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'...it'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!"
"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 cards...is 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)
"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 her...by 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!
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?