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Thread: JAPANESE Culture & Language Help

  1. #21
    Rhi for HP
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    Erm...well, I did a three week exchange program in Japan this summer, and am in Japanese 3 as a sophomore, so I guess I have some knowledge on the subject....

    Here we go:

    *Do Japanese student have different subject than students in Europe? What would those subjects be?
    Being American, I'm not sure what classes students in Europe take! Well, there's Japanese, English, Science, Math, and besides that it varies...the high school I visited made students sort of take majors-- focus on just a few subjects. For example, culinary arts was a whole discipline. After school clubs= very different: flower arrangement, calligraphy, kado playing and tea ceremony. School sports: swimming, tennis, judo, and I think it was called "kendo"....sort of a Japanese fencing, with bamboo sticks.
    *Do the students use wands, or just ones made in different style? Or would they be more likely to staffs, or some other to?
    I think they would use wands. Japan is very global, and seems to take many technologies and make them their own. I tend to think wands would be more convenient than staffs, so maybe at some time wizards in Japan decided to make a switch over or something.
    *I'm pretty sure that East Asian students don't use Latin spells for their magic. Do they use Chinese for their spells?
    That would make sense, since Japanese kana (syllabary) is derived from Chinese characters, and Kanji (more complex characters which can stand for whole words or names) is just Chinese characters generally pronounced differently.
    *Do think think there are some Japanese wizards have integrated into large cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto? Or would they live in smaller, more remote villages? Remember, Japan is mostly urban and has one of the highest poplation dencities in the world.
    I think definitely many live in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc. After all, there are wizards in London, and England is much less urban than Japan.
    *Do you think the students consentrate on more subjects than others, subjects that might be considered more western?
    I think some subjects are stressed more than others. Not entirely sure on this one, but I have to think core subjects like Math and Science would be stressed (as well as Japanese, but that's not very western )
    *What could some classes be at a Japanese school that wouldn't be at a school like Hogwarts?
    All the cool clubs: calligraphy, kado, origami, ikebana (flower arrangement), tea ceremony...
    *How do you think they would behave socially towards the western students?
    Well, when I visited Japan everyone was very friendly and open when I met them in the context of their daily lives. However, the students at the high school I visited were rather formal, and bowed many times.
    *What would the teacher be like? Students in Japan are very respectful of their teachers. Do think they would have more teachers than just the headmaster.
    The teacher would probably be sort of strict--not in a mean way, but not the students' best friend, either, and not so likely to say "nitwit, oddment, blubber, tweak" for a speech. I really hope I'm not generalizing here and offending anyone!
    *I heard one custom where the younger students serve the older ones in the idea that they will learn. Do think they would bring some first years along for this purpose?
    Yes, that's an excellent idea. My last words on the matter of Japanese school: something that made a big impression on me was the largest (and only) mural at the Japanese high school, taking up an entire wall. It was of three androgynous students, all in uniform, clutching books and looking very studious and identical and submissive. For me, that was a message about Japanese schooling (i.e., "here are the ideal students"), and said a bit about Japanese culture as well.

    Hope that helps!

  2. #22
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    What are some ways in which some of you believe a magical education in Japan would differ from the one that would be recieved at Hogwarts?

    Cultural, acedemic, opinion; anything at all would be welcome.

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  3. #23
    Inverarity
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    [The following is all based on cultural stereotypes, and assumes that Japanese wizarding society follows the model of Japanese Muggle society. There's no reason why you couldn't assume that Japanese wizards are very different from their Muggle counterparts, and follow practices that would leave Japanese Muggles aghast.]

    Very formal. Very ritualized. There would be a proper way to cast a spell, every spell, and casting it some other way is Just Not Done. Japanese wizarding children probably come to school having already mastered the "flick and swish" (but they'll spend many more years mastering it further, anyway).

    Innovation would be regarded with suspicion; someone scribbling new spells of his own invention in his book would be considered reckless, disrespectful, and disruptive. Making up your own spells would be akin to saying that you know better than your ancestors, that you are more important than a thousand years of wizarding tradition!

    Japanese wizards would be very, very good at the spells they specialize in, but not many would be particularly flexible or creative.

    Status is very, very important. So is preserving face. You do not disrespect your elders. There might be a lot of Snapes in Japanese wizarding schools, because very few students would dare to complain. If your teacher is a horrible, abusive bully, you shut up and take it.

    Senior students rule junior students. There would likely be lots of bullying there too (although some senior students would take their position as seniors and mentors seriously). In Japanese corporations, you simply do not promote a younger person to a higher rank than an older person, even if the younger person is far more competent and better qualified. This causes certain problems of efficiency in Japanese corporations, as you might expect. (It's also not so universally in true in modern Japan, but the tradition is still pretty strong.) This would likely be true among wizards, too. Older wizards are more respected; no one listens to young wizards.

    Of course, Japanese history is full of upstart rebels, who are regarded as national heroes, so it's not like no one ever breaks the rules. But those stories usually end with the rebels all dying violently.

  4. #24
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    How do the Japanese typically view dating among teenagers? I have a feeling they would approve of any of the student getting involved with someone from Hogwarts, but what about within their own magic school?

    What do Japanese students typically choose to tease one another about, or would it be safe to assume it would be just the same things that students in Europe and the Americas tease about?

    What are some first-impression that Japanese students would have about the students at Hogwarts? About Ameican students?

    What do feel the Japanese opinion would be in terms of the politics of blood purity?

    What would their opinions be of the Hogwarts teachers? Hogwarts classes? Any other aspects of Hogwarts?

