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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 9.4 (Chapter 51)

Chapter 51

Scene: Sumire buffing her nails in class

She gets a text message from her friend, asking her if it's true that her boyfriend broke up with her  [especially during Spring -- how lonely :-(]  This pisses Sumire off and she angrily texts back an excuse that she's already found someone better, a 2nd year senpai who is cool, and tall, and first in his class.  She's even joined the same club as him and she's determined to date him.  Sumire even offers to send her friend a picture.  In return she gets an approving text response from her friend.

You just don't get it, Nami, Sumire thinks.  For a girl like me who's at a higher level of 'cute' than your average pretty girl...I can use tenderness as a weapon!  (She's read a lot of 'how to' magazines...)  If this were a shoujo manga I would be the leading female character!  I will overthrow the beautiful leading antagonistic love rival! (Chihaya)

Cut scene: Meanwhile, the beautiful leading antagonist love rival Chihaya is deep in thought during Classic's class

We only need the five of us to compete for the High School Championship.

The only ones who need to win tournaments are us five, right?

While her doddering teacher is lecturing, Chihaya passes a note to Meat bun (who sits next to her in this class) on her Daddy Bear stationary.

"Perhaps after we teach the freshmen how to appreciate karuta, someone among them will emerge as a strong player?"

"There are only 2 months until the High School Chapionship, there's no way we could train them fast enough.  If you really want to train them, wait 2 months and we'll discuss it again!"

"If we ignore them for 2 months, we won't be able to retain a single member!"

He tosses a note back to her and it hits her in the face. "Isn't that OK too?"

Chihaya is shocked by Meat bun's response.

Not the same!  Concerning the karuta club our ways of thinking are all different...

The difference (in opinion) is so vast--

Cut scene:  Back in homeroom, class 2-1, Government (Ms. Miyauchi)

Ms. Miyauchi is explaining how every class will start with a pop quiz and all students should purchase a copy of the prep materials.  Also, preparation for college entrance exams really begin during sophomore year.  Once they've chosen a school, they can't be idle and must start preparing.

Chihaya--  Taichi thinks.  That brat just doesn't understand.  Our time right now is precious!  Without even hesitating she just wants to do what she wants to do.  He thinks back to when she lost to Shinobu.  Her dream is becoming the Queen.  When she lost, she was clearly crying!

I have to...stop her.

Cut scene: Chihaya dragging Meat bun down the hall

"Meat bun-kun, what were you doing?" Chihaya demands.  "I clearly said we're going to have a meeting at lunch time."
"Well, because I ate my lunch early in the morning, I was going to get in line and buy a pineapple bun."
"I'll share half my lunch with you."
"That's not enough!"

They come into the club room and see Kana-chan cleaning the mats.
"Kana-chan, you got here fast," comments Chihaya.
"That's because class 5 is closest to the club room."
"Oh, everyone's here," says Desktomu-kun as he comes in.
"Class 1 is really far," remarks Taichi.
When they finally sit down for lunch, Taichi begins, "Concerning the issue with the freshman recruits, there's no way our club room can accommodate all 20 entrants...."
"ME!" cries out Chihaya, raising her hand.  "Let me use another empty classroom and teach the 20 recruits!"

At that point, Taichi is about to pop a vein.  "Chihaya...The most important thing for you right now is what?  By insisting on taking this upon yourself, do you think you can win over Shinobu Wakamiya?"
"Let me be the one to teach the freshmen.  Even if some of them drop out, what's important is to teach them properly from the start," says Kana.
"As long as we have enough members to keep the club room, that's all that matters to me, even better if they want to join in on club activities," comments Desktomu-kun.
"If there are 20 people noising about, can we really do our best during practice?  The competition is in June!" says Meat bun.
"What about you, Chihaya?" asks Taichi.
"I..." she pauses.  "The first thing right now is for Taichi to become A rank."  Everyone is shocked to hear it.
What? thinks Taichi.  Chihaya is actually thinking about my issues?
"What?  What's wrong everyone?" Chihaya asks.  Then she offers a hand to Meat bun.  "Are you okay?"

She's so greedy!  I've never seen anyone so greedy! everyone thinks as they are shocked speechless by her aspirations.  Taichi puts his head in his hand.

"....Chihaya...." (he feels a headache coming on)  "I understand the other goals, but becoming a school with a strong karuta club....and like Hokuo impossible without a proper instructor."
"I..."she begins, "If I had kohai, even if I graduated I would still come back and teach karuta."  Everyone is amazed by her words.

Never seen anyone who was so greedy.  Or anyone who loved karuta more.

Cut scene: Chihaya teaching the freshmen

"Today, we're going to use this empty classroom and learn karuta together!" she says happily.
"Isn't Mashima senpai going to teach us?" asks Sumire.
"The other sophomores are busy right now practicing for the upcoming high school competition in June. As soon as you guys understand the basics of karuta, you can join the Shiranami Society and afterwards we can all practice together."
"Is it OK for you to be here, senpai?" asks a freshman.  "Is it because you're not the strength of the karuta team that you got stuck teaching us?"
"Are you the back-up player? Though I don't really understand the rules," says another.
"I'm the TRUMP CARD!" Chihaya declares with a scary face.

Huh? Trump card?

Cut scene: back at the club room

"Well, we'll use the recordings today," says Tsutomu (no one to read).
"Sure, are we starting?" asks Meat bun.
"Well..." begins Taichi.  "Would any of you mind if I headed to the Shiranami Society to practice?  I just need to go on Tuesdays or Thursdays during the week.
Meat bun grins.  "Why are you being so polite?  Just go!"
"He finally asked!" smiles Desktomu.
"And Harada-sensei and Tsuboguchi-san are there as well," adds Meat bun.

Taichi looks at them gratefully and heads out.

"First I want Taichi to become A rank."

"I think Ayase-san has really changed," says Desktomu.  "Certainly she still does everything by winging it, that hasn't changed, started since I told her that she had 20 single syllable cards."
"Has she changed?" asks Meat bun.
"I can't explain it really well," begins Desktomu, "but, you see, because she said something like finally opened Taichi to start thinking about himself."

Cut scene:  during karuta freshmen training

Sumire is thinking that it's so obnoxious to have to study karuta poetry and not have Taichi there to look at.  Just as she's feeling sleepy she notices there's a guy sitting next to her.  (The only guy in the crowd).  But then she notices the "hanano wagami" card.
"Memorizing the poems is, of course, a good thing but there are better ways of memorization.  It would be faster to memorize the first few syllables of the first phrase of the poem, and the first few syllables of the second phrase of the poem."  Chihaya notices that Sumire is tearing up.
"Sumire-chan!  What's wrong?  Was it a ghost?  A bug?" she says hurriedly, handing her a box of tissue.  (TN: ...what...?)
"T-the poem..." Sumire sobs.  The "hanano" card is based on a poem about the fleeting beautify of flowers and the poet makes a comparison between the flowers (sakura) and her youth.
"It' true...." Sumire concludes.

Youth and beauty...always fade over time.

To not live for is that possible?!

Sumire quickly excuses herself.  The other recruits also pick up on poems they really like or have some significance for them.

Chihaya remembers the words Kana once said, that the poetry and not the competition was what held the most significance for her.  If you start off loving the poetry for what it is, you will always see it as poetry in your heart.

Cut scene: Sumire at the station

She's been looking for Taichi.  (TN: stalker)

Found him!

"Mashima senpai!" she calls out.
"You are...?"
"Wow, what a coincidence.  I was heading home early because I had a headache."
"Oh, you're Sumire-chan, right?"
Oh, he called me Sumire-chan!
"What's your last name?"
"Well then, Hanano-kohai," says Taichi.
"You can call me Sumire," she responds immediately.
"Do you think you can continue with the karuta club?" he asks.
"Of course I can," Sumire answers.
"Really?  That's awesome."

