正直って難しい。 あいまいはもっと難しい。 Being Open Is Hard. Being Shy Is Harder


Miscellaneous Section Contents:

Outline & Script (this page)

Rough Draft

Original Watercolors

Example work-in-progress pages

Extras

Reference Material

Closing Remarks

 

 

Outline

Written October-November 2014

—Intro

Byōchō pours hot water into a teacup. He holds the cup up to his nose and deeply inhales, then exhales. “Aaaah, nothing quite like some Chamomile tea after a hard day’s work.” He holds the saucer in his right hand and drinks with his left, putting his pinky high in the air as he takes a sip. An action blurb behind him says “GENTLEMAN!” Byōchō smiles and says “I’m glad I was able to finish this little fort for Chirei. When she visits she can relax in the shade!” He sets his cup down on the saucer. “What a nice little forest this is—so peaceful and quiet. I’m sure there’s no way such a quiet, lovely evening could possibly be disrupted. Just me and the trees—“ “COUSIN!” a voice calls out from behind and above him. Byōchō screams; the saucer and teacup go flying, with tea spewing out of the cup.

 

The other cat lands right next to Byōchō; he is wearing a trench coat and derby in 1950’s style. He plops his suitcase which has his name, Milo Jr., on the ground and says “Byōchō! It’s been a long time! I flew all the way from America on business.” Byōchō mumbles “Sou ka?” Milo continues “It ended this afternoon, so I thought I would pay you a visit!”

 

(Milo’s Japanese isn’t very good and he says the English phrase “to pay a visit” literally in Japanese, as “訪問を払う” or something equally nonsensical. Please include a note explaining to the Japanese reader that Milo is literally translating the English phrase.)

 

Milo continues, “Anyway, I guess I’ll stay with you for a bit. Not too long, just a week or so.” Byōchō tries to say “ちょっと、それは…” but he is too quiet for Milo to hear. Milo says “I’ll stay in this here little fort.” And tosses his belongings into it with a loud clatter. Byōchō again tries to say “ちょっと待って,” but the deed is already done. Milo proclaims “It’s good to see you again, little cousin!” and moves in to hug Byōchō. Byōchō thinks “Too close!” but only manages to verbalize “あっ” Milo cheerfully exclaims “君が大月です” and goes into the fort with a hearty “お休み。” Byōchō stands there dumbfounded for a couple of panels. He then says “君が…大月?”

 

—End of intro

 

 

Chirei is sitting in class and is looking around. She is asking herself, “Where is he? I hope he’ll be here today!” She looks down at her desk which has a drawing of her and Taka. She sighs. Another student comes up and says, “Hey, Chirei…” She slams her hands down on the paper and shouts “Nothing! This is nothing!” The other student looks confused and says, “Um, here’s your eraser back.” Chirei blinks and says, “Oh, right. Yes.”

The teacher says, “Let’s get started, class! Now I’m sure you all know that in a month we will be putting on a production of the folk tale ‘Willow Wife.’ Unfortunately our leading lady will is taking a sick day today so I need a volunteer to stand in as Higo. Yamamoto Chirei?” Chirei stands up and says “Hai!” Teacher says “Why don’t you come up and read opposite Morisato-kun?” Chirei’s eyes widen and she meekly says “OK.”

 

Chirei walks up to class and stands a few feet away from Taka. She only looks down and away. Teacher says, “Very well. Let’s start with scene five. Chirei, look up please.” Chirei slowly moves her eyes up so that she’s looking at Taka. Her cheeks redden.” “Now say your line.” Chirei gulps and says, “Please tell me more of this willow tree.” Chirei thinks to herself, ‘Don’t worry. Just say your lines and everything will be all right.” Taka says “Such a fine tree is to be cherished.” Chirei looks diligently at her paper and says “I am pleased to hear you say such a kind thing. Taka says “Kind words are best spent on a kind lady. I spoke to her thus, and night after night we spoke together under the willow tree. Before long her shyness was gone and I, Heitaro, had a very important question to ask her. Little one, you who seem to come from the tree itself, will you be my wife?” Chirei smiles and dreamily says “Yeah.” The class laughs and her face turns dark red. She buries her face in her hands.

