Hyouka:Volume 5 Chapter 2-3

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3. Present: 6.9km; 13.1km Remaining[edit]

The road continued on earnestly in a straight line with hardly a slope in sight. I saw a small mountain off in the far distance, however because I knew the course, I also knew that I’d have to eventually climb it. Because one could see the entire distance while traversing the long, flat road, one became thoroughly fed up with it.

I didn’t think about anything while I had descended the slope. I had intended on returning to my thoughts after I completed the hilly segment and started walking again, however an unexpected problem occurred. I could see the entirety of the straight path far too clearly. Even though Kamiyama High students were running in front of and behind me, it was plainly obvious that I was the only one walking nonchalantly. It ended up being somewhat embarrassing, so I started faking a run at a speed that still allowed me to think calmly.

However, I had also realized something else because the road was so open and easy to see. Visible up ahead was a familiar mountain bike. I wondered if there had been some trouble after all. General Committee vice-president Satoshi Fukube was stopped there quite a ways ahead of me.

I brought my arms in. I called out to him as he stood in the distance and then increased my stride.

Satoshi looked like his business had already been taken care of as he stood on the edge of the road, as he seemed to be happily chatting with another student on the General Committee. There were still tens of meters between the two of us when I noticed he started to climb back on his bike. Just as I thought that I wouldn’t make it, however, he ended up turning back to look at me. It seemed like he didn’t have any urgent business to take care of considering he stood there waiting for me.

“Hey, Hōtarō. You told me ahead of time so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but man are you slow.”

I stopped walking right beside him, and then took two or three deep breaths. As the two of us started walking side-by-side, Satoshi split up with the other General Committee member and I started to talk.

“I thought you’d be further up by now.”

Satoshi shrugged his shoulders as he pushed his mountain bike along.

“If I were seriously pedaling, I’d be at the finish line by now.”

“You’re that fast, huh?”

“No, my bad. I was just showing off. I’d probably be somewhere in Jinde.”

I felt like even that was still him exaggerating, but I let it slide without saying anything further. Satoshi casted a quick glance behind him, and then let out a small sigh.

“It’s not like I thought today would end without anything happening, but still…”

“Was there an accident?”

“In the broadest sense of the word. Someone hurt their leg and couldn’t move as a result. I called a teacher over and they picked the student up.”

He then brought his head close and continued in a whisper.

“I couldn’t tell just by looking, but I’m not so sure he actually hurt his leg.”

That was to be somewhat expected.

“Oh really? Were you hoping that the entire student base would run the whole course honestly and without deceit?”

As I said this in a mocking tone, Satoshi uncharacteristically raised his eyebrows.

“There’s no way I’d think something like that.”

“You didn’t have to respond so adamantly.”

“If there was a student able to evade the General Committee’s watchful eyes and find a shortcut, I’d actually give them my applause, but those guys... even though they aren't doing anything skillful, they still end up smiling like they're all that. If they do something like that, the teachers have to come in a car and pick them up. Some of them might really be hurt, but for those who are just putting on an act, I couldn't praise something so lacking in class. I wish they’d choose a more tasteful method.”

There were a thousand Kamiyama High School students. The trouble probably wouldn’t end with that one incident. One could only wait with bated breath for the next one.

Satoshi glanced at his watch.

“Honestly speaking, I’m pretty far behind schedule right now. I want to get moving soon, so is there anything you wanted to ask me, Hōtarō?”

I had been busy preparing questions under the assumption that I was going to be seeing Chitanda first, however, meeting Satoshi before then turned out to be very lucky indeed. Satoshi’s knowledge covered a wide breadth of genres far exceeding my own, and even had that not been the case, I was still thankful to have a different perspective than my own on these matters.

There were two things I wanted to say, or rather, ask.

“Let’s see. I want you to listen to a purely hypothetical story.”

“There’s even a preface, huh? Fine by me. Go on.”

I gathered my thoughts as I continued to walk. That sounds good, something like that.

“Let’s say I were to say something like, ‘This is just something a friend told me, but no matter how you think about it, it’s pretty unfair that the General Committee doesn’t have to run,” what would you think?”

Satoshi stared at me long and hard, and finally responded in an unusually serious tone.

“So that’s what you really think, huh? I’d think something like that would make me pretty upset.”

“Just do your damn job. I couldn’t think of any other hypotheticals.”

“Naturally, that’s exactly what I was doing, telling you what I thought. Purely hypothetically, of course.”

Because I remained silent, Satoshi assumed that I had no more questions and climbed on top of his mountain bike. He matched his pedaling with my walking speed and then started talking again.

“I’m saying this just to make sure you know, Hōtarō, but I really do like girls like Ōhinata. Of course, not in that way if Mayaka ends up hearing I said that.”

“I know.”

As if I had said these words entirely to his satisfaction, he started to gain speed.

I called out from behind him.

“Satoshi”

“Yeah?”

Satoshi pressed the breaks and turned around.

“Is there anything else?”

“No…”

I hesitated to say anything.

There was one thing I wanted to confirm with Satoshi, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

In saying that however, it wasn’t like I could keep on stopping Satoshi while he was busy like this. I let out an uneasy breath and then asked.

“This is a question regarding the Japanese language. If someone were to resemble a bodhisattva on the outside, what would they be like on the inside?”

As he heard that, he mumbled something under his breath. I wouldn’t hear it very well, but it was probably something like, “Mayaka didn’t tell me anything like that, though.” He wasn’t necessarily criticizing Ibara. Most likely, she simply didn’t see any reason to tell him what Ōhinata had said perfectly word-for-word.

Just like I had thought, Satoshi knew the word. He knew it much more precisely than someone with a vague recollection of it like me.

“There's a certain saying that suggests if someone resembles a bodhisattva on the outside, then who they are on the inside is set. They would have a heart like a yakṣa’s.”[1]

And then to lighten the mood with a joke, he added this.

“As far as I’m aware however, Chitanda doesn't have a thing for pomegranates.”[2]


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. Spirits found in Hinduism and Buddhism. While there are a large variety of differing kinds, the usage here refers to something like an evil devil.
  2. A reference to the myth of Hariti, a tale in which a woman kidnaps other women’s children to order to feed her hundreds of kids. After being approached and tricked by the Buddha, she vows to only eat pomegranates instead of children flesh. Full story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hariti
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