Wow, his voice is so beautiful!

Isn't this great?  Isn't this great?  As they step onto the train, Sumire thinks she super lucky because they seem to take the same route to and from school.  A wind of good fortune is certainly blowing my way!
"Oh, there's an empty seat," says Taichi.  "Why don't you sit down?"
"Oh no! How can I just abandon you and sit down on my own? Besides...I always think, 'What if there's someone who is even more tired than I am?' so even if there is an empty seat, I never sit down," she answers.  (TN: *throwing up a little in my mouth--I actually work with someone just like her ^_^*)

There, using my strongest feminine attack, I can win his heart, she thinks deviously.  (TN: she actually says "I can clear right through" in the Chinese translation)
"It's OK, Hanano-kohai, you're not feeling well right now," he responds.  She sits.  Other girls on the train are commenting amongst themselves how good looking Taichi looks.  Taichi is standing a little ways from her when she strikes up conversation again.
"Ma...Mashima-senpai, you seem to be admired wherever you go."
Taichi takes note of what she says.  "That you think so?"
"Absolutely!" Sumire says with confidence.  "A lot of girls have confessed to you, haven't they?  You don't have to worry about getting a girlfriend."
"Ah--" Taichi sighs.  "Lately, I'm beginning to think that I understand those sorts of things more...  I keep thinking lately 'how does a guy get chosen by a girl?'  But...I want to be the one doing the choosing...and then give it my all."  Sumire stares at him, wide-eyed.

Announcer: "Bubaigawara. Bubaigawara."  (TN: Bubaigawara Station (分倍河原駅 Bubaigawara-eki?) is a railway station in Fuchū, Tokyo, Japan, operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and Keio Corporation. c/o Wikipedia)

"Since you're cute, Hanano-kohai, a lot people would choose you too, wouldn't they?  Well, I'm off."

I can already feel it.  Mashima-senpai absolutely won't choose me!
No!  I have to be chosen!

Sumire's thoughts fall back on the "hanano" poem.

I absolutely don't want to be someone who would recite a poem like that! she thinks as she hops off the train and chases after him.  (TN: stalker...)

Cut scene:  Chihaya vs. 3 recruits

Caption:  Currently not caring about the winds of love, the Captain meets with no resistance as she takes all 100 cards

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 9.3 (Chapter 50)

TN:  aaaaaahhhhh....this volume is so painful to translate!!  I'm not feelin' the new characters AT ALL...  Please, please let volume 10 be far more interesting....  
(no spoilers! I just got it in the mail and I haven't read it yet! :-p)

Chapter 50

Scene: It's introduction day for freshmen, the itinerary includes a presentation and introduction from all campus clubs at Mizusawa High; the opening scene is filled with the excited chatter of girls.

"Ah! That cell phone strap is really cute!"
"Where is it from?"
"Our student ID is pink, isn't that cute?"
"Our lapel pin with the school emblem isn't bad either."
"Isn't that make-up bag limited edition?  It's so adorable!"

Caption: We love all things adorable--

Someone taps her on the shoulder.
"Hey, our ID numbers are really close.  You're...Hanano-san, right?  I'm Hinako, what's your name?  Your mascara is really awesome."

Caption:  What I love most is the adorable me.

"Hanano Sumire," she responds as she scopes out the crowd.

Caption:  I am looking for someone who will also love the adorable me.

"W-what are you doing?" asked Hinako (w/ sweat drop).
"You could say I'm searching for something," Sumire responds, taking notes.  Oh, class 1 has some lookers!
On the side, Hinako says, "Her name is supposedly cute sounding."  (TN: Pansy)  "But she's more like a hunter," comments Hinako's companion.

The only reason he dumped me was because we weren't going to the same high school, but I'll show that bastard...I'm gonna snag myself an exceptionally good man!

Then she spots Taichi, who, as club President, is introducing himself while dressed in traditional hakama.

An exceptionally good man!  Sumire and the others jaw-drop at his exceptionally good looks.

When Chihaya, also dressed traditionally, introduces herself as Captain all the guys in the auditorium jaw-drop.  In the background, Kana is patting herself on the back for her tactical decision to have them dress in hakama.  Those in the audience are praising the traditional garb, especially when donned by such beautiful models.

Before they have reactions like, "Karuta? What the heck is that?" or "I'm not interested," they will first be impressed with their radiant outer appearance.  As long as they're Japanese, anyone one of them can have the aspiration of donning a kimono!  And we will have the hearts of the freshmen within our grasp! [In the background, the mangaka notes that Kana has instructed Chihaya to stand behind Taichi and be quiet and act elegant.]

Kana makes a scary pose as if she's grasping someone's heart... -_-; (TN: Mwuahahahahahahaha...!)

"Wow, Hanano-san, don't you think that guy is totally hot?" asks Hinako, peering around from behind Sumire.  "Hana--?"  Hinako notices Sumire's aura has become that of a hunting hawk as it spots its prey... O_o;

Chihaya is thinking back at the conversation she had with Kana-chan about the introduction to the freshmen.  She wanted to do a karuta demonstration in front of them, but Kana nixed the idea saying that tactic would explode in her face.  It was quite a blow to Chihaya and she's still tearing up about it.

Taichi then makes the mistake of handing the microphone to Chihaya, to introduce the team Captain.  She then blurts out, "E-even though I don't have many friends to speak of, I consider all 100 poems of karuta to be my friends...and I hope I can have 100 more kouhai (TN: male/female juniors)."

That creates outbursts among the audience.
"100 more?  The karuta club is really ambitious!"
"How interesting!"
"She said the karuta cards were her friends."
"Were you serious when you said you didn't have a lot of friends?"
"How cute!"

Taichi smacks her on the head, mumbling, "Idiot."

Sumire is annoyed and takes this queue as Taichi liking girls who are cute but have little wit.  (TN: *sigh* Chihaya can be such an embarrassment to women, generally)  But, she writes it down in her notebook.

But, at least I found it (him)!

Cut scene: At the club room

"Are the freshmen going to come?!  Are they not going to come?!" Chihaya blurts in frustration. "Because we really gave it our all yesterday, do you think they might come?"
"If they don't come it will be another headache for us.  We at least need 5 more members to keep the club room," comments Kana.
"The audience's reception was warm, though," adds Desktomu-kun.
Taichi remains quiet, but adds, "It might be a problem if too many--"
"Yes?" asks Chihaya excitedly.
"Never mind...."  He looks away.  "Even if the freshmen come, we need to make a decision now.  Who will be the one to train them?"
Immediately, Chihaya raises her hand to volunteer.  The others' jaw drop in shock.
"Why?" demands Taichi.  "You are clearly the one least suited for it, why do you want to do this?"
"What about your training?" insists Meat bun.
But Chihaya only stubbornly declares, "I want to I want to I want to I want to I want to I want to I want to I want to!!  I want to do it!!"

Cut scene: Chihaya thinking to herself as she picks out the things she'll need for training

I many freshmen are going to come...?
She pulls out a box of karuta cards admiringly.  All new cards...purchased with our club money budget increase.  Even the backs of each card are numbered....
I hope they...can learn to love karuta.  And then...
It would be great if our karuta club can continue on like that....

Her thoughts are interrupted by the sounds of footsteps.  A large group of students (mostly female) appear on their doorstep and greet them.  Chihaya doubles over in shock when she opens the door.  She collects their entry forms immediately.  Chihaya looks down at the form and reads her name (incorrectly) as "leek" instead of "pansy."  Sumire looks like she's about to pop a vein.  Again, Taichi berates her.
"Moron, Chihaya!  It's Sumire!"

