match to the heap, and this time it caught fire easily. She wished the orange flames would burn away her yearnings so that she could be left in peace.     "Etsu! He's leaving now. Will you see him off, please?"     It was Mrs. Ogata, her mother, calling out from the veranda.     See him off? Etsuko was puzzled. The visitor was Tetsuya Higuchi, a young lawyer who had long been a protégé of her father, himself a lawyer. Higuchi was a regular visitor to the house--quite capable of letting himself out. So why all the fuss now?     But she couldn't be bothered thinking about it any further. She put away the garden broom, took off her apron and went around to the entrance. The girl next door was now playing a melody vibrant with passion. It was Chopin's Étude No. 12, Revolutionary .     Higuchi had just said goodbye to Mr. Ogata and was about to get into his car. He was only three years Etsuko's senior but looked older than his age. His appearance was always faultless, suggesting a perfectionist.     Etsuko tried to put on a pleasant face. "I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't know you were leaving so soon."     Higuchi bowed with a strange clumsiness. His narrow eyes, set deep behind his glasses, had a glow in them that was also unusual.     "Well," he said, almost stammering, "I've another engagement today ... I'll call again soon ..."     What on earth was wrong with him, Etsuko wondered. Being a lawyer he was a fluent speaker by training, but right now he sounded as if something was stuck in his throat.     Holding the car door, Higuchi seemed to hesitate for a moment before getting in. Then he said, "Etsuko," and then stopped again.     "Yes?"     "No, it doesn't matter ..." He blushed and hurriedly switched on the motor.     She stood there dutifully until Higuchi's car turned at the corner towards Jiyugaoka station. Then she returned to the front entrance.     He had certainly been a bit queer today, she thought. Was he in some kind of trouble? Was that why he had come to see her father--to consult him?     But there was no sign of concern on her father's face. On the contrary, he smiled--a rare phenomenon these days.     "Come with me, Etsu, will you? I've something to tell you." The smile stayed on his pale lips as he spoke.     Etsuko looked at her father thoughtfully, wondering what he was up to. Then suddenly her own expression stiffened. But no, that was unthinkable ... The black ashes of the invitation card she had just burnt began to drift across her mind.     When they reached the study he immediately settled into his swivel chair behind his desk. For the past thirty years of his life--more than twenty years as a prosecutor with the Criminal Affairs Division and nearly ten in his own private practice--Takuzo Ogata had spent most of his time in this room when he was at home. Etsuko often imagined that the whole study had been built of law books--each volume like a brick, each wall a different branch of the law.     He didn't waste any time on preliminaries. "As you may have guessed," he said, "Mr. Higuchi told me he'd like to marry you."     Etsuko suppressed a sigh and cast her eyes to the floor. She didn't say anything.     "I personally think this is excellent news, and your mother shares my opinion. She says this is a most desirable marriage proposal--just what we've been hoping for. Mr. Higuchi has been on intimate terms with our family for many years, and he has a very promising career. Not only does he possess a sharp brain; he is also diligent and ambitious. But you know all this, anyway--there's hardly any need for me to sing his praises to you ... To be completely honest with you, I've been secretly hoping for some time that one day he'd marry you. Only I didn't want to raise the subject myself--I didn't want to create the impression I was determined to have my own way ..."     Higuchi had lost his father while still a student, and ever since then Ogata had been looking after him. And because the old man was so upright in everything, he felt oddly constrained in the circumstances.     "... Well, how do you feel about it? ... I know marriage is one of life's biggest milestones and you may find it difficult to produce an answer straight away. But as Mr. Higuchi is almost one of the family, it should be much easier for you to judge him than some other man who might turn up with a marriage proposal. Don't you agree?"     Etsuko didn't look up and didn't answer, and her father was beginning to grow annoyed. "Say something for heaven's sake," he snapped. "Don't you like Mr. Higuchi?"     "I don't dislike him ... But I can't say I particularly like him either."     Ogata heaved a sigh and lit a cigarette.     "Etsu," he said. quietly after a little while, "you're already twenty-six, you know, and won't be getting any younger ..."     She was conscious of her hips straining against her tight skirt--they seemed to be getting bigger every day. She must get back on her diet, she thought.     "... You're well beyond the age of sweet romance, or dreamy love--call it whatever you like. Surely you're mature enough now to look at things more realistically ... Affection between man and woman grows naturally once they're married. It was the same with us--your mother and me. What young people so fondly describe these days as love is not affection at all but fleeting passion that leaves nothing once it's gone. It's been proved statistically that the failure rate in so-called love-marriages is higher than in marriages contracted after a single meeting ..."     Even though he was speaking now from a father's august position, it was impossible for him not to become argumentative. As a lawyer he had made his name and money by arguing for the past thirty years.     Etsuko heard every word but was busy with her own thoughts. There was no question about it--this marriage proposal made sense. At least she had to admit she would be aiming far too high if she hoped for anything more than this. Besides, it was quite natural for her father to try to establish a suitable successor. Against his wishes his only son Kazuaki had joined the Mitsuboshi Trading Company and was now working in New York.     If this had happened a couple of years ago, she might have had more consideration for her father's feelings and accepted his argument without resistance. Yes, she might have nodded readily, then. But now, even if it had been only a one-sided infatuation, after tasting its heady violence, the idea of marrying a man she wasn't fond of seemed to her as tasteless as chewing sand.     And on top of that, after knowing him , she definitely didn't want a husband who belonged to the legal fraternity. Somehow, marrying a lawyer seemed taboo to her. She felt that such a match would only open her wound wider instead of helping to heal it ... But she knew she would be quite unable to explain all this to her father so he could understand it, let alone accept it.     "Now look here, Etsu," he continued persuasively, "you're intelligent and good-hearted, and I'm quite sure you'll make an excellent wife and mother. I don't think I'm being a doting father for saying this. You're a fine girl with many good points, but unfortunately, your assets aren't readily visible to other men ... Let me put it this way--a man who recognises your real value is obviously a keen observer. That's why I think you shouldn't miss this opportunity."     At last Etsuko raised her eyes and opened her mouth. "Father," she said, "I'm very grateful to Mr. Higuchi for his kind sentiments, and I do value your opinion. But I feel I'd need a little more time to think it over."     "But of course! You just take your time--think about it at your leisure ... Will two or three days be enough, do you think?"     Etsuko sucked in her breath. What would be the use of buying two or three days? "I meant a little longer than that."     "A week then?"     "I--"     "For heaven's sake, Etsu, a marriage proposal isn't like a business offer one can chew over for a month or more. I hope you can understand that much." He glared at her. "Or do you want to turn him down? Is that what you'd like to do?"     "No, it's not that ... It's just that my mind isn't prepared for marriage right now."     "Accepting his proposal doesn't mean you have to get married straight away. A normal six-month engagement period should give you all the time you need to get used to the idea."     "But father, I don't feel like getting married to anyone at present."     He knitted his eyebrows and held her gaze with total concentration.     She still got frightened of him every time he looked at her this way. Now she was doubly scared because he made her feel as if she were a hostile witness about to be relieved of her secret in one easy move.     "Etsu," he said slowly, "I'm your father, and I'm neither blind nor a fool. You don't have to tell me anything--I can guess what happened to you last autumn. And if I consider certain circumstances relating to that period, I think I can establish the identity of the man you fell secretly in love with ... Well, I won't mention his name, and I do respect your feelings. Perhaps it was a rather harrowing experience for you ... But you should get rid of that painful memory as soon as you can, don't you think? I believe those two will get married soon. You should make a special effort to find new happiness. What do you say?"     Etsuko was almost ready to cry. He was perfectly right. She herself had reached exactly the same conclusion before burning the invitation card with the dead leaves a little while ago. The only thing was--emotions of this kind couldn't be got rid of by reasoning.     Ogata said, "As you probably know, my health hasn't been the best lately. My blood pressure is fairly high, and I get tired very quickly. Sometimes I can't help being conscious of an ominous premonition ... Anyway, I'd like to see you in bridal dress as soon as possible--while I'm still around. This is the thing foremost in my mind these days. And the older you get, Etsu, the more difficult it'll be for you to find a suitable match. Would you please try to make up your mind as soon as you can?"     