AT LAST! One of my favorite chapters....Can you guess why? :-D
Caption: Fukui Prefecture, Fukui City. Katsugi Bookstore
Arata rings up a customer. "For a total of 3 books, that will ¥1520."
"No, I don't need a bag," says the customer.
"Oh, I apologize," says Arata politely.
"Thank you for your patronage," he says to another customer with a bow.
"Please, don't mention it," says the old man as he leaves. (TN: My goodness, this boy is formal...must be the effect of being raised by his grandfather?)
His manager stares at him in dismay.
"How BORING!" he cries out when all the customers have left. He's apparently reading another porn mag. "Not seductive enough!" (TN: in Chinese, the word used means "demon/elf energy" which also means "charming.")
He looks to Arata. "Just like you, you well-praised Awara City hick. Like an old fuddy-duddy. (TN: this was too hard to translate, and it was a little derogatory, so I improvised). I eagerly await the time you turn into a man of the world!"
"You using your one-sided, limited, sleazy magazine standards to put pressure on me is a form of harassment," Arata responds. (TN: he uses big words...I had to look up every one of them... -_-)
Just then, another customer waves Arata aside. She is apparently looking for a novel her daughter needs as standard reading in her high school. She apparently forgot the title even though her daughter just asked her this morning. The title apparently has to do with animals.
Arata uses his photographic memory like a computer storage database and searches every single title in the store through his memory (TN: OMG...). He responds that of the books in the store, there are 12 books that have to do with animals in their title. Of those, 8 are ear marked for standard reading in school. Of those 8, only one is suitable for high school reading levels. It's called "Ape's Fantastic Journey." The customer immediately recognizes the title, and Arata tells his manager to go to the back, middle shelf, 3rd row from the top, 5th book from the right. (TN: O_O)
Sure enough, the book is there, to the manager's astonishment. The customer says that Arata is the only one she can count on at the store, and tells him not to find a job anywhere else.
"I thank you for your kind sentiment," Arata responds. At that point, when the customer leaves, the manager grabs Arata to the porn section and forces him to look. Arata turns beet red (TN: kyaaa~!) The manager says that if a customer wants to find a certain porn mag, Arata should memorize this section as well. Arata insists that a customer wanting to buy that sort of thing wouldn't bother asking the attendant for help. (He's still bright red and refusing to look)
The manager tells him that people are always asking him (the manager) for help in the porn section, to which Arata responds, "That's their problem."
Arata notices a picture of Ayase Chitose on the cover of a swimsuit magazine. He recognizes her immediately and takes the magazine from the shelf. The manager apparently knows who she is but says she isn't voluptuous enough for his tastes. Arata ignores him and thinks that the Ayase sisters really look similar. In fact, if you take away the hair and make-up...and....TA-DA!!
Arata superimposes Chihaya's face onto her sister's swimsuit body and...overheats. He drops the magazine and coughs for air.
How interesting, his manager thinks. Because of this, I will continue my "Adventures in Getting Arata to Read Porn" project! (-_-;)
Just then, Mrs. Wataya comes looking for Arata.
"Mom!" Arata says from behind the bookshelf.
"Mom?" says the manager.
"I finished the errand you asked me to do for you," she says. (What are you two doing back there?)
Apparently he wanted his mom to get him a cell phone. His manager can't believe in this day and age there's still someone who doesn't have one. Unfortunately, the one she chose is bright pink. He asks her why this color, and she said "because it's cute." In reality, she confesses she really wanted a daughter.
His mom turns to him and asks him to repay her. In turn, Arata turns to the manager and says "pay up." (Today is payday)
"Well then, I'm off," he says to his mom, thanking her. He rides off on his bike.
"Be careful!" his mom waves.
She turns to the manager and asks if he thinks Arata has changed. The manager says, "Auntie, there's nothing you need to worry about, although he did ask if he could cut his part-time hours. It's so frustrating!" His mom says that Arata is practicing competitive karuta again, with a smile.
Cut scene: the subway/train platform
Arata sees Mr. Murao buying a ticket. He notices the ticket is for a train leaving shortly. He asks Mr. Murao where he is going. Mr. Murao responds that he has "something" he needs to do and can't practice today. Arata reminds him that the Western Conference is coming up.
Mr. Murao snaps at him, saying, "Listen! As long as you are going to do your best, that's enough. I'm...a little tired (of karuta)."
Arata rides the train alone and arrives at the Fukui karuta club alone. He starts stretching when he notices Taichi's name on the wall and then picks up some practice cards. On the tatami mat, he bows to the cards and a picture of his grandfather with the karuta group hanging on the wall. (TN: as if he was starting his practice in a dojo).
Are you gonna laugh at me and tell me it's too early for me to be competing?
But my friend is giving it his all in a place far away...
I want to make winning the Western Conference my goal!
Cut scene: Back at Mizusawa High Karuta Club
The group is just wrapping up their first after school practice round (they are wearing their team shirts) as they bow and thank one another after their respective matches. Taichi comments they can rest for 15 minutes before going into the second round.