 

Later that day, she is sitting under a tree practicing her kanji homework. She thinks to herself, “You idiot! How could you do that?” A shadow suddenly covers her page. She looks up to see Taka. She exclaims, “E-, Taka-kun?” He sits down near her and says “I enjoyed practicing the play with you this morning.” Chirei looks down and says “You must be joking, right?” Taka says “No, really. I think you make a good Higo. You should consider starring in the next play.” Chirei looks down and goes, “O-.” Taka stands up and says “Well, I should go.” Chirei stands up and says “Wait! Um… that is… would you like to talk some more tomorrow? Just the two of us?” Taka asks “You mean like a date?” Chirei thinks ‘Yes. Yes. Yes.’ to herself. She says “No, nothing like that!” and thinks ‘Chirei, you idiot!’ She continues, “I just think it would be nice to hang out.” Taka says “OK then, how about tomorrow right after school? On the roof?” She smiles and says “I’d love to, Tako!” She thinks of an octopus and her face explodes in embarrassment. She smiles and says “No, no no! Not tako, Taka! I mean, who’s an octopus, anyway? I’m so sorry.” Taka says “That’s ok. I’ll see you later,” and walks away. Chirei screams “Doushiteeee!?”

 

Byocho pops up from out of nowhere and cries “Doushiteeeee!?” with her. Chirei looks at him with a big question mark over her head and asks “What happened to you?” Byocho says “He came! He came all the way from America just to torment me!” “Who did?” “Milo.” “Milo?” “He’s my obnoxious–” “Cousin!” Milo interrupts. Byocho screams. Milo smiles “Glad I found you to share this view. It’s a beautiful day ima-nichi.” Chirei asks, “Ima-nichi? You mean kyou(今日)?” Milo says “Is that correct? My, your language is weird! Anyway, what’s going on with you, human girl?” Chirei says “Um, I’m very sorry, neko-san, but I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it.” Byōchō says to Milo “Must you be so intrusive?” Milo shrugs it off and says “Don’t worry, little girl. Your problems will be easier to talk about when you become a dai-nin.” Chirei puzzles, “Dai-nin? You mean otona(大人)?” Byōchō grumbles, “You know, Milo, Kanji have an onyomi AND a kunyomi.” Milo says “Sou desuka? ベンハクい(面白い). Anyway, girl, I’m guessing at your age you must have boy problems. Tell you what, just inform him of how you feel and your problem is solved.” Chirei protests, “Chotto, I can’t do that! I’m too shy!” Milo shrugs and says “Well, then, stop it.” Chirei asks “What?” Milo repeats “Stop being shy, then. Problem solved!” Chirei asks “How can I just stop being shy? How can you be open about your feelings and not get embarrassed?” Camera cuts over to Milo who is licking his nether regions. Milo’s head snaps up with a question mark over it, and his tongue is sticking out. Byōchō says “Just forget it, Chirei. I want to apologize for this guy.” Milo puts his arm around Byōchō, who thinks “Too close!” and Milo says “Hey, don’t be modest. No need to apologize. Byōchō here is taking real good care of me. He even lets me drink out of his favorite saucer.” Byōchō ducks away and says “Well… it’s not that I’m letting you, exactly. You just did it.” Milo says, “That’s what I like about you, cousin! You’re a good guy!” (He says “good guy” in English, and above is the furigana グード・ガイ.”

 

Later…

 

Chirei asks her mom “How did you meet Dad?” Okaasan thinks on it and says “Ahh, those were the days. I met your father at ___ back in 1935 and knew from the start that he was the one.” Chirei asks “So what did you do?” Okaasan answers “Well, I played hard to get, of course.” Chirei asks “Hard to get?” Okaasan continues “Well of course. It’s just not proper for a lady to tell a man she loves him. A true gentleman will intuit her feelings and initiate romance.” Chirei asks “So he knew you loved him and then he asked you out on a date?” Okaasan answers “Well, he asked out another girl, actually—but I’m sure he was just testing my love. I persevered and played even harder to get.” Chirei asks “And then what?” Okaasan says “Well, three girlfriends later, I could tell he was starting to like me.” Chirei says “This isn’t very helpful.” Okaasan says “No, it turned out well! Really! Your father and I finally got married in 1940. Our marriage was the envy of couples all over the Kantou region. Never were two young people so much in love; never did a couple enjoy such a beautiful or sweetly romantic relationship. It was pure, magical bliss. And then he died horribly in the war. Well, that’s about it.”

