When we met for lunch, she wore a dark silk dress and red lipstick. At the school where we both taught, she always dressed practically: plastic boots, a raincoat over a faded blue sweatshirt, a white sailor’s cap.

Ito-sensei’s energy astonished me. We often met at the bus stop near our houses in Matsumoto and rode to Meizen Junior High together. Sometimes, as I approached the bus stop from a distance, I’d see her in her sailor’s cap and mistake her, a woman in her seventies, for a young boy.