While they were buttoning up their trousers, Akira asked: "Hey, Minoru-kun, this year during the Golden Week we have the life-experience class. Did you already apply?"
"No, not yet."
"Hurry up, otherwise you risk not finding a decent space on a fishing boat, and so you would have to go on a small boat, with a single fisherman."
"I was asking for a single."
"Are you crazy? You might succeed in going in a large fishing boat, and possibly even on the Naikai-maru. Kenji went on it last year, and says that there were a couple of handsome young fishermen -- I let you guess what he did with them..." Akira said giggling.
"Do you mean they made love?" Minoru asked unbelievingly, fastening his uniform jacket.
"Sure thing! One of them watched while Kenji was fucking with the other. If you go as a single, it is not so simple, rather the reverse."
"Do you mean they were both gay, Akira-kun?"
"Possibly not. He says that one was certainly married. But it seems that both liked doing it, and especially the married one. Also on the other boats, according to Masato and Junichi, there are some horny fishermen! Particularly someone like you, who likes giving head and taking it up your arse. You will easily find a handsome fisherman eager to have fun with."
"Really, I also like being a top, as you know, even though you never allow me." the boy said with a slight edge in his voice.
"That's more difficult, but you never know. Kentaro says he did it... Hey, see if there is anybody, then you go first."
"Aren't you coming?" Minoru asked, going to the door of the boat depot, and looking outside.
"Later. I'm waiting for Junichi."
"Wasn't I enough?" Minoru asked him, smiling.
"I don't fuck with him. We have to make plans to pick one of the new ones who according him is game."
"Ah, good wishes then." Minoru said leaving.
He perfectly remembered how he had been "picked", in his first year of school, by three seniors. They met him with some pretext, there in the boat depot. They told him that they had been watching him and they wanted to know if he would like to join them, to belong to their "secret club" at the school. He didn't understand what they meant, but the thought that the seniors were ready to accept him, just a few weeks after his enrollment in the Sea Exploitation Institute of Studies, thrilled him. He answered with an eager "yes". They made him solemnly swear that he would keep their secret. He swore, even though he didn't know what secret they were talking about. Then they told him to get undressed. He hesitated for a moment, but then thought that it had to be part of the admission ritual, and complied.
When he was naked, the Senior pulled his dick out of his trousers and told him: "Play my flute, go on!" and pushed his groin towards him.
Minoru knew that the expression meant giving head, and he didn't feel like doing that. He had never done such an ugly thing before. He never had sex, other than jacking off alone. He looked at the soft, menacing dick that was slowly rising and hardening. He refused. But the Senior took hold of him by his hair, forcing him to kneel.
"You play my flute, or we play your drum!" he said menacingly.
Minoru refused again. Then the other two seized him, forced him to go on all fours, and in turn, they all took his cherry. Minoru discovered that, as well as the pain, he was also feeling a strong and odd pleasure. When at last they let him go, the elder told him that he was now one of them, and that he now owed respect to the elders, but that he could have his fun with the younger. The fact was that he was the younger, then. But he would grow, then he too would amuse himself - he thought of as his reward.
At times, among the boys, some steady couples developed that lasted more or less a school year. He liked Akira, his class mate very much, as he had a strong and well proportioned body, but he also liked Saburo, a perky and likeable second year boy. But he was not in a steady relationship with any of them.
He looked up at the almost completely serene sky and smelled the still faint perfume of the first azaleas. Then recalling Akira's advice, he went at once to the registrar to apply for the Golden Week days. He asked for a big fishing boat, following his mate's advice.
The office lady made him fill some forms, then, when she read his preferences, she mumbled: "Bah, too many of you are asking for the big boats. They will have to draw lots. Who knows why each year the demand for the big boats increases?"
Minoru silently giggled.
In his school there were about thirty per cent doing it. Even if nobody would have declared being gay. But he knew he was, and he knew that at least one in three of his mates of the secret club were, and also Akira. But nobody never used the word "gay". At times they talked about "queens" with sarcasm. Nobody liked the queens, not even him. They were caricatures of women. Minoru felt he was a male, one hundred per cent, and he liked males. Nothing more. Once Akira, during the holidays, dated him and took him to Shinjuku Nicchome, to the gay bars. Then Akira left with a young American man. Minoru envied him. An elderly, thin, short and rather ugly man tried to date him, so Minoru went back home, alone. And on the road a queen tried to buttonhole him...
