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Old 2012-01-04, 12:01   Link #801
ehonglin
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Episode 14 is the beginning of the manga vol.5 so episode 26 will be on vol.8 ......... which is just the introduction.

I am so sad that the series (hope for 2nd season) will end before we can get into a really good part. The story after that is so damn great. Plot twist. Especially, after manga vol.15


I want to know if there is a manga discussion too because I really want to chat about the plot after Vol.15. The story is getting so intense.

Last edited by ehonglin; 2012-01-04 at 12:14.
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Old 2012-01-04, 15:29   Link #802
Anh_Minh
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Question: why is the one who has the most experience in tournament, and the stamina of three years of track and field, the one to get sick?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanon View Post
It's true that Arata is lacking in training, but I think he could have given a lot of players a run for their money nevertheless. His reflexes have undoubtedly dulled, but he has plenty of experience to make up for that. He managed to make A class about a year ago with minamal training too (by the way, that guy who pointed out -and was happy- he couldn't practice anymore because of his grandpa was a huge asshole).
It was thoughtless, yes, but I don't think he said it to be mean. He just didn't realize how hurtful it would be, or how serious the grandfather's condition was.

He just spoke up because:
- he was relieved to be freed from Arata's oppressive superiority;
- he was making excuses for not being as good as Arata;
- he was making excuses for Arata not having results now.
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Old 2012-01-04, 15:54   Link #803
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Question: why is the one who has the most experience in tournament, and the stamina of three years of track and field, the one to get sick?
Because she's queasy towards blood? That card did have quite the graphic description...
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Old 2012-01-04, 16:22   Link #804
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Freeter View Post
Because she's queasy towards blood? That card did have quite the graphic description...
So? She's played with the same hundred cards for years.
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Old 2012-01-04, 16:28   Link #805
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
It was thoughtless, yes, but I don't think he said it to be mean. He just didn't realize how hurtful it would be, or how serious the grandfather's condition was.
Frankly I think there's been a general tendacy of background characters acting like assholes in this story, whether it's saying stupid things or chatting shit behind the person's back. In some cases the characters are hilarious less significant that they ought to be (*cough*Taichi's girlfriend*cough*).

In any case it seems to me that the author appears to have a rather low opinion on anyone she doesn't personally know.
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Old 2012-01-04, 18:25   Link #806
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Question: why is the one who has the most experience in tournament, and the stamina of three years of track and field, the one to get sick?
A combination of stress, pressure, possibly a lack of sleep/food/water, and getting overheated from wearing the hakama. Honestly we've seen her work herself up and get too stressed to think straight before, especially in tournaments, hopefully after this she'll make sure this doesn't happen again, I got the impression that Taichi was at least partially expecting this to happen and was keeping an eye out for it. Also, remember that she didn't take track & field that seriously, she saw it "as a way to make friends," not as a life goal to fulfill.
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Old 2012-01-04, 18:49   Link #807
ars89
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On a completely unrelated note, Kana's mom cracked me up quite a bit. She's a total cougar.
Yea that made me chuckle as well when she was looking around the room and saying how many cute boys there were.
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Old 2012-01-04, 20:40   Link #808
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Chihaya just gets herself too worked up - emotional immaturity is both her strength and weakness as a player. I think the moment just got the better of her.
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Old 2012-01-05, 00:23   Link #809
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There is an entire museum in Kyoto dedicated to the hyakunin isshu and to karuta:

"The two-story Shigure-den in Arashiyama is a museum where people can experience and learn about the Hyakunin Isshu. This building is two storeys high."

It's an interactive museum, complete with electronic displays and the usual educational computer game stuff, but also life-size mannequins of some of the authors of the poetry, and a collections of old card decks. Wow.
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Old 2012-01-05, 01:26   Link #810
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Loving the show so much.

Even tho i still find karuta kinda boring.
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Old 2012-01-05, 01:36   Link #811
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Originally Posted by Johnny View Post
Good episode and the Queen falling for Arata would be hilarious...

@Undertaker, no there isn't a thread in the manga section...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehonglin View Post

I want to know if there is a manga discussion too because I really want to chat about the plot after Vol.15. The story is getting so intense.

