For now, Sayonara Piano Sonata seems doable. It just needs a lot more research prior to translating. However, I have not reached those parts deemed to be really difficult by me, so we'll see.
I'll be switching over to Hyouketsu Kyoukai.
Also, Yeb will probably be revising the earlier translations when he is free, so just a heads up.
During early morning homeroom, when our teacher—nicknamed Retiree (because he looked like Mito Koumon)—brought that girl into the classroom, the atmosphere of the class instantly froze. At the time, I was snoozing while listening to my discman, so I didn't notice the change in the atmosphere. [TLNote: 水戸黄門, title character of a drama. Wiki if interested.]
It was only after Chiaki, who was sitting in front of me, had turned around and prodded my shoulder, that I hastily removed my earphones. Regardless of whether it was homeroom or not, the classroom would always be filled with chatter early in the morning. But, at the time, I could only hear a few of my classmates whispering.
"Hey, she is......"
"Yup, should be."
"Eh~? That very person? Didn't they say her whereabouts were unknown?"
I took a look at the lecture stand. My discman nearly fell to the ground. The girl at the stand wore her hair back, and because it was the same exact hairstyle as that seen in the advertisements, everyone recognized her instantly. It was, indeed, Ebisawa Mafuyu herself. She was wearing our school uniform, but it felt like someone was playing a joke on us. What's with this? I didn't catch what Retiree had said, and for a moment, I couldn't comprehend the fact that she was transferring into our school.
"Let's have Ebisawa do an introduction of herself."
Retiree said that leisurely and passed the chalk to Mafuyu. She pinched the chalk with only her thumb and index finger, and stared at it uneasily for some time. As her face turned pale, she spun around to face the blackboard; but in that moment, the chalk slipped out of her long slender fingers, and the unexpectedly sharp shattering sound broke the silence of the classroom.
An asphyxiating silence followed. Mafuyu just stared motionlessly at the broken chalk. Retiree was stroking his prized goatee slowly, and even though we had only been in school for a month, we all knew that that motion was a sign that he was uncertain of what was happening.
"Mmm, well......" Our teacher barely made a sound and picked up the chalk—which had broken in half—to hand to Mafuyu. But when Mafuyu took the chalk, her fingers were already trembling in full sight for all to see.
At last, Mafuyu looked at the floor and shook her head. She placed the chalk on the chalk holder.
"I do not want to write my name."
As she said that, it felt like the air in the classroom had been electrified. Wait, what exactly is that lass saying?
"It's just a name, so it should be fine, right?" Retiree said. He was speaking slowly and in a low tone; he was obviously at a loss at what to do, since his hands were fidgeting next to his thighs.
"I do not want to."
"I do not like my family's name."
Mafuyu's words had an effect similar to pouring liquid air into the already frozen classroom. I noticed Mafuyu's expression as she bit her lower lip. It was the same as on that day, the day we first met—the expression she wore when we parted.
But, of course, I didn't say a word. The one to save the day was a female classmate sitting at the front of the classroom.
"It doesn't matter, teacher. We all know her name already."
"Yeah. Her name's Ebisawa Mafuyu, right?"
The atmosphere of the class suddenly became really strange. Whispers like "She's that pianist" and "I've seen her on ads" were shooting off one after another. I noticed Mafuyu's slender limbs were trembling slightly in response the reaction of our classmates. I was, perhaps, the only one that had noticed the signs of danger.
"Ah, mmm, if so......" Retiree looked at Mafuyu and said calmly, "Ebisawa, do you have anything to say to your classmates?"
A girl suddenly raised her hand and asked, "May I ask when you'll be releasing your next album?"
I couldn't quite remember that girl's name, but I did remember her to be a chatterbox. That question spearheaded an onslaught of questions.
"Didn't you say you'd be studying at the College of Music?"
"There aren't any new advertisements with you in them. Why is that?"
Some of the guys who were still confused about the situation asked, "What advertisements?" "It's that insurance ad. You mean you don't know?" "Ah, that ad. I do." "Hmm? Really?" The classroom suddenly became noisy.
Mafuyu was looking at the ceiling with a stern face, and it was then that she suddenly spoke with a sharp, ringing voice.
"Please forget everything."
The silence that engulfed the classroom was like the frozen surface of a lake.
Mafuyu's strained voice continued to reverberate in the classroom—just like back then.
"...... I'll be disappearing in June anyway, so please forget me."
Not one person spoke after hearing Mafuyu say that, nor did anyone know what to say. The thing that saved us from our utter confoundment, was the bell that signaled the end of homeroom.
"Ah, i-is that so? Then...... Mafuyu, please take a seat over there."