This woman is my enemy!
The natural idiot the enemy of all women!  Sumire thinks. couldn't tell at first because she was wearing a hakama...her body is really perfect.

The club members line up (in the order of their Mi-zu-sa-wa Go! t-shirts) and Chihaya begins the introductions.  She is suddenly interrupted by Sumire raising her hand boldly asking if Taichi has a girlfriend.  Everyone laughs.  Taichi is annoyed.
"She really asked!" comments Meat bun.
"Hanano-san is pretty ballsy," says Desktomu.

Kana chan then clapps really hard to break it up.  "Your senpai is currently speaking!  It isn't your turn to talk right now," she says threateningly.  (TN: *_*  <3 I luv you, Kana-chan...)  Everyone is shocked by her authoritativeness.  Sumire is taken aback.  [In the background, Miyauchi, who needs to go check on the tennis club, tells Kana to take care of the rest.]

Childish face, big boobs...Enemy!  Sumire thinks.

"Who in this crowd has played karuta before, raise your hand...." says Chihaya, changing the subject.
No response.
"Whomever can recite one poem of the Hyakunin Isshu, please raise your hand...? she continues.
No response.
"Don't worry," says Chihaya nervously.  "Every one has to start somewhere.  These handouts prepared for you are the syllable identifiers of each card of the Hyakunin Isshu poems." [Prepared by Kana]
"Everyone please take one to memorize them."  There are mixed reactions from the crowd.
"We have to memorize them?"
"How tiresome!"
"It should be fine to just have them partially memorized, I guess."  
Kana is staring daggers at them.  "We're going to quiz you in a week.  Those who cannot memorize the 100 will not make the cut, but will be eligible for a make-up test."
"K-Kana!" exclaims Chihaya nervously, taking her friend aside.  "Why are you being like that?  It's impossible to do in one week!"
"They are high school students," responds Kana sternly.  "They are at least capable of that.  You need to be direct with them."
"B-but...well...I'm sure everyone isn't clear on what competitive karuta is all about," she says hastily, grabbing Meat bun along the way.
"W-hat? Me?" stammers Meat bun as he's pulled along.
"So let us demonstrate a bit," she says as she and Meat bun are positioned on the tatami.  "Competitive karuta is one against one, 50 of the 100 poems are in play, the remainder of the poems are included in the reader's stack.  Each player gets 25 cards, you have 15 minutes to position and memorize the cards.  It's like a mini test."

What?  "We only have 15 minutes to memorize the position of all 50 cards?"  Everyone starts murmuring amongst themselves.

"Today, since this is just a demonstration we'll only take 3 minutes to memorize the cards," says Chihaya.
"One minute will do!" grins Meat bun-kun.  "So they can see how cool I am."
"The opening poem is not from the collection of the Hyakunin Isshu.  During Heian Period, you could say that there were none were not aware, or not familiar with the poem of Naniwa Bay, and thus it was chosen as the opening poem for competitive karuta," explains Kana dilligently.  But she only draws blank looks from the audience.
"Kana, let's end the history lesson here," says Desktomu on the side.

Kana reads the opening poem and the mock match begins.  Everyone is in shock.

What are these people doing?

"That's what the feel of competitive karuta is about.  Memorize all 100 poems, and then memorize the identifying syllables for each card, learn to memorize the positioning of the cards, and then taking the cards as fast as you can.  With the national competition as your goal, everyone, do your best!" Chihaya says cheerfully.

The crowd is in doubt.
"Well..." starts Sumire.  "I don't think any of us really want to do such an inexplicably tedious thing."  Everyone bursts out laughing.  "What if we just wanted to play 'pump the monk' in the corner?"  (TN: she might be referring to a handphone game, and I don't know if this is from the Japanese version or an equivalent translation in the Hong Kong version, but Sumire says, "只想在角落玩抽和尚" which is pretty much what I said; suggesting that they want to join but not play competitive karuta)
"My, Hanano-san, you're too blunt," says Hinako.
"It's just too darn hard," laughs another student.
"Ahahahahahaha! How annoying!" remarks another.
"Right?" joins another.
"Speaking of 'pump the monk,' I don't even know how to play that!"
"Well, let's just start with memorizing the Hyakunin Isshu, shall we?" suggests one of the freshmen.  "From next week onwards, please take care of us, karuta club!"

Cut scene:  at the club room, in the aftermath of the freshmen barrage; Chihaya is sitting defeated under a dark cloud on the tatami mat.

"Heh...hehe...." mumbles Chihaya. [She wanted to think of something meaningful to say...but lost the effort]  "It always starts off like that," she says to the others.  "But, there were at least 20 people," Chihaya adds, trying to pump herself up again.  "All we have to do is help them understand...right?"

The others don't look as optimistic.

"Chihaya," says Taichi.  "You don't have the time to teach that bunch of unwilling freshmen kohai.... You only have six months until the next qualifying tournament for the Queen's match."
"If you really have the Meijin/Queen's match in your sight, then putting aside club activities and going to practice at the Shiranami Society would be better, don't you think?"
Chihaya is silent.  Meat-bun picks up on Taichi's meaning.
"What the heck are you saying, Mashima?  What about the Meijin/Queen's match?  Before that we have the High School National Competition, right?  There's a year's gap between competitions, isn't there?  You think everyone's else's problems are more important?  It's true that you haven't been able to raise yourself to the A rank, so you've become anxious, but--"
Kana stops him there, and even Meat bun catches the callousness of his own words.  Taichi looks a little pissed.
"Let me teach them," volunteers Kana.  "We don't need all 20 people.  We just need to keep those who can play."
"What? What do you mean, Kana-chan?" demands Chihaya.
"I agree that's best," says Desktomu.  "We only need the 5 of us to compete in the High School Nationals.  We don't really need the freshmen for that...they can just play 'pump the monk' in the corner."
"E-everyone!  Why...?" Chihaya says, confused.  "If we don't teach them how to love karuta, the karuta club won't be able to continue!"
"Ayase," says Meat bun.  "What do you expect from the freshmen?  The ones who need to win the competitions are just us, right?"

Before the freshmen came, I didn't even know....

So completely different!

Everyone's way of seeing things was so completely different!

--End Chapter---

TN:  Whomever is annoyed by Sumire, please raise your hand?  Anyone?  Lol, hope she drops the attitude soon.  I dislike her enough to consider not translating whatever she has to say word for word and just summarizing it (briefly)--to just breeze over her as quickly as possible....  Her name  means flower and it means pansy, which is a bit redundant--but  I guess the mangaka wanted her to have a pretty, demure name, since she is really the opposite of that.

Please, please tell me there is more Chihaya x Arata to come otherwise, I stand here completely demoralized.... :-(

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 9.2 (Chapter 49)

Chapter 49

Scene: Chihaya standing amid the city night life, dumbfounded by Desktomu-kun's words

"Ayase-san also has 20 cards...of which you can consider single syllable!"

Cut scene: Chihaya making an even weirder face with her cheeks resting on her fists as she listens to Desktomu in class. The rest of their classmates are giving them strange looks...

"Like I was saying," says Desktomu-kun, once again, "according to the notes I took during your last competition and during our practice sessions, after re-analyzing the data, there are approximately 20 cards.  Of course, there are variations because the karuta card reader changes from game to game, and there are also variations in your attitude and mindset when confronting each game.  But, I think 'yura,' 'yuu,' 'kaku,' 'kasa,' 'chiha,' 'moro,' 'momo,' 'hisa,' 'kiri,' 'uka,' and 'ura' can be placed in this category where you take the card only after the first syllable is read, right?"

