Watanuke Kimihiro is teaching the child seer, Kohane, how to cook at the house of the elderly seer who is taking care of her. The Elderly seer tells Watanuke how much he has changed since she first came to know him, and he is rather gratified at the thought. She also tells him that Yuko has changed as well, from the day she met him.
As Watanuki and the old lady speak, Domeki goes with Kohane to find drinking glasses for the sake he brought to the party. She tells Domeki that when she first met he and Watanuki, that they didn't seem to get along, and now they are almost friendly. How did that happen? Domeki tells her he saw Watanuki standing in the rain one day without an umbrella, wondering if he was going to die alone, just like his parents.
Kohane tells Domeki she understands. She thought she and Watanuki were alike, but Kimihiro Watanuki has friends, and people who look after him. Domeki tells her he is here for her as well. Kohane also knows that Domeki is keeping something for Watanuki, and she asks Domeki to take care of him. Domeki agrees.
After they leave Watanuki tells Domeki that once upon a time, he wondered if he was going to die alone like his parents, parents he cannot even remember, but now, he doesn't care if he remembers. He wants to stay around. Domeki looks at him, stunned, and asks if he is going to change his mind about this, but Watanuki says he won't.
Back at Yuko's shop, a woman comes in one day and asks for cooking lessons. Yuko says there will be a price, and the woman agrees to pay it. And then assigns Watanuki to teach her. He's a little put down at this, but they point out that he has already taught Kohane to cook so wonderfully that he cannot help but agree. That night, he dreams of Domeki's grandfather, who also says that Watanuki has grown and moved forward, making friends and wanting to stay, and that this, for him, is a good thing.
They also discuss Domeki, and Haruka says that Domeki doesn't eat something unless he can understand it, and that when Domeki was younger, he took Domeki to very good places to eat- only the best. So it's not like he's picky, he has very good taste.
When Watanuki goes to teach the woman cooking, she is very good, but when Watanuki brings the food to school that she made, Domeki tastes it, and he doesn't eat any more. He asks if Watanuki's student made the food, and Watanuki confirms it. But Domeki doesn't eat any but that one piece.
Later, Watanuki serves it to Yuko and asks her opinion of the food. She says it is fine, and he explains the problem with Domeki and the food. She says that the problem with the food may not be the ingredients, but other things it is missing. This seems strange to Watanuki, but he gets into an argument with Mokona and the moment is lost. The next day, he teaches the woman to make egg rolls, sweet potato egg rolls, and they come out beautifully.
He asks her why she wants to learn to cook, and she tells him she is getting married, and he congratulates her. He offers to let her taste test the food, but she won't. She says it is sickening to eat the food you cook yourself. Watanuki asks Domeki about it later, and about his reaction to the food he tasted that this woman cooked, and he says it had no flavor of the woman who made it.
Body memory- even if you are making a basic recipe, the way you cook it says things about you. Domeki felt nothing from the woman, not even emotion. Later, when Watanuki goes back to the woman, he asks her about it, and she tells him that she feels that she is disgusting- so that eating her own food, knowing that she has touched it, would be even more disgusting.
He asks her about her marriage, but it turns out to be an Omai marriage, and she has only met him three times, so she doesn't really know him at all. If she doesn't know, she can ignore it.
Meanwhile, Yuko meditates on the meaning of Watanuki's existence, and the choices that he has made, while preparing her shop for some kind of ending. The spirits of Maru and Moru find out things that they have not known before, about Watanuki, Syaoran and the link between them, and about Watanuki's parents, who may not be dead after all...
Well, this book reveals quite a lot about Watanuki, both the meaning of his names, first and last, and who he really is- and more importantly, why he is, and why he can't remember anything about his life. It's actually a little strange, that while his life is linked to Syaoran, their differences seem to have come about to both protect Watanuki, and from the choices each has made.
I really liked this volume, and this series. It has grown tremendously from where it was when I first read it, to where it is now, and so has Kimihiro Watanuki. Events are being foretold in this book, and I do hope they come to pass soon, but at the same time, I don't want this story to end. I fear for what might become of Watanuki. Will he fade away, or be joined with Syaoran somehow? It's hard to tell.
I will warn you right now... don't look up the wikipedia article on the series unless you want the ending to be spoiled. But there are only 17 volumes in the series, and Watanuki has a lot of growing up to do. I can only hope they come out quickly. Highly recommended.