I'm just gonna make one for people who wanted to talk about manga or people who don't mind spoilers.
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Old 2012-01-05, 04:02   Link #812
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Question: why is the one who has the most experience in tournament, and the stamina of three years of track and field, the one to get sick?
Because the best player (usually the main character) being sick or injured during an important match is a common shounen sport trope.
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Old 2012-01-05, 05:43   Link #813
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And as we've seen so far, despite talking big, Chihaya isn't the calmest person when it comes to handling pressures and expectation.

Besides, while she should be used to competition, this is the first time she made to national stage in Omi Jingu.

Compare to that, Nishida actually had more experience in this regard, he's been there twice while in elementary.
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Old 2012-01-06, 00:59   Link #814
hyperborealis
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There are a lot of ordinary reasons for Chihaya's collapse, relating to the conditions of the match and Chihaya's own disposition. Here's a good summary:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wandering-dreamer View Post
A combination of stress, pressure, possibly a lack of sleep/food/water, and getting overheated from wearing the hakama. Honestly we've seen her work herself up and get too stressed to think straight before, especially in tournaments, hopefully after this she'll make sure this doesn't happen again, I got the impression that Taichi was at least partially expecting this to happen and was keeping an eye out for it.
Guardian Enzo puts the stress on Chihaya's disposition, especially her "emotional immaturity:"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Chihaya just gets herself too worked up - emotional immaturity is both her strength and weakness as a player. I think the moment just got the better of her.
Blaat on the other hand looks to narrative conventions of shounen anime:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaat View Post
Because the best player (usually the main character) being sick or injured during an important match is a common shounen sport trope.
I agree with all these points in varying degrees. At the same time, I think there is something else entirely going on in the episode, a way in which Chihaya's collapse makes sense from a perspective not related to these sort of ordinary explanations.

Let's start with the moment at which Chihaya's distress starts to become acute: it is when she is laying out her cards at the start of the match, and in particular, when she is placing the card with the line, "have been soaked red with tears of blood." The animation emphasizes her shock at seeing this card: she responds, "huh?" when she sees it, she freezes for a moment holding the card, and then the point-of-view moves up toward her shocked, frozen expression.

So what's up with this card? After all, as Anh Minh points out, she's seen it many times before: why does it affect her so strongly and in this way now?

The line comes from the 90th of the hyakunin isshu: the speaker is a betrayed lover, who has soaked her sleeves with tears at her lover's treachery. So, for Chihaya, what is the betrayal?

One possibility is that she feels betrayed by the kami of the shrine. As she gets dizzy, she asks, "Why would you do this, God?/ Didn't I ask you/ to keep us safe from any accidents?"

But the line from the poem has another reference, as the narrative makes clear by segueing directly from Chihaya's question to Arata, and to his memories of his grandfather's decline into dementia and finally into death. Arata's terrible anguish at his grandfather's failure to recognize him or even the karuta cards gives the most concrete possible instance of someone whose sleeves "have been soaked red with tears of blood."

Arata's grandfather illustrates by his tragedy the limits to Chihaya's prayer to the kami of Omi Jingu. Chihaya thinks she is asking only for a little, and no miracle, but to be exempt from accidents is a much greater miracle than anyone can reasonably expect. The wish that life should be so easy is the inevitable prelude to terrible disappointment and pain. Young Arata can think "Grandfather is still Grandfather," but that comfortable confidence stands as the measure of how much he will lose when his Ojiisan cannot remember him or the karuta cards. Arata shows him the 77th card, the poem of lovers who hope to be reunited as streams will come together, but there are no happy endings for his grandfather's condition.

But there are still miracles. As Arata approaches the side building in which the tournament is being played, he also approaches in memory the moment of his grandfather's death. He sees a cicada on the tree, and listening to its sound, he is reminded of "the passing nature of all things," and recalls his anguish at that time: "It hurts. / The pain. The fear." Overwhelmed, he turns to leave. Arata turns to leave!

