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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Chihayafuru Vol. 14, Chapter 78

And here we are again....

Volume 14 might seem a little slow, but I think it's the buildup the mangaka wanted us to feel with the Mizusawa team as they grow and learn together.  They're like a band of bushi (sorry, I have samurai on the brain) with a similar ideal, learning ideals like integrity, sportsmanship, teamwork, and ambition to be the best at what they do.  Essentially, it's like every sports manga out there...ha.  

But what makes them different is the game they play.  I've always had a soft spot for Japanese prose and poetry, starting back when I took courses in Japanese literature in college (pre and post Meiji era).   But the waka poetry in this chapter was REALLY hard.  I'm sorry if I didn't get the cards properly translated.  It was hard to differentiate between the Chinese translation, and what the Japanese version would be; there was some speculation on my part, a LOT of Google searches of the Hyakunin Isshu text in Romanji/English, and plugging in the Chinese verse into Google Translate when all else failed to search for the poem in Japanese instead.

So many images of autumn leaves, rivers and tears on sleeves swimming through my brain right now....


Volume 14, Chapter 78

Sakurazawa-sensei watches the match cooly.
"Put Mizusawa on the defensive."  (TN: the translation in Chinese literally means to completely advance and threaten, giving your opponent the chance to feel how powerful you are.)

"Furusato samuku, koromo utsu nari..."  (TN: closest match was poem 94, that describes both Mt. Yoshino and the autumn wind.  Yoshino was also a village near the old capital of Nara -- pre-Kyoto 710-794 A.D.)

Meat-bun kun is staring at his opponent's sitting position.  He's down so low!  His form is like a spider, at an angle low enough to be parallel to the perfectly organized cards.  Just how strong are his back muscles?

Flashback to Desktomu's pre-game lecture: "This girl (referring to Makoto)... Her demeanor is clearly like a gruff older sister.  (TN: Wut?)  But during a match she's like a hot-blooded man.  Extremely forceful!"

She hits the floor with such force it makes a poof, boom sound!

Who in the hell likes Rion?  Who would like that kind of girl...?!  (TN:  Repressed much?  Someone needs to relax and embrace her feelings....)

Meanwhile, Tsukuba is distracted by the strange visage of his opponent (Ichimura Mitsuki).

So weird...

"Miyoshino, yama no aki kaze sayo fukete--"

After taking a card, he strikes a pose: Secret ability. Lightning Strike!

This guy is seriously weird--!

Meanwhile, Taichi is also struggling against his opponent.

"Koromo katashiki, hitorini kamo nen--"  (TN: randomly choosing Poem 91 here; it was the closest fit I could find from the Chinese, but those who have seen the Japanese raws can clarify)

He loses the next card to him.  Already.....With his hand he's already blocked off all the 2 syllable cards....He's quick to move his hand, quick to stop it....  Is that the capability of his rank?

They all have really strong physiques! 


Sakurazawa is talking to a group of students.
"I also started learning karuta at age 6, and I was able to practice consistently and nonstop....  So the first rule of the game is to maintain your physique!  Both before and after practice you must complete 30 minutes of physical warm up and warm down, 30 minutes of slow jogging, and 3 muscle building exercises...  which is all added into your regular competition practices!"  The group of students starts to mumble with uncertainty.

If Sakurazawa-sensei...

She sexy pose demonstrates the waist stretching exercise, the bicep/tricep/deltoid exercise, the rib cage and obliques exercise.  (TN: maybe I should start training for karuta....)

"Physical strength!"

...says so...

The boys watching are breaking a sweat: "It's not like she was doing anything pornographic."
"You're such a porno freak!"  (TN: Boys....) doesn't matter how grueling the practice, we will accomplish it!   

Caption: There are 50 members of our club.  Fujisaki High School is karuta....

The members regularly train and jog in groups.  "Wow, the karuta team works really hard!" says a watching bystander.  "Their about to enter the national competition.  That's really incredible!"

Caption: No one on campus would ever say, "You know, that thing they call karuta!"