Retiree pointed towards the back of the classroom, and as I came to my senses, I realized there was an unoccupied seat to my left.
"The class representative is Terada, so feel free to clarify any doubts you may have with her."
Terada was the very first classmate that had asked Mafuyu a question. Retiree then clipped the attendance records and the already bundled lecture notes under his arms, and briskly walked out of the classroom.
Mafuyu gulped and regulated her breathing slightly. She then surveyed the classroom once with a hostile and wary stare, before quietly stepping down from the lecture stand. The classroom was dead silent. Everyone stared at her every movement as she walked down the aisle between the desks. Could it be that Mafuyu would disappear in an instant should the stares stop for a brief moment? Nah, that sounds incredibly stupid. It's impossible, but I still joined in anyway. Perhaps it was due to all the staring, but Mafuyu deliberately hid her face as she passed by my seat. The sound of footsteps suddenly stopped next to me—
She noticed. Mafuyu pointed her slightly shaking finger at me and shouted in shock, "W-W-Why are you here?" I hugged my head with my arms, and lay on the table. I realized that everyone in class had their eyes set on me. Give me a break.
"What? You two know each other?"
Chiaki looked at Mafuyu, and then at me. I repeatedly shook my head, as though I wanted to wipe the table clean with my forehead.
"No no no, I don't know her. She must've gotten the wrong person."
But Mafuyu said, "Why are you lying!?"
"You're the one who wanted me to forget you, right?"
"See, you remember! I had asked you to forget me!"
Ahhhh...... I don't know anymore.
"Mmm, that's why I'm telling you, I've forgotten everything already. Who are you again?"
I guess our conversation must've sounded really stupid. The discussions among our classmates were getting louder and louder, while Chiaki's curious stare became even more piercing. Second period was olden literature, which I hated the most, but at that moment, the sight of that old hag language teacher was like a saving grace.
Even if I factor in her unbelievably beautiful face and that celebrity status of hers, Mafuyu is the type of girl I don't want to willingly get close to. Every day since she transferred here, she had been surrounded by groups of curious girls, who bombarded her with questions. But, except for the occasional "Don't know" and "I do not wish to answer," she hardly answered any of the questions.
"Why did she transfer here at such a strange time?"
During our lunch break, Chiaki looked at the group of people and softly asked,
"Our school's just an ordinary high school, and she picked fine arts as her elective. So why?"
In our school, we have to pick either music, fine arts or calligraphy as our arts elective. Honestly speaking, it's rather strange for a pianist to not pick the subject she's good at.
"Just ask the person in question and you'll get the answer."
Chiaki shook her hands and said, "I can't break past that human wall that's surrounding her." She then took some stuff from my bento and devoured it with huge bites. Recently, I've been preparing more food in my bento, in anticipation of her grabbing a portion of it.
"Then again, when and where did you meet her?"
"...... In my dreams?"
"Wanna take a trip to the infirmary?"
"Nope. Man, explaining everything'll be difficult."
"There's still a long way to go before lunch break is over, so you can explain everything from the very beginning." Chiaki's eyes were giving off an unyielding look, despite her smile. As I was trying to avoid the topic, she finished my bento as quickly as she could.
Mafuyu continued her anti-social behavior during lessons, without caring the least bit about her studies; she didn't take notes and frequently dropped her textbooks on the floor. There were some teachers that didn't give her any special treatment, despite her being a transfer student, and immediately asked her to go up to the lecture stand; but she insisted on remaining at her seat, replying, "I don't want to." To be honest, I thought she was really cool, since I couldn't have done that even if I wanted to. From what Chiaki told me, all she did during physical education was sit and look on from the sidelines.
During lunch break of the second day after her transfer, it seemed that Mafuyu was finding the situation of being surrounded by the curious girls to be slightly unbearable, and had sought my help quite a few times by looking at me pleadingly through the gaps of the human wall. Well, I can't help even if you want me to.
Most of the questions asked by the girls were mundane things like, what sort of place was the studio like, which celebrities were at the broadcasting company, and if she had met any of them. Just as I was about to pull out my chair to scoot away from the group of people, I heard someone slam the table with a sudden *bam*. I turned my head around and saw Mafuyu standing in the center of the group of girls, pointing at me through a slit in the human wall. She said with tears in her eyes, "Go ask that guy over there. That pervert owns all my albums and should know a lot about me."
Mafuyu kicked the chair down, then ran past me and out of the classroom in a flash.
Countless stares landed on me. Class-rep Terada was the first to speak, "...... What's the relationship between this pervert and Ebisawa?" Why the heck are you calling me a pervert!?
"From the conversation you had with her, it sounded like you knew her beforehand."
