Hyouka:Volume 3 Chapter 1
1 - A Sleepless Night
001 - ♥01
As I couldn't sleep, I decided to take a walk outside.
The history of the Chitanda clan can be traced back to the beginning of the Edo period.
The large fields in the north of Kamiyama City used to be a farm village. As the leaders of the village, the Chitanda clan has maintained, farmed and rented out the land around here. As representatives of the village, they were charged with negotiating the taxes with the feudal lords as well as acting as the local magistrates. They were also involved in projects for improving farming products. And of course, they would represent the village and take part in the annual festivals in spring and autumn.
The land here isn't truly blessed by nature. Though the soil is rich, the area is vulnerable to typhoons as well as blizzards. After all, this land wasn't really well irrigated until irrigation works were carried out during the Edo period. Just a minor change in the climate would result in crop failure, so it was natural for the previous farmers to fear and worship the gods.
As people of prestigious wealth, the Chitanda clan would represent the mortals in carrying out the rituals during the festivals. As they would be offering their wealth to the gods in the shrine on behalf of everyone else, before the laying of the crops and after harvest, as well as during Obon and New Year, they would go around collecting food and drink from the village folk. It would seem that this was considered a form of payment in lieu of money for renting land from the Chitanda clan. In turn, the leasing of land would form the basis of their wealth.
After the war, as part of the land reforms, the Chitanda clan, like all other large landowners, were compelled to sell most of the land they held to the government. Yet, Chitanda Shounosuke, the leader of the clan then, saw this as an opportunity to use the money from the land sales to modernize the farming equipment as quickly as possible, and profit from the new farming techniques. As such, Shounosuke was able to slowly buy back the land that was sold off, and by the time my father became head of the clan, the Chitandas had reclaimed nearly half of what was once their land, which was considered to be quite large during the late Showa period.
This may sound like me boasting, but Chitanda Shounosuke was not simply a man with business acumen, he was also a trustworthy man, as well as my grandfather. Though as he died early on, I do not remember much of him.
Anyway, the Chitanda clan had managed to weather the chaos during and after the war and maintained their status. As a result, they are still in charge of representing the local community during the festivals.
To begin with, contrary to what Fukube-san had said, the Chitanda clan aren't exactly so rich as to tower above everyone else. As a result, the annual festivities were reduced from four times a year to just twice, during spring and autumn, and the symbolic "payment" these days was merely a bottle of wine. As such, the ritual was merely an excuse for everyone to gather and have a feast. Though as I can't drink, I can't take part in the feast myself.
The spring and autumn festivals would take place in a small shrine worshiping the "village god", which was a minor deity. There would be the usual rituals of a lion dance and carrying of the mikoshi . A person from the Chitanda clan would act as representative for the shrine pilgrims and pray for a peaceful year during the spring festival, as well as give thanks during the autumn festival.
And I too have been participating in such a festival ever since I was old enough to remember. I often get asked by my friends living nearby as well as visitors to the shrine as to what it is that I do during such a ritual, though I didn't exactly have to do much. There wasn't much to notice besides having to pay attention not to make many sounds until the end of the praying ceremony. So it's just the usual clapping your hands during a prayer.
As for me, I'm not a particularly religious person. To some degree, I'm not too different from my schoolmates. Maybe it has something to do with my experience in such festivals. Though it may be bothersome, whenever I visit a shrine, I make it a habit to hide what I'm wishing. I'm not sure whether this meant I had faith in the gods, or whether this is just my systematic way of calming myself whenever I'm feeling insecure. From time to time, I feel curious about it, but I have never found an answer.
Recently, my wish had been granted during the high school entrance exams. It had also been granted during the "Hyouka Incident", as it was named by Fukube-san.
And once again, tonight I find myself heading towards the shrine.
The Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival begins tomorrow. And for our Classics Club, which is just one of the many illustrious arts-based clubs in Kamiyama High School, a troubling situation awaits us, and we can find no solution to it. Though we intend to give it our best... it would seem we still need luck on our side.