A few days later, the teacher of practical laboratory, talked to his class about the Golden Week and about their applications. He explained to them how their experience of fishing from life would have happened. Then he gave them some more forms to complete before the following day.
"Remember, boys, that this is not a holiday, but an important part of your studies. Those of you who will go on the big boats, will live the whole week on board. They luckily will have very few distractions. The others, instead, would stay either in a fisherman's family as helper or in a boarding house. Anyway the school will fix everything. Those who will stay in the family must remember to bring a present for them; something worth around two-three thousand yen will be correct. Now above all remember to complete the forms I will give you, each day, during your free time. Don't assume you will be able to do all at the last moment. I would at once notice it! And remember that you will be marked on the content of your notes, therefore, busy yourself with those forms!"
The boys asked some questions. Minoru asked: "When will we know our destinations?"
"Next week, I imagine. In this paper you will find lists of what clothes to wear and what to take with you. Nothing more, nothing less, understand? Also in this paper you have all the telephone numbers to call in case of an emergency."
The teacher gave some more explanations, then showed them on a map the boarding points of the main fishing boats. For those who had to go with the single fishermen, each of the students would receive the map together with the data of the person with whom they had to carry out their experience, and a presentation letter from the school.
Finally, in the following week, the lists were pinned up. The fourth year boys crowded around the bulletin board. When Minoru saw his destination, he was disappointed -- not on a big boat, but on a small island off Kyushu that he never heard of, with a fisherman whose name was Katsuzaka Shinji, not even as au pair, but in a ryokan of an unknown low rank.
Crestfallen, he went to the registrar to receive his papers, the map, the letter and some supplementary notices.
First the Shinkansen, then a bus, then a ferry to the small island that, almost if it was on purpose, had name Kojima, "small island", with only one village of two hundred twenty seven souls, called Tamachi. The ryokan's name was Takenoya. Time table, tickets, all in order. Shit!
Akira called him: "Minoru-kun, so where are you going?"
"The worst possible choice!" the boy exclaimed in a black mood.
"Let me see... Oh, poor Minoru! Really, what bad luck you had. Two hundred twenty seven inhabitants. But at least you are in a ryokan, you are more free, better than in the home of the fisherman, isn't it? Possibly an old man with a cantankerous wife and a flood of daughters starving for males! What's more, you save the money for the present, right?" Akira sniggered.
"Yes, you can laugh! Bah, also this Golden Week will pass." the boy said sulkily. "You, how have you got on?"
"Big boat, with Masato-kun, so that if we don't find any horny handsome fisherman, I'll fuck him. Not bad at all, is it?"
"You have all the luck, you have!" Minoru said even more dejectedly
Back home, Minoru prepared his clothes following the list, put them in his rucksack, wore blue shorts, the white T shirt with his school symbol and a blue sea beret. He checked that he had all his papers, tickets, enough money, bade farewell to his parents and went to take the train for Tokyo station, from where he would travel on the Shinkansen. He was in a very bad mood. On the crowded train he felt touched -- somebody was fondling him. He became slightly aroused but at once he lost heart -- how come that only old men tried it with him? And what's more, even ugly? He moved a little, looking at the man harshly. The man pretended nothing happened, but didn't try again.
Also on the Shinkansen -- the person sitting near him was another elderly man. So very friendly. Minoru shut himself off, and was silent. The man persisted, so at last Minoru pretended to sleep. After a while the man stroked his hand. The boy felt persecuted. He then opened his eyes and looked firmly at the man, who smiled. "Stop it, it will be better." Minoru dryly said. Happily the man stopped.
The journey seemed endless. After the Shinkansen, the bus that, after crossing the long bridge, followed the road bordering the Kyushu coast. Beautiful scenery, it has to be said. Minoru remained looking out of the window all the time, until the terminal. Finally the ferry that made only one trip each day to Kojima and other small islands in the surroundings. He saw the island approaching -- a small island, like the name said, in the shape of a straw hat, with a tall craggy cliff on one side, little more than a rock. Minoru sighed.
He got out at the small wooden wharf, with three islanders. As he walked, he looked around. He was in the village, if it was possible to call it so. There was no trace of a ryokan, and nobody was waiting for him. He saw an elderly man sitting on a loading stage. He approached him.