 

Oneesan comes into the room and says “What’s this? Chirei-chan has a love interest? Ha! Don’t make me laugh.” Chirei cries “Stop, oneesan!” Oneesan continues “What makes you think anyone will want to date you? You’re the girl who tells wild stories about a giant flying cat!” Chirei insists “They’re not wild stories!” Oneesan says “If you keep it up, you’ll never have a boyfriend. You’ll end up a crazy cat lady with 100 cats rather than dating anyone.” Okaasan says “Enough of that. Chirei, I’m sure everything will turn out fine.” Chirei looks down and sadly says “Hai.”

 

The next day…

 

Chirei and Taka are standing on top of the school looking out at the horizon. Taka says “Such a nice day. Sometimes I wish I were actually a falcon (taka) so I could fly away.” Chirei asks “You want to fly too?” Taka says “Yes, I’ve always liked the sky. Why?” Chirei bites her lip and says “No reason. So, Taka, is… is there anyone you like?” Taka says “Not yet, but I’m available. What about you?” Chirei thinks ‘Play it cool,’ to herself and says “Well, I want to date a boy who is a good actor and likes the sky…” she looks over and makes eye contact with Taka. She gets nervous and continues, “but maybe I’m not ready to date. I mean, my sister says maybe I won’t ever want to date! Imagine that! I think I might just grow old and have a hundred cats and be a crazy cat lady so that no boy will ever want to marry me!” Her face turns to surprise again. Taka looks away and says, “Sou nanda?” Chirei bunches up her face with disbelief at what she just said. Taka says, “Well, I should finish up my homework. Jya ne.” He walks off. Chirei screams and runs away.

 

She goes into Byōchō’s forest house to cry to him. He’s about to comfort her when Milo emerges from the hut (briefly getting stuck) and says “Still having problems? I told you the solution, you know.” Chirei says “It didn’t work! I tried to be hard to get and I tried to be nonchalant and then I ended up saying I wanted to be a crazy cat lady!” Milo says “Why don’t you just tell him how you feel? It’s not that hard to say what’s on your mind. You Japanese are way too shy.” Byōchō interjects “And you Americans are loud-mouthed!” Milo smiles, “Is that so?” Byōchō continues “Yes! And another thing! I don’t want you to drink out of my favorite saucer.” Milo says “I’ve been drinking out of that thing for days. Why did you wait until now to say something about it?” Byōchō says “I didn’t want to yell at you, jerk! But now I did. Are you happy?” Milo smirks, “Why would listening to you make me happy? I only like to talk, since I’m a loud-mouthed American.” Byōchō says “Well! Well… then maybe we should find a middle ground.”

 

Milo thinks and says “A middle ground between Japan and America? Are you suggesting we go to Hawai’i?” Byōchō says “Um, that’s not what I had in mind, but… why not? A late-summer vacation would hit the spot!” Milo exclaims “That’s great! We could talk about all kinds of stuff. Say, did you hear that the Russians are planning to put a dog in space?” Byōchō puts his arm around Milo and says “Really? If I ask nicely, will they put EVERY dog in space?” The two cats laugh as they walk away. Chirei remains standing there with a baffled expression. “What just happened?” she asks herself. “Boys are weird!”

 

Later…

 

Chirei quietly says “Excuse me?” Taka looks at her and says “Hi, Chirei!” Chirei slowly starts to confess her feelings for him when all of a sudden Taka’s girlfriend comes in and says “Ready to go to the movies?” Taka says “Almost.” He asks Chirei to go on, but she stammers. She asks how long those two had been going out. Taka says “Since last week. I didn’t really have an eye for her, but it just happened suddenly.” Chirei feels devastated because if she had just asked him out a week ago while he was still unattached, he would have said yes.

 

Script

Finished November 27th, 2014

 