After placing a 100 yen coin into the offering box within the confines of the moon-lit shrine, I clapped my hands together and closed my eyes as my thoughts for my friends in the Classics Club appeared.
Ibara Mayaka-san, Fukube Satoshi-san, Oreki Houtarou-san.
I wonder if Mayaka-san is sleeping well tonight?
Right now, she must be blaming herself for the predicament the Classics Club has found itself in. But that was not the case. Compared to Mayaka-san, I was totally of no help. If only I had been able to give my all and help out with her work, we could have avoided this altogether. So I too must bear some of the responsibility.
I wonder if Fukube-san is sleeping well tonight?
Sometimes I do suspect whether Fukube-san's hedonistic-like behaviour comes from the bottom of his heart. At the very least, he sure wasn't acting selfishly, as there's no way I could imagine him just laughing away at Mayaka-san's pain.
I wonder if Oreki-san is sleeping well tonight?
...He probably is sleeping well. If he wasn't, I would be very worried.
From time to time, I often find Oreki-san being able to sharply observe things that are out of the ordinary. I might even say that I was moved by it. But most of the time Oreki-san, how should I put it, tends to be slow in getting things done. So it's hard to determine whether he's a reliable person or not.
I prayed for everyone's well-being.
I prayed for luck to befall us for the next three days. Please let us overcome this "mountain".
As I opened my eyes, I still felt rather uneasy about it, so I took out another 50 yen from my purse.
002 - ♣01
As I couldn't sleep, I took out the pamphlet from underneath my pillow.
|Participating Club Comments (By Order of Registration):|
Kendo Club Exhibition Match: Kamiyama High School vs Kamiyama Industrial High. Highlights include the showdown between the prefecture's ace captains.
After reading them in one go, I placed them back on my pillow satisfactorily. On the cover of the pamphlet were big words in Gothic font that read Kanya Festival Guide, and underneath it a smaller caption which read "The 42nd Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival". This was created by the Council General Committee, of which I, Fukube Satoshi, was a member.
By the way, besides being a member of the General Committee, I'm also a member of the dexterous Handicraft Club as well as the prestigious Classics Club. As to which club was the busiest for me... I guess it'd have to be the Classics Club.
When I was drafted by the Committee President into the making of the festival pamphlet, I thought it would have been a simple job of merely copying last year's pamphlet format. But on the contrary, it was a rather difficult task. Though it was hard work, it is quite interesting when one puts in the effort to work on it.
As something of a reward, one of the privileges of dealing with such a difficult task was that I got to decide what materials to use, which was pretty interesting to say the least. As a result, I decided to play a little prank with the last section of this pamphlet, "Participating Club Comments".
For last year's pamphlet, the clubs were ordered according to the Japanese hiragana spelling, but I decided to change it into the order in which the clubs registered with us. When I made the proposal to the Committee President, saying that "For an official guidebook, it's not really fair that the A Capella Club always gets to start every year in such a conspicuous starting position", my motive was quite simple, really. At the very least, I would arrange to have the comments of one of my clubs, the Classics Club, placed in a noticeable position. Though the Committee President was doubtful to begin with, he soon agreed and the motion was passed unanimously. Under the official pretext of "registration order", the Kendo Club was the first to register, so there was no way I could move that from the starting position. But in turn, I get to mix up the order at the end. After all, it's much more noticeable if you're standing out "right in the middle".
Well, it's not exactly a grand PR effort. So rather than being pleased for advertising for the Classics Club, I was more pleased at my superiority in making such minor manipulation of the materials.
And so, to quote from Vice President Shoukawa, "At last a job well done". Besides work in the General Committee, work in the Handicraft Club was tough too. Just who was it that proposed making a Mandala carpet to begin with? Though as it was enjoyable, I guess I can't complain too much, but it was tiring for the eyes, sewing that stuff. With so much time spent on the General Committee and the Handicraft Club, my time with the Classics Club was brief in contrast. Conclusions cannot be made from databases alone, after all. With so little time left, I do wonder sometimes how on earth I wrote such an interesting essay for the anthology.