Kana-chan tells Chihaya that they're going to the (Fukuri) store so if there's anything she wants to buy there... but Chihaya is lost in her own world, staring at the cards on the tatami. Kana smiles and leaves her be.
While playing Kana-chan, I can scoot back 7 rows from the starting point (rows of weave on the tatami), and that's the same with Desktomu-kun.
Meat bun-kun and Taichi have both become stronger, but I can't rush things. Let's make it three rows or so, then.
3 word inhale...4 word exhale....
Chihaya starts practicing on her own and starts reciting the first syllables of the poems, matching her arm movements and timing accordingly. In her mind, the Queen's shadow appears and strikes a card before she can. Chihaya pauses.
I know that taking breaths is important...I also know that if I don't have enough caution, I'm doomed...
The image of the Queen looms in front of her. a dark hand reaching out at her.
That left hand...how do I make it disappear...?
Aside from just relying on speed...what can I use?
Her teammates, back from their break watch her as she practices alone.
"If she used that energy and determination and put one tenths of it into studying...she wouldn't be fifth from the bottom in rank..." Desktomu-kun comments. The others have no comment and Kana hides her face in her hands in shame.
Cut scene: Chiyaha is being lectured by Ms. Miyauchi
Chihaya is forbidden to attend the competition next week in Kawaguchi City. Shocked, Chihaya demands to know why, since the (Furuno) tournament is a competition among skilled and ranked (pro-level) players. Its' the last chance for them to hone their skills before the Western Conference.
Ms. Miyauchi asks her what the day after next Sunday is, to which Chihaya responds "seaside school day?" Ms. Miyauchi reminds her, "It's the first day of FINALS! At this rate, Ayase, you're going to held back a year!"
"It's really that dangerous?" asks Chihaya.
"It's really that dangerous!" Ms. Miyauchi pounds on the table. "I realize that you put your all into playing karuta but you haven't even turned in your form for your choices in college/university have you? I think it's time you considered your future."
Chihaya looks at her in shock. In her mind, aside from "becoming Queen" and the "Western Conference" and the competition at Furuno, far, far in the distance are thoughts about her "future"... -_-;
So, Ms. Miyauchi appoints her new tutor, Desktomu-kun, to teach her everything that's going to be on the final exams.
Cut scene: back at the clubhouse...
"I don't want to, Desktomu-kun!" Chihaya yells, pounding her head and fists onto the table.
"Please call me Tsutomu-sensei," he responds.
"Um, Tsutomu-sensei..." says Meat bun-kun. "Can you teach me the Math and English problems as well? In those areas, I'm a little bit...red." (Meaning his quiz sheets are bleeding red with check marks...)
Kana-chan asks about what they're going to do about the Furuno tournament. Taichi says that since the Furuno tournament is only reserved for A and B ranked players, he'll go by himself. If they're going to study then he's off to the Shiranami Society to practice. Meat bun-kun stops him and says that if he goes and wins second place at the Furuno tournament, which would make him 2nd in two major competitions, to ask Harada-sensei if he could raise his ranking to A rank in that way. Taichi says he's already looked into it, each tournament's ranking qualifications are different, and the only way for him to raise his rank this time is to win at Furuno.
But Meat bun-kun is dissatisfied that Taichi is going alone. At the last tournament everyone tried their best together. He explains that when he told his master that he had finally become an A rank and said it was due to his master's teaching, his sensei smacked him over the head and told him not to say such rubbish. Starting from when he was very little, it was because of that annoying part of him that hated losing, that made him come back. It was because he entrusted his fate to his friends that he was able to accomplish it.
Taichi says, "The only way to accomplish it is to win at Furuno." And he walks off by himself. His teammates know that this is his last chance to become an A rank before the Western Conference.
Cut scene: Taichi playing at the Furno competition
Cut scene: His teammates studying in the club room. Chihaya looks up as if she's had a revelation.
"At this point, we cannot change the way your brain works," Desktomu-kun says. "Most importantly, memorize, memorize, memorize, memorize!! Think of it as a competition, remember that!"
Chihaya's Daddy Bear timer ticks away as she fills in her mock exam answer sheet.
Cut scene: At the Furuno competition
Taichi finishes his second match with good results. Harada-sensei comes over.
"Eyebrows-kun! You're making win after win!"
"What's up, Harada-sensei?" Taichi asks.
"Of course you're winning, you're giving it your all. The Furuno competition is really a big deal with many competitors and skilled A ranks giving their all to be the champion. People as far away as (Kanishi) will be here. It will be a prime opportunity to test your mettle."
I'm watching all the A ranked players shuffle through...
"I trust you've already seen?"
"Seen what?" asks Taichi. From behind Harada-sensei he catches a glimpse of Arata with his teacher. Taichi and Arata make eye contact. (TN: Bishie alert...! Two cute guys on the same page, try not to overheat....)
Cut scene: Back at the clubhouse
Meat bun is writing away frantically while Desktomu-kun oversees.
"Ayase-san sure is slow to come back from her bathroom break." Just then he gets an incoming message on his cell.
It reads: "Sorry Tsutomu-sensei! I have to go cheer Taichi on!"