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  5. #25
    Inverarity
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    How do the Japanese typically view dating among teenagers? I have a feeling they would approve of any of the student getting involved with someone from Hogwarts, but what about within their own magic school?

    Japanese society used to be extremely xenophobic and concerned with "racial purity." This is not as true nowadays; marriage to foreigners is much more common. However, many old-fashioned Japanese still look down on marrying outside the race and producing "halfbreed" children.

    Japanese Muggle teens are very into pop culture, and generally think a cute boy/cute girl is a cute boy/cute girl regardless of nationality. And they date a lot (and do everything else teenagers do). Whether this would be true of wizarding children depends on how different their wizarding society is from Muggle society.

    In traditional Japanese society, arranged marriages were the norm (even well into the 20th century, and they are still not unheard of today). "Dating" per se did not happen.

    It should also be noted that even many modern Japanese believe strongly in things like fortune telling and astrology to determine whether someone is a suitable match. They are also rather obsessed with blood type. Yes, as in whether you're A+, AB-, O, etc. They have entire books written about how your blood type determines your personality, your ideal diet, your ideal spouse, etc. Not everyone believe in this, but it's pretty common.

    What do Japanese students typically choose to tease one another about, or would it be safe to assume it would be just the same things that students in Europe and the Americas tease about?

    Mostly the same, adjusting for culture. Japanese are much more race and status-conscious, though. They have provinces that are regarded as "backwards" and whose people are considered ignorant peasants (just like many Americans tend to make fun of "rednecks" or people from the Deep South).

    What are some first-impression that Japanese students would have about the students at Hogwarts? About Ameican students?

    Hogwarts students would seem rather boisterous, and not terribly respectful. American teenagers even more so.

    What do feel the Japanese opinion would be in terms of the politics of blood purity?

    Well, as I mentioned above, some Japanese still consider "blood purity" important. It's reasonable to assume that some Japanese wizards would too. Their version of blood purity might or might not be different from the Death Eaters'. They might regard Japanese Muggles as okay to marry, but not foreigners (Muggle or not), or they might consider foreign wizards somewhat more acceptable than Japanese Muggles, but less preferable than Japanese wizards.

    Note also that Japanese tend to regard other Asians as lower than whites. Marrying a Korean or Chinese is actually worse than marrying an American or European, in the minds of many Japanese.

    Japanese society still has a very strong, ultra-nationalist right-wing strain (often backed by organized crime), who long for the good old days of the divine Emperor (never mind the war that devastated the country and killed millions). So it's easy to imagine that a group equivalent to the Death Eaters could exist among Japanese wizarding society. But just as it's not true that the majority of Japanese think this way today, I doubt most Japanese wizards would either.

    What would their opinions be of the Hogwarts teachers? Hogwarts classes? Any other aspects of Hogwarts?

    They'd probably find it exciting and liberating, in many ways -- there are more "fun" activities in Hogwarts, and the teachers are generally less strict, and the older students probably less domineering. But they'd also find it very foreign, and confusing, and they wouldn't know how to figure out social hierarchies and the like, so they'd feel very much like outsiders. Japanese also tend to be very self-conscious about their English skills.

  6. #26
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    I'm just starting to write a story that take place at a Japanese magic school, but I'm not sure how to get all the children transported to their school. I know that the school is going to be up in the mountains. I was considering using a train, but it feels so unoriginal.

    What do you feel a Japanese magic school would use to transport its students?

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  7. #27
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    What do you feel a Japanese magic school would use to transport its students?
    Have them ride an animal up the mountain.

    If you want the school to have houses (or clans, or some other way to divide them), let them be sorted (unknown to the students) by the animal they choose. Maybe each student is presented with an ox, a tiger, a dragon, a monkey, a giant centipede, etc.

  8. #28
    celipsis
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    What would the Japanese version of a pub be like? How would you describe the atmosphere, the people? Even just a general overview would be great. I wouldn't know what specific questions to ask. I think it will end up being a part of the magical world, but anything and everything is helpful. Thanks!

  9. #29
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by celipsis
    What would the Japanese version of a pub be like? How would you describe the atmosphere, the people? Even just a general overview would be great. I wouldn't know what specific questions to ask. I think it will end up being a part of the magical world, but anything and everything is helpful. Thanks!
    In modern times? Karaoke bars are very popular, but a lot of times a bunch of friends/coworkers will occupy a small room or just a table at a drinking establishment, sit around the table (usually one of those low tables where you sit on cushions, or the floor), and drink. A lot. Usually beer or sake. Drinking is a very social activity in Japan, and in many companies, it's expected that coworkers will out go out drinking after work. It's rare for women to be part of such gatherings.

    College students also do this, and are more likely to include women in such gatherings.

    There are Western-style bars too.

  10. #30
    Fly to Dawn
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    Quote Originally Posted by celipsis
    What would the Japanese version of a pub be like? How would you describe the atmosphere, the people? Even just a general overview would be great. I wouldn't know what specific questions to ask. I think it will end up being a part of the magical world, but anything and everything is helpful. Thanks!
    A Japanese!pub would probably be a Nomiya - they are almost the equivalent of a British pub; somewhere you would go for a beer after work, or watch baseball on weekends. Mostly people sit down at counters or tables, though, as opposed to standing around. Nomiyas serve snacks such as Yakitori together with beer (maybe they used to serve Japanese Sake? I'm not sure, I'm too young to know, hee!), and the customers are mostly men coming home from work...I've Googled Nomiya (in Japanese), as pics might give you a better idea!

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