And now the miracle. At that very moment, he hears suddenly out of the silence, as if by magic, the noise of the match going on inside, and so he turns back, and goes inside. The perspective switches back to Chihaya, as she says to herself, echoing Arata's very words, "It hurts. / My ears are ringing." Then she faints.

I think you can argue there is a mystical connection between Chihaya and Arata, that he hears outside the shrine what she hears inside, and that she feels inside what he feels outside, the sense of pain, the unwillingness to confront the hardness of life. Her collapse I think is the corollary of Arata's turning around and walking away.

But I'm not going to insist on this point. The miracle lies I think on a deeper level than even this. When Chihaya awakes and then collapses again, overcome by her sense of having failed her teammates, by her sense that she has made futile all their efforts, Arata finds himself moved by her dedication. Far from thinking her emotionally immature, he instead admires her: "Chihaya, you're just as determined as you used to be." Her example leads him to self-reflection, to the realization that he still loves karuta, even if it has been for him the place of his grandfather's tragedy, and finally to the decision that he will return to playing the game.

And this is the miracle. Chihaya's original prayer to the kami had been, 'Please keep us safe from any accidents,/ so we're able to play." She had thought she had meant her prayer only for herself and her teammates, in an ordinary sense of nothing getting in the way of their playing. But the kami had heard her words--we know this, from the flash she experiences as soon as she makes the prayer--and had understood them in their deeper sense, to include Arata, to keep him safe from the great accident that had overwhelmed his life, and to make it possible for him to play with her again as well. In Arata's decision, and in his promise to meet her again playing karuta, Chihaya finds the deepest prayer of her heart answered. Chihaya's tears of happiness at the episode's conclusion flow from her awareness that the kami has indeed heard her and answered her in the best way possible.

Chihayafuru continues to be an extraordinary anime. It deals with some of the most difficult issues of life, with an enormous sensitivity and passion. It brings together a wealth of cultural references, speaking to the viewer subtly and complexly, using visual metaphor, poetry, and intricate plotting to make its narrative points. With Chihayafuru, as with great art, you do not so much as read it, as it reads you.

------------------

Way to go Sudo for taking time to visit Chihaya when she's sick. Good man.
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Last edited by hyperborealis; 2012-01-07 at 10:16. Reason: Looks more like a hotel than a hospital...
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Old 2012-01-06, 07:06   Link #815
Sol Falling
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Why does the episode take its title from the 15th of the hyakunin isshu?

Here's a translation, from the University of Virgina online library:

It is for your sake
That I walk the fields in spring,
Gathering green herbs,
While my garment's hanging sleeves
Are speckled with falling snow.

Another translation explains that the author of the waka, Emperor Kwoko, wrote it in honor of his grandmother.

Accordingly, the episode title alludes to Arata, to the time he had left his grandfather to compete in the karuta tournament. The season matches: the tournament is in February, so like the emperor, he has gone out in spring. The wakana the emperor seeks is, in Arata's case, karuta cards, victory in the competition, and broadly the honor he intends to bring back to his grandfather. The respect for a grandparent is the key parallel between the waka and the narrative: like the author of the poem, Arata has gone out from his house in honor of his grandparent.

The parallel holds to the second half of the poem. The snow on the garment alludes to the cost of the emperor's efforts: discomfort, the coldness of snow itself. Arata has also paid, in his grief after his grandfather's death, in his sense of guilt.

In following Chihaya to Omi Jingu, Arata has repeated his earlier gesture, as his grandfather's colleague makes clear. By returning to play, Arata honors his grandfather by bringing his style of play back to life. In some sense, he brings his grandfather back to life, or perhaps better said, he keeps the memory of his grandfather alive.

The waka is a spring poem. It is about bringing life, the wakana, out of death, the winter world of snow on sleeves. This is what Arata is doing for his Ojiisan.