Looking at her father Etsuko realised he had indeed grown old all of a sudden. He had never been a robust man, living most of his life under the doctor's eye. But lately he looked as if the strain of the past thirty years had taken its toll of him in one big instalment. The truth --coming so openly from his own lips--made her heart turn over with compassion for him.     On the other hand, she couldn't bring herself to accept his advice without questioning it. This would be unfair, not only to herself but to Higuchi as well. She wondered if there was someone else somewhere she'd be more willing to marry, even if her affection for him wouldn't compare with what she had felt for him .     Her pale oval face was calm and resolute when finally she spoke up. "Father, I agree with everything you've said, but please give me at least three months to think it over. I wouldn't like to give Mr. Higuchi the promise of a lifetime without being fairly confident I can grow fond of him as time goes on."     Ogata softened his expression. "Yes, this seems reasonable enough ... In other words, you'll keep company with Mr. Higuchi for the next three months, and then give him a definite answer. Is that it?"     No, that isn't it at all , she wanted to say, but didn't have the courage to do it. If she told him she didn't want to marry a lawyer under any circumstances and he hit the roof, who knew what might happen to him with his high blood pressure ... She clearly remembered her father's distress when her brother Kazuaki had declared he wouldn't sit for the law entrance examination.     Finally she did the only thing she felt she could do--she nodded silently, and Ogata looked genuinely grateful.     He said, "Mr. Higuchi has visited this house a great many times over the years, but now that I think of it, there haven't been many occasions when the two of you talked alone. Yes, that makes your attitude certainly reasonable enough. Perhaps I've been too eager--I must be losing my touch."     Etsuko left her father's study feeling relieved and weighted down at the same time. I don't dislike him, but I can't say I particularly like him either. She had meant what she said at the time, but now that she was reconsidering it, the hand of the scale seemed to be leaning towards dislike.     Anyway, from now on she would have to go on dates with him whether she liked it or not. If during the next three months she managed to develop an interest in Higuchi, this at least might help her to forget about him ...     Not that this was very likely to happen, though she wished it with all her heart. Even now she was vaguely conscious of that familiar weakness, just because she had thought of him ... And would it be possible to grow fond of another man in three months--a man she had met constantly for years and hardly ever noticed?     But much as she tried, she could think of no other prospective suitor besides Higuchi. Her only real opportunity to meet eligible men was at parties held from time to time by the Kinome group which catered for single lawyers and the marriagable sons and daughters of legal families. But since she was determined not to marry a lawyer, members of this group were out of the question.     She had suggested a period of three months to her father, but wasn't at all sure anything would happen by the end of it ...     It was two days later.     "Parcel, Miss Ogata," the postman called out at the front.     Etsuko went to the entry and saw a small parcel sitting on the bench. It seemed to contain something like a book. There had been occasions when authors of legal works had sent her father complimentary copies, but this package was addressed to her. She had a vague notion of having seen the name of the sender, Yoshihiro Tsukamoto, somewhere before, but couldn't place it at all.     She picked up the parcel and walked back with it to her room.     As she had thought, there was a book in it. It had the dull title, An Introduction to Economics, Unabridged Edition , and acknowledged the joint authorship of five people. The sender was one of them.     In the Contents she found the line, Industrial Management .... Yoshihiro Tsukamoto, Lecturer in Economics, Chiyoda University .     Until now she had been mystified by the whole thing, but once she saw the characters of Chiyoda University, her fleshy lips twitched into a smile.     It had happened about six weeks ago.     On her way home from seeing off a girlfriend at Tokyo Station she had felt thirsty and gone into a tea house in one of those basement shopping arcades. The shop was crowded and she had to share a table with another customer.     Aged about thirty, he was so absorbed in a book, he never once looked up at her across the table. Then he glanced at his watch, jumped to his feet and rushed out of the shop in a great hurry.     