"Excuse me, I was looking for the Takenoya, and for a fisherman called Katsuzaka-san."
"Here one third of the people is called Katsuzaka, and all are fishermen." the man said looking at him from head to toe and frowning, then seemed to brighten: "But, aren't you the student from Tokyo? So, it is Shinji you are looking for. He was here just a minute ago. Ooohi, Shiin! Sinjiiii!" the man shouted, turning towards the houses.
A fisherman came running and Minoru widened his eyes -- he was a young man around twenty-five year old, he later discovered he was twenty-four, with a narrow strip of red cloth twisted and knotted around his head, on his forehead, thick eyebrows, soft lips, his wide, muscled chest bare, and graced with beautiful, dark, small nipples. He had muscled arms and wore only old jeans trousers very tight and with the first button open, from where came out a thin line of dark hairs ending at his navel. He had bare feet. His jeans covered sound firm legs and an agreeable bulge filled his fly. Minoru was fascinated, speechless.
"Hey, you have to be the student, you have! I was expecting you tomorrow." the young man said with his strong Kyushu accent.
"The school told me I had to arrive today, I'm sorry. But if you are busy, I'll just go to the ryokan, if you just show me where it is. I don't want to disturb you, I'm sorry."
"No no... it's back here, three minutes, towards the mountain. Come. Your name is Minoru, right? It is OK if I call you Minoru-kun, isn't it? You too can call me Shinji-kun, if you want. Are you tired after the journey? You know, it is the first time I take a student. A friend of mine, in town, told me that so I could earn some money and you know, just fishing, nowadays, you don't live easily." the young man merrily explained showing him the way.
"Does Shinji-kun live far away?"
"From the ryokan? No, I am on the shore. Here nobody lives far away... I keep my boat under my house, it is convenient."
"Do you live with your family?"
"No, no more, not for a long time. It was my grandfather's home. When I was seventeen I went to live with him, but then, four years ago he died, so now I'm alone. So much the better. I, if it was for me, would also have taken you to my place, as the co-op suggested, but its not a home for someone from the capital, I thought. For Minoru-kun the ryokan would be better, I thought. You are not offended, are you? Because I didn't take you in my home."
"No, sure. Even if... If you live there, I could too, I think." the boy said with some regret.
Shinji laughed and Minoru's heart sang, seeing the clean and merry face of the young man. "No, come on! I was born in such a house, and for me is good. But you, you come from Tokyo."
"My family lives in Chiba. The school is in Tokyo."
"Well, anyway you are used to the capital, right? I feel I would be lost there, when they show it on the TV. You know, at times I go to my uncle's place to watch the TV."
"You don't have a TV set?" Minoru asked, scarcely believing.
"No, it is not useful, and it is expensive. Here we are. Rieeeekooo-saan! Gueeeests! The student from Tokyo arriiiiived!"
A middle age, roundish, smiling woman, wearing a kimono, the mama-san, came to the door and knelt to greet the guest: "Welcome to my humble ryokan. I was waiting for you, so I prepared the bath. You for sure are tired. Come, please, I will show you to your room." the woman said and guided him.
Shinji followed them and said in a low voice: "It seems that I am the only one to have misunderstood your arrival in Kojima. Would you forgive me?"
Minoru smiled at him and nodded.
"Here, you can change your clothes, the yukata is here. I leave you, I'm going to prepare the supper. You too stay to eat with the guest-san, Shinji?"
"Eh!" assented the fisherman nodding, then the woman greeted them and left, closing the door at her back.
Minoru put down his rucksack and looked around with curiosity: "It's nice, here. How many clients are there?"
"Three now, a father a mother and their son. They come every year here for the holidays. What they see nice here, I don't know! Well, why don't you undress? Aren't you going to take your bath?" the young man asked, looking at him.
"Yes, sure. You too are coming?" Minoru asked with hope.
"No, I just did it. I've got to do something, then I'll come back here to eat together, and so we can talk some more." Shinji answered without moving.
So Minoru started to undress for the bath. If also the young man undressed, he would not have felt ashamed, but so, he alone, with the young man not leaving and quietly looking at him, he felt somewhat shy. But he stripped naked and wore the yukata.
"You look more better with the yukata." Shinji said serious. Then he added: "I'll show you where is the bath, then I go. Come."