Damn that girl, she actually said something as irresponsible as that, just so she could run away from them......
A certain guy said, "This dude probably knows her because his dad's a music critic."
"Ah, classical music, huh."
"Then you know her already?"
"Your dad should know plenty of things about her, right?"
"Ask a few questions when you get back home! Things like why Ebisawa chose to study at this school. Ebisawa refuses to say anything about herself."
I can't possibly know things like that, right? You guys think the world of classical music is small? Though I was thinking that, I gave an ambiguous nod to appease the crowd.
Despite being treated so coldly by Mafuyu, the class-rep still wished to talk to her. Was that the class-rep's kind attempt to integrate Mafuyu with the rest of the class, or was it due to her high tolerance born out of curiosity? I had no idea. Perhaps it was a little of both.
After returning home that day, I finally understood how small the world really was.
"Tetsurou, do you still remember Ebisawa Mafuyu?"
As I was preparing dinner, I threw that question at my father, who was in the dining room at the time. I'd already forgotten when I started calling my father by his name—probably sometime after my mother left home? I don't know why, but I could no longer treat him as my father shortly after that.
Tetsurou was squatting on the chair in his jersey. He was drumming on the bowl with his chopsticks, playing to the rhythm of Tchaikovsky's Waltz, which was blaring loudly from the speakers. He repeatedly shouted, "Dinner's not ready yet?" Is that how a man in his forties—with a son as well—should be acting?
"...... What'd you just say?"
Tetsurou turned his head around, but his hands continued drumming on the bowl. A sudden anger swelled up inside me. I snatched away the chopsticks and switched off the speakers. Tetsurou did nothing but pout like a kid.
"What I asked was, do you still remember someone named Ebisawa Mafuyu?"
"Hmm? Yeah, I do. Ebisawa Mafuyu, huh. Bach still suits her the best. There are some parts that don't flow smoothly in nearly all of his partita, but that's the fascinating point about them. Occasionally, there's the emergence of a few youngsters who can play Bach's music amazingly well. Take for example......"
"Enough, I don't want to listen to your opinions on that."
Forget it. She's probably just one of the many pianists in Tetsurou's eyes, so it's understandable for him to only talk about things related to music. Just as I was walking back tothe kitchen while thinking that, Tetsurou spoke yet again.
"But I heard she transferred to your school?"
"How did you know?"
I turned around in surprise and nearly fell after kicking the pot.
"Ebichiri and I are old classmates from your school. And since Ebichiri's the school's director, he would definitely force her to study there unreasonably."
"Ah...... right, she's his daughter."
Ebisawa Chisato—commonly referred to as Ebichiri—was one of the few conductors who were well known. He used to be a full-time conductor for the Symphonic Orchestra of Boston and Chicago and was a world renowned musician as well. Incidentally, Tetsurou was the one who gave him that nickname—critics are a really scary bunch of people. [TLNote: Ebichiri's actually shrimp in chili sauce, and quite obviously it sounded similar to his original name]
One of the topics that were widely discussed during Mafuyu's debut, was that her father was "the world renowned Ebichiri." There should have been some who had tried to get the father and daughter pair to perform on the same stage, but Mafuyu disappeared from the music scene before any such performance became a reality.
"The thing is, our school no longer has music as a core subject, so why did she transfer here?"
"I heard it was due to the constant complaints from his daughter. It had already been decided that she'd be enrolling in the College of Music, but the daughter said she didn't want to. He was left with no choice but to allow her to study at a normal high school, and thus, she transferred to your school. She no longer plays the piano, right? I felt she was one of those destructive types of pianists after listening to her pieces for the very first time; her counter-melody sounds like a quarrel among family members."
I had heard her playing the piano that day at <The Department Store of Hearts' Desires>.
She...... no longer plays the piano? Why?
"Oi, dinner's not ready yet?"
"Dinner's~ not ready~ yet?" Tetsurou began to sing those words along with the tune of <Non più andrai> from <The Marriage of Figaro>. Damn, you're noisy. Go chew on your records or something!
If she really had given up the piano for some reason, and had chosen to enroll in my school instead of the College of Music at the very last minute, then the strange time of her transfer would make sense. Still, why did she give up the piano?
I shook my head and no longer wished to think deeper into it. Should they hear about the things my father just mentioned, my classmates would probably think I really knew a great deal about Mafuyu, but we're just classmates who sit next to each other. It seems that she has something she doesn't want anyone to know about, but because it'd be impossible for her to interfere with my life by her own accord, the only thing I can do is ignore it, right?
However, Mafuyu came barging into my life the very next day—
—in a totally unexpected way.