He was hardly gone when Etsuko noticed a package in cloth wrapper left on the bench next to where he had been sitting. She naturally thought it must belong to him, so she picked it up, paid her bill, and went after him, but couldn't see him anywhere. He had already disappeared in the station crowd.     Wondering if she should take the package back to the tea house or deposit it at the station's lost property office, she finally looked at the label. Research Section, Department of Economics, Chiyoda University , it said, and the name Yoshihiro Tsukamoto was scribbled over it in black ink.     On her way home from Tokyo Station she would have to pass by Chiyoda University at Kanda, she thought. It seemed much more considerate to take the package there personally than hand it in at the station--it might be something important. Judging by the label, the man must be a tutor or a research assistant. She should be able to find him without much trouble if she inquired at the registrar's office.      Tsukamoto looked greatly relieved when she handed him the package.     "You don't know how grateful I am," he said excitedly. "I've been really worried about this for the past hour. It's my stupid carelessness again, I guess, but I was so busy thinking about something, I just left it behind somehow. If I'd lost this I would've been in real trouble." He patted the package. "A collection of data money can't buy ..."     Perversely, his carelessness appealed to Etsuko. It seemed to her to be a sign of scholarly character. She also liked his uninhibited self-reproach, and the way he voiced his gratitude, like a big child.     "... Frankly, I didn't know where I'd left it. The tea house did occur to me, but I couldn't recall the name of the shop, so I couldn't check by phone ... And I couldn't immediately retrace my movements either because I was already late for a conference."     After thanking her several more times, Tsukamoto said a book of his would be published in the near future, and it would contain some of the data he would've surely lost but for her kindness, and he'd like to send her a complimentary copy as an expression of his gratitude.     Thinking he might be offended if she refused, Etsuko gave him her name and address before continuing on her way home. And soon the whole episode was completely forgotten.     Now she picked up the book and tried to recall Yoshihiro Tsukamoto's face. His exact features escaped her, but she could remember his shaggy head of hair, the outline of his oval face, and his darting eyes which seemed to be in contrast with his otherwise restrained scholarly gestures. She decided her first impression of him hadn't been unfavourable ...     Etsuko kept turning the pages till she came to the part he had written. Even the term industrial management was completely new to her, but she felt that not to read even a single page of it would be unfair to the writer who had gone to the trouble of sending her the book.     Without any knowledge of management she found the text a bit difficult to follow at times, even though it was meant to be an introduction to the subject. But the sentences themselves were lighter and wittier and the whole theme far more interesting than she had expected.     When she had read about ten pages she found a narrow strip of paper like a bookmark between the pages. Now, what was this supposed to be? It was a concert ticket with the date November 5 printed on it. That was the opening day of the London Symphony Orchestra's Tokyo season, one week ahead.     Well, he had done it again, Etsuko thought, feeling rather annoyed this time. How could a man be so absentminded? He must have put the ticket in the book, then forgot it and sent it to her by mistake.     He was a damned nuisance, she thought as she dialled the number of Chiyoda University. He must have been in his room because he answered a few seconds after she had asked for him.     She thanked him for the book and then brought up the subject of the ticket, doing her best not to show her irritation.     "No, that wasn't an oversight," he said hesitantly. "It was just a small token of gratitude. Last time I saw you you had the biography of some famous musician in your shopping bag, didn't you?"     "I could've."     "That's why I thought you might have an interest in classical music."     "But I couldn't accept an expensive ticket like this."     "It hasn't cost me a single sen --its a complimentary ticket, so please accept it without qualms ... I'm awfully sorry but you must excuse me now. I have a class waiting for me. Thank you very much for ringing. So long."     The phone clicked dead at the other end. She stood there for a while with a blank expression, trying to recapture his words. Then she replaced the receiver. She had to admit she felt like going to the concert. On the other hand, she couldn't help thinking that the ticket, whether he had paid for it or not, was far too excessive a reward for what she had done for him. But returning it didn't seem the right thing to do either ...     