Something Unexpected

Quite aside from the difficulties and mysteries encountered above (in “Sanchōden: The Transmission of the Three Birds” and “The Absence of the Third Bird at Nikkō”), we would also like to share a diverting image that arrived over the transom from a correspondent who provides only a “bird name,” as traditionally adopted by associates of the Order of the Third Bird. The caption scribbled on the reverse of this photograph, taken in apparent haste, is as follows: “Workroom and headquarters, Secretary Locotenant of the Order of the Third Bird.” Many of our readers are in proud or bemused possession of one of the many contradictory and fragmentary images of the Locotenant currently in circulation. The present photograph is unusual in that it does not purport to feature the Secretary him- or herself, and also appears to be quite contemporary.