"You probably already know this, don't you?" asks Desktomu-kun.   Chihaya thinks back to when she played against Sudo, Shinobu and Lilia.

"Yeah..there was that kind of feeling....There really was that kind of feeling...."  Chihaya asks doubtfully, "Can I really hear the difference? I...."
"Don't doubt my analysis!!" exclaims Desktomu-kun, pounding on the desk.
"Wah! I'm sorry!" Chihaya says in response.
Desktomu-kun exhales in affirmation.  "It's not just Ayase-san and Suoh Meijin.  There are others with this natural talent, to be able to listen to these same cards and recognize them before the next syllable is read.  It's really an enviable trait."

Chihaya looks at him, and his large stack of note books filled with his data, and she is totally in awe.  She quickly rummages through her book bag and pockets to find two pieces of candy, pineapple and strawberry flavored.  She gives it to Tsutomu as an offering.
"What?" he asks, puzzled.  "I don't want it!  Not especially...."  Chihaya presses the candies into his hand, shaking.
"N-next time, I will bring you something more worthy as a showing of my gratitude."  Tsutomu looks speechless as he holds the candies in his hand.  (TN: Remember, this is they guy who used to take notes for people in order to feel 'accepted' but they never once showed gratitude or gave him anything in return)

Cut scene: Kana-chan walking down the hall with a classmate

She notices some guys down the hall making a commotion.
"Oh, it's Ayase-san!  She's really cute!"
"Really, she's not bad at all!"
They act as though they're about to approach and speak to her but they notice that she's standing in the hall muttering something to herself, as if she was cursing someone, over and over again.
"Ah, I just can't!" one of them says, backing away slowly.
"Yup, no-can-do!" says the other, as they walk away nervously.

"Ch-Chihaya!" says Kana.  Chihaya continues what she's doing, and Kana realizes that her friend is reciting the cards that Tsutomu said were her 'single syllable' cards.  Among them is the "chihayafuru" card.

It's not just the loads of data he collected...more importantly, it's that Desktomu-kun helped me realize (my ability) and told me "You can do this!" thinks Chihaya.

"It's really quite enviable."

As she continues to recite, she thinks, One day, can I really give him something worthy to repay him in kind?

Kana-chan wonders about the expression on Chihaya's face, but is content to lean against the window to simply listen to the sound of her friend reciting.  Is she memorizing them? she wonders.

He told me before, it's like the call of a golden oriole, or a deer...the language naturally turns into poetry. As long as it contains emotion, even if it's only a fragment, it's still like a poem.  (TN: I'm not sure whose thoughts these are and who 'he' might be...any ideas?)

Suddenly Chihaya notices Kana's presence.  "AAAHH!  Kana! You scared me!" Chihaya exclaims, making a weird expression.  -_-;

Ah, as soon as she moves, she proves their point, Kana observes.  (TN: in the Chinese version, Kana says, 'as soon as she moves, you're sorry' but I think she's referring to the would be admirers of Chihaya who admire her beauty; but as soon as she opens her mouth the spell is broken)

"Ah, I was doing something strange and you totally saw me," Chihaya laments.

Oh, so even she knows she's strange! thinks Kana-chan. -_-;
"Chihaya!" Kana announces.  "It turns out even I have something I can strive towards as my dream.  I'm...I'm really interested in poetry reading, and I want to become a karuta card reader in competitions!"
"If I become a reader," she continues, "one day I might even read at your Queen's tournament...."

Chihaya is astounded and grabs Kana by the shoulders.  "Kana! C-can it be true?  You're serious?" she asks.
"Y-yes," responds Kana. "Even though I'm not sure what's required to qualify, but...."  Chihaya cuts her off.
"I can't believe it!  I can't believe it!  Do your best, Kana-chan!" Chihaya exclaims excitedly.
"Of course I'm gonna do my best," says Kana, puzzled.
"Because," explains Chihaya, "it's impossible to become a karuta reader until you've become an A-ranked player!"

Kana's dream is suddenly lost in a dark abyss....

Cut scene: at the Karuta club room

The club members are just about the start memorizing their cards for the next round of practice, but Kana is sitting under a dark cloud in a corner of the room.  Tsutomu and Nishida notice her.

I can't believe...the road to becoming a highest level karuta reader was so hard....

Caption: 1) must be a 4th level A rank player or higher, 2) must have 5 or more years of experience reading at A level competitions  (and becoming a reader at A rank competitions has it's own set of rules/hurdles)

I need to spend a lifetime!  No, even if I spent a lifetime trying, I couldn't do it!  Even our hardworking club President has yet to become an A ranked player!

I can't do it!

I just can't do it!

"Two more minutes to memorize your cards."

At this point, Taichi warms up by practicing his card taking moves (this is apparently acceptable when 2 more minutes are left before starting).  Everyone starts to notice.

"You're too embarrassed to do it, so that's why you never thought to do practice strikes?"

He recalls the conversation he had with Arata recently.  "You can see a lot of angles during the Meijin tournament.  My grandfather always said--"
"In the world of karuta, what's important isn't 'intuition''s being able to take the card first.  Even though it's really difficult to match that kind of 'intuition'... but there are many ways to beat your opponent to the card."
"Well then," Arata concludes, "I'm gonna go practice with my senpai...see you later!"
"Um! Hey!"
"Call me again!"  Click.


That's odd, thinks Chihaya.  He's practicing his moves before the game.

"Even though it's really difficult to match that kind of 'intuition'... there are many ways to beat your opponent to the card."

"Chihaya!" calls Taichi.  "If I win today's practice match, then...all the Daddy Bear paraphernalia at your house goes up in flames."
"??!!"  Chihaya is shocked by his words.  "W-why?  Why?"  In the back of her mind, Daddy Bear is crying out as he writhes in flames.... -_-;
At this point, she's going to use ten times the effort, thinks Taichi.  This must have been Sudo-kun's tactic from the start....  [so it was like that] (TN: you mean, he's not just a mean bastard?)

Arata... In your world, there's no such thing as "tensai," right? thinks Taichi.

"Call me again!"

A smile spreads across Taichi's face.  He looks at Chihaya with dark determination.  It's time!
"I hope Daddy Bear doesn't get burnt to a crisp."
The President's gone berserk.... thinks Kana-chan as she prepares to read.  She then commences to read the opening poem.

The method of reading to complete the reading of the latter half of the poem in five seconds...then break for one second, followed by reading the upper half in four seconds.

As Kana reads, she checks her timing and tone, realizing that her skills are (obviously) not enough.

The players concentrate their energy in that one second break, waiting for the next sound to come.

Ah, my voice trembled.  The strength of my voice isn't consistent.  This is really hard!  I've only been trying it for a few minutes but it requires all my energy.  It's really draining...and difficult! Kana laments.

But, she continues, no matter what hardships he endures... surely one day, the President will become an A rank!  (TN: Kana really does look up to Taichi, for some reason....)

That longing...hasn't disappeared!

Cut scene:  During a teacher's/staff conference at Mizusawa High

"What? You want to use the current club room for the karuta club as a practice room for the marching band?  That's nonsense!" says Miyauchi-sensei adamantly.
"But...for a five member literary club, that room is way too big for them.  The band has 40 members and their practice room is really cramped," responds another teacher.
"Doesn't the karuta club just need to find another empty classroom?" asks another.
"You may say that, but," counters Miyauchi-sensei, "while playing karuta, the essence of sound is a very important factor.  They need a room in a part of the school that isn't bothered by the sounds of other students passing by.  The exercise field also has classrooms nearby.  In other words," she says menacingly, "where they are now is the perfect spot for karuta."
"B-but Ms. Miyauchi--!"
"The karuta club made it to the national competitions during their first year.  They've also won other titles along the way.  Next year, these members will progress even further, right?  I warn you all not to get in their way!"