Flashback: Sakurazawa gives out her instructions.  "First years, you're doing recitation, second years start practicing your arrangements, third years you work with the cards.  One by one until they become an extension of yourself!"

Caption: Its trained students for 12 years now....  These are Sakurazawa-sensei's credentials...

This is the pride of the Fujisaki team!

Everyone in the Mizusawa group watches the match nervously.
"Are their opponents really that strong?" asks Kana-chan.  "Right from the start, they've suppressed us."
"Oe-senp--" begins Sumire but she notices the distressed look on Kana's face.  Kana is watching Chihaya intently.


Chihaya seems frozen by her opponent and has not taken a single card.  The next card is drawn.

"Misebaya na --"  (TN: Poem 90 is the only one that starts with 'mi' and has to do with "sleeves") 
"Ojima no ama no / Even the fishermen's sleeves
Sode dani mo, / On Ojima's shores
Nure ni zo nureshi /Though wet through and wet again,
Iro wa kawarazu. / Do not so change their colors.

Rion is the first to claim it.  Makoto watches in dissatisfaction.  So stupid!
Sakurazawa-sensei...why did you let Rion participate in the final round?  What is she compared to the third years who've trained so much harder!

Rion is especially reactive to sound, a genius....  But even if you didn't have that ability, you could still win!  You could still defend Fujisaki's proud title!

Chihaya is quite shocked.  Why.... How...How is she able to make her move just by hearing the vowel 'mi'?  Even with the other two syllable cards, she was able to take the card just by hearing the first syllable.

She recalls something the reigning Meijin had said.

Flashback: "There are 28 single syllable cards."  (TN: meaning he can draw any of his cards at the first syllable.)  Is she like Suo -san?  But her decisiveness is far too quick!  What exactly is it that she hears?!  What is it---

Sakurazawa-sensei watches quietly.  Coincidentally she's up against the girl from Mizusawa with the strong intuitive style...  From the start Rion hasn't given her any leeway...  She must win as quickly as possible...

Caption: From an advantageous situation her progress is natural.

Can you continue like this?  Rion--

Shinobu is also watching.  But her expressionless face suddenly cracks a yawn.

Geez, this is so boring...  But the card reader, isn't she Yamashiro Kyoko-sama, one of the 7 certified readers?

As the next card is read, the players are all of the same notion that it is a "blank" card.

"Fuku kara ni /It is by its breath
Aki no kusaki no / That autumn's leaves of trees and grass
Shiorureba -- /Are wasted and driven. (TN: chose 22 that mentions grass and autumn wind.) 
Mube yama kaze o /So they call this mountain wind
Arashi to iuran/The wild one, the destroyer.

As she reads, Kana can picture the scene of the poem and the tall grass waving in the wind.

The next card is also a "blank" card.

"Kono tabi wa 
Nusa mo toriaezu
Tamukeyama --"
 But Chihaya also begins to see the imagery of the poem as Yamashiro-san reads it and remembers Kana's words.

Flashback: "My favorite reader is Yamashiro Kyoko."

Her tone is so rich and colorful.

Chihaya sees it.  She sees the scene the author saw as the verses were written.  The sound, the noises... are so rich and colorful!

Chihaya is entranced.  
From the day Kana-chan first told me...

Caption: "Only "Chihaya" is a brilliant bright red."

I've felt the same way.  There are a few cards that leave a strong impression... and you can actually see their colors.  But... the way a card is read can also give it color.... 

She's...listening to that color---

Shinobu thinks quietly to herself, Yamashiro-sama,  the way she reads gives too much away.  Even if I thought the others wouldn't lose [to Hisashi Suo].... But with Yamashiro-sama as the reader in a match, Suo-san would be very difficult to deal with....

The same with that girl... [Rion]   Is she also difficult?

An organizer in the back reviews the team profiles and notes that Rion is only a B ranked player.
She's only B rank? Then why...?

Caption: Rion...

Yamashiro Kyoko reminisces, From a young age you've come to my karuta society to practice.  Even if it's just a grandmother's bias, I've always felt that child was a genius....  I've always had the greatest expectations for her.  But....

