Well, お正月 (the new year) and a visit from a friend intervened - and I'll add that the first sunrise was fantastic, the most beautiful we've had in years, according to my teachers - but I did want to say more on the second Nodame Encore chapter.
(Happy NY, by the way. Already posted it on three blogs, so wasn't going to do so again...
Firstly...the world of classical music already has a lot of specialist jargon which I'd have to revise before I even attempt translating like a friend recently did, but Opera is even harder! Part of the problem is that there are no standardised katakana forms for "Korrepetitor", the German word from which Ninomiya-sensei derived 「コレペティトゥール」. Another issue I had was deciding whether to translate the song lyrics from the Japanese phrases that sensei picked out, or to try and match them with English translations of the original Italian libretto. And whilst it was fun learning about new phrases such as 「焼け木杭に火を付く」 (lit: setting fire to a charcoal log, i.e. rekindling an old relationship), trying to translate into natural sounding English without losing the nuances is difficult!
It was nice to learn who Anna was - my teacher and I simply couldn't remember her, and it turns out that, despite being an old acquaintance of Chiaki's, she's a new face to readers. Nodame is being ridiculous as usual, so I really don't think there should be any threat to her relationship with Chiaki, despite what Mine and Masumi think. Of course, this is also based on the fact that Ninomiya-sensei isn't going to be breaking up her main couple after spending so much time on how they complement each other!
The other big thing of interest is Kuroki and Tanya's relationship (*squee!*) which has been official for almost a year. The subtleties about how Ninomiya-sensei wrote this "sudden proposal" up are not that obvious unless you remember Kuroki's character and what he has done previously, namely in chapter 114, where he invited Tanya to live with him so that she could stay on in Paris. It took some thought, a few Japanese blogs and a 10 minute discussion before I was relatively sure I had it right - that Kuroki had added the propose thing as something like an afterthought, a reason that he hoped would convince Tanya to go with him...not exactly a romantic proposal, huh! Thank goodness the people I checked it with found it hilarious too!
The key phrase describing Kuroki is "out-of-the-blue" (いきなり)!
p.s. Here's one of the Japanese blogs I read, and the blogger's nonchalant summary of what happened...
ーズに固まるターニャ。 => Kuroki-kun, who suddenly proposes as if to cover (what he is nervous about, i.e. asking her to go with him)...and Tanya, stumped by a proposal she had not even expected.