Excerpt: 'The Briefcase' by Hiromi Kawakami
His full name was Mr Harutsuna Matsumoto, but I called him ‘Sensei’. Not ‘Mr’ or ‘Sir’, just ‘Sensei’.
He was my Japanese teacher in high school. He wasn’t my homeroom teacher, and Japanese class didn’t interest me much, so I didn’t really remember him. Since graduation, I hadn’t seen him for quite a while.
Several years ago, we sat beside each other at a crowded bar near the train station, and after that, our paths would cross every now and then. That night, he was sitting at the counter, his back so straight it was almost concave.