Just then the phone rang, and she lifted the receiver again. "Hello," she said.     A male voice said, "May I speak to Miss Ogata, please?"     "Speaking."     "Oh, hello. This is Higuchi here."     Etsuko felt the skin tighten on her cheek-bones and temples.     Timidly he said, "I thought I should give you a ring and thank you for the other day ... Incidentally, are you free on the evening of November 5? I've got hold of a couple of tickets to the Kabuki Theatre. Some new players will make their debut that evening, and I thought you might like to go ..."     Her father must have told him she would date him for a while, she thought. He certainly didn't waste any time providing the opportunity.     "Thank you very much--it's kind of you to ask me. Unfortunately, I've a previous engagement for that evening." She was amazed how fast the words of refusal had rolled off her tongue. "I'm going to the opening performance of the London Symphony Orchestra ... I'm terribly sorry."     "No, please don't worry about it ... I'm naturally disappointed, but I'm also glad to hear you're interested in serious music ... Anyway, there's always another time, so we'll just leave it till then, shall we?"     Being a gentleman, Higuchi didn't persist and ended the conversation without trying to fix an alternative date.     Etsuko put down the receiver and looked at the ticket in her hand. Would Yoshihiro Tsukamoto be at the concert? She had a feeling that he might ...     Once more she tried to visualise his face, and a faint excitement began to stir in her. It gradually grew stronger, until it became the sweet weakness she knew so well. And she realised with a shock that the face conjured up in her mind no longer belonged to the young lecturer, but to him .     With some effort she shut off her mind and fought off the yearning in her flesh. And then she was ready to think of Yoshihiro Tsukamoto again. Could he, by any chance, be the man she had been looking for? She knew she had to find out.     On the evening of November 5 she put on the silver-grey suit she liked best and went to the Tokyo Cultural Centre at Ueno. The throbbing of her heart was quite distinct as she approached the grounds.     Walking up the steep slope in Ueno Park she wondered what was wrong with her. Could she really be excited about a man she had seen only twice, each time for only a few minutes? Perhaps it was her subconscious reaction to the prospect of having to marry Higuchi. This seemed quite likely. After all, prior to Higuchi's proposal, Yoshihiro Tsukamoto had never once entered her mind ...     But she must be careful. If she allowed herself to become obsessed with the idea that she had to find another man within three months, she might run into some unexpected danger ... Not that she could imagine Tsukamoto as a lecher or a sadist, but he might be married already ... And there was no guarantee at all he would turn up tonight, anyway ...     She entered the foyer and bought herself a programme. It was unusual to find a sonosheet inside a concert programme. The disc was a performance by Pierre Monteux, the great French conductor who had planned to visit Japan at the head of this orchestra, but died last April.     Etsuko kept looking around the foyer for a while, but there was no sign of Tsukamoto. Finally she gave up and went inside to take her seat. A middle-aged woman was sitting on her right, but the seat on her left remained empty. It was still unoccupied when the performance started.     Sir Arthur Bliss, guest conductor of the orchestra, appeared on stage, and the British and Japanese national anthems were played. First item on the programme was a selection from the ballet Checkmate , Sir Arthur's own composition and one of his most admired works.     Etsuko had seen this ballet performed by the Royal Ballet Company. Listening to the music now made her recall the previous stage scenes. Black and white chess figures blending in well devised confusion ... the white knight courting his queen ... the dance of the black queen--these scenes were coming back to her now as clearly as if she had seen them only yesterday.     Then the music stopped and a storm of applause shook the hall. The seventy-three-year-old veteran conductor answered the encores in his usual graceful manner. Etsuko clapped enthusiastically.     The applause had died down when she realised Yoshihiro Tsukamoto was standing beside her.     "I'm sorry--I'm late," he whispered. "I tried to get here on time but didn't quite make it, so I couldn't come up to the seat. But I listened to it standing at the back." He spoke hesitantly, as on the previous occasion.     His appearance was rather different from the picture Etsuko had built up in her mind over the past few days. She realised her imagination had been far too generous to him. She had to force back a chuckle.     