I Wonder where I should go tomorrow. At any rate, the Quiz Contest is a must. As it's held by the Quiz Study Club, their members can't participate in the competition, so that's got my attention. As for Day 2, the Cooking Contest looked quite interesting. I've decided on making a seafood fried rice dish, as I won't lose to anyone in that department.
I'm more worried about Mayaka being depressed about it. Well, she's a strong girl. Objectively speaking, her responsibility was relatively light. Though Chitanda-san may be quite worried, I'm pretty optimistic about it. We may not be able to do anything now, but somehow we'll get by.
Oh, I'm so looking forward to this Cultural Festival. And thus, the Classics Club will attempt to claw back from the jaws of failure.
How fantastic to have to face such a challenge which we have to climb through!
Anyway, I'd better get some sleep and prepare for tomorrow. It would be a serious blunder for Fukube Satoshi if he were to run out of energy for such an event.
003 - ♠01
As the owls outside kept on hooting, I ended up not feeling sleepy at all.
I was thinking about whether I should read a book, but I couldn't find anything that interested me on the bookshelf. So I went down to the living room, picking up the remote control to see what was on TV, but there wasn't anything interesting on. With no other choice left, I went to the dust-covered desktop PC in the corner of the room and turned it on.
This PC used to belong to my sis. Now it's become the Oreki family's common web hub. In practice I'm the only one that ever uses it, even though I'm not really that interested in spending time on the net. This machine was no old model, and was equipped with the ability to do calculations and store memory that I could never emulate, yet all I ever used it for was to check the web once or twice a week for any news. In other words, it was quite a pitiful machine.
The search engine website popped up. At first I thought of clicking on the news... but I changed my mind and entered "Kamiyama High School" in the search box. A number of links appeared, and I duly entered my school's website. This wasn't the first time I've visited the site, as besides the usual stuff about the origins of the school and description of its activities, it's also got a chatroom for current students, which was where I went before.
As for what I was looking for, it was of course the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival. There's bound to be something about it found on the net. And as I expected, on the top of the website was a banner written in large typeface font "1 Day Remaining till Kanya Festival". At the side of the screen was an animation of a pair of male and female Kamiyama High students in uniform carrying stuff around. Other stuff on the page included the festival schedule, participating groups, traffic access, notice to visitors, and web store.
I have no idea how many groups have participated, but the site sure listed quite a lot. The page was full of photos, illustrations and handmade maps with loads of information on them, making navigation pretty easy. After seeing all of these in one glance, I decided to have a look at my own club, the Classics Club, but it was at this moment that the connection went off. I don't know where the problem came from, but from time to time, this PC just seems to have quite an unstable connection. Ah well, as I decided to go back to sleep, I heard someone coming down the stairs. As the footsteps were quite soft, I knew it was my sis right away. As it's quite bothersome to have to squeeze past each other in a narrow staircase, I decided to sit on the chair and wait for her to come down.
The footsteps entered the kitchen nearby, and the fridge door could be heard being opened, as well as the sound of glasses being taken out.
As I was about to make my way to my room, a voice called out, "Houtarou,"
My guess of who the footsteps belonged to was spot on. It was my sister's voice, which sounded half asleep.
"You have a Cultural Festival tomorrow, right?"
I turned my face towards the kitchen.
"Better get to sleep soon."
I made an idiotic exclamation. I sure didn't want to have her tell me to go to sleep the same way she would nag at me about eating with my mouth closed or remind to bring my tissues when I go out. Though I didn't want to say it out loud, because if I did, it would just lead to more trouble.
For some reason, she didn't seem to care as she poured something into her glass and drank it in one gulp and said, "...You seem to be having some problem anyway."
I didn't answer.
Once again, she poured a bit more of what she was drinking into her glass.
"I can tell what you're thinking just from your reaction. Anyway, the Classics Club is bound to encounter some trouble during the Cultural Festival. Think of it as something of a tradition."
