Apparently my shipment needs to be ordered from Taiwan before YesAsia.com can ship it to me. They promised 5 - 12 business days. From there it will take another 12 - 15 days for deliveries over the Pacific...meh. Sucks to be so far away from the Asian scene. The only friends I know who live in Taiwan are guys, and I think they'd be too embarrassed to buy that on my behalf...
Anyhoo, I scoped some of the Chinese sites for what other fans are polling.
Some fans are pairing Arata with The Queen (you will know why as you read ahead)...but BLEH! Seriously? That frigid witch? NO. Absolutely not. Chihaya x Arata (Chiharata) fans all over the world will cry!
The next popular poll I saw was "Arata! Marry Chihaya already!" Hahaha. We are not alone.
Chapter 36 (or, "what I can read that wasn't scanned by a blind person")
I have to go support Taichi!!
Chihaya runs to the train station. On her way, she passes a shrine and zips to the prayer altar. In her purse she has a ¥500 v. ¥1 coin (TN: Think $6.50US v. $0.01US) She stands indecisive for a moment. With tears in her eyes she tosses the more expensive coin into the altar and prays for luck. (TN: Sad, tough choices.. .)
Cut scene: Taichi stares wide-eyed at Arata
They both are speechless for a moment. Suddenly Harada-sensei and Kuriyama-sensei greet each other loudly (old acquaintances). They push their students Taichi and Arata aside roughly.
--old people talking--
"I haven't seen you in ages! Kuriyama, sure enough you've come to the Kanto region!"
"Oh, my old knee problem. Well, this time the (Nagumo) Society has a lot of participants so I came as their chaperone."
"So once you've cured your knee problem, you can go back to playing karuta, right?"
A dissheveled Arata tells Taichi that he heard Kuriyama and Harada were consistent rivals from the days of their youth. Taichi asks who Kuriyama is, and Arata responds he's the current leader of the Nagumo Karuta Society. Cute, awkward bishie moment follows after they realize they've just spoken to one another.
An announcer calls out that the 3rd round matches for A rank and B rank players is about to start and everyone should take their places.
As Taichi starts to go, Arata pulls him aside and asks him to wait a moment. He gives him his new contact information on a piece of paper and says, "I guess there was a misunderstanding on my part. I thought I would be able to play against you today, Taichi."
His words shock Taichi a bit. (TN: b/c that's the showdown Taichi wanted as well...?)
"If there's a need to, you can give that information to Chihaya as well," Arata says calmly.
Cut scene: Chihaya racing through the train station
Announcer: "Please board safely."
Chihaya jumps onto a departing train only to find out it's the train that's leaving right next door that's the one she's supposed to get on.... -_-; (TN: typical bishoujo moment....)
She gets a message from Desktomu/Tsuotmu-sensei: By closing your eyes to your current reality, aren't you running away from what your true purpose should be right now?
OMG, he's so cold when he's pissed!
She pauses and thinks of Shinobu. Be it schoolwork or karuta...I haven't progressed a bit since then....
But whenever Taichi wins or loses...he's the only one that I'm not sure of what he'd do next!
Announcer: "Yoyogi. Yoyogi." (TN: Tokyo, Shibuya North)
"Oh, I've gotta switch trains!" After a moment's hesitation, Chihaya heads off to fulfill her original purpose.
Cut scene: At the (Furuno) Competition
"Taichi!" Chihaya calls as she spots him sitting on a bench. "What happened? Are you still giving it your all? Which round is it right now??"
"I lost in the 3rd round," he responds. Chihaya is speechless.
"Chihaya, Arata is here competing."
(TN: I know this isn't really that much of a shoujo manga, but the mangaka did win a publisher's prize in the shoujo category, so maybe it's borderline shoujo/josei? This is such a classic shoujo moment...the mangaka obviously knows who the audience is. I included links to the panels themselves because the sentiment is a bit ethereal. You need to combine the picture with the poetry.)
"Waiting for my lover, my lover doesn't come..." (the poem being sung/read through during a competition, resounding in the halls outside)
Inset: Arata's entry card lying on the table. He's won 3 matches by 8, 7 and 4 cards.
Cut scene: Chihaya silently watches from a corner of the room
"The beach at dusk, shines against the pine sail...The aquatic sea grass exactly reflecting my feelings."
Chihaya stands mesmerized by Arata.
"For so long I've not seen my friend..."
Cut scene: Harada-sensei (also competing) makes his kill move and wins his match
On his way out, he notices Chihaya, and is surprised that she's there. Harada-sensei notes how she can't take her eyes off Arata. In the lobby outside, he sees Taichi slumped in a chair, looking over the contact information Arata gave him in his hand.
Taichi crumples it.
Cut scene: As Chihaya watches Arata play, she is engulfed by the deep blue waves of the ocean, and being submerged.
"Gazing from afar, the river in the heavens...resemble waves crashing upon the cliffs."
Chihaya likens Arata's style of playing to be like rushing water. She is completely submerged.
Cut scene: Taichi brooding
He's mulling over his loss by 3 cards.
I know it wasn't because of what Arata said that made me lose...but...
Taichi walks over to the room where Chihaya is watching Arata play.
Chihaya grabs Taichi's hand suddenly without once taking her eyes off Arata. "Taichi...Taichi," she whispers. Her eyes brimming with tears. "We've done it." She looks up at him. "We've done it!"
"Once we've become strong, we'll wait for him to come back...Because Arata...will definitely come back!"
He remembers what she said back then. Even Taichi is caught up in the moment and remembers why he and Chihaya worked so hard in the first place. A tear falls from his eye.
Taichi! We've done it!
Caption: Perhaps the feelings were similar. In my heart I had kept these feelings as well...
We've done it! Arata has come back!