It is also what he is doing for Chihaya. Her faint is a kind of death. Even when she wakes, to see Arata looking down on her, the moment she has been longing for for years, she does so to another death inside, in her guilt at having failed her team. This extraordinary moment is the absolute rebuff to Nishida's false notions earlier that she had only wanted a karuta club in order to get to meet Arata at Omi Jingu. But Arata's promise to her, that they will meet again across the tatami, restores her to herself. "He heard us. / Our feelings... / reached Arata." The "he" may be Arata, but it may also be the kami of the shrine, so that in her happiness Chihaya understands that her own prayers have been heard, and answered. The restoration is total: even Arata himself has now come back to life, to the life of karuta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Let's start with the moment at which Chihaya's distress starts to become acute: it is when she is laying out her cards at the start of the match, and in particular, when she is placing the card with the line, "have been soaked red with tears of blood." The animation emphasizes her shock at seeing this card: she responds, "huh?" when she sees it, she freezes for a moment holding the card, and then the point-of-view moves up toward her shocked, frozen expression.

So what's up with this card? After all, as Anh Minh points out, she's seen it many times before: why does it affect her so strongly and in this way now?

The line comes from the 90th of the hyakunin isshu: the speaker is a betrayed lover, who has soaked her sleeves with tears at her lover's treachery. So, for Chihaya, what is the betrayal?

One possibility is that she feels betrayed by the kami of the shrine. As she gets dizzy, she asks, "Why would you do this, God?/ Didn't I ask you/ to keep us safe from any accidents?"

But the line from the poem has another reference, as the narrative makes clear by segueing directly from Chihaya's question to Arata, and to his memories of his grandfather's decline into dementia and finally into death. Arata's terrible anguish at his grandfather's failure to recognize him or even the karuta cards gives the most concrete possible instance of someone whose sleeves "have been soaked red with tears of blood."

Arata's grandfather illustrates by his tragedy the limits to Chihaya's prayer to the kami of Omi Jingu. Chihaya thinks she is asking only for a little, and no miracle, but to be exempt from accidents is a much greater miracle than anyone can reasonably expect. The wish that life should be so easy is the inevitable prelude to terrible disappointment and pain. Young Arata can think "Grandfather is still Grandfather," but that comfortable confidence stands as the measure of how much he will lose when his Ojiisan cannot remember him or the karuta cards. Arata shows him the 77th card, the poem of lovers who hope to be reunited as streams will come together, but there are no happy endings for his grandfather's condition.

But there are still miracles. As Arata approaches the side building in which the tournament is being played, he also approaches in memory the moment of his grandfather's death. He sees a cicada on the tree, and listening to its sound, he is reminded of "the passing nature of all things," and recalls his anguish at that time: "It hurts. / The pain. The fear." Overwhelmed, he turns to leave. Arata turns to leave!

And now the miracle. At that very moment, he hears suddenly out of the silence, as if by magic, the noise of the match going on inside, and so he turns back, and goes inside. The perspective switches back to Chihaya, as she says to herself, echoing Arata's very words, "It hurts. / My ears are ringing." Then she faints.

I think you can argue there is a mystical connection between Chihaya and Arata, that he hears outside the shrine what she hears inside, and that she feels inside what he feels outside, the sense of pain, the unwillingness to confront the hardness of life. Her collapse I think is the corollary of Arata's turning around and walking away.

But I'm not going to insist on this point. The miracle lies I think on a deeper level than even this. When Chihaya awakes and then collapses again, overcome by her sense of having failed her teammates, by her sense that she has made futile all their efforts, Arata finds himself moved by her dedication. Far from thinking her emotionally immature, he instead admires her: "Chihaya, you're just as determined as you used to be." Her example leads him to self-reflection, to the realization that he still loves karuta, even if it has been for him the place of his grandfather's tragedy, and finally to the decision that he will return to playing the game.

And this is the miracle. Chihaya's original prayer to the kami had been, 'Please keep us safe from any accidents,/ so we're able to play." She had thought she had meant her prayer only for herself and her teammates, in an ordinary sense of nothing getting in the way of their playing. But the kami had heard her words--we know this, from the flash she experiences as soon as she makes the prayer--and had understood them in their deeper sense, to include Arata, to keep him safe from the great accident that had overwhelmed his life, and to make it possible for him to play with her again as well. In Arata's decision, and in his promise to meet her again playing karuta, Chihaya finds the deepest prayer of her heart answered. Chihaya's tears of happiness at the episode's conclusion flow from her awareness that the kami has indeed heard her and answered her in the best way possible.