Hmph, a curse huh?
"You sure have entered some troublesome club, really."
I so felt like retorting her right away, as she was the one who asked me to enter the Classics Club in the first place.
Upon enrolling in Kamiyama High School this year, I received a request from my sis, who was an alumnus of the Classics Club, to keep the club alive even if it meant just filling my name in. I originally expected to fully enjoy being the sole member of a club that does nothing, but it was not to be, as a girl called Chitanda joined the Classics Club for a purpose. Upon solving that "purpose" of hers, the Classics Club had ended up with four members. That chain of bothersome events was named the "Hyouka Incident" by Satoshi, and I ended up having to write an anthology essay about it.
By the way, I still don't know what the Classics Club does exactly. Normally one would expect a club called the Classics Club to involve the study of classic literature, but none of its current members seem to be that sort of people. As we have no seniors to tell us what kind of club it used to be, we've somehow lost our raison d'être. But personally speaking, I'm thankful it's ended up that way.
So, besides filling in the members' names, in order for a club to continue its existence, club activities must be held. As one of the officially recognized school clubs, we have a meagre club activity budget allocated to us for the purpose of "Anthology Compilation". And making use of these funds, we ended up publishing the essay anthology Hyouka. There were many twists and turns along the way, but we've finally completed it.
And we will be selling them during the Cultural Festival, which starts tomorrow.
...Well, it was here that we encountered some problem. So my sis was totally spot on when she said "You seem to be having some problem anyway."
By the way, since it's my sis, she's bound to know what kind of activities the Classics Club is involved in. Yet lately she's been away from the country until just a while ago. By the time she returned, it didn't really matter anymore whether I asked her what kind of club the Classics Club was.
Anyway, subjectively speaking, I didn't particularly hate this club that I had joined. So instead of retorting to my sis, I said, "If there is such a cursed tradition, why don't you give me some charm or something, sis?"
"Are you trying to extort me?"
After being speechless for a while, I felt something flying towards me from behind. Just when I thought was she really handing some sort of charm to me, the thing I caught didn't have anything divine about it. It was a fountain pen. Though it wasn't divine, it sure had style, being deep black in colour with a dull silver lining along its sides. It's probably not cheap.
"You can take that."
"...Should I say thanks?"
"By the way, it's out of ink, and the nib's broken."
Stop throwing garbage around! After hearing her place something back in the fridge, her footsteps left the kitchen and went into the corridor, where she said, "...I'll come over to visit if I have time!"
"No, don't," I replied immediately.
Even if we're going to have loads of cases, having her come would just make things unbearable. I heard no reply from her as she walked up the stairs.
I lay on my bed.
Since I was waiting to fall asleep, I wasn't particularly thinking anything. Before long I closed my eyes and sighed deeply.
Today, or to be more precise, yesterday, we wasted a whole day preparing for the Cultural Festival. Currently the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival officially spans four days, but as the first day was basically preparations, it was really only open for three days. The real thing starts tomorrow.
Satoshi seemed intent on having fun. That was to be expected, so it's not surprising. However, "enjoying the Cultural Festival" was definitely not something that "I have to do". I would have simply taken a nap in some corner of the school until the whole thing was over. So, even though I won't say something uncooperative like "This Cultural Festival business is boring", I would still stay true to my creed and utter my motto: "If I don't have to do it, I won't. If I have to do it, make it quick". I did not participate much anyway.
To be frank, even if I did nothing, it would still be counted as me having "participated". Since all we'll be doing is sitting there all day and selling the anthologies which we worked so hard writing. That was the original plan anyway.
Naturally, when the problem arose, we did not blame anyone. If there was someone to blame, then all of us were to blame. So as it's partly my fault, in order to cover my own ass, it became something that "I have to do".
The problem was, would I be able to "do it quickly"?
That said, even if the problem was not solved, it could be said that it was mere small potatoes. It was not something that must be undone. So Chitanda's worrying too much about this. She ought to think more like a happy energy-saver.