Admittedly, after watching Sir Arthur Bliss, this typical British gentleman, she would be inclined to judge Tsukamoto rather severely. But even so, she felt there was no excuse for his hair to be as shaggy as before, and his tie knot to be pushed to one side. And when she saw white chalk powder on the end of his coat sleeve, and noticed that his shoes which were supposed to be black were almost grey, she thought he could hardly be described as a dandy.     Higuchi would be the last person to turn up at a concert dressed like this.     But there was something else about Tsukamoto--something impossible to describe. He possessed a kind of natural warmth that made her pores open up to him. His spontaneous friendliness had no hint of buried passions, and this gave her a sense of comfort she could never experience in Higuchi's company.     Suddenly she remembered reading somewhere that motherly women with large breasts were often attracted to clumsy, untidy men, and she became conscious of her own breasts straining in their harness under her blouse.     "Thank you for this lovely evening," she said, and was going to add something, but he interrupted her with a wave of his hand.     "It's nothing--I'm pleased you've come. The orchestra is better than I expected--quite colourful, and well balanced. The woodwinds are especially good, don't you think?"     "Yes. I've read your book." She was startled by her own words. She couldn't explain what had made her change the subject so abruptly, but Tsukamoto seemed very pleased.     "Thank you for making the effort--you must have found it pretty dry stuff. Or are you interested in management?"     "I wasn't till I read the book ... I know a little about law because my father is a lawyer--a former prosecutor. In that I'm like a shopkeeper's errand boy who lives near a temple and learns to chant a sutra ... But now I realise the study of management is much more fascinating than people generally imagine."     "Well, I couldn't wish for a more flattering comment. This will do wonders for the ego of the writer in me ... Management as a study is in vogue at the moment, and the book is selling better than we expected. The publisher asked me specifically to use the simplest language possible to make it intelligible to laymen, but I wasn't sure if I succeeded."     "There were a few patches in it I found difficult to follow, but generally speaking it's rather amazing how you managed to present this complex subject with such clarity."     "What patches did you find difficult?"     She told him with complete honesty, and he listened thoughtfully, nodding every now and then.     After the intermission Colin Davis, an energetic young conductor, appeared on stage. Under his baton the orchestra played Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C major, followed by Dvorák's Symphony No. 7 in D minor. Etsuko was now able to abandon herself completely to the flow of the music. She was hardly aware Tsukamoto was sitting beside her.     When it was all over she rediscovered him, looking at him in wonder. If it had been Higuchi, she would have been conscious of him all the time and probably wouldn't have been able to enjoy the music at all. But with Tsukamoto she had felt completely relaxed. It had seemed natural that he should be there, sitting beside her. It had been as reassuring to her as the presence of a husband might be to his wife on a quiet evening at home.     They came out of the concert hall, walking side by side. The cold wind outside carried the loneliness of the deepening autumn. The pale glow of the neon lights added to a mood of unreality caused by the strange lines of the building.     "Miss Ogata ..."     "Yes?"     "I've a confession to make. The ticket ..."     "What about it?"     "I placed it well inside the book on purpose. If you had put the book away without looking through it, you wouldn't have noticed the ticket in it, would you? And since it's such a dry subject, I thought there was every chance this might actually happen."     Etsuko gazed at him wide-eyed. What was he trying to say? "And if I hadn't noticed it--what were you going to do then?"     Tsukamoto didn't answer. Standing there, his tall, lean figure vaguely outlined against the pale glow of the lights behind him, he seemed to be enveloped in some strange shadow of loneliness. Would this man, by any chance, have unhappy memories similar to her own, she wondered, the tenderness of compassion welling up in her.     He remained silent for a while, then said, "I come from the Kansai district--only been here since last spring and haven't got many friends ... Would you meet me again some day?"     Etsuko cast her eyes to the ground. His unpolished shoes came into her sight, and her feminine instinct told her he'd be still single--certainly without anyone to clean his shoes for him.     "All right," she said slowly as a few dry leaves scurried along the ground at their feet, scraping against the pavement. Copyright © 1965 Akimitsu Takagi. All rights reserved.