Everyone is speechless at this point.

"W-well...ummm..." says another teacher, clearly afraid of her, offers a compromise.  "Why don't we give the 2nd floor to the band then?"
"Didn't you just hear me say that while playing karuta, the essence of sound is a very important factor?" retorts Miyauchi-sensei menacingly.  "What else is there to discuss?"  Around her is the aura of "empress."

But the old classics teacher challenges Miyauchi.  "If the karuta club can retain 5 additional members, then the room would be appropriate.  If the club is so mighty, it should be easy for them to attract at least 5 more members?"
"Of course!" Miyauchi responds hastily.  "If they can't acquire 5 more members, they'll have to switch club rooms."  But in her mind, she's thinking, Aaaah....That old fox of a classics teacher. They just barely scraped together the members they have now!

Cut scene: back at the club room

Chihaya perks up from her practice match with Taichi.  "Did you guys just hear a noise by the door?"
"What?"  Kana goes to check it out and apparently someone slipped a note underneath, through the door crack.

The note reads:

* If you don't add 5 more people to your club next year, you'll lose the club room.  Please do your best!  ( ; Δ ; )
* Your budget just went up to  ¥30,000 ($273.00 US)
  -- Miyauchi

"F-five people?" stammers Meat bun as they all gather in shock around the note.
"Isn't that impossible?" asks Kana.
"She used the ( ; Δ ; ) emoticon, and she hand-wrote it, to boot," comments Desktomu.

Caption: And so, the honeymoon period for the Mizusawa High School karuta club was over....

"Whoohoo!  We got  ¥30,000!" cheers Kana-chan.
"Kana, do you even have your priorities straight?" comments Meat bun.

Cut scene: the Mizusawa High entrance ceremony

Everyone is staring at the gloomy new freshman, staring intently at her phone.  Her boyfriend just broke up with text.

I've been dumped!
Springtime...I need to find my next boyfriend quickly!  I need the most handsome guy in school!

Caption: April...brings forth a storm!

---End Chapter---

TN: I've only loosely translated the teacher's meeting, since it was kind of dull.  
And so begins the mind-numbing anti-plot of volume 9....aaaaaaahhhhh....  Forgive me if I'm slow to churn out the translations, I really don't much care for spider mascara girl.  IMO she's pretty darn annoying.  I'm not a Chihaya x Taichi shipper per se, but even I'm rolling my eyes thinking, "Girlie, stay away from him.  He's out of your league."  I hope she can redeem herself in vol. 10.
BTW, what is spider mascara girl's full name?  Anyone know?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 9.1 (Chapter 48)

TN: So here I am again!  I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation.  That's what you get for trying to squeeze too many things into a tight schedule. But anyhow, here's a quiet day (since it's a holiday) to recover.  Like I said earlier, I'm not thrilled about volume 9.  I'm not thrilled about the plot (or lack thereof) and I'm not thrilled about new characters this late in the game.  I'm not thrilled with the lack of interaction between Chihaya/Arata and others will not be thrilled with the lack of interaction between Chihaya/Taichi.  This chapter is pretty much the highlight of the volume.

Still, I have to applaud the mangaka for taking a brilliant concept this far and not jeopardizing the quality of the art.  (Which is why I've also voiced my support through my pocketbook and purchased vol. 10 - 13)  I haven't read ahead so up to volume 10 is about as far as I've had time for.

Chapter 48

Scene: The Meijin competition is still ongoing under the bright lights at the Omi Jingu Center, and in front of the eyes of the watchful media

Chihaya is amazed by Suoh's statement.  There...are 28 single syllable cards?

Broadcast:  "That is to say, Suoh Meijin can distinguish an additional 21 cards as single syllable cards, besides the traditionally known single syllabic cards 'mu,' 'su,' 'me,' 'fu,' 'sa,' 'ho,' 'se,'"  comments Kyoto's (Myojo/明星) karuta society's chairman, (Issei Daijiro-san), A-rank (level 8).  "You could take the 'ka' in the 'kakutodani' card and the 'ka' in the 'kasagino' card for example; because the subsequent adjoining sound is not alike, when you listen to them it's as though they were two different sounding syllables.  In the world of karuta, this ability to distinguish the slightest difference in pronunciation can be considered intuition, or a natural awareness.  Suoh Meijin at this time can be considered the strongest intuitive player in the world of competitive karuta."

The camera at this time happens to show Suoh picking his ear wax with his pinky finger, and then blowing the pieces of wax away.  Shinobu, Harada-sensei and everyone watching, including members of the National Karuta Association are all thinking to themselves, "'Awareness' my a**."  (TN: the Chinese translation uses the phrase 感覺很差, which means "his feeling is lacking." In English terms, I had to use an alternative meaning to express the viewers' displeasure with Suoh, connected to what the commentator just said about him, almost like a pun on words.)  

In the background, Arata's mentor tells his students not to turn into someone like that (lacking in both awareness and manners).

"But how can you distinguish 28 cards like that...based on such indistinct differences?" wonders Kana-chan to Meat bun.  "The human ear is surely incapable of that feat?  Isn't that right, Chih--"  Kana notices that Chihaya is in deep concentration, straining her ears to listen.

Twenty eight cards!

Another card is read, and Suoh thinks, I love you, Kyouko-san!  Again, Ms. Yamashiro gets an eerie chill down her spine.  I know...that within the small circle of karuta poetry readers (TN: only 7 who are nationally recognized/qualified to read in the Meijin and Meijin qualifying competitions), they are trained to withhold the sound of the decisive syllables until the last moment.  But Kyouko-san...she, among all the other readers, is the one who loves waka poetry the most.  The 'yuusaewaba' and 'yuranotowo' may both be 'yu' cards, but in her heart, they are completely different scenes.

Split panel: Suoh and Chihaya

Of those who can understand that difference...I am the only one...

Meat bun thinks, Would this be considered a super-human ability?  Then the rest of us don't have a chance.  (TN: the translation says, "we can only sit back and sigh.")  Those among Sudo's karuta club watching the competition are thinking the same thing, like "impossible" and "it pisses me off!"

Harada-sensei and Hiroshi are rooting for the competition, noticing that the challenger has already endured two matches and still needs to maintain the perseverance to attack.

There's just too big of a difference (in ability).  How does one even go about facing such an opponent? Taichi thinks to himself.  Harada-sensei, Arata...  He thinks back to what Harada said once about Chihaya and Shinobu.

"If you don't have any weapons, the 'tensai' (TN: those with natural talent) will crush you."

Also watching the competition is Nagumo Society's Murao-san and his little brothers.  One of them comments that the program is so boring if the Meijin is so strong.  He asks his older brother why the competition couldn't be more exciting, especially since it's such a rare event.  His twin brother comments that it's the competitor's fault for not being strong enough.  It was the same with their older brother... -_-; A heavy mood hangs above Murao-san.  The other younger brother notices the mood and comments that it was much more exciting when their older brother was competing, and he stuffs his twin under the kotatsu blanket.  This causes a ruckus between the two.
"Why are you playing the good kid??"
"Why do you have such a big mouth??"
"Shut up! Even if twins fight, no one can distinguish the winner from the loser!"  At this point, Murao has to break it up as his little brothers come to blows.

He (Suoh) can't even fight with others if he wanted to.  It's our fault he stands alone.  Alone... he thinks of Arata when he watched him ride his bike back alone after visiting (and having dinner) with his family.

Cut scene:  Arata watches the match alone in a room

He has the exact cards spread out on the mattress as he watches the TV set up at the foot of the bed.  Another card is read.