Neither pessimistic nor optimistic, like Que Sera, Sera, I was calmly facing come what may as I waited to fall asleep.
004 - ♦01
I woke up in the middle of the night and got to thinking.
Oreki may have guessed incorrectly, but I'm not a perfectionist. While failure is to be expected if one does not prepare or research enough, but failure also occurs even when one has made every preparation possible. So while it's possible for other people to fail, naturally it's also possible for me to fail as well. So if I am to forgive others for their errors, I shouldn't be so unforgiving to myself. Yet I'm feeling angry. Even if everyone has forgiven me, sometimes I can't forgive myself. I can do nothing but be angry at my own failure. But why?
A while ago, Fuku-chan told me this: "Well, Mayaka, if you think calmly about it, it's no big matter. So you shouldn't worry too much."
"I'm not worrying. And it's not like I want to hear such common reasoning."
Fuku-chan crossed his arms and looked down while grunting deeply. Even though he was doing it on purpose, I didn't dislike that part of him.
"...From how I see it, I don't think you've ever been this angry regardless of whether you succeeded or failed, as well as whether you're a perfectionist or not."
Feeling interested, I stretched myself forward and asked, "Then why am I angry?"
"It's hard for me to explain. Though I may have a rich vocabulary, my knowledge of useful words is rather limited."
"So you know a lot of useless terms?"
"Well, there's 'tank desant'  and 'dumb luck'... No, that's not the point. For example, you know Houtarou's 'energy-saving' creed, right?"
I nodded honestly.
"That's what he calls it anyway. When Oreki is doing something, it's hard to tell whether he's doing it to 'save energy'."
"Even though you've known him for so long?"
"As if I would observe him all the time."
Fuku-chan smiled bitterly.
"Anyway, leaving Houtarou aside, in some way, if that creed were applied to you, then you're neither 'correct' nor 'perfect'. Now I'm not saying this to incur your wrath, as I mean something else altogether."
So that's what he's going on about, I thought to myself. To begin with, I never liked conversations involving myself, and so the conversation shifted to something else altogether.
Anyway, what's important now is that I could not sleep since I'm still feeling quite pissed off. Seriously, even though I've double-checked so many times, how on earth could I have neglected something so basic? And why didn't I notice the error being made after it had happened?
What was even more infuriating was that I would be unable to help out in rectifying the mistake come the Cultural Festival, as there was no way I could leave my activities with the Manga Study Club aside. Even though Fuku-chan did say "It's not really a big mistake, so don't think too much about it."
Argh, this pisses me off. I'm so angry at my own carelessness.
But, as infuriating as it may sound, Oreki was absolutely right when he said, in that buoyant manner of his, while avoiding my gaze when we were alone, "This isn't something you should fuss over. If you keep fussing over it, then not only Satoshi, but even Chitanda will have to fuss over it for you, right?"
It was just as he had put it. Even though I was the one being careless, when Chi-chan came, her face went pale as though it were her own responsibility. At the very least, I don't want to see Chi-chan spend the entire Cultural Festival with such a face.
So, for just a little bit, I tried to forgive myself. Try as I may, upon being reminded of that scene, I just couldn't calm myself down!
Guess I have no choice.
I must be so personally involved with the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival that I've become too stressed out. Yet it was not good for me to lose sleep like this.
I got out of my futon and took out the bottle of sleeping pills from the first aid box, though I didn't really like taking those.
I took out one pill and cut it in half, and swallowed that piece of white medicine.
Translator's Notes and References
- A small, portable Shinto shrine - Wikipedia
- A traditional Japanese style of poetry anthology of 100 waka poems where each contributor writes one poem - Wikipedia
- A traditional Japanese string instrument - Wikipedia
- A traditional Japanese storytelling style where the storyteller sits seiza style on the stage with a paper fan and tells a story that is usually long and comical - Wikipedia
- Japanese flower arranging - Wikipedia
- An Italian film - Wikipedia
- An award for the best sci-fi literature published in the preceding year - Wikipedia
- Tank desant - Wikipedia
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