I’m practicing a word I’ve never used as I get on my borrowed bicycle for the last time and head out the driveway into the night. Practicing in my head as I leave the bicycle in front of the lab building and go up to the third floor one last time. Practicing behind tight lips as I turn the handle of the door. And when I step through and see them all there, I know I haven’t practiced enough.
The most difficult word to say in any language is goodbye.
My first thought is that the interrogation room is a lot like the ones I’ve seen on crime shows, except that it’s a little brighter and the Japanese attention to detail is present even in the Kyoto police department. It’s not a hardwood chair but a rolling, plush office seat behind the desk.
Dr. Motojima and Ishizaki-san are very surprised when I tell them, halfway up Mt. Hiei, that I’d already been to Lake Biwa the previous day. They are flabbergasted when I tell them that I went by bicycle.
“Are you crazy?” Ishizaki-san asks, smiling, in slow, careful English. I laugh. “My friends talked me into it!”