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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chihayafuru Vol. 14, Chapter 77

So I actually got Xillia 2 out of my system!!  But Tales of Zestiria will be delivered to my door on October 22!!!  Before I get lost in my little world of JRPGs, I thought I'd translate another chapter of Chihayafuru.

I'm also watching Nirvana in Fire - Lang Ya Bang - 琅琊榜 And I totally find it fascinating.  I think I like it more than I liked Splendid Politics.  It's really well written and produced and that's surprising from a Mainland China drama.  I never thought I'd like Mainland dramas, but the people are really well performed actors, and I totally admire the characters.  No love triangles.  Just politics.  And hidden identities.  And kung fu masters whose qi gong lets them fly through the AIR! Yeah!  A little Crouching Tiger, a little Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and a little Saiunkoku Monogatari.

For a girl who was raised on Hong Kong TVB period costume dramas, this is totally up my alley.  I encourage everyone to watch it.

Volume 14, Chapter 77

[We last left Arata in shock when he is told by Hiro/Retro that his friends and their team have made it to the Omi Jingu final match against Fujisaki High.]

Taichi and Chiyaha....

Are moving forward to the final round to be Japan's best team?!

Hiro lingers, and closes the sliding door shut with a light 'slap - pak.'

Shinobu grins.  Hee...

"It's just a high school kids' competition, whatever does he mean by "Japan's best" even?  I just don't get it.  Just.  Don't.  Get.  It.  Everyone's 'really strong' right?  Arata!"

Before she finished that though, Arata's hand lunges past her face to the door latch.  She is completely aghast, and Arata pauses, before huddling down as he remembers he's still forbidden to enter the competition hall.

"So after all that, you really aren't going, right?" Shinobu asks.

"If I go now, I can forget about tomorrow's individual competition..." Arata says woefully.
"What?" Shinobu chides.  "Arata, you finally realize the individual competition is actually more important?"

"Arata!" says one of his teammates, "As long as you quietly sneak out you won't be caught.  There's so many people in there.  Just go.  Wasn't this your goal in the first place?"

"Breaking the rules and not getting punished for it is not something the Omi Jingu council takes lightly, Sho!" Arata exclaims.

His friend and Shinobu are shocked by his sudden outburst.

Hiro's words still echo through the room: Aren't you going to them?

Taichi and Chihaya... are in the final round....

Arata sits stoically in seiza style.  (Translation Trivia: This word actually derives from two Chinese characters 正座, which literally means quiet/peaceful sitting)

They are competing to be Japan's best!

Shinobu suddenly stands and takes off her pants, revealing her snowman boxers.

"OMIGAWD STOP!" one teammate cries, covering his face.  "Don't take off the bottom half!"

Shinobu changes back into her uniform, now dry.

"Man, you're just like an old fogie (so old fashioned)," says another teammate.

"I just think about tomorrow and then I'm already really agitated!" says Shinobu. "I should hurry up and go home.  Laters."

"Shinobu!" calls out Arata.  "Some people are actually really motivated by it (team matches). Just for a bit, why don't you go watch the team competition?"

"....  That's.... highly unlikely, don't you think?"

Caption: Any high school competitor, no matter how many competitions...  For the sake of ensuring the competition goes smoothly...  will in advance have all the groupings of 50 cards at the start of the game.

Announcer: "Please shuffle the cards."

Caption: Then the two opponents will mix the cards together.... each of them receiving 25 cards, turn them face up and group the cards accordingly.

Panel: Everyone studies their cards intently

Chihaya: ...
Desktomu: This is...
Tsukuba: Omigawd I'm so nervous...
Meat bun: I only have one 'single syllable' card, yet I don't have any cards beginning with "chi".  This would have been be very detrimental to Chihaya.

Chihaya looks up at her opponent and notices for a brief moment she is smiling as if she is in on a little secret.  The smile disappears as soon as Chihaya takes a closer look.

Suddenly all of the Fujisaki players bow respectfully to request a break, before the male players get up and leave the room.

In the audience, they are shocked. They've just arranged the cards. They're already getting up to take a break?  The lot of them together?

"They've already gotten up?  Such bravado..."

I don't get it, thinks Miyauchi-sensei.
How fearsome, comments Kana.  Sumire just gawks in shock.

In the audience, Nayuta (Hokuo team) thinks, Mizusawa....  That's just how Fujisaki does things.  From the very beginning they set the pace of the match.  Don't let it throw you! (TN: don't let them intimidate you)

When everyone looks at Mizusawa's team, each of them are stretching or spending the time repositioning themselves.

They're all so calm, thinks Miyauchi-sensei.

Not a problem, not a problem, thinks Taichi.