Minoru washed himself, rinsed, then entered the wide tub to relax. Shinji... he was thinking. Young and with a so beautiful body; a cheerful type, smiling, and even if he spoke terribly ungrammatically, he liked him. He liked his eyes with their serene and deep look. It must have been his life in contact with the nature. Yes, Shinji was a natural element, in some way, simple, spontaneous and beautiful! Recalling the fisherman's body, Minoru became aroused. He would have liked to make love with Shinji, he would have liked it very much. But possibly, gorgeous as he was, he had a girlfriend. When Minoru undressed, Shinji didn't look at him in a special way. He looked at him, but like any person. The serene eyes of the young man showed no interest, and even less desire.
When he felt well relaxed, Minoru left the water, dried himself and put on the yukata. Back in his room, saw that the mama-san, or someone on her behalf, already spread out the futon. He set his few belongings on the closet, opened the shoji and saw that the window looked towards the mountain side, and the sea. The view was beautiful. He laid on the futon and thought again of Shinji -- well, even if he could do nothing with him, it would be an agreeable companion. During the supper he would ask him the daily programs.
The mama-san came to tell him that the supper was ready in the nearby room. The sun was setting and the weather was fine. Shinji was already waiting for him in the dining room. At another table there was the couple with their son, aged about thirteen. They greeted, then Minoru sat at the table, opposite the fisherman.
"Minoru-kun is skilled to swim?"
"Yes, in the school we do lot of swimming."
"Ah, good. Tonight we will go to fish. The boat is ready and also the lamp. Is that you know about the fishing, how is done with the 'lampara'?"
"We studied it at school but this is the first time I can actually do it."
"Uuuh? Studied at school you mean on the books, without really doing it? What a weird thing! I learned doing it with my grandfather, not on the books, I did. You really study it on books, instead?"
"That's why I'm here, to see how it really is done. I hope to learn many things from you, Shinji-kun."
The woman came and served the food: "The fish, Shinji brought it. He fished it just last night. Ah, the fresh fish like this, for sure you cannot eat in Tokyo!" the woman said before leaving. Shinji first served Minoru, then himself.
"How long will we be at sea?" Minoru asked, starting to eat with pleasure -- the food was really wonderful.
"Waah, who knows? I never take my watch, and you as well is better to take it off."
"This watch is waterproof, it is safe also in deep diving."
"Ah, you do skin diving?"
"No, I never did, and I would like to try it. But I don't have the equipment."
"Equipment? It's no use, the equipment. It's enough to have a harpoon, and I'll give you one. Possibly tomorrow or the day after, I'll take you to a place that you see how good it is. Water that seems to look inside a glass. And nobody to bother us. But possibly you are not used to, so it will be better if I find you goggles, who knows, my uncle may have them, as he has everything."
"Will you teach me also to prepare the lamp, to mend the nets, to rig the boat?" Minoru asked.
"Eh, possibly tomorrow, or later, as for tonight it is all ready."
"Tomorrow morning?" Minoru asked.
"Tomorrow morning? Tomorrow morning we have to sleep, as we are back late, that is early, from the sea. Probably, after lunch."
"I see. Will you come to have lunch here, tomorrow?"
"Eh, I promised her fish for free, so that in these days I'll eat with you, if this doesn't bother you."
"No, on the contrary, I'll be pleased."
"Mmh. Then, so. I don't know, I could perhaps made mistakes with you people of Tokyo, as they didn't teach me all the good manners."
"No, don't worry. There is no problem at all."
"You are kind. But if I possibly do wrong, what, you will tell me, please?"
"Eh, sure." the boy answered and smiled in himself -- the too spontaneously answered with a 'eh' instead of a 'yes', right like the fisherman did.
"Me, the co-op, said that you have to go back happy and satisfied, and I hope you do."
"Eh, the Fishermen Labor Co-operative. They asked me to take you. I asked myself how could be a student from Tokyo."
"And how am I?"
"Well, you talk like the people in the TV, you are kind, and then I still don't know you, but anyway you are not bad, to be one from the city."
"Thank you. I hope we will fit together."
"Eh, sure I too hope. So possibly next year comes another student and I can earn some more money."
"Do they pay you well?"
"Sure, a thousand yen per day!"
"A thou... a thousand?" Minoru asked as he thought lot more. With a thousand yen, in Tokyo, you pay two cups of coffee, more or less...