Panel 01 Tea pours into teacup
Panel 02 Teapot pulled away, steam rising out of cup
Panel 03 Byōchō takes a hold of teacup.
Panel 04 Byōchō holds teacup up to nose and deeply inhales
Panel 05 Byōchō sets cup down onto saucer with a glassy click, and he sighs
Panel 06 Byōchō looks at cup, smiles. “Nothing like some Chamomile tea after a hard day’s work.”
Panel 07 Takes a sip with left hand, pinky in the air. Bubble behind him reads Gentleman!
Panel 08 Byōchō looks over and smiles. “I’m glad I was able to finish this fort for Chirei.”
Panel 09 “When she visits, she can relax in the shade!”
Panel 10 Sets down his cup on the saucer. “What a nice forest this is.”
Panel 11 Camera moves to forest. “So peaceful and quiet.”
Panel 12 Camera back to him. “I’m sure there’s no way such a quiet, lovely evening”
Panel 13 “could possibly be disrupted.” He smiles. “Just me and the trees.”
Panel 14 Takes a sip. Voice from above yells, “COUSIN!”
Panel 15 Byōchō screams “Aaaah!” Teacup and saucer go flying, with tea spilling out.
Panel 16 Cat in 1950s American apparel is floating down to the ground. “Cousin!”
Panel 17 Cat lands next to Byōchō. He is holding a suitcase that says “Milo, Jr.”
Panel 18 “It’s been a long time!” He drops the suitcase.
Panel 19 “I flew all the way from America on business.”
Panel 20 Byōchō is picking up his teacup and saucer. “Is that so?”
Panel 21 Milo “Yeah. It ended this afternoon so I thought I’d pay you a visit!”**Because Milo’s Japanese isn’t very good, he says something here that only makes sense in English; e.g. by translating “pay a visit” literally as訪問を払う or something.
Panel 22 Milo takes off his hat and coat. “Anyway, I guess I’ll stay with you for a bit.”
Panel 23 Byōchō’s countenance drops. Milo “Not too long. Just a week or so.”
Panel 24 Byōchō raises his paw and tries to say “A week!? Actually, that’s not—”
Panel 25 Milo walks over to fort and says “I think I’ll stay in this here fort.”
Panel 26 He tosses his things in with a clatter. Crash!
Panel 27 Byōchō says “Hey, wait a minute!” while setting down his teacup.
Panel 28 Milo spreads his arms apart. “It’s great to see you again, cousin!”
Panel 29 He hugs Byōchō, who thinks ‘Too close!’ but only says “Ah!”
Panel 30 Milo, still hugging him, says 「君がだいつきです。」
Panel 31 Milo goes into the fort and says 「じゃ、お休み。」
Panel 32 Camera stays on the fort.
Panel 33 Camera moves to Byōchō.
Panel 34 Byōchō’s expression is confused.   He says to himself「君が…
Panel 35 …大(だい)月(つき)です」?
Panel 36TITLE PAGE Adventures of 地霊 and 猫鳥Number 3: Openness (i.e. being expressive, honest, forthcoming, sincere, etc.) Is Difficult; Obscurity (i.e. keeping your true thoughts and feelings a secret) Is More DifficultWritten and drawn by エベレット・ジョンBackgrounds by ____Translated by Taylor Chie
Panel 37 Chirei is sitting at her desk in school. She is looking at the door. She thinks ‘Where is he?
Panel 38 She looks down at her desk. ‘I hope he comes today.
Panel 39 Camera cuts to desk. There is a drawing of her and Taka (鷹). It says Chirei+Taka and has hearts
Panel 40 Chirei looks at drawing and smiles.
Panel 41 A tap on the shoulder. The other student says “Hey, Chirei.” Her face turns to panic.
Panel 42 She waves her arms and shouts “Nothing!”
Panel 43 She slams her hands down on desk to cover paper and insists “It’s nothing!”
Panel 44 Other student looks confused and says “Uh…”
Panel 45 “Here’s your eraser back,” and holds up an eraser.
Panel 46 Chirei nervously smiles and says “Right! Of course!”
Panel 47 She furtively takes the eraser and says “Thanks.”
Panel 48 She reorganizes her papers with a red face. The papers shuffle and tap on the desk. Sensei’s voice calls, “All right, class!”
Panel 49 “Let’s get started! Now, as you know,”
Panel 50 “Next month we’re putting on a play of that old folk tale,”
Panel 51 “Willow Wife.”
Panel 52 “Unfortunately our leading lady is out sick, so I need a volunteer to play Higo for today.”
Panel 53 “Yamamoto Chirei.”
Panel 54 Chirei quickly stands up. “Hai!”
Panel 55 Sensei says “Why don’t you come up and read”