Flashback to one of Desktomu's tips: "There were five matches in total inclusive of the final round.  Even with Fujisaki's third years their minds would be weary.  In order to not feel like last night's leftover meatloaf, Meat bun's description by the way,  I think they're not going to remain seated.  Maybe only the female addition will remain."  (TN: Not sure how it reads in Japanese but the Chinese translation uses "tai lao" where I used an English equivalent to convey the meaning, leftover meatloaf.  'Tai lao' are sacrificial meats of male animals - bull, ram, and boar - offered at the altar in ancient Chinese religion, appropriate since the Fujisaki strength is mostly male, and the captain a tomboy.  Leave it to Meat bun to come up with a turn of phrase that relates to food....)

Master Deskotumu, thinks Chihaya, you really are remarkable.  You predicted everything correctly!
She takes a deep breath.

Karuta is.... thorough memorization.... thorough forgetfulness....  and then repeat!

Memorize then forget...memorize then forget!  She concentrates hard through her past matches today.

An image of Megumu Osaka comes to mind.  Forget...I have to forget her.

If I can't forget her....  Her heart is pounding loudly in the background.  Boom.  Boom.  Boom. Boom...  I won't be able to beat someone who just entered her first match....  I need to clear my mind!

Outside, the Fujisaki players are all stretching.
"Where's Rion?" asks one of the players.
"Just shut it," reprimands the captain (Makoto).  "What does it matter?  Is it a good thing?  That little brat clearly lacks stamina, but insists on not doing stretching exercises?  Even if it's not compulsory."
"You guys really coddle Rion," she continues.  "I mean it's true! Her talents are really shocking.  But it's it really evil how her face has no expression?  Why would anyone welcome someone like that?"
"Also," she comments as they continue stretching (TN: clearly she rants about Rion ALL THE TIME since her teammates are largely ignoring her), "She's consistently remained a B ranked player.  Tsk, just because she's maybe a bit cute."
"Hey, Makoto!" says one of her teammates.  "I do have a girlfriend."
"Me too!" chimes in another.
"What?! Really?" asks Makoto.
"My girlfriend is first year Shino Mimi," says Kanata bashfully. "We started dating in the spring."
"I started the spring semester.  Mine is Ayami Seno. (TN: totally guessing her name here)
"I'm shocked!" declares Makoto.  "What about you Emuro?  Don't you like Rion?"

He stares at her blankly.  "Rion's chest... is like that of a preschooler, right?"

Oh my gosh, that's right  Emuro you....!!  Because you're so perverted your nickname is 'Ko-ero'! (TN: that's a guess on my part, because it uses part of Emuro's name with the word 'perverted'.)

Emuro continues muttering in his own little world, "At least let her be an E cup or doesn't matter what her face looks like... Of course what her ass looks like is also important..."
(TN: As a woman I am completely offended and disgusted with Emuro's character and he needs to die.... are karuta cards sharp? Someone should ninja star one right between his eyes...seriously...  But I believe the author wanted to portray that he isn't anything like Arata, even though they may resemble one another -- according to Taichi)

"Well, this is what I think," says Kanata.  "Isn't it you, Yamai (Makoto) who actually has feelings for Rion?" (TN: I replated "like" with "Has feelings for" because the connotation is that she likes Rion romantically)

Wha---?!  ME?!  What the hell did you just say...?  Makoto blushes furiously.  She grabs Kanata by the collar and declares, "Who the heck would like that 'mask'...?"
"Well that's--" argues Kanata defensively.

In the background a shadow of a girl looms and continues getting closer.

"Don't say such disgusting things, Kanata!"

It gets closer...

"That little monotone sneak, whose only good quality is that she can listen well..."  Makoto suddenly feels a malevolent force behind her and turns around sharply.

She and Kanata note no one is there.  (Shinobu has already left)  (TN: Shinobu is like a malevolent ghost, attracted by strong feelings of hatred -- hahahaha)

"What was that?" she demands.
"I didn't hear any foot falls," comments Kanata.
"How creepy..."

Caption: This power of acute hearing... can be the competing team's strength, and she among the top players... Happily gathering together, loudly making noise...  separate from karuta...

Shinobu thinks of Arata, still under house arrest in the Fukui West sitting room.

Today is the day for the team competition! 

Arata!  Why?  Arata?  (TN: Shinobu lives for the karuta cards, so to make friends that are not karuta cards is something she cannot fathom)

Caption: Break time is limited to 15 minutes.  Ten minutes have already lapsed. 

Meatbun and Tsukuba are waiting in agitation.  Desktomu is mentally preparing by studying all of the cards in front of him.  Think quickly! First plan to move, how to steal, how to give it away...  Think of all possible combinations!

His thoughts earlier [I probably...won't be able to win...  it's not that easy.]
I want to exceed...even my own analysis.  (TN: Desktomu wants to push his own limits, and exceed his prior prediction that he won't win).

Taichi is lost in own thoughts until his opponent returns.
"Forgive me," says Emuro, bowing from his seat.