Broadcast: "Oh! (Takesaku)-san, a level 6 player, has taken the wrong card from his lower left quadrant."

You can't do that,  Takesaku-san.  You can't just start thinking you'll rely on Fate.  Calm down! Arata thinks as he watches.  He tries to strategize the cards in front of him, thinking of ways to win.

Arata tries to strategize around the cards in front of him.  The Meijin's configuration shows that he doesn't consider the "oyama" card as important to take.  "Kokoroni" and "kokorowa" are similar "koko" cards that either party can take.  If the Meijin just hears "ko" and can take that card,  then the challenger can't compete with that.  But if it's a two syllable card, then that could work in the challenger's favor.

Author's Note: For example, the "kimigatame" and "asaborake" cards share the first five syllables with one other card.  One has to listen to the 6th syllable to take the correct card, therefore they become technique enabling cards. (TN: This part is loosely translated b/c this was getting too technical for my meager language abilities.  But for the fact I bought the manga, I would never have noticed the author's note in tiny tiny script along the side of the page.  I think the gist is that if the opponent is able to take more multiple syllable cards, where other techniques aside from "natural ability" come into play, he may still have a chance against Suoh) 

The Meijin considers the "yura," "yuu," "mura" and "momo" distinguishable as single syllable cards?  How do you challenge that?  The real single syllable cards are what's important.  Can't let him take them all.  The "su" and "se" cards will have to be won with just the "s" sound.  Arata thinks back on the pointers his grandfather gave him.

"During the Meijin match, the Meijin's position is overwhelmingly favorable, Arata!"

I know, Grandfather.

"That distinct pressure at the Meijin competition a first time challenger, the first enemy you must defeat is that oppressive atmosphere."

I know!  So, maybe I should just picture this?  Arata pictures himself dressed formally in the competition with Suoh as his opponent.

I can do it!

I can do it!

But just as he thinks this, Suoh takes another card seamlessly, effortlessly, before his opponent even has the time to think, let alone move.  He wins the match.  The announcers go wild and declare Suoh the Meijin for the fourth consecutive year.  They praise his talent and wonder just how long this Meijin will rule, and even speculate that he's a shoe-in for a fifth consecutive title if the challenger's talent pool doesn't diversify.

Arata slumps over sullenly on the bed.  Grandfather...illusions are just that, illusions.  If I don't challenge myself with a stronger player I won't become stronger.  Grandfather....


Cut scene:  Shinobu and Suoh, once again, in the winner's circle

One of the tournament's organizers shake Suoh's hand, congratulating him but also telling him to graduate next year to which Suoh only gives him tiny mono-syllabic responses.  The organizer tells him to answer more audibly, for heaven's sake...

Shinobu runs into her old teacher, the commentator for the match, Issei-san.  He tells her that she can come back to the (Myojo) karuta center to practice if she has any interest.  It would definitely make the others at the Myojo karuta center very happy to make her acquaintance.  Shinobu elegantly declines, saying that when she is stronger, she will definitely go.  Other people listening are startled by her words.
"Just how much stronger does she intend to be?"
"She's obviously just blatantly declining the invitation."
"Kyoto women are like that, I guess..."

Kitano observes, Maybe it's because I've been sitting in a teacher's position for some time...  He thinks about Yumi's words to him when she lost the tournament.

"Please continue to guide me."

In the background, a photographer asks, to Shinobu's annoyance, for a picture of the Meijin and Queen together.

I think, in this world, there aren't more beautiful words than that.  Is it by chance? Or is it simply Fate that the current Meijin and Queen have no teachers to say those words to?  It's such a pity, Kitano thinks.  Those without teachers cannot, in turn, become teachers themselves.

Panel: Shinobu holding up her Snow-snow clutch purse and Suoh doing a victory sign as the cameras take their picture... -__-;  (TN: a perfect pair)

Cut scene: back in Taichi's room

The club members are in a state of utter defeat/shock/disgust at what they just saw on TV.  Tsutomu is still taking notes, however.  Taichi's mom kicks them out of the house at this point (TN: heartless woman...), saying "Oh my, why is everyone making faces like that?  It's already six o'clock.  Your families will start to worry," with a grimacing face.  (TN: meaning they've overstayed their welcome--if they were ever welcome to begin with...)

Cut scene: The club members (sans Taichi) walk to the station together, sullenly

It can't be!

It can't be!

It can't be!

It can't be!

Chihaya thinks this over and over as she recalls the events of the Meijin/Queen tournament.  Desk-tomu is still looking over his notes, Meat bun is deep in thought, and Kana is wondering about the expression on Chihaya's face.

Kana-chan, Tsutomu and Meat bun then depart.  "See you, Chihaya.  Meet you back at the club.  Desktomu-kun, don't read and walk at the same time, it's dangerous!"

Desktomu closes his note book, looks back and announces, "Ayase!  There are 20!  You also have 20 cards!"
"W-what?" asks Chihaya, startled by the sudden declaration.
"What do you mean, 'what?'" he says impatiently.  "You also have 20 single syllable cards."

Chihaya stands frozen at this words.  All around, she can hear the conversations, cell phone calls, and random street noises around her.

Cut scene: Taichi in his room

What do I need to do in order to face that...
What do I do...?

He suddenly gets a phone call from Arata.

"Tai-Taichi!  Happy New Year!" Arata declares awkwardly.
"To say those words at a time like this is a little late, right?" Taichi responds.
"Ah! I just said whatever came to mind, first," Arata explains.
"You watched today's Meijin tournament, right?"
"Um, yeah.  I saw it."  Outside, Arata's mother tells him he has a guest and she's already invited him in.  Arata continues, "I've done a lot of thinking about it."
"A lot of thinking?" asks Taichi.
"Yeah, the Meijin's card formation.  The TV broadcast didn't show most of it, but I had others from the Nagumo Society go watch the tournament, and they're preparing to distribute it (TN: a recording?), but they took a lot of angles of the Meijin's match."

Just then, Murao-san comes in saying, "You're holed up in your grandfather's room alone with a spread of karuta cards in front of really are just a grandfather-worshipping kid, aren't you?"

"OK," he declares, taking off his coat.  "Spar with me."
"Taichi--" Arata says while still holding the phone.

The only thing to do is compete!

---End Chapter---

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chihayafuru Manga Synopsis: Vol. 8.6 (Chapter 47)

TN: Well, I had some spare time last night and this morning...So I thought I'd just finish vol. 8 first :-D

Chapter 47

Broadcast: "Challenger Yamamoto attacked and took 3 cards consecutively to open the 2nd Queen's match...leading us to believe that she had taken control of the direction of the game.... But, the Queen responded in kind with her speed, thus taking 6 cards consecutively in return.  Blocking Yamamoto's attack, in one breath the Queen has changed the pace of the game!"  (TN: the translation repeats the phrase "6段" in this arc to describe both Yumi and Keiichi, suggesting that there are distinctions of status within the A ranks.  A 'level 6' player may be a high rank, I'm not certain.  The word 段 means "segment" as well, so it could be referring to the number of matches, though I doubt it since this is only their 5th match overall together, and 2nd match of this tournament.)

As Taichi, Chihaya and the others are watching the Queen take cards from Yumi not even the camera is able to pick up her exact movements.

"How incredibly sharp!" remarks Taichi.
"It's like watching her unsheathe a sword!" comments Meat bun.
"It's not like that!" insists Chihaya.  "It's not that horrific."

She doesn't have that kind of attitude as if she's drawing out a sword. 

Chihaya recalls the words Harada-sensei once told her when he first handed her a set of karuta cards.  "Consider it as though you have one-hundred really good friends.  Please get along well with them!"  Chihaya starts to tear up.
Why is she crying?!  thinks Desktomu.
Why is she crying?!  thinks Meat bun.  Taichi watches silently as Chihaya watches the match in silence.

