Nakata and the truck driver, Hoshino, stop for breakfast in Kobe. They fall into easy conversation, which is unusual for Nakata. Nakata explains that it’s extremely important that he crosses a bridge into Shikoku, although he doesn’t know why. While Hoshino finishes his delivery, Nakata reflects on his life. After the incident during the war, Nakata barely finished school, but never regained the ability to read or write. He worked for most of his life as a furniture maker, and spent the last decade living off a government subsidy in Tokyo. All but forgotten by family and without any friends, Nakata rarely speaks to anyone. When Hoshino returns, he tells Nakata that his plan has changed. Instead of returning to work in Tokyo, he will accompany Nakata to Shikoku by bus.
As Nakata and Hoshino begin to develop a relationship, Nakata, like Kafka before him, begins to learn the benefits of relinquishing some amount of independence in favor of forming friendships. This new friendship is thrown into sharp contrast with Nakata’s earlier, extremely solitary existence. Meanwhile, Hoshino, too, decides to open himself up to this new acquaintance, trusting him to lead them onwards.