On the outside...he really does resemble Arata.  Does everyone who studies karuta have that same quality..... Taichi wonders.

The national arena for team competition... my opponent is Fujisaki's wild card... An A rank...  I'm the one who wanted to fight him!

If I can prevail here... or possibly change something--

"Oh, I remember!"
"You're the B rank student who competed against us last year....  I remember!" Emuro smirks.

The implication of his words: So then... you're still a B rank, eh?

I've just been snubbed!  (TN: the Chinese version says bei hua xia le yi tiao xian, or a line has been drawn, meaning he's been classified into his own rank, or Emuro has distinguished between their classes/levels)

I've just been sized up.  Aah... and in a very rude way...

Emuro's thoughts are taking a completely different direction.  Actually, I really wanted to see Mizusawa's other female player (Kana-chan) take the stage, thinks Emuro.  To think an H cup would be jiggling in front of my face...

Kana: Why do I feel like I'm being ogled...?

Oh wells...

If I win this time around Sakurazawa-sensei will let me touch her F cup beauties.... (TN: I think I'm thoroughly disgusted with this guy...)

Sakurazawa: [Just continue your A rank style of wishful thinking]  TN: Dream on, buddy.

Makoto is still making an ugly face and clearly agitated: What the hell kind of nonsense was Kanata spouting, that guy!  He actually said that I liked Rion... What the heck, I like Rion....  What 'like'... (TN: clearly she has issues she should sort through....)

Meanwhile Kanta looks over to his twin in the audience.  Manata!  Just watch me, Manata!

Ichimura stretches: This time around, should I use that to compete? Knight... fighter...

What is this? Kana watches.  Fujisaki seems so relaxed...

Announcer:  "Let the match begin!"

The orator begins the opening verse and everyone in the audience, especially Kana, listens in awe.

Orator: Naniwa-zu ni
Sakuya kono haana
Ima o haru-be to
Sakuya kono hana

(TN: "In Naniwa Bay, now the flowers are blossoming. After lying dormant all winter, now the spring has come and those flowers are blossoming." As written by Wani, a semi-legendary scholar from Baekjae.  Baekjae is one of the kingdoms in Korea's Three Kingdom's period, circ. 18 BC - 660 AD.  Back then everyone who was educated read/wrote poems.)

It's so different.  So this is what a master sounds like, thinks Chihaya.  Competition!  I'm with the others in this competition!

Orator: Okuyama ni 
Momiji fumiwake
Naku shika no 
Koe kiku toki zo
Aki wa kanashiki

(TN: Totally winging it and guessing what this next poem is -- so if I'm wrong, please advise!!!  But it mentions "red leaves" in the Chinese version so I'm selecting Poem 5.  I'm wondering how accurate the Japanese-Chinese translation is here.... "In the mountain depths, Treading through the crimson leaves, The wandering stag calls. When I hear the lonely cry, Sad--how sad!--the autumn is." )

Rion is able to take the cards before Chihaya and she sits bewildered.


What is this?  It's different!  This is totally different!  The reaction, the feeling both!

Sakurazawa watches quietly.  Rion... you've only entered this one match... and the orator is your maternal grandmother, Yamashiro Kyoko, of the 7th rank  Will you have an enjoyable performance?  Everyone else, also...

A Kanata raises his hand to halt the pace of the game again.

You just need to take five cards... then you should be able to...

Skewer Mizusawa...

Until they've completely lost all resolve....

Why...Arata? asks Shinobu, sulking with arms crossed in the back of the room.  Everyone near her is shocked to see her there.  Surely this is going to turn out to be a boring match....

Friday, October 16, 2015

Never Alone

My doujin I compiled into an AMV.  Because I obviously am totally procrastinating and don't want to work over the weekend....

Doodling my way to Zestiria....

Ugh, for once I have to work on a weekend.  But before I do that, I wanted to complete a little project of mine.

I've been working on this since I tried to put Princessia in the Snow behind me.  It seems this mega fangirl mood won't leave me.  I'm obsessed with all the possibilities of Elize's life as a grown up.  What started out as a series of doodles became a full on short fancomic: slice of life + Elize Lutus, my favorite Xillia/Xillia2 character = magic and rainbows. ^_^v

Aaaaand, if my dorkiness wasn't enough here, I've actually put it into a compilation with a soundtrack on my YouTube channel.  (Because Shimokawa Mikuni is awesome, and I really like the lyrics to Karenai Hana.)  I found the music appropriate for a girl who has come of age and found her path, which is essentially the theme to almost every fiction I've written. :-p

If you're an amateur music video enthusiast, go ahead and watch the movie:
Cover Page

Read the pages in traditional manga style, from upper right corner to bottom left.
Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13

Okay, now I feel like I've contributed enough to the Xillia fandom.  I need a confessional for Xillia fanatics...I'm such a dork for fangirling over my own head cannon... (Just in case it wasn't clear....)