"Eh, A lot, isn't it? That's why I accepted. That is, I mean, you see... I didn't yet know you, that if I knew you were likeable I could do it even for free, as anyway I work all the same, but instead it is better that way, no?" the fisherman merrily said, helping himself with more rice.
After eating, they chat some more, then Shinji said to Minoru: "Well, it's time. Let's go to your room, so you change your clothes and we can go to fish. Put on clothes like mine, you'll be comfortable."
Shinji was wearing the same jeans as in the afternoon, and he had just put on a singlet. Minoru undressed and dressed under the fisherman's eyes, but the young man again didn't show, with regret of the boy, any interest for his nudity. Then he followed him to the village. They reached a small two floored building, with the lower one in the water. They entered there under -- the boat was ready. It was an old wood boat, traditional, to which had been added an engine. On the prow a long movable pole with a big lamp with a reflector ring. Shinji explained some basic things to Minoru, before boarding, pointing at the particular item he was explaining with his torch. Then they boarded, Shinji untied the boat and sat at the stern.
"Start!" the young man said, pushing away from the shore with a long pole. When they were out, he started the engine. The boat fired, and ran. Shinji, at the rudder, directed it making it do a wide arc then, looking around, at a certain point he switched off the engine.
"Here! Now we stay a while still and in silence, as the engine disturbed the fishes with its noise. Then the net, and then the lamp. If there is a shoal nearby, we can catch enough of them. They are not as many fish as before. But on the other hand fisherman are not as many, so still you can earn a living. Sure, the villages are emptying. Before the ferry passed three times a day, just think of that. But then... Also young people, we are so few that you can count them with just one hand."
They started. They fished all the night long, moving from time to time with the oars, and starting again. They filled a big basket. Minoru helped in silence, trying to imitate the young man's movements and to be helpful, even if at times he was aware he was more of a hindrance than useful. At times he looked at Shinji's muscles and felt a strong desire to touch them, to caress them. Fine muscles, the result of hard work, and not enlarged by weight training. The bulge under his fly, was so attracting...
When they returned, it was four a.m. Minoru was tired, but satisfied. He helped Shinji to dock, to tie the boat, to unload it. Shinji divided the fish in smaller baskets, selecting the various kinds. He gave a small basket to Minoru.
"You know the way, don't you? You give these to the mama-san, then you hit the bed. We will meet in the afternoon."
"You too hit the bed, now?"
"No, I first deliver the fish, I'm going to bed later. But you are tired, you are not used to it, are you?"
"You stopped before time because of me?"
"No no, it is that the fish, there is not so much of it and this anyway is enough to make the day. And then you helped me, and you were better than I thought. Really. You would become a good fisherman. Perhaps that idea of studying on the books is not so stupid!"
Minoru smiled. Said goodbye and went back to the ryokan. He would have liked to stop some more with Shinji, but he really was tired and possibly the young man also desired to be a while alone.
When he woke up, it was already one p.m. Shinji was waiting for him, chatting with the mama-san. Minoru took a bath, then went to have his lunch.
"Possibly, even though you come here for fishing, perhaps you feel like making a tour on the mountain? There is a nice shrine, ages old, you know? My grandpa, when he was a child, already the shrine was there, and possibly even when his grandpa was a child. Who knows. And there is a spring of fresh water so good that the best sake will be ashamed. Are you game?"
"Aren't you busy?"
"No no, it's all right. Just we have to be back before dinner, so we can fix the nets and all we need, and have time to mend them. OK? Then possibly I'll teach you to mend the nets, if you like."
"All right. You are very kind."
"Eh, I told you, I want you to go back happy."
They went to the mountain. Shinji, this time, besides his usual jeans, he had a polo shirt that hid the beautiful muscles of his upper body. But while they were climbing, Minoru admired the twin beautiful hemispheres of the young man's arse, tightly wrapped by the jeans, and his thighs stretching at each step under the faded and tense blue fabric.
Reached the shrine, they drank the shrine's water, then sat on the wooden platform that surrounded the building. The panorama was really beautiful.
"Tasty that water, right? It is a famous water, you know?"
"Not just fresh, no no. That if you drink it you feel you are born again." the young man said.
"Are you engaged, Shinji-kun?" the boy asked, looking at him.
