Hoshino and Nakata arrive in Tokushima. Falling asleep that night in their hotel room, Hoshino quietly wonders what he’s doing. On a whim, he has wrangled some time off to go on this mysterious journey with a stranger. He felt drawn to Nakata because he resembles Hoshino’s deceased grandfather, but now that feeling has faded. Hoshino realizes he is genuinely interested in Nakata’s life, and curious to see where their journey will lead.
Hoshino and Nakata are both relatively independent. Until now, Hoshino has been content with his solitary existence. He is unused to bonding with others and the experience of trusting another person feels odd. But, to his surprise, Hoshino finds that he is enjoying the newfound connection, and decides to continue pursuing it.
Hoshino reflects on his life. After high school, he tried unsuccessfully for some time to get a decent job and eventually settled on truck driving. He is relatively content, but not particularly fulfilled. He also remembers the various fights that landed him in trouble with the police, and the many times his grandfather picked him up at the station. Growing up, he often felt like his grandfather was the only one who cared about him, but Hoshino never properly thanked him.
Like Nakata’s flash back, Hoshino’s reflection on his life reveals that he has been mostly solitary. He neglected the one meaningful relationship that he did have, a thought that now fills him with regret. Hoshino seems to hope that this new friendship will give him the opportunity to form a connection in a way he has previously avoided.
Nakata sleeps soundly for more than twenty-four hours in the hotel room, and, upon awakening, announces that he believes they should continue west. He also gives Hoshino an extremely painful back massage that nonetheless seems to put Hoshino’s spine into a much better alignment. Then, they head by train to Takamatsu. Once there, Nakata announces that he believes they must find “the entrance stone”—but he has no idea what or where it is.
Hoshino and Nakata are able to use their very different skill sets to help each other. Nakata seems to have some special, unique insights that have given them a sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Hoshino is adept at navigating the world and can assist Hoshino in achieving his unique goals. They begin to rely on one another.