Flashback to when Rion was a child, her grandmother holding her hands.
"Why would you want to quit competing, Rion?  It was the same at the last meet as well.  You just need to keep pushing through until the very end...."  Rion looks uneasy and turns away.
"The reading... isn't pretty at all!  It's very hard to play!  They way you read it Grandma is much better."

If karuta cards also had what is called 'absolute timbre' then Rion would be like that.  Amid the competitions there are various readers of the opposite sex reading the waka.  Rion had never won those competitions.  She will never be the Queen.  But... be grateful!  Rion....

The teams move and strike the next card.  Ichimura Mitzuki strikes another pose: Dance of the undying bird! (TN: wut..?)

Your team has given you the opportunity to be a winning champion!

Taichi: Damn it!
Meat bun-kun: So strong!
Tsukuba: Weirdo!
Desktomu: ....
Chihaya: We're already down 6 cards!  Stay calm...!  If we're going to stop them from continuing to pull farther away from us, I have to do what I did last time... I just need to cut the distance, the single syllable cards are increasing, even I can--

Chiyaha notices Kana in the audience, eyes closed in meditation.  Chihaya!  Concentrate on the waka!  Be wholly absorbed... devoted to... listening to the waka!

Chihaya takes a breath and closes her eyes.

The rain has stopped... The sun is setting... The smell of sweat.... and tatami mats.... and the cards....  The sound of the air conditioning....

She slowly opens her eyes.  

Summer, the desire to meet again; mist, birdcalls, wanting to meet; darkness, noises; loneliness, sakura; friends, flame....  

The image of a smiling young Arata comes to mind.

Her eyes are open now as the reader chooses the next card.

Both Chihaya a Rion reach for a card opposite each other.
Chihaya's hand stops on hers.
"wae no --"
The others make their move.  Ichimura Mitzuki poses: Leaping crab style! (TN: I can't...even...)

The overseer pauses at Chihaya.  The cards remaining still include nanishi, naniwaga and natsu... at the first syllable she guarded, and by the second syllable she selected naniwae.  Actually naniwae and naniwaga are already difficult to differentiate.. but is her intuition really that good?

Chihaya looks at the card she took.  
Kana-chan....  Meanwhile Kana sits in awe.

Flashback to Kana's waka lesson: "Naniwaga is the color of winter's withered black reed, that kind of gloomy green color; Naniwae is the color of emerald green reeds...  you should try thinking of them like that."

I don't really have a lot of ability to follow the sound of the colors to connect the right waka...taking the cards like that is dangerous, I can't do that repeatedly.

But... Sensei....  She pictures her teacher, Harada Hidehiro (he's still alive, of course).

This is how you turn the tide isn't it?  Sensei!  (TN: In Chinese, it literally translates to this is how you take back the pennant.  It feels like the pennant you use in sports or in battle.)  

Yamashiro picks up the next card.

"Oeyama --"  By now everyone recognizes which card they must take.
"Ikuno--"  Chihaya tries to reach the card before Rion.  I don't think so!
 "no michi no --"  But both of them hear a "crack" as Chihaya's finger goes down on the mat.
"Ah!" Chihaya cries out.  Her teammates watch in horror as her finger is at an unnatural angle.


End Chapter 78, End Vol. 14


  1. Love your translation, need your translation, wait for your translation!
    (From a Vietnamese translator of Chihayafuru)
    I can't belive chapter 78 was public!
    You know, the English scanlation on all of manga websites stopped at chapter 49, then they've continued since chapter 93. So it's so difficult for me to translate chapter 50 to 92 because I just can read English :'(
    So love you so so so so much!!!!
    I'm looking forward to the next chapter! "Love you!" again.

    1. Ha, you're welcome. It's a slow trend, since I'm not into Chihayafuru as I used to be and I do it just to practice Chinese since I never use my ancestral language in RL -_-; (My ancestors are rolling in their graves right now).

      But I'm glad people are still reading! It makes my efforts worth posting.

    2. There's still someone read and suport your translation anyway. My English is not good so I can't talk much about my Chihayafuru translation progress to express how much I want to thanks. Keep going and fighting! :D

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