"In this hole of island, there are no young girls and anyway, who do you think would like to come to be the wife of a poor fisherman, like me? Ah, a girlfriend? Also my brothers and sisters left, to find jobs and to have a good life."
"And you? Why do you remain here?"
"Why do I stay? Bah, and where to go? To do what? I feel OK here, and here I'll die. I'm able just to fish, nothing else."
"You can find a job on a big fishing boat."
"When I was eighteen, I tried, and I ran back. It stinks, and then, that is not to be a fisherman. No, I feel too good staying here. And then, in town, nobody knows you, nobody greets you. If you fall down, they look at you and move aside not to stumble. And all the day long, you see just strangers! Here we are all a family, and the fewer we are, the more we are a family."
"But, don't you feel lonely?"
"Lonely? No, I felt more lonely and lost in the town, and even in the big fishing boat! From there you can not even plunge in the sea when you feel like! No, Minoru-kun, it is not for me, the big fishing boat, or the city."
"But growing older, to have somebody near you..."
"We will be near each other amongst old people."
"I mean, also now that you are young, always alone in your home, always alone in your futon..."
Shinji laughed: "Ah, that! I can't help it!"
Minoru wanted to ask him 'what do you do when you feel horny?' but he didn't dare. There was not yet enough intimacy between them and such a question might annoy him. No, what really Minoru would have liked to say was 'I'll come in your futon, to relieve you' but of course he could say something like that even less. He tried to imagine how could be Shinji naked in his bed, and that image aroused him. He didn't still see the fisherman naked, but what he could guess was of first choice. He thought that the young man had an extremely sensual body.
They went back. They mend some ladders in the net, put it in the boat, folding it in the right way, and charged the lamp. Then Shinji invited him to go upstairs and offered him a beer.
It was a simple, poor room. A small refrigerator sustained a Buddhist home altar and Minoru thought it had to contain the tablet of his late grandfather. A door that probably lead into the kitchen, another that could lead to the small entrance. A beautiful, wide window opening on the sea, from which could be seen the water colored by the approaching sun setting. Minoru thought that he would have liked to live in such a place, especially if with Shinji, if by chance he was game...
They went back to the ryokan. Ate their supper. Then went again out to fish. Shinji was wearing the same singlet of the night before. Minoru liked him better with his singlet than with his polo shirt -- he could catch a glimpse of his beautiful pecs. He would have liked him even more without the singlet, like on the first day. And possibly also without his jeans, without anything -- he had to be gorgeous, all naked!
On the following afternoon Shinji took him to make the island complete tour with his motor boat. This time, to Minoru's great pleasure, with bare chest. Also Minoru stripped to his bare chest, enjoying the feeling of the air on his skin, the sun's rays, and the smell of sea. At the opposite side of the island, Shinji turned off the engine and laid down on the boat bench.
"When a child, I often came here, with my mates, to search for shells. We had swim races, or to see who stayed longer under the water. We bathed all naked, as we were alone and we were all kids, all boys. And we also made contests to see who splashed further."
"Splashed? Water?" Minoru asked without understanding.
Shinji giggled: "No no, we stood all in a row, and then, you know, well, with the hand, in this way," the young man said making the gesture with his hand, "until we splashed out. I won just once. It was always my cousin Eiji the winner."
"How old were you when you had your first girl?" Minoru then asked, anxiously waiting his answer.
"How old? I still have to have one, I, that once almost succeeded with the sister of a mate of mine, and at the wrong moment he comes and calls his sister, and she has barely the time to run away and hide, and my friend comes and asks me where his sister is; what do I know I say, but my heart was beating like mad. If they had caught us! And after that, she acted as if she didn't want to see me. But she liked it at that moment when her brother came, and if he hadn't come... Who knows why, but then she didn't want to try any more. It means that I am deemed to be like the bonzes."
"And it is not heavy?" Minoru asked, thinking that anyway the bonzes do it with their novices...
"What can I do? It is so, and that's all."
Again Minoru didn't dare to push the subject further; particularly because Shinji didn't ask him anything about that subject.
They went to fish together for the third night. Again the young man took him to his place to drink a beer. Just a beer, not even the possibility of pretending to be a little drunk, to have a pretext to touch him, Minoru thought with regret. He desired Shinji more and more. They chatted some minutes, then Shinji sent him to the ryokan to sleep.