Anticipation / I Just Couldn't / Watery Grave / Island of Dreams / Mountain Cat (Japanese: 「期待」 「いてもたっても」 「海の藻屑」 「夢の島」 「山にすむネコ」) is the twenty first episode of Azumanga Daioh.
Yukari announces a field trip to Okinawa, to which Chiyo is ecstatic as this is her first field trip due to her skipping from grade school to high school. On the day of the trip, Tomo and Kagura are revealed to have a fear of flying when the plane takes off. The girls immediately go sightseeing at Naha. After comparing the depiction of the Shureimon to a two thousand yen bill, they are drawn to the shisa in the Shuri Castle. The girls decide to have dinner at a hotel restaurant. While Tomo and Yomi concentrate on competitive eating at the buffet, Chiyo and Osaka are awed by the chanpurū. The girls visit the Manzamo cliffs the next day, but Chiyo has acrophobia from the heights. Tomo recklessly raises Chiyo over the railing, and Sakaki luckily catches her just as Tomo loses her grip. Yukari later join the girls in going scuba diving, which gave an impact on their enjoyable experience. Afterwards, they shop for souvenirs at Kokusai-dōri. Tomo provokes Yomi in obsessing over chinsuko. Chiyo and Sakaki buy plush shisa. Osaka peaks her interest in saataa andagii, inadvertently irritating Tomo. Kaorin finds Sakaki, as the two tell each other their next location of tourism. Sakaki notices that Kimura is wearing a shirt similar to that of Kaorin, much to her despair. Then the girls head to Iriomote, where Chiyo has made sightseeing plans. They sees warnings about Iriomote cats in the area, telling bypassers to reduce speed. An Iriomote cat, later recognized as Maya, appears from the nearby woods after Sakaki holds out her hand. Sakaki, after stalling from nervousness, manages to successfully pet and cuddle Maya without being attacked, much to her own surprise and delight. However, she must tearfully part with him when she is to leave Okinawa and return to Tokyo, promising to herself to one day reunite with him.
Tomo has the same cell phone signal as in episode 18.
It was mentioned in a previous episode that neither Tomo nor Kagura had flown in an airplane before, which is why they get nervous here.
Her family being rich, Chiyo displays a ¥2,000 bill which impresses the others.
Sakaki at first thinks she might get in trouble if she tries to pet a wild Iriomote cat, because of her unfortunate experiences even with regular cats. Kagura also references these when she implies that the cats might come to bite Sakaki if she sticks her hand out. At first, Kagura tries to scare the wildcat away like before.
Sakaki references that her parents won't let her have any pets.
In this episode, it is announced that the class will travel to Okinawa. The Ryukyus, or the 169 islands that comprise modern day Okinawa prefecture, stretch 1,000 km from the island of Kyushu to Taiwan. Most people are unaware of the unique history, language, and culture associated with the islands. Although Okinawans speak a number of dialects that belong to the same family of languages as Japanese, many of them are incomprehensible to a Japanese speaker. This is understandable, given that the people of the Ryukyus have often had closer relations in the past to China than Japan. In 1429, the Ryukyu Kingdom was established. The Ming Dynasty in China demanded tribute from the new nation in exchange for recognizing its soverignty. In 1609, the Shimazu Clan from Satsuma, Japan, invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom. A tenuous dual tribute system arose and lasted until 1879 when the central Japanese government dissolved the Ryukyu Kingdom and created Okinawa prefecture. Despite pleas to mainland China and even then U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant for aid, the Ryukyus were forced to accept their fate. After World War II, the U.S. took control of Okinawa. It returned the islands to Japan in 1972 but still maintains a strong military presence. The name Okinawa comes from the word "uchinaa", which is standard Okinawan (uchinaaguchi) for the main island of Okinawa. "Ryukyu", the name of the island chain and the kingdom, originated in China.
School trips, that show up here, usually occur once in every scholastic institution, meaing once in grade school, once in middle school, and once in high school. When the class might go would depend on the school, but some take entrance exams into consideration and have the trip in the second year rather than take the trip during the busy third year when everyone is cramming for entrance exams. School trips are also not always strictly educational. Some schools go skiing or to other resort areas, though many others go to historical locations, such as Kyoto.