Panel 56 “Opposite Taka-kun?” Chirei’s eyes widen.
Panel 57 Sensei gestures to Taka who is waiting up front.
Panel 58 Chirei hesitates. “…OK.”
Panel 59 She slowly takes a step.
Panel 60 Then she nervously takes another step. Sensei says “Quickly, please.”
Panel 61 Chirei hurries to the front.
Panel 62 She doesn’t look at Taka, but down and away. Sensei says “Very well.”
Panel 63 Sensei hands a script to Chirei. “Let’s start with scene five.”
Panel 64 “Chirei-chan, look up, please.”
Panel 65 Chirei looks up.
Panel 66 She makes eye contact with Taka.
Panel 67 Her cheeks redden again.
Panel 68 “Now say your line, please.”
Panel 69 Chirei looks down at her script…
Panel 70 …and then back up.
Panel 71 She says “Tell me more of this willow tree.” Chirei thinks ‘Don’t worry. Just say your lines and don’t mess up.’
Panel 72 Taka says “My, such a fine tree is to be cherished.”
Panel 73 Chirei looks down again and says “That you would say such a kind thing,”
Panel 74 She looks up “I am happy.”
Panel 75 Taka says “Kind words are best spent on a kind lady.”
Panel 76 He turns to face the class and says “I spake to her thus. And night after night we conversed under the willow tree.”
Panel 77 “Before long her shyness was gone and I-”
Panel 78 “-Heitaro-”
Panel 79 “-had a very important question to ask her.”
Panel 80 He turns back to Chirei and says “Little one,”
Panel 81 “you who seem to come from the tree itself.”
Panel 82 “Will you be my wife?”
Panel 83 Chirei smiles dreamily and sighs “Yeah!”
Panel 84 She realizes her mistake and her face quickly turns to embarrassment. The class laughs.
Panel 85 She holds up the script to cover her face.
Panel 86 She thinks ‘Chirei, you dummy!’ from behind the script.
Panel 87 Later… She is sitting under a tree practicing her kanji homework. She makes a stroke.
Panel 88 A shadow obscures a part of her page. She exclaims, “Eh?”
Panel 89 She looks up and says “Taka-kun!”
Panel 90 “Chirei-chan. This morning,”
Panel 91 “I enjoyed practicing the play with you.”
Panel 92 She looks down.
Panel 93 “You must be kidding. I made a fool of myself.”
Panel 94 Taka says “No, really!”
Panel 95 “You’d make a terrific Higo!”
Panel 96 Chirei continues to look down. “Oh.”
Panel 97 Taka stands up. “Well,”
Panel 98 “I should go.”
Panel 99 Chirei starts to stand up, outstretches her hand, and cries “Wait!”
Panel 100 She finishes standing up, pulls back her hand, and says “Um…”
Panel 101 She reaches behind her shoulder for her hair. “That is…”
Panel 102 She grabs a hold of her hair. “Would you like to talk more tomorrow?”
Panel 103 She pulls her hair down in front of her shoulder with both hands. “Just the two of us?”
Panel 104 Taka is surprised. “Really?”
Panel 105 He asks, “You mean a date?”
Panel 106 Chirei bites her lower lip. She thinks ‘Yes.’
Panel 107 Again she thinks ‘Yes. Yes.’ while pursing her lips.
Panel 108 She smiles and says “No, of course not!”
Panel 109 “I just think it would be nice to hang out.” She thinks to herself, ‘Chirei! バカ!”
Panel 110 Taka smiles and says “OK. How about tomorrow after school? On the roof?”
Panel 111 Chirei smiles back and says “I’d love to, Tako!”
Panel 112 Her eyes widen and she imagines an octopus (蛸).
Panel 113 Her face reddens and she says “No, no, no! Not tako! Taka!”
Panel 114 Her face becomes increasingly red and she babbles on, “I meant to say that I feel like an octopus!”
Panel 115 She bows her head and mumbles, “I’m so sorry.”
Panel 116 Taka nonchalantly says “That’s OK. See you later.”
Panel 117 He walks away.
Panel 118 Chirei shouts 「どうしてえええ!?」 while her back is to the tree.
Panel 119 Byōchō pops out from behind the tree and shouts 「どうしてええええ!?」 Chirei looks at him with a question mark above her head.
Panel 120 Chirei asks “What happened to you?” as Byōchō walks out from behind the tree.
Panel 121 Byōchō cries, “He came!”
Panel 122 “He came all the way from America just to torture me!”
Panel 123 Chirei asks “Who did?”
Panel 124 Byōchō says “Milo (マイロ?). He’s my obnoxious—”
Panel 125 “COUSIN!” Milo yells from off-panel. Byōchō screams “Aaaah!”
