「にしきなりけり」 (Nishiki narikeri)
“Tatsuta River Ablaze”
On the inside, I’m rooting for Taichi to win but even deeper than that, probably somewhere deep in my bloodstream, I want Chihaya to win. But then, even deeper than that, somewhere within the molecules that make up my body, I want Taichi to win because he’s worked so hard for this. And then, if you get into my protons and electrons, I want Chihaya to win. I can keep going but I have no measurements for what’s after that. Quarks?
Sorry for getting so technical but I needed to emphasize the whirlwind of confusion that swept over me as I watched Chihaya and Taichi go up against each other.
It’s clear that Taichi is using every strategy he knows to have the advantage over her, including a tactic that throws her off her game but also makes it harder for him.
I can’t wrap my head around what’s happening. Clearly, Taichi is leaving an impression on everyone in the crowd. He’s proven himself to be a very skilled karuta player with his own methods and techniques developed outside of what he was taught. He learned what worked for him and even learned how to use Chihaya’s weaknesses against her.
However, I feel like all his efforts were in vain (in regards to Chihaya). When he declared he would win against her in an official tournament, that almost seemed to me like he was professing his love for her: “I’ll show you what I’m made of and then I’ll have the courage to express my feelings to you.” But his efforts and skills are compared to a stranger’s. He puts her on edge so much she forgets who she’s facing. Isn’t that strange?
She then dismisses his efforts by reminding herself that he’s ‘just Taichi’ and that she has ‘no reason to be afraid of him.’ I understand that it was her way to calm her nerves, but it also seemed dismissive of his ability, something he’s worked so hard for.
She’s more saddened by the fact that Arata wouldn’t stay to watch them than she is impressed by Taichi’s ability to completely throw her off her game. This is all conjecture because when the results come out next week, maybe it’ll be a little less ambiguous.
On the other hand, Taichi does leave someone else with a strong impression: Arata. Perhaps his promise to win against Chihaya was a promise to himself to show Arata, whether he was there or not, that he was worthy of Chihaya just as much as he is. It seemed to work because Arata just admitted to being envious of the pair. He’d rather be playing against Chihaya.
I actually had to put off watching this episode because I knew how much it would affect me. But here I am laying down all the confusion… but you know what? After writing all this, I want Taichi to win. I cross my quarks and hope to die. Taichi should win.
Prove not only to Chihaya or to Arata that you’re good enough, Taichi. Prove it to yourself. Prove it to Japan. Prove it to the world.