Tomo attempts to educate Chiyo on the subject of what is suitable to buy as souvenirs. She suggests a wooden sword and a shinsen livery coat, however these are not traditional or recommended souvenirs in any way.
Yomi buys an Okinawa guide book for herself and the others to look in.
Tomo teases Chiyo by inserting a voice-over like in TV shows and saying the trip would turn out horrible after Chiyo said the opposite.
Yomi calls Tomo on her cell phone to wake her up. There is a really subtle pun when Yomi says, "Tomo, it's almost time for Okinawa." In Japanese, "okiru" is to "wake up", so up until Yomi says the "-nawa" part, it technically sounds like she's just telling Tomo to wake up.
As shown here, there are a lot of gift shops in Japanese airports, including ones that sell souvenir types of items local to the area. However, proper souvenirs should be bought at the travel destination, and souvenirs bought at the airport are considered to be something for procrastinators and lazy people.
The girls visit the Shureimon Gate. Shurei no Kuni literally means "land of propriety". The Shureimon Gate is one of the entrances to the Shurijo Castle. Parts of the castle compound have history going back to the 1400s, but it was destroyed four times over the centuries by either fire or war, the last time being World War II in 1945. Since then, it has been restored and open at least partially to the public since 1992.
Chiyo shows the others a ¥2,000 bill. They are very rare in Japan. The front and watermark feature the Shureimon Gate while the back has a scene and parts of the text from The Tale of Genji as well as an image of its author, Murasaki Shikibu.
During this episode, the girls visit a number of recognizable features of Shurijo Castle. First, from the Shureimon Gate, they go straight (there is a path that branches off to the right, which is where they will eventually leave the castle). As they walk along, they walk in front of the next attraction in the Shurijo Castle park, which is the Sonohyan-utaki. An utaki is a gate where people pray to the local gods, and this particular one is said to have been the most important in the Ryukyu Kingdom. The gate where the shisa are introduced (see below) is the Zuisenmon Gate, the second gate of Shurijo Castle. The gate where Chiyo buys tickets is the Koufukumon Gate, the fourth gate of Shurijo Castle. Originally, the civil and judicial offices were to the left and temple and shrine offices for ceremonies were to the right. Now, the ticket offices are to the left and restrooms to the right. The vast compound they walk through is the Una Forecout, a central area of the Shurijo Castle and the main square used for ceremonies. The striped pattern was used to indicate where officials were to stand and where ceremonial instruments were to be set up. The center road, called the Ukimini, was considered holy. The large building they stop to admire is the main hall of Shurijo Castle. The stone paved path they leave by is the right hand path from the Shureimon Gate called the Madama Road, while the entryway to the left comes from the Shurijo Castle.
The shisa that Chiyo and Osaka look at are Okinawan mythological creatures, that resemble a cross between lions and dogs. They are supposed to keep evil away and frequently seen in the form of statues. Shisa are often seen in pairs, one with its mouth open to send away evil spirits and one with its mouth closed to keep the good spirits in. They were culturally adopted from midland China a long time ago.
Tomo claps in front of the main hall of the Shurijo Castle. Generally, you only clap in front of shrines and temples where you are praying, but Tomo is doing it here to show her appreciation.
Chiyo and Osaka refer to the fact that chanpurū (such as bitter melon chanpurū) is a common Okinawan dish. Bitter melon often appears in Okinawan cooking. Chanpurū, or champloo, is an Okinawan form of stir fry, which can include tofu, various meats, vegetables, and even noodles. The bitter melon chanpurū contains tofu, bitter melon, pork, and eggs. Wheat-gluten chanpurū contains wheat-gluten bread, eggs, pork, and vegetables. Fine noodle chanpurū is based on the noodes and can contain a variety of vegetables and meat.
Yomi mentions that after Shurijo Castle, they are going to Manzamou. This is a famous sightseeing spot, which overlooks the East China Sea from a cliff of coral reef. "Manzamou" means "a field that can seat ten thousand".
The street the girls visit to buy their souvenirs is Koukusaidori. This street was the first to make a comeback after World War II and is now a big tourist spot with lots of souveinir shops.