Panel 126 Milo lands on the ground and says “I’m glad I found you!”
Panel 127 He says “It’s a beautiful day ima-nichi. (今(いま)日(にち))”
Panel 128 Chirei says “いまにち? You mean 今(きょ)日(う)?”
Panel 129 Milo puts his finger on his chin. “Kyou, huh?”
Panel 130 “My, your language is weird!”
Panel 131 Milo continues: “Anyway, what’s going on with you, human girl?”
Panel 132 He leans in close. “You seem miserable. Are you on your period?”
Panel 133 Chirei pulls back in shock. She exclaims, “Excuse me!?” Byōchō angrily scoffs.
Panel 134 Chirei stutters, “S- Sorry, Neko-san, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about such things.”
Panel 135 Byōchō yells, “Must you be so intrusive?”
Panel 136 Milo shrugs and says “I’m just talking. Anyway,”
Panel 137 “Your problems will be easier to talk about when you become a だいにん (大(だい)人(にん)).”
Panel 138 Chirei furrows her eyebrows in confusion and asks “だいにん? You mean 大(おと)人(な)?”
Panel 139 Byōchō grumbles, “You know, Milo,”
Panel 140 “Kanji have both an 音読み AND a 訓読み.”
Panel 141 Milo strokes his chin. “Really? 面(ベン)白(ハク)いです。”
Panel 142 Milo continues, “Anyway, girl, I’m guessing at your age you must have boy problems.”
Panel 143 “Just tell him how you feel and your problem is solved!”
Panel 144 Chirei protests. “But, girls aren’t supposed to do that! Besides, I’m shy!”
Panel 145 Milo shrugs and says, “Well, then stop. Stop being shy. Bam! Problem solved.”
Panel 146 Chirei stretches out her arms and asks, “How am I supposed to just stop?”
Panel 147 “How can someone be completely open without getting embarrassed by it?”
Panel 148 The camera cuts to Milo who is licking his thighs clean, with one leg up in the air.
Panel 149 His head bolts upright and his tongue is sticking out. He says “What now?”
Panel 150 Byōchō growls, “Just forget it. Chirei, I want to apologize for this guy.”
Panel 151 Milo sits upright and says, “Don’t be modest! Byōchō here is taking real good care of me.”
Panel 152 Milo says “He even lets me drink out of his favorite saucer!” and puts his arm around Byōchō who thinks ‘Too close!’
Panel 153 Byōchō ducks away from Milo’s arm and says “I don’t know about letting you, but….”(The implication is that Milo does it without Byōchō’s permission)
Panel 154 Milo says “That’s what I like about you, cousin.”
Panel 155 He gives a thumbs-up. “You’re a good guy.” Suggestion: Write “good guy” in katakana, i.e. 「グードガイ」
Panel 156 Later…
Panel 157 Chirei is at home. She asks, “Mom, how did you meet Dad?”
Panel 158 (Note: Chirei’s mom is an airhead and often has a goofy smile on her face. She’s actually quite smart but comes across as dumb because of her carefree disposition and the silly things she says.)Mom looks up to reminisce and says, “Ah, we met at 花見 in Spring of 1935.”
Panel 159 “When I saw him there, standing amongst the cherry trees, I knew he was the one.”
Panel 160 Chirei asks, “What did you do?” Mom answers, “Well, I played hard to get, of course.”
Panel 161 Mom continues, “It’s improper for a lady to reveal her love.”
Panel 162 “A true gentleman will intuit her feelings and make the move.”
Panel 163 Chirei asks, “So he knew that you loved him?”
Panel 164 Mom says “Actually, he started dating another girl.”
Panel 165 “But I’m sure he was just testing my love.”
Panel 166 Chirei intently asks “So then what happened?”
Panel 167 Mom thinks. “Well, four years and three girlfriends later, it was beginning to become obvious that he couldn’t resist me.”
Panel 168 Chirei sadly says “This isn’t very helpful.” Mom rebuts, “No, it turned out well! Really!”
Panel 169 “We got married in the summer of 1940.” Camera shows a picture of them on their wedding day.
Panel 170 “Our marriage was the envy of couples all over the Kantou region.”
Panel 171 “Never were two young people so deeply in love! Never before or since did two lovers enjoy such a beautiful relationship. It was pure, magical bliss.”
Panel 172 “And then he died horribly in the war.”
Panel 173 “Well, that’s about it.”
Panel 174 Oneechan comes into the room. “What’s this?” she asks mockingly. “Chirei has a love interest?”
