Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu - novelonlinefull.com
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Since I have a one-week break right now, I thought that I should take the time to translate the prologue since it’s pretty short anyways. Maybe I’ll even have time to do the first half of chapter one (probably not)
In this chapter, we go back to when Shuu and Minato were in fifth grade and still Saionji-sensei’s pupils. There’s also a special appearance by a certain someone…
Full list of translations
Having told his mother that he would be late coming back from cram school from talking with his friends, the place where he stopped by was the city gymnasium. Minato paid the child’s fee at the reception desk and walked on without looking anywhere but forward. Inconspicuous enough that it made one wonder if there really was that kind of thing in this kind of place, it was a facility in a place that couldn’t be reached unless one had the intention to go there–a kyudojo.
What he heard was a beautiful tsurune. It was the sound the bowstring made when an arrow was shot.
The tsurune played by an advanced archer was a single note that resounded with a pure sound that did not become dull and muddled. The bow in his hands easily surpa.s.sed his height and was made of bamboo, its amber l.u.s.ter telling of the length of the relationship between the bow and the person.
He greeted the elderly archer and stood in front of the targets once he finished his regular preparations. Beyond the targets, faraway, the round moon was suspended in the evening sky.
Behind Minato was another boy. He had finely chiseled features and pale eyelashes tinged with sorrow. (1) People superimposed over that figure who was in contrast with the purely j.a.panese-looking Minato with a foreigner who was chasing an impossible dream.
Narumiya Minato and Fujiwara Shuu were fifth-graders, and Saionji Kazuyoshi’s sole favorite pupils. It was just recently that the two were able to release their arrows at the target after many practices.
Minato slowly lifted up his bow and arrow. He drew his bow to its limit and brought the tip of his arrow to the center of the target. However, the arrows that he had readied and released did not even reach the azuchi, making a dull sound before the target. The arrows that Shuu shot continuously also landed beneath the target. Because they were still in elementary school, they used bows that were shorter than the standard and very weak. The flight of an arrow was bad with a weak bow, and they were difficult for even skilled archers to handle.
In kyudo, it was taught that one must not show one’s emotions on one’s face, but as the boys were young, they could not hide them and their mouths turned down at the corners. Seeing that, Saionji’s cheeks slackened.
“Both of you are squeezing yourselves in. Let’s try making a yagoe today. Recently, I scolded you for making sounds in front of the targets, but in the past, it was something that was often done during practice.”
Minato tilted his head.
“What’s a yagoe?”
”It is a shout the archer makes when they shoot an arrow. You know how ping-pong players and tennis players make a roar as they do a smash at the critical moment? It is the same as that.”
“I saw it in a video. They shout when they are facing the makiwara.”
“That was probably a makiwara sharei (ceremonial shooting on makiwara). Lately, it seems that university students are calling the cheering for when the target is. .h.i.t, ‘yagoe.’ Words change according to the time and place. It truly is interesting.”
Having said that, Saionji then went towards a target with his own bow and arrows in hand.
Even though he drew his bow the exact same way as the boys, it was evidently another thing. The bow that was lifted up at the speed of a skyrocketing firework on a midsummer night grandly and n.o.bly spread its petals. Where did that soul that was old yet unwithered come from? It was the collaboration between a body and wisdom that were born out of daily training. He did not know what it is to exhaust an overflowing pa.s.sion.
The released sound crawled on the ground and coiled around their feet, taking Minato and Shuu away.
“Now then, try doing it.”
Minato and Shuu released their arrows and shouted at the tops of their voices.
Try making a better sound than me.
Shoot through me.
When a yagoe and tsurune played in perfect harmony, the thump of a matooto resounded.
Even after practice ended, the two’s excitement did not cool down. Their blood was boiling, and they did not know how to calm it down.
Minato repeatedly tapped on Shuu’s arm.
“Saionji-sensei is really awesome! Even though he usually looks quiet, I wonder where did that kind of voice come from?”
“Well, he is the famous archer who my dad searched for, after all.”
“I went to a lot of different kyudojo, but I was always told that there is no one who can teach an elementary schooler. I could only wait until I’m in middle school and gave up, so I’m really happy. Aah, I want to get better soon. I’ll get better and show my mom my shooting. Of course, my opponent at that time will be you, Shuu.”
“I’ll accept that challenge. But, you’ll be the one who slips first.”
“What are you talking about, I’ll definitely get it in.”
“Slip” meant missing, and “getting it in” meant hitting.
Shuu went towards the bus stop.
After watching the back of Minato, straddling his bicycle, until he was out of sight, he looked up at the night sky. This moment was always terribly frustrating. It was very similar to the return trip from after he spent summer vacation at his grandparents’ house.
There was a fireworks festival being held in the neighboring town, so the bus schedule was messed up.
When he suddenly noticed a presence and looked, he saw a boy wearing a white hoodie. He had a friendly smile.
“It doesn’t seem like the bus is coming yet. So your friend is going on his bike? Did he come from far away?”
“Well, I don’t know the details.”
“Is that so.”
The boy pulled the hood of his white hoodie over his head.
“So the rumor that Saionji-sensei is teaching elementary schoolers was true. I heard they were private lessons, though.”
“…Where did you hear that.”
“If you wanted to keep it a secret, you shouldn’t be drawing in a place like that. I wanna learn from Saionji-sensei too. I’m a year older than you, so I think I’m qualified.”
It was the sound of the unseen fireworks.
If he could trust the words of the boy in the white hoodie, the person in front of him was then in sixth grade. He had large, jet black, amiable-looking eyes. But, something bothered him.
It’s better to not get involved with him—―. Deciding that, Shuu tried to leave that spot, but the white hoodie boy blocked his path.
“You’re in a position where you can have a driver, yet you purposely use the public bus. Is this an education policy to let you experience a commoner’s life?”
“Who are you?”
“Do you know if your father can add one more person? Well, Saionji-sensei probably made two elementary schoolers his disciples on a whim. You sure are kind, Shuu-kun, knowingly giving up on the opportunity to have Saionji-sensei all to yourself.”
Shuu suddenly smiled at those words.
“I’m kind? I’m training a rival with my own hands.”
My first bow friend.
Only one person.
I won’t forgive anyone who steals Minato away from me——.
“Kuku… How interesting…”
The white hoodie boy brushed against Shuu’s shoulder and walked in the opposite direction of the bus’s direction of travel.
The sounds of the fireworks were still resounding.
1. This is a pun with Shuu’s name. The word here is 愁い, which has the kanji for Shuu’s name (愁). Shuu means “grief” or “lament”, which is a pretty weird name to name your child, but if it was his mom who named him then it kind of makes sense…?