Eventing in 2018 Part 9! Thank you, Sakura-chan

Part of the reason I postponed this piece is that I hadn’t quite finished this particular event as of yesterday. The Card Captor Sakura 20th Anniversary Commemorative exhibition was actually split into two parts, the first of which I was lucky enough to visit with a friend back in November. But with that big trip to Canada and the US back in December, not to mention moving shortly after I returned to Japan, I only managed to get around to the second half today… orz

Exhibition Art

In any case, this exhibition really brought back the memories. CCS was one of the first manga I collected, back when I was in high school or in my first year of uni, and entirely in Japanese even though I couldn’t actually read the language back then! I was in a huge CLAMP phase back then, you see…and while I’ve moved on from CLAMP, CCS is the one manga of theirs that I will keep for as long as I live. Walking through the exhibition today reminded me why: the art, the messages it encompasses, the key words…

Well…there’s A LOT I’d love to say, but I just don’t have the headspace for it at the moment. So let me direct you to my friend Kim’s piece instead, so you might be able to understand why this story is so beloved even today, more than 15 years after it ended!

Cafe offering

Suetsugu Yuki: Drawing the Cover of Chihayafuru volume 34

Chapter 34 of Chihayafuru was published earlier this week, featuring a pretty blue cover with its title character once again.

(sourced from the official twitter account)

In celebration of the release, the manga’s author—Suetsugu Yuki—posted a series of tweets detailing how she went about creating the cover, from initial drawings all the way through to the final touches. I know it’s not going to make up for my having fallen off the Chihayafuru bandwagon this past year, but I still hope you enjoy finding out about how this one artist works! Read more of this post

Catching up on Chihayafuru: Poems 161-165


Before I begin, a heads up: I managed to catch the two Chihayafuru films on the work trip that has helped delay this post by three weeks, so look forward to some reflections on them soon. For the moment, let’s just say that I was glad that I’d been reading William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade

But for now, let’s take a look at a rematch that so many of us thought we were waiting for: Chihaya and Arata face off against each other…but the only person who would know what meaning the match has for them—Taichi—isn’t there. Read more of this post

Catching up on Chihayafuru: Poems 158-160


The semi-finals of the national team tournament. Mizusawa vs. Fujisaki, and Hokuo vs. Fujioka East. Sadly for our protagonists, both Chihaya and Arata’s teams lose 3-2, even though both of them win their own matches against Yoroshiko and Hyoro respectively. But in setting up a long-awaited rematch that I’ll get to next time, Suetsugu Yuki takes us into the minds of some of the minor characters that we haven’t really looked at before… Read more of this post

Catching up on Chihayafuru: Poems 154-157

The live-action films are out! And doing well, by all accounts!!

I’m going to be honest. I decided to stop at four chapters instead of five because I didn’t want to get into the meaty rounds of the national team tournament yet…mostly because I don’t have the time to look up all those cards at present. But there are still a few interesting things to be had in these four chapters, so here we go. Read more of this post

On ERASED: comparing the manga and the anime

The town where only I am missing…that is my treasure!

ERASED [BokuMachi] ended this week, mostly to good reviews from anime-only viewers despite a lot of teeth-gnashing by manga readers. Confession time: I actually started reading the manga halfway through the show’s broadcast. In some ways, I’m glad I did, because I’d have been even more frustrated at the manga readers who kept complaining about the anime otherwise. But I also wish I’d had the chance to make it to the end blind, so-to-speak, to see whether director Ito Tomohiko and his team had managed to capture the essence of the story without having confirmed what that essence was through the manga. But what’s done is done, and all of those translations and summaries this week were done in preparation for this post about my thoughts on the anime adaptation.


But before I start, let me recap and surmise the conditions under which the anime team was working. Read more of this post

Translation: Suetsugu Yuki x Umino Chika, a BE LOVE Special Dialogue

Chihayafuru_Volume_17 March-Lion


Competitive karuta and shōgi—a discussion between the two authors depicting teenagers betting their lives on their respective traditional Japanese sports! Their close (fellowship) has brought us this incredibly informative discussion!

Notes: This interview was published in BE LOVE when Chihayafuru reached its 100th chapter (September, 2012). This is the part of the manga just after the end of the second anime series, so if you’re still trying to hold out for a third season (instead of caving and reading the manga), then you might want to reconsider reading this. That said, I don’t think there were any major spoilers…and their discussions about March Comes in like a Lion revealed even less.

Disclaimer: Anyways, as always, please do not copy and paste substantial parts of this translation anywhere else, though feel free to link to it. The translation is entirely mine—including any mistakes and misinterpretations. In fact, I haven’t actually read March Comes in like a Lion, so I’d be really grateful if anyone can check and correct me on the areas marked with a (*) in particular.

And without further ado, please enjoy.


Read more of this post

Catching up on Chihayafuru: Poems 142-153


I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I last blogged the Chihayafuru manga. Why did I stop? There would have been a range of reasons—the break that Suetsugu took, the two anime series that took over my life, and certain other issues that I will not bring up here—but I honestly didn’t think I’d be gone for that long. In translating those two interviews over the last month, I was trying to gear myself up to dive into the manga again, and so here I am. Obviously, this won’t go into as much depth as some of my earlier reviews did, and since the chapters have already been translated, I won’t be summarising them either. But in trying to catch up to where we are now, let me muse on some of the things that caught my attention.

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Translation: Suetsugu Yuki on Chihayafuru for Da Vinci, Feb 2011

Here’s the second Chihayafuru interview that I’ve collected. It was published just after the release of the 11th volume of the manga, just as Chihaya and co. were embarking on their second national tournament.

Disclaimer: As always, this translation—including any mistakes or misinterpretations—is entirely my own. If you spot any issues, I’d be incredibly grateful if you drop me a note so that I can address them. Feel free to link to and quote from it if you wish, but please do not copy and paste large portions of it on any other site. And without further ado, I do hope you enjoy it.


image from Da Vinci website

Read more of this post

Translation: Suetsugu Yuki’s first(?) Chihayafuru Interview

“Known for her passionate creation of spaces where manga can be sold, Keibunshō’s Yamakawa Mika is putting her power behind Suetsugu Yuki’s Chihayafuru. “For the first time in a blue moon, my blood is just streaming through my veins! I’m sure there are many readers who think that a title about karuta will be difficult to access, but I believe this is something that will definitely appeal to many of you, regardless of gender.” Overturning the traditional image of karuta, this title keeps attracting more readers with its mix of friendship, romance, tears and fighting spirit! Here, we ask the author about what’s to come!”

This is an interview with Jump Square, published online in November 2008, after Chihayafuru was recommended by Keibunshō’s Yamakawa Mika as a 2008 ‘good read’. At that point, two volumes of the manga tankoubon had been released.

Chihayafuru_1 Chihayafuru_2

Notes: The original web pages on which this interview was published are no longer available — I found it through archival snapshots of the pages after hearing about it on a discussion forum. If you want to see the Japanese text for any particular section, please leave me a message.

Disclaimer: This translation is entirely my own—please do not copy and paste a substantial part of it elsewhere, though you are welcome to link to it if you wish.

Recently, Keibunshō’s Yamakawa Mika strongly recommended Chihayafuru as a good read. Could you please share with us what sparked your writing a story about such an unusual theme – karuta? Read more of this post