Chihayafuru continues to be an extraordinary anime. It deals with some of the most difficult issues of life, with an enormous sensitivity and passion. It brings together a wealth of cultural references, speaking to the viewer subtly and complexly, using visual metaphor, poetry, and intricate plotting to make its narrative points. With Chihayafuru, as with great art, you do not so much as read it, as it reads you.
Fascinating stuff you've brought out by including translations and interpretations of the waka themselves in your analysis. The sheer quality of this series is staggering (and exciting!) when you realize that the anime has (thus far) only covered a quarter of the available material.

My immediate thought in reaction to Chihaya's despondency upon waking up (that she had failed; that it was all over) was that perhaps she should have had a little more faith in her teammates. I hadn't realized that the group tournament would proceed so fast that, even if Misuzawa had managed to tally up some victories, Chihaya's rest would still make her too late to rejoin the group and participate in the tournament. It was a disappointment for me, but that the team had fun and had even made it into the playoffs must certainly have been consolation to Chihaya.

I had thought that the "flash" Chihaya experienced following her prayer was simply foreshadowing for her later sickness and collapse during the tournament. What you bring up about wishing to be exempt from accidents, obstacles, and all the other unpredictable misfortunes of life getting in the way of fulfilling your passion and living out your potential being in itself an unrealistic miracle is a good point. I had thought that Chihaya's mistake or weakness in this episode was that she wanted her team to succeed, or find enjoyment, or fulfill their potential in karuta at this tournament too much. In the same way that you analyzed of Sudou two episodes ago, where his preoccupation with victory cost him the match against Chihaya, here too the meaning of the game or the significance of the tournament was the source of the stress which ultimately let Chihaya succumb to illness.

In this way, then, the "miracle" that you speak of in Arata being protected and returning to karuta, or the lesser "miracle" in the rest of Chihaya's team being able to play their hearts out and have a full experience of the tournament even without her, are probably the karuta kami's way of telling Chihaya to have more faith; even in the midst of those accidents or trials she was praying for protection from. Rather than that sort of protection, if Chihaya had asked that she and her teammates would be allowed to experience the joy of playing karuta, as she/they always has/have--she would have found that her prayer would surely be answered.

It is pretty interesting to see you diving so deeply into the Japanese culture and traditionalism with this anime. Having been previously more familiar with a number of these traditionalisms due to their limited ubiquity throughout mangas and anime, I haven't been consumed with the interest and curiosity to dig deeper like you have. The wealth of the references and links you've put up, however (despite having previously known of the Shigureden, for example, I had never clicked through to actually look at their website and overview; and from that blog link you put up on the cicadas I have already clicked through to five or more other articles I found very interesting), has certainly been more rewarding than I would have initially realized.
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Old 2012-01-06, 12:50   Link #816
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
My immediate thought in reaction to Chihaya's despondency upon waking up (that she had failed; that it was all over) was that perhaps she should have had a little more faith in her teammates. I hadn't realized that the group tournament would proceed so fast that, even if Misuzawa had managed to tally up some victories, Chihaya's rest would still make her too late to rejoin the group and participate in the tournament. It was a disappointment for me, but that the team had fun and had even made it into the playoffs must certainly have been consolation to Chihaya.
I think so--the anime certainly plays it just this way. Chihaya is making the most abject apology, but her teammates won't have any of it--they're delighted they did as well as they did, and don't fault her in the least. They rose to the occasion without her,
Spoiler for tournament match scores from the manga:
And, by her reactions, Chihaya seems to understand she hasn't in fact let her teammates down: she looks stunned, and then dives back under her bed covers, vowing to be ready for the individual matches the next day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
I had thought that the "flash" Chihaya experienced following her prayer was simply foreshadowing for her later sickness and collapse during the tournament.
I think so! See, part of the way her prayer is answered is precisely by the fact that she does get sick. It is her illness, followed by her misery at letting her teammates down, that enables her to move Arata as she does, so that he admires her dedication, and then follows her in the same spirit by returning to the sport. When she gets dizzy, Chihaya thinks the kami has not heard her prayer--but in fact the kami has heard her deeper prayer, which is to play with Arata again, and is busy answering that prayer. A divine fortune is at work.