I want to practice...
I can't sit...
I can't stand...
I want to practice right now!

I should just go with her, thinks Taichi to himself, thinking he would accompany her if she wanted to leave.  That's not right.  He remembers her words to him at the last competition.

"Next year, everyone in the A rank will be your enemy!  Taichi, you have to go watch!"

The next card is read but Yumi takes it instead.

Broadcast:  "I really thought the Queen had taken that last one as well, but it seems like she missed it entirely!  Could it be that she became overconfident at the turn of events and so overcompensated with speed?"

When the telecast replays that last move in slow motion, it appears a card flying out of nowhere apparently struck Shinobu in the back, making her lose her concentration.  It appears the card came from the other side of the room, where the Meijin competition is occurring at the same time.

So, the card first struck her, causing Shinobu's movements to become discordant, but that would mean...the person who sent the card flying has speed even greater than hers!!  Can there really be such a person--??  (TN: meaning, if both games are being held at the same time, the Meijin took that card in his game before Shinobu did in hers)

Shinobu is incredibly annoyed, but takes a deep breath and returns her attention to her own game.

It's coming (back)!  My dispersed concentration! thinks Shinobu.  She stares at her opponent. Behind her, the Meijin has an even more ominous look on his face.

You're a hindrance!  (TN: it's hard to decipher by the panels b/c the pictures themselves are a bit confusing, but I think Shinobu and Suoh are both thinking "礙事" which literally means, "hinder thing."  So, you can interpret that as saying something more rude, like "Troublesome thing. Get out of my way.")

Caption: The strongest momentum attack!

Broadcast:  "And so, it's over!  It's over!  Wakamiya Shinobu keeps her consecutive title of karuta Queen!"

The 20+ Midorikita karuta group cheering squad goes into despair, as does Meat bun.

Broadcast:  "The second match resulted in a loss by 13 cards.  Only 16 years old, and her attack is just that overwhelming.  Only time will tell how much stronger she will evolve---"

Cut scene: Yumi in the preparation room

There were even 20+ group members from Tokyo who came here to cheer me on...Even though they knew the chances of winning were slim, they still believed in victory--  (they even had strategy meetings)

But all they had to do was open their eyes to see the vast disparity!  Yumi thinks angrily.  She's too fast, there's no way to even debate that!  (TN: I could have told you that...wait, I did!)

No matter how I try to change my situation...!  Yumi breaks down and cries into her hands.  But then she stops and opens the sliding door to the adjacent hall.  Her mentor and the 20+ cheering squad were all listening at the door, apparently checking on her to see if she was OK.


Yumi bows in front of Kitano and says, "I would like to come here again...I hope you will continue to guide me."  (TN: masochist...?)

Cut scene: Shinobu's victory circle

Shinobu is smiling happily as the cameras take her picture.  When the broadcasters praise her tactics, she plays humble and says, "What attack strength?  I still have so far to go."  When they ask how it was to play the former Queen as a challenger twice now, and Shinobu reveals she had no recollection of ever playing Yumi in the first place.

"Ah!  That chick doesn't even remember playing Yumi last year!" cries out Meat bun.

"It was a real eye-opener," Shinobu responds to the questions.  "It has helped me understand how immature I still am."

Not yet...thinks Chihaya as she watches sullenly.  Not yet... I'm still not like Shinobu...or like have developed that kind of connection to the cards.

"Taichi?  Do you have karuta cards?" she asks immediately.  Taichi chooses to ignore her.  He hears her, but there is something more important he must attend to.  Meat bun throws a pillow at her and tells her not to be such a thoughtless idiot.

"Don't think just because the Queen's match is over that the broadcast is over as well!  You've got to be kidding!" cries Meat bun.  "For us guys, what comes next is the main event!"

"This is the only time of the year any of us can watch the Meijin Suoh Hisashi play!" insists Meat bun.  In fact, everyone who wants to topple him is glued to their screens.

Inset art: A formidable foe
Cut scene: the Meijin duel

Suoh-san is annoyed that the NHK only started broadcasting his match with the remaining time from the Queen's tournament.

Broadcast:  "The Meijin lost by 5 cards in the first match.  But in the second match he dominated with a difference of 15 cards.  That's curious.  The result of his matches reflect the Queen's matches exactly."

He's so lax, thinks Shinobu.  (TN: the translation indicates she thinks, 差劲的兴趣, which means "poor interest."  This suggests that Suoh lost on purpose to make it interesting or, he's just really that careless and he's barely taking his opponent seriously.)

Broadcast: "Well then, let's introduce the players for the Meijin match.  The challenger is the High German Court College's karuta group member, Keiichi Takesaku-san, level 6.  On the one hand, he is a government employee, working for the chiropractic ministry, and on the other hand, he hones his karuta skills in his college karuta group.  This year, he finally made it to this seat, his desire bringing him to the Meijin competition."

(TN: This part was hard.  The translation says 西国老家担任府骨师, which means "seifu" or government  "home parliament chiropractor" -- what does that mean??  Either he is learning to be a chiropractor for the government, or he works for the chiropractor's union/ministry in the government?  Lol, whatever.  Something to do with chiropractors and government)

I've had enough, the challenger Keiichi-san thinks.  I just want to go home and get a massage.

Broadcast:  "Hopefully he will be able to counter-attack in this third match."

Wishful thinking after wishful thinking... after doing my best...but I might actually... 

I might actually hate karuta now.

Broadcast:  "And receiving the challenger is the Meijin for the 3rd consecutive year, Suoh Hisashi-san. According to the pre-game introduction, we know he is sure to stay yet another year in University.  Oh, that is really too bad."

Held back a year?? thinks Chihaya
Ah-- thinks Meat bun in shock.
"It must be because he's handsome that people can put the disgrace aside and feel sorry for him," comments Kana-chan.  Those watching in Arata's karuta club are wondering if that's something that should be broadcast and if he's in his 6th or 7th year now.  Taichi thinks back when he first met Suoh, and the Meijin offered him a pastry snack.

Are you in the A rank?
Then, none for you.

"Ayase!" says Meat bun.  "The Meijin is certainly someone of note for the rest of us (guys), but it's important that you should take note of him too.
"You might be thinking you need to learn Shinobu Wakamiya's technique in order to beat her, but it might be faster for you to learn Suoh's technique."  Chihaya looks at him in wonder.  Desktomu get's an epiphany and pulls out a pen and pad and starts taking notes.

Cut scene: back at the match

Suoh notices who will be the one to read during the 3rd match.  He exudes loving thoughts towards the older woman, 山場今日子 (Yamshiro? Kyoko-san)

I love you!! he thinks, blushing.

She picks up on it, and it gives her the chills... -_-;  She reads the opening poem, and everyone watching the broadcast tenses.

But even before she is done reading the first syllable of the first card, Suoh's hand has already claimed it effortlessly.  Everyone watching, and especially Keiichi his opponent, are wide-eyed in shock.

Broadcast:  "Did everyone see that?!  For the 2 syllable card, "kaku," the Meijin's hand already reached out at the first syllable.  The one syllable cards have "mu," "su," "me," "fu," "sa," "ho," and "se," these 7 in total.  But during the introduction interview, the Meijin responded that according to him, there are 28."  

(TN: meaning, there are 28 cards that Suoh can distinguish as if distinguishing a single syllable card, the easiest cards to take.  Therefore his ability makes taking these particular cards like second nature to him.)