Panel 175 “Ha! Is it on a human this time?”
Panel 176 Chirei cries, “Hey, cut it out!”
Panel 177 Oneechan continues, “Why would anyone want to date you?”
Panel 178 “You’re the girl who tells wild stories about a flying cat!” Chirei insists “They’re not wild stories!”
Panel 179 Oneechan says “If you’re not careful, you’ll never have a boyfriend!”
Panel 180 “You’ll end up a crazy spinster with 100 cats!” Mom snaps, “Enough.”
Panel 181 Mom says “Chirei, I’m sure everything will turn out fine.”
Panel 182 Chirei drops her head and sighs, “はい.”
Panel 183 The next day…Chirei and Taka are standing on top of the school looking out at the forested mountains in the distance. Taka says “Thanks for coming to the roof with me.”
Panel 184 He continues, “I like to look at the clouds up here.”
Panel 185 He looks up into the sky. “Sometimes I wish I were actually a falcon (鷹) so I could fly.”
Panel 186 Chirei’s eyes brighten and she asks, “You want to fly too?” Taka looks over at her and confirms, “Yeah. I’ve always liked the sky. Why?”
Panel 187 Chirei recalls her sister saying “wild stories… flying cat… never have a boyfriend”
Panel 188 Chirei sadly says “No reason. So, Taka.”
Panel 189 She looks down. “Is there anyone you like?”
Panel 190 Taka ponders, “Not yet, but I’m available.”
Panel 191 “What about you?”
Panel 192 Chirei thinks ‘Play it cool.’ She says, “I might like a boy who is a good actor and wants to fly….”
Panel 193 She turns her head…
Panel 194 …and makes eye contact with Taka.
Panel 195 This makes her nervous.
Panel 196 She furtively turns away and says “…but maybe I’m not ready to date.”
Panel 197 She continues “My big sister says I might not ever date. Imagine that!”
Panel 198 She gets carried away and says “I think I might just grow old and have 100 cats instead of ever dating a boy!”
Panel 199 She winces at what she just said and thinks ‘Why?’
Panel 200 Taka blinks.
Panel 201 He looks out at the horizon and mumbles, “Is that so?”
Panel 202 Chirei continues to wince with shame and thinks to herself ‘What is wrong with you!?’
Panel 203 Taka sighs, “Well I ought to finish my homework. Later.”
Panel 204 He walks off.
Panel 205 Chirei’s face is buried in her hands.
Panel 206 She screams.
Panel 207 Chirei is running through the forest, screaming “Byōchō!”
Panel 208 She enters the clearing where Byōchō lives. Byōchō is lying down and looks up at her.
Panel 209 He sits up and asks “What’s the matter?”
Panel 210 Chirei runs to him and puts her arms around him, crying. “Taka hates me now!”
Panel 211 Byōchō puts his paw around her. “Now, now. I’m sure that—”
Panel 212 Milo shouts “Is that the girl?” from inside Chirei’s fort.
Panel 213 Camera cuts to Milo emerging from the fort.
Panel 214 His wide girth gets stuck in the opening. “Uh-oh.”
Panel 215 He struggles and grunts to get free.
Panel 216 His body pops free from the entrance and he goes flying with a “Whoa!”.
Panel 217 He crashes on the ground. Milo smiles and says “Now then, human girl.”
Panel 218 Byōchō rolls his eyes.
Panel 219 Milo asks, “Are you still having problems? Did you try talking?”
Panel 220 Chirei cries “Yes! But I got carried away and said I wanted to be a crazy cat lady!”
Panel 221 Milo says “Geez. You need to work on communicating.”
Panel 222 He continues, “You Japanese are way too shy.”
Panel 223 Byōchō snaps, “And you Americans are loud-mouthed!”
Panel 224 Milo smiles wryly. “Really?”
Panel 225 Byōchō yells, “Yes! And another thing!”
Panel 226 He jabs a finger at Milo. “Stop drinking out of my saucer!”
Panel 227 Milo innocently says “I’ve been using it for days. Why didn’t you say anything until now?”
Panel 228 Byōchō says in frustration, “Because I’m a shy Japanese cat. Are you happy now?”
Panel 229 Milo smirks. “Why would I be happy to listen to you?”
Panel 230 “I only like to talk. After all, I’m a loud-mouthed American.”
Panel 231 Byōchō shouts, “Well, start listening!”
Panel 232 Milo then gets an idea. “Why don’t we just find a middle ground?”
Panel 233 Byōchō thinks on it. “A middle ground?”
