In the hotel room, Nakata settles in to a long nap. Hoshino realizes that he has abandoned his job, but finds that he doesn’t much care. While Nakata sleeps, Hoshino wanders the city, eventually finding himself in a nice coffee shop. Thinking about how little he has accomplished, he suddenly has a vague sense of himself as unreal or meaningless. Yet he has a strange feeling that he belongs with Nakata, and that he’s making the right choices.
Hoshino realizes that his newfound friendship has given him a sense of purpose that he lacked before. His friendship with Nakata is the first real connection he’s had in a long time. Hoshino’s arc demonstrates the limits of independence, showing that a meaningful friendship has allowed Hoshino to start living a richer life than he was living on his own.
The shop’s proprietor, a retired Ministry of Education official, asks Hoshino if the music in the cafe is bothering him. He realizes he actually enjoys the music very much, and the shop owner says that it’s Beethoven’s Archduke Trio. The next day, Hoshino returns to the shop. This time, the proprietor is listening to Haydn. Listening to the music, Hoshino thinks back to the joy of his childhood, and realizes he’s been leading a meaningless existence. He thinks it must be possible to change direction, even now. Decisively, he realizes he doesn’t care about his job—all that matters is helping Nakata.
Just as embarking on a real friendship for the first time has been eye-opening for Hoshino, allowing him to grow in new ways, Hoshino begins to pay attention to music for the first time and find that it, too, has a profound effect on him. Listening to the music opens Hoshino up to the possibility of appreciating more art, and makes him feel as if his decision to trust a new person was the right one.