So, if her dizziness seems to start from the moment she makes the prayer--notice how she is distracted, and puts her hand to her head--it is since the kami is acting through the illness to answer Chihaya's prayer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
I had thought that Chihaya's mistake or weakness in this episode was that she wanted her team to succeed, or find enjoyment, or fulfill their potential in karuta at this tournament too much. In the same way that you analyzed of Sudou two episodes ago, where his preoccupation with victory cost him the match against Chihaya, here too the meaning of the game or the significance of the tournament was the source of the stress which ultimately let Chihaya succumb to illness.
Yes, I think this is true. The team seems to go back to the same mistakes they were making at the regional tournament, complete with Nishida in full gamesmanship mode. And then the anime makes a point of showing that their gaming the lineup failed, since they guessed wrong. Although I'm not 100% sure--Tsutomu's self-sacrificial spirit I think is presented positively, and he is acting on behalf of the team, so maybe they get a pass this time.

The main reason I don't take this line any further is due to the way the anime tells the story. The focus of the episode is on the relation between Arata and Chihaya; the tournament, and all the issues of team motives, are all off camera. So we need a different explanation for what the episode is trying to get at.

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Originally Posted by Sol Falling View Post
It is pretty interesting to see you diving so deeply into the Japanese culture and traditionalism with this anime.
Expect more--I'm gong the full Kana route, at least as far as you can do it without being able to read Japanese. Now I'm edging myself to the point of going all in, and taking the five years it's going to take to get a reading fluency in the language. I'd love to be having this conversation over on 2chan. Kana, I will find you!
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Old 2012-01-06, 13:06   Link #817
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis
Expect more--I'm gong the full Kana route, at least as far as you can do it without being able to read Japanese. Now I'm edging myself to the point of going all in, and taking the five years it's going to take to get a reading fluency in the language. I'd love to be having this conversation over on 2chan. Kana, I will find you!
Isn't it abjectly unpopular in Japan though? A quick look at anime forums suggests to me that there might actually be more people willing to buy a Blu-Ray of this outside Japan than in it. When I was there on holiday I met a friend of a friend who was an avid anime watcher and he'd never even heard of it (although he did later email me to say he had started watching and was really enjoying it. I think it's status as an embodiment of a certain kind of Japanese traditionalism maybe doesn't help it, most Otaku rarely seem to be into that kind of thing in any way. In fact it often comes up in conversation with my friends that they wish anime had more historical and traditional content, but there rarely seems to be any demand for it in Japan. Maybe they just look on the idea as analogous to a Medieval Fayre or something.

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Old 2012-01-06, 14:15   Link #818
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^ It took me a while to realise you were quoting hyperborealis and not Anh Minh. Quote Fail XP
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Old 2012-01-06, 14:25   Link #819
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I don't even know how I managed it, fixed.
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Old 2012-01-06, 19:21   Link #820
Sol Falling
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperborealis View Post
Expect more--I'm gong the full Kana route, at least as far as you can do it without being able to read Japanese. Now I'm edging myself to the point of going all in, and taking the five years it's going to take to get a reading fluency in the language. I'd love to be having this conversation over on 2chan. Kana, I will find you!
If you are interested in taking on Japanese--I have started in on the language myself, and by my own estimations and what I understand of the experiences of others in fact not 5 years, but 3 or even 2 can be a reasonable timespan for working, adult fluency. There are quite a number of resources for English speakers out there, but if as far as my own research has unearthed for me there is one general strategy which has been quite successful and efficient for most learners out there, which I can describe if anyone is interested (although perhaps that might be better off put on a wall or private message as it is somewhat off-topic). For starters though, you might be interested to know that it is actually possible to master each of the two phonetic syllabries (hiragana and katakana) in as little as 3 hours (six total)--some subsequent usage, of course, being necessary so that it doesn't fall out of your memory. For a specific strategy, check out James Heisig's Remembering the Kana--I used it myself to learn katakana over a long weekend last November.
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