Panel 234 He continues to think. “A middle ground between Japan and America….”
Panel 235 “Are you suggesting we go to Hawai’i?”
Panel 236 [none]
Panel 237 Milo is confused. “Uh, that’s not exactly what I had in mind….”
Panel 238 [none]
Panel 239 Milo perks up. “But why not? A late-summer vacation would really hit the spot.”
Panel 240 Byōchō says, “That’s great! We could talk about all kinds of stuff!”
Panel 241 Milo puts his arm around Byōchō. Milo says “Say,”
Panel 242 “Did you hear that the Russians are planning to put a dog in space?”
Panel 243 Byōchō says “Really? If I ask nicely, will they put EVERY dog in space?”
Panel 244 The two cats laugh.
Panel 245 They walk away.
Panel 246 Chirei is left standing there.
Panel 247 “…What just happened?” she asks herself.
Panel 248 “Boys are weird.”
Panel 249 That weekend…
Panel 250 Taka is casting seeds to his chickens in the back yard of his house.
Panel 251 Chirei comes around the corner.
Panel 252 Chirei meekly says “Excuse me?”
Panel 253 Taka smiles and says, “Aa, Chirei! What brings you here?” Taka closes the bag of seeds.
Panel 254 Chirei says, 「えとー、」
Panel 255 Chirei looks at him and says, “The truth is, I have something to tell you.”
Panel 256 Taka walks over to the house. “Really? What is it?”
Panel 257 Chirei looks down. “Well, that is… I don’t want to be a crazy cat lady.”
Panel 258 Taka stands in front of her and laughs. “I see.”
Panel 259 Chirei lifts up her head. “What I mean is,” she says,
Panel 260 “There is someone I like. That—”
Panel 261 A girl from off-panel says “Are you ready, Taka?”
Panel 262 A girl walks up to them and happily says “Oh, Chirei-chan! Nice to see you!”
Panel 263 She turns to Taka and asks again “Are you ready to go to the movies?”
Panel 264 Taka says “Yes! Just one moment. Go on ahead.”
Panel 265 She walks away and Taka turns to Chirei. “You were saying?”
Panel 266 Chirei sadly says “Er, nothing.”
Panel 267 Taka says “Oh, OK.” With a smile, “I’ll see you later.” He waves.
Panel 268 He begins to walk away and Chirei says “Wait!”
Panel 269 Taka asks “Yes?”
Panel 270 Chirei asks “How long have you been together?”
Panel 271 Taka says “Actually, she asked me out yesterday. It was so sudden!”
Panel 272 Chirei’s face droops. “Oh.”
Panel 273 Taka says “She was really nervous about it, too! But her courage was so touching I just had to say yes.”
Panel 274
Panel 275 Chirei again can only muster, “…Oh.”
Panel 276 Taka says “Anyway, I should get going. The train will be leaving soon.”
Panel 277 Chirei says “Right. Good bye.”
Panel 278 Taka waves “See ya,” and walks away.
Panel 279 Chirei scrunches her eyes closed and a tear runs down her cheek.
Panel 280 Chirei is walking through the village on her way home with her head down.
Panel 281 A voice from off-panel says “Don’t give up.”
Panel 282 Chirei looks up to see her sister.
Panel 283 「お姉ちゃん!」Chirei exclaims.
Panel 284 Oneechan walks over and says “You know, there are plenty of other birds in the sky.”
Panel 285 She puts her hand on Chirei’s shoulder. “You’ll find the right guy someday.”
Panel 286 Chirei can only repeat 「お姉ちゃん。」
Panel 287 Oneechan puts her hand under Chirei’s chin and perks it up. “Hey,”
Panel 288 “I know I give you a hard time, little sister.”
Panel 289 She wipes away a tear from Chirei’s cheek. “But it’s because I love you.”
Panel 290 Chirei embraces oneechan. Chirei says “Thank you!”
Panel 291 Oneechan says “Hey, no need to thank me. Come on, let’s go home.”
Panel 292 They start walking with their arm around each other.
Panel 293 Chirei asks “Do you really think there’s a boy out there for me?”
Panel 294 Oneechan says “Sure!” with a sweet smile.
Panel 295 Her smile turns evil. “But it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on flea collars.”
Panel 296 Chirei protests, “Hey!”
Panel 297 Oneechan says “You know I’m joking! But still…”
Panel 298 続く
Panel 299 I want to thank God for introducing me to my Japanese sisters and brothers, who have taught me much.
Panel 300 (Japanese missionaries’ signatures)

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