---End Chapter---

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aw, geez...I couldn't help it

Hazy | Arata & Chihaya (ちはやふる Chihayafuru)

AMV by: Nerdpleaser

Found this wonderful AMV while surfing the web and now, I can't stop watching it.  This is one of the marvelous things you can do with Photoshop CS2...if you had the $$...  But seriously beautiful....

AND, just to be fair, I thought this vid was super cute too!!  (Especially where Taichi throws snowballs at Chihaya x Arata from a scene we saw above...such continuity w/ our rivalry!  The song is really sweet, especially with the voice-over at the end.

ちはやふる Chihayafuru - Taichi & Chihaya

AMV by: Beautypop99

OK, eat...sleep and then back to work!!  Aaaaaaaargh.....

Lyrics to that catchy opening theme: Youthful - by 99RadioService

TN: Here are the lyrics to that super catchy opening theme.  The lyrics really fit the story, don't they?  I wonder if that's a coincidence...and he actually uses the phrase "chihayafuru" in the lyrics! I love that part.

Chihayafuru Opening Song
Transliterated by: minacchi
Translated by: minacchi

帰り道は過ぎていく、 少し風が吹いている、 たわいない会話妙に楽しくて
(kaerimichi wa sugiteiku, sukoshi kaze ga fuiteiru, tawainai kaiwa myou ni tanoshikute)
The road home is passing us by; a slight breeze is blowing. Our nonsensical conversations are strangely enjoyable.

気づいてしまって冗談まじりかき消した、 それぞれの歩く道は別々と
(kizuiteshimatte joudan majiri kakikeshita, sorezore no aruku michi wa betsubetsu to)
Regrettably, when I became aware of it, the jokes mixed in with our conversations have suddenly stopped, and each of the roads that we are taking is heading into separate directions.

(ano toki egaita yume de afureta aojashin to mata chigau ashita demo ii sa)
A tomorrow that’s different from the blueprint that’s overflowing with the dream I painted back at that time would be alright.

今はちはやふる想い胸に抱いて、 目指した先に何があるんだ?
(ima wa chihayafuru omoi mune ni daite, mezashita saki ni nani ga arunda?)
Right now, I hold these intense feelings tightly in my heart. What am I going to find in the destination that I’m aiming for?

今なら掴めそうで、 手を伸ばしてみる、 夢の途中きっといつかまた会えるだろう
(ima nara tsukamesou de, te wo nobashitemiru, yume no tochuu kitto itsuka mata aeru darou)
If it’s right now, I feel that I’ll be able to get hold of it; I’ll try reaching my hand out. Along the way to my dream, we'll meet again someday for sure.

夕闇に照らされて 逃げる様に過ぎてった恥ずかしいくらいに まっすぐな日々
(yuuyami ni terasarete nigeru you ni sugitetta hazukashii kurai ni massugu na hibi)
Illuminated by twilight, like they're escaping, those days that headed straight forward passed by quickly as if embarrassed.

今でも変わらない僕ら待ち合わせたあの場所、 君はまだ覚えてるのかな?
(ima demo kawaranai bokura machiawaseta ano basho, kimi wa mada oboeteru no kana?)
That place where we always met up hasn’t changed even until now. I wonder if you still remember it?

いつも目には映らないことが大切で、 君と僕もつながってるんだ
(itsumo me ni wa utsuranai koto ga taisetsu de, kimi to boku mo tsunagatterunda)
The things that aren't always reflected in the eyes are also important. You and I are connected.

茜の色に染まる影は伸びてゆく、 夢の途中きっといつかまた会えればいい
(akane no iro ni somaru kage wa nobiteyuku, yume no tochuu kitto itsuka mata aereba ii)
The shadow dyed with a deep red color is spreading. Along the way to my dream, it would be nice if we definitely meet again someday.

それでも今は笑える、 いつでも息をしている、 どんな僕でもここにいるから
(soredemo ima wa waraeru, itsudemo iki wo shiteiru, donna boku demo koko ni iru kara)
Even so, I'm smiling right now. At every moment, I'm breathing. No matter how I am, I'll be right here.

今も ちはやふる想い 胸に抱いた、 それが若さと笑いたきゃ笑えばいい
(ima mo chihayafuru omoi mune ni daita, sore ga wakasa to waraitakya waraeba ii)
Even now, I held these intense feelings tightly in my heart. That is youth, and it's alright to just laugh if you should want to.

僕は君がいるから 走り続けてる、 君は言うだろう 「きっとそれは僕も同じだ」 と
(boku wa kimi ga iru kara hashiri tsuzuketeru, kimi wa iu darou "kitto sore wa boku mo onaji da" to)
Because you're there, I continue to run. You said so, right? "For sure, it's the same for me."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chihayafuru Ending theme: Soshite, Ima wa - Is it or isn't it a love song?

TN: I was surfing the web this morning and came across these song lyrics for Chihaya's character song, Soshite, Ima wa, which is also the end theme to the anime.  It's actually sung by the seiyuu who plays Chihaya.  When you read the lyrics, it's kind of obvious whom she's singing of.  But that makes me wonder, in only 25 episodes of the anime, are they going to make up an ending? (i.e. Furuba, Gakuen Alice) Or is there going to be a second season?  Or, are they going to pair up whom they think to be the most obvious couple with the mangaka's consent (i.e. Ouran High School Host Club)?  Things to ponder....

Transliterated by 殺戮天使
Translated by animeyay

Description: Ending Theme

Written, Composed and Arranged by Shinitani Yutaka
Performed by Seto Asami

Original / Romaji Lyrics
English Translation
yuku atenai machi  hitori saki wo aruku
yuuhi ni terasareta  ushinai sou na kokoro
I wander alone aimlessly in the street.
Shone by the setting sun, 
I feel as if I'm about to lose my heart.

kawatte yuku nante  omoi mo shinakatta
kimi to kasaneta yume  itsunomani
chigau hou e to aruitetanda ne
I never even though that things would gradually change.
Before we could notice, our originally similar dreams
had started diverging onto different paths.

soshite ima  futari wa
toosugiru sekai  mitsumete
soshite ima  hora hibiku yo
kimi ga oshiete kureta uta  kono sora ni
And now, the two of us
are gazing at each's distant world.
And now, in the sky,
the song you taught me will resound.

seiza shite narande  minna de totta shashin
kokoro ni yobikakeru  natsukashii egao
In our picture where everyone sat together,
those nostalgic smiles are now calling out to me.

tooku hanaretete mo  onaji yume no mirai
tsunagatteru yo ne  shinjiteru
chikaiatta yakusoku no basho
Even if we are far apart, I have faith that
our futures, originating from the same dream, 
will be connected.
We have made a vow to each other to meet 
at the promised place someday.

soshite ima  futari wa
sorezore no michi wo  mitsumete
soshite ima  mata utau yo
futatsu no omoi ga  meguriau  sono hi made
And now, the two of us
are gazing at each's separate path.
And now, I will sing again,
until the day when our thoughts will be reunited.

mayoi nagara mo
yume no iro kasaneru
kimi wo omou kara koso
tsuyoku nareru yo
Even when I'm at a loss,
I will gather and mix the colors of my dream.
Precisely because I'm thinking about you,
I will be able to become stronger.
I definitely
will not let it end.

soshite ima  watashi wa
kimi ni tsuzuku sora  miagete
soshite ima  mata utau yo
doko ni itatte  todoku hazu da ne
And now, I look up
at the sky that leads to you.
And now, I will sing again,
and my song will reach you 
no matter where you are.

soshite ima  futari wa
kagayaku ashita wo  mitsumete
soshite ima  hora hibiku yo
kimi ga oshiete kureta uta  kono sora ni
And now, the two of us
are gazing at our radiant tomorrow.
And now, in the sky,
the song you taught me will resound.