Chapters 9–10 Summary

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Chapter 9

Miss Sugizaki introduces Naomi and Joji to Madame Shlemskaya, and Joji is overwhelmed by the experience of being in such close proximity to a true Western woman. He admires the whiteness of her skin and the sturdiness of her build. When Madame Shlemskaya dances with Joji during their lessons, his short stature places his face right in front of her chest. He guiltily admits that he continued attending lessons because of his attraction to Madame Shlemskaya, a fact that he hides from Naomi when she expresses surprise at his dedication to the dance club.

A few months into their lessons, Naomi attempts to convince Joji to go out to an actual dance hall with her. He reluctantly agrees, but he begins to worry about the state of his finances once Naomi insists that she will need a new outfit for the occasion. Joji makes good money, and he was formerly a frugal man who diligently added to his savings and kept his expenses minimal, but Naomi‘s lifestyle has steadily increased in lavishness. Not only does she constantly ask for new clothes and fabrics, but she also refuses to cook and instead orders food from local restaurants. Their house is also consistently filthy and cluttered, and even the maids that Joji attempts to hire are scared off by Naomi’s slovenliness.

Little by little, Joji uses up his entire savings account attempting to keep up with Naomi’s extravagance. Even when he attempts to save money by neglecting his own wardrobe and grooming, Naomi belittles him for wearing outdated fashions and forces him to buy clothes that will pair better with hers. When he tries to put his foot down about not buying new dancing clothes, Naomi cries and pouts until he gives in.

The next day, Joji sends a letter to his mother asking for money, claiming that the costs of living in the city are rising. His mother promptly sends the money. Joji feels guilty for lying to her, but he nonetheless gives Naomi the money so she can buy new dancing clothes.

Chapter 10

At the dance hall, Joji and Naomi meet up with Naomi‘s friends Hamada and Kumagai. Naomi is critical of Kumagai’s date’s appearance, referring to her as a “monkey.” Joji is disconcerted by how casual and vulgar Naomi‘s speech is when she talks with her friends. He is also somewhat saddened when Naomi chooses to dance with Kumagai before him.

After the first dance ends, Naomi invites Hamada and Kumagai to have their respective dates join her and Joji’s table. Hamada’s date is a beautiful actress named Kirako Haruno. Joji admires her lovely features and polite, refined temperament. Naomi is briefly intimidated into silence by Kirako’s beauty, but she eventually recovers and strikes up a conversation, complimenting Kirako on her dancing.

When Kumagai’s date—Kikuko Inoue—joins the group, Naomi mean-spiritedly asks Kumagai if he likes monkeys, causing Hamada and Kumagai to laugh. Kikuko seems oblivious to the fact that she is being made fun of, and Kirako seems to disapprove of Naomi’s behavior.

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Chapters 7–8 Summary


Chapters 11–12 Summary