Tomo shows Yomi a box of chinsukou. This is a kind of biscuit cookie and a very popular Okinawa souvenir. The box in Tomo's hands looks exactly like the real product. What Yomi is holding is black vinegar. This is another health food, which supposedly has variously healthy qualities. It is often used as a seasoning, but some people also treat it as a health tonic.
Saataa andagii is an Okinawan specialty, which is a kind of sweet fried dough similar in concept to doughnuts.
Miyakojima Island, which is mentioned by Kaorin, is a little over 300 km southeast of the main island of Okinawa. It is a resort area.
Sakaki mentions the Iriomote cat (Felis iriomotensis), which is an endangered species of wild cat that lives only on the Iriomote Island in Japan. Irimote Island is apart of Okinawa prefecture. There is thought to be only about 100 individual cats left in the wild. Iriomote Island is another 200 km or so east of Miyakojima Island.
Kaorin and Kimura wear T-shirts that read "Uminchu". This is a written as "person of the sea", meaning "fisherman" in Okinawan.
When the girls walk on Iriomote Island, a taxi passes them. This cab service is the "Yamaneko Taxi", where "yamaneko" means "wildcat".
Osaka compares Sakaki to a frog being stared down by a snake when she encounters Maya, and Yomi also takes out her camera.
Yamamayaa, as Chiyo says, is another local term for the Irimote Cat. "Yama" means "mountain" and "mayaa" means "cat" in the local language.
Tomo buys Utchin tea with Agaricus at the airport. Utchin comes from the word "ukon", which means tumeric. Tumeric tea is a specialty of Okinawa. Agaricus is a kind of mushroom and is one of those herbs that supposedly has various qualities that promote good health. It is purported to boost the immune system and help prevent cancer, diabetes, allergies, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Why Osaka giggled when she slept during class.
Where Chiyo learned the Okinawan language she speaks here.
When Chiyo dived earlier like she mentions, and also how she was rescued from Tomo and Yukari who attempted to throw her into the sea for fun.
Yukari announces the school trip and tricks her students into believing it has been cancelled just for fun.
The girls arrive at Okinawa.
Chiyo is almost thrown over a cliff by Tomo, but rescued by Sakaki.
The girls go scuba diving at the island.
Tomo is amused by souvenirs such as chinsukou and Ukon tea since "chinsukou" sounds similar to the Japanese word for penis (chinko) and Ukon resembles the word "unko" (poop). This irritates Yomi.
Osaka gets caught up with funny-sounding words such as saataa andagii (a sugary treat).
Kaorin talks to Sakaki about island visits, but she is bothered when she finds out that she and Kimura wear the same T-shirt.
Sakaki finally meets a cat that likes her and lets her pet it, an Iriomote cat of all things. However, she has to leave him, because he has a family and she can't keep pets at home.
Now, on next month's schedule is the long-awaited school trip. Hmm. Are you looking forward to it, Chiyo-chan? [Chiyo giggles in anticipation] … Well, that's too bad because the trip's been cancelled.
[Reads from guide book] "The school trip is not just an excuse to have fun. Be fully aware that it is an important supplement to your studies." It says that, but we know better, right? [Tomo and Yomi nod] Hmmm … BUT DON'T THINK IT'S GONNA BE EASY!! Having fun in a town you don't know in a short amount of time may be harder than you realize!! Some of you are SURE to end your trip with regrets, but you can't say I didn't warn you!! [starts laughing manically]
… We can have one group with just five people, can't we?
— Yomi (after naming the people she wants to be in her group of six and intentionally excluding Tomo)
At that time, they never would have dreamed … it would turn out to be such a miserable trip … or something.
— Tomo (acting as narrator, after Chiyo said the school trip would be fun)
What do you say in Okinawan in times like that?
— Tomo (after hitting Chiyo in the head)
Let's see, um … Shisa yaibiiin. Shisa yaibiiin. Shisaa yaibiiimi? [points at Kagura]
— Osaka (to Chiyo, confirming statues to be shisa and then asking if Kagura is one) [in Okinawan]
COME ON, LET'S TOSS THIS BRAT INTO THE SEA!! And a one, and a two …
— Yukari (to Tomo, on Chiyo-chan)
ARE YOU KIDDING!? SUPER CAN'T EVEN START TO DESCRIBE IT!! No, the word is … awesome. IT WAS AWESOME FUN!!