I should probably start out by saying that I just don’t get the whole concept of drinking. Consuming a mind-altering substance until you can’t control your own actions, can’t speak clearly, can’t stand up straight, get horrifyingly sick and feel like dying when it’s over, and can’t remember anything that happened all sounds like something out of a torture regiment to me, rather than something anyone would ever willingly do. But since millions of people put themselves through this on a daily basis, apparently with great eagerness, I can only assume there must be some sort of appeal that I’m missing. Certainly when other people who’ve talked about episode 7 say things like how the drunken sister is someone pretty much any adult viewer can relate to, I’m left scratching my head.
Putting my incomprehension of alcoholism aside, there were other interesting points in episode 7 worth talking about. Probably the biggest surprise for everyone was the discovery that the old guy who Chiaki previously met cooking a steak on a skillet actually turns out to be Rin’s grandfather, and he’s the person who got her into camping. Judging from the discussion we overheard with Rin’s mother, he is basically spending his retirement camping constantly; driving from campsite to campsite on his motorcycle. I’d probably get sick of that, personally: I’m too fond of my modern conveniences. But still it’s a pretty cool lifestyle if you’re big into camping.
Rin and Nadeshiko’s trip to Lake Shibire is a fairly simple and cute camping trip. Nadeshiko is her usual scaredy-cat self, and the legend of a ghost bull creature that rises from the lake at midnight has her terrified… until Rin points out that she can just go to sleep before it shows up, at which point she perks right back up. They also meet the aforementioned drunken sister and her… sibling, whose gender I remain uncertain about. I’ve already said my bit about drinking, but the sister is going to come up again later.
One part that really struck me was Rin and Nadeshiko’s conversation in the evening. Nadeshiko has always enjoyed looking at Mt. Fuji, but from where her family used to live it was really small in the distance. She was asleep in the car on the trip to her new home, so she missed seeing it then, which is why she biked up to the campsite Rin was at in episode 1. I feel that Rin’s realization that Nadeshiko might not have come to that campground if she’d seen Mt. Fuji on the way is significant. Had things turned out differently Nadeshiko might never have gone, or might not have gone there then, and the two of them would likely have never met. There’s the distinct feeling that Rin is thinking along those lines, and realizing that she doesn’t like the idea of not having made friends with Nadeshiko. I find it touching.
There isn’t much to say about Rin’s encounter with the “ghost” but I still had to comment on it. It’s worth a laugh, but it’s also cute the way she couldn’t sleep alone after that and snuck into Nadeshiko’s tent.
On to episode 8… It’s exam time! Poor girls. I feel Aoi in particular is too nice for her own good in this case, when she really should have just gone home to study and let Chiaki go on and waste time by herself. And Chiaki shows some pretty classic procrastination behavior: in order to avoid doing something she doesn’t want to do, she makes herself busy doing something else. That feels productive, so it can kind of trick your mind into feeling like you’re accomplishing something, until you remember that the thing you spent your time doing was not the thing that most urgently needed doing, and the thing that did need doing urgently still hasn’t been done, and now you have even less time to do it in. …Yes, I have personal experience in both these areas. I went through college. If there’s one place that teaches you all about both studying and procrastination, it’s there.
Nadeshiko of course remains Nadeshiko, exams or no exams. Sending a chain of “look a the strange thing I saw on my way home!” messages to Chiaki fits perfectly with Nadeshiko’s image. Although, admittedly, her capturing a picture of a Google streetview car is pretty amusing when combined with the post-credits scene. In other news, at long last Saitou has been invited to join the Outdoor Club on one of its camping trips. As the only one of the semi-main characters who hasn’t gone camping yet, she’s been languishing on the sidelines for a while now, so it will be good to get her to come along. Hopefully she’ll bring her dog with her for maximum cuteness.
As I said earlier, the sister from Rin and Nadeshiko’s trip to Lake Shibire has turned up again, as the new teacher at their school. However, she’s so classy and beautiful and stylish that nobody recognizes her as that incoherent falling-down drunken slob from the lake. The pattern for things like this is that she’ll end up becoming the advisor for the Outdoor Club, once it gains enough members to be officially recognized. I have no information about that (we’ve surpassed the manga translations) but that’s how things like this usually go.
I can totally understand the feeling when the girls walk into Caribou, even as someone who isn’t that big into camping. It’s the whole “kid in a toy store” kind of feeling. You look around and you see all this cool stuff and you want it all. Even if you don’t need it, or even know what it’s used for, you still want it just because it all seems so cool. Like Chiaki says, make sure you save your game before going into a place like that, because you may need to reload in order to not spend all your money on something you don’t need. Of course, I’m even worse with book stores, and back when there used to be stores that sold PC games they served a similar effect for me.
The plus side of the girls’ trip to Caribou is that it gets Nadeshiko thinking about needing to earn money to support this hobby. Her friends all work part time to pay for their camping gear, so there’s no reason why she can’t, and several reasons why she should. I look forward to seeing what sort of job she gets, and how she manages to outfit herself with her new earnings. Assuming she doesn’t spend them all on food…
These episodes were good, as usual. I wonder what’s in store for us next. Will Rin join the Outdoor Club on their Christmas camping trip? It would be good if she did, but I’m not sure she feels interested in camping with that large a group just yet. We shall see what we shall see.
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