Over breakfast, Hoshino and Nakata consult about the entrance stone. Nakata is still unsure what must actually be done with it. As they’re discussing this, Nakata tells Hoshino he feels like an empty container—he didn’t just lose his memories; he lost every part of himself. Hoshino comforts him, saying that everyone feels that way from time to time. It’s important to keep in mind the advice of Hoshino’s grandfather: life is made meaningful by chance encounters.
Without his memories or essence, Nakata has no sense of himself anymore. He feels strangely disconnected from reality. Hoshino’s comment, that everyone experiences such things from time to time, reinforces the idea that Nakata is simply living a more exaggerated version of the discontent that many characters in the novel experience. Hoshino also returns to an overarching theme of the book by maintaining that chance encounters carry profound meaning.
Outside, a thunderstorm gathers. Nakata says that the stone is the entrance to a world he briefly visited during his coma. Now, he is afraid of what will happen if the entrance stone is opened again, but it must be done. However, the stone seems to have become impossibly heavy since the night before. It takes Hoshino every ounce of his strength to slowly flip it over. While he’s collapsed on the floor, recovering, Nakata says that they have opened the entrance successfully.
Nakata feels pulled by destiny to complete a task that he does not want to undertake, showing that simply believing in fate can make it as good as real.