It is raining. Takahashi walks through the neon and the darkness into a sushi restaurant and sits at the bar. The place is busy, but its mirrors, lacquer and shoji screens give it an air of both spaciousness and intimacy. Takahashi gets a glass of water and orders salmon sashimi, unagi and soba noodles. As he eats, he catches sight of himself in one of the mirrors, and sees what he knows everyone else must see when they look at him: long dark raincoat, shaved head, glasses.
And then, for the first time that he remembers, he wonders why he is wearing the glasses. He does not need them to see. He takes them off, looks around, and he sees as well without them as with them. He checks, and they are not fakes—the lenses are prescription, but when he puts them back on his vision has not changed. He realises he cannot remember ever not having worn that pair of glasses.
He cannot understand this, and it troubles him, but he lets the trouble pass and returns to the present moment. Such confusions come to him from time to time, but, like everything else, they are illusions.
He finishes eating, pays the bill, and leaves. He walks in the rain, knowing he has work to do. He gets on a subway train that takes him to the part of the city where he has to work tonight. Back at street level, he finds it is still raining. He walks two blocks until he sees the bar where he is to meet Kitakata. He hopes the rain will stop by the time he and Kitakata leave the bar. He likes busy streets.
The bar is large, but seems small because it is crowded. Takahashi has no trouble recognising Kitakata, even though he has only seen a picture of him. Kitakata is sitting at a table, talking with two other men. Takahashi does not approach them. He stands at the bar and waits to be served. It takes a while, but he gets a beer. He does not look for somewhere to sit, but goes and stands near the door. He sips the beer and waits.
When Kitakata and his friends ask the server for their bill, Takahashi finishes his beer and goes outside.
Kitakata and the other men are glad it is no longer raining. They say their goodbyes and go their separate ways.
Kitakata is small and rotund, and he walks slowly. Takahashi falls into step behind him, walking briskly, hands in the pockets of his coat. For a few seconds, he walks abreast of Kitakata, and then overtakes him. When he is six feet in front of Kitakata, he turns 180 degrees without breaking stride. Stepping backwards as Kitakata comes forwards, he takes his hands from his pockets. The hands are covered by latex gloves, and one of the hands holds a knife. Kitakata has no time to consider what is happening, to start to feel afraid, before Takahashi has stepped forward to meet him, driving the knife hard into the centre of Kitakata's throat.
When he feels the knife has gone in as far as it can go, Takahashi lets go of the hilt, and, as Kitakata falls, he walks away. He does not run. Other people on the street scream or shout. Some look at Kitakata as he lies on the wet pavement, trying to make noises his throat will not allow. Some look at Takahashi as he walks away from his work. He pulls off one of the gloves while looking at a man who is staring at him. He pulls off the other glove while looking at a man who is trying not to stare, who is cowering away. He puts the gloves in the pocket of his coat and keeps walking. There is no blood on him; he simply delivered the knife and moved on before the blood could reach him. He does not care about the witnesses; he likes to do his work in the midst of crowds. It is easier to escape, and the witnesses' accounts of what happened and what the killer looked like will always differ, so the more people the cops and media talk to, the less clear they will be about the details.
It begins to rain again. Takahashi goes back to the subway station and takes a train to the part of town where he lives.
His studio flat has a futon, a chair, a table with a vase of flowers, a laptop computer, a zafu and zabuton, some weapons and some clothes. Takahashi takes off his coat and shoes, then sits at the table, turns on the computer, logs onto the Internet and sends an email to his employer announcing that Kitakata-san has, unfortunately, passed away.
He sits on his zafu in full lotus position. He does not move for a half-hour, after which he stands up, stretches, and goes to bed.