Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

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Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#1 Post by Akai85 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 12:31 pm

Hi all,

I was pretty confident in setting my vn in Japan at a school without it being either completely, debilitatingly wrong or coming across as fanboyish. Agh. Then I read some threads where people mentioned how tired these settings are... see my problem?

So, my question is, can I write my western-eastern mesh setting, not basing it completely on real life without annoying people? Or should I stick to something else... say, Australia? I included the newest revision of my prologue below for critique. To avoid the generic high school, I tried putting some more thought into it and I liked what I came up with - though I don't know if others would. Too info-dumpey? Hrmmm...
Schadenfreude in Love - Prologue:


My old school was quite large, set on the cusp of three districts - Ou, Shi and Rin. If you're imagining some kind of crazy triangular formation with a school set smack dab in the middle, surrounded on all sides by roads… you'd be right.

To my understanding there used to be separate schools for the three districts - back before they were districts and were almost cities - but now that's no longer the case.

Despite the three districts’ territorial issues, a bright politician from Shi set upon the idea to construct a combined school on neutral land to increase the general convenience for the civilian populace. After the move was passed with permission from the district councils of Ou and Rin, that same politician was given an amount of money with which to buy the land, source construction and buy materials.

With some help from an acquaintance involved with construction he managed to keep costs relatively low...

and naturally he pocketed the rest.

After that the districts of Ou and Rin finally agreed on something - they took him to court.

Incidentally, the district of Shi is also the only district that contains a seperate school - a private school for talented individuals.

If you've already wised up to what I'm saying, it really shouldn't surprise you that that politician - Kindou - was a graduate from that school.

So, what does this have to do with the question? What's the point of this infodump?

Ha! Sorry to say, but there really isn't a point. However it’s due to some of the living circumstances I grew up in that led to my decision... let me explain:

I was from the smallest, least advanced district - Ou. My parents owned a small shipping company, and really, it could be said that I lived quite comfortably. We had all the equipment necessary to turn a house into a home, but my parents - both coming from modest backgrounds - chose to live in an apartment on the far side of the district, far from the school, the shops... or anything, really.

The only thing nearby of note was the scenic beauty of the coast - though really, I personally prefer cities. There are only so many days of frizzy, morning hair you can take before “coastal beauty” starts to wane on you.

To get to school on time, every morning I caught a bus at 6:40 and waited 40 minutes until the trip ended. This bus was often late.

I think it was due to my experience living in Ou that I ended up developing such an affinity for the city.

...Well, that's enough speculation for now. You must find all this fairly boring, seeing as you've obviously been to school before yourself.

So, to get back to your question, the reason I decided to move out was a bit of the above (boring school/neighbourhood, regional prejudices), coupled with an interest in becoming independent and a bit of the below:

-----/TRANSITION TO FLASHBACK/-----

4 years ago, SRO Common School:

You could say there's a boy I like.

You could... but you'd be wrong.

I'm supposed to like him. But then again...

I blush when our eyes meet.

I go to watch his games... baseball.

I don't know anything about baseball.

Then... I looked it up. I haven't really learned anything, though.

I've become some kind of idiot, it's hard for me to concentrate.

In class, I look out the window at his profile.

(So energetic...)

If he knew I liked him... he'd surely... surely...

It's annoying, isn't it?

"Sara-chaaaan!"

(Who's this interloper?)

"...You want something?"

It's not Ogawa-kun... I don't have to be polite...

This guy should piss off.

"Sara-chan, you like Ogawa, don't you?"

"Is it that obvious?"

"Yeah, it's super duper obvious!"

"And Ogawa-kun knows?"

"Yeah! ...Um, probably."

"What's with the hesitation?"

"Well, I never actually asked him... But how could he not know, right?!"

"...So what do you want, person who knows Ogawa-kun?"

"Hey! I'm not just some person, I'm his best friend!"

Oh. Maybe I should confess to Ogawa-kun.

He appears to have low standards.

"And besides that, I have a name!"

...So annoying. Ogawa-kun really likes this guy?

"So?"

"My name is-"

"I'll call you Friend-kun."

"Friend-kun?"

"Since it seems like you won't shut up unless I actually give you a name."

"Uh... well, though... my real name-"

"Silence."

I held up my hand, palm facing inwards.

"You're irritating me."

"That’s really cruel, Sara-chan. And after I came all this way to help you confess."

"Confess?"

"Oh? You're interested?"

"I can't confess."

"Why not?"

Ogawa's friend scratched at his head, looking at me with wide eyes. If I compare the two of them... well, he probably makes Ogawa look good when they hang out together.

"Because the reason I like him... it's a really stupid reason."

"Huh? What reason?"

"...It has to do with...his...appearance."

"You think he looks sexy? You want his body?"

"That's not what I said."

"Whoa, Sara-chan, scary! Don’t glare at me like that… I have a weak heart."

"Anyway, if I confess I'll be laughed at. I absolutely won't do it."

"What if you weren't laughed at? What if Ogawa liked you back?"

"There's no way he... wait. You're serious?"

My heart dropped, falling through what seemed like layers of earth until finally it escaped the planet altogether and wandered heedless of gravity. It felt like I was about to float away.

"He mentioned you a few times."

Ogawa's friend plays with his lip, flicking it open with a great air of nonchalance.

"...Did he send you...? To tal-"

"Right!"

Woah, all of a sudden!

"For the small fee of only five yen I'll place a message in his shoe locker for you."

"...You're charging?"

"Are you interested?"

"Let me just grab a pen..."

---------> INSERT TIME/SCENE TRANSITION/------

"Kisaki-san?"

I stood under the great Sakura tree that had watched over our school for 50 years. It was said that any confession made under this tree... it would never be turned down.

I thought it was a load of bullshit, but it did at least create quite a good atmosphere.

"Ogawa-kun... You got my letter?"

"I read it..."

The envelope looked quite ruined, balled up in his hand. He noticed and quickly smoothed it back down.

"I've read it a few times..."

Ogawa-kun... is really adorable.

"You said some really lovely things. I was very touched..."

Lovely? I wrote that letter in five minutes, panicking about lunch ending before I finished, the entire time.

"Kisaki, you like me, right?"

"I certainly do like you a lot."

"Can I ask why you like me? Me in particular?"

"It...

A thought occured to me. Ogawa's face in that moment looked beautiful, full of bashful hope and shyness. I knew I wouldn't forget this moment as long as I lived. I wanted to cherish him like this, to always look at that face... maybe even for the rest of my life...? Wow... that's some delusion.

But I also wondered...

Just what would he do...

If I...

"It's your appearance of course. Why do you think girls typically like boys?"

"Ah, is that so..."

Like that, I saw the future that I had imagined for us shrivel up and die. It became miniscule, a zero possibility joke... like my heart which also shriveled, up in zero gravity with no blood or oxygen to support it, and died.

I felt thrilled to see Ogawa's shocked face. My body felt extremely cold as all the blood rushed out in hopes of reuniting with my heart.

Without a heart, or even blood, I was a statue, held stiff by rigor mortis.

"What about me? My appearance should be satisfactory, correct?"

"Um, I don't really go for appeara-"

"But don't you like me? We've never talked though. You must have been watching me, right? Where were you watching?"

"..."

"Were you looking at my heart? You weren't, right? It was my face."

"Why are you saying such things?"

"Because... it irritates me when you say you don't go for appearances. Are you saying appearances don't count?"

"I like you for your appearance - does that make my feelings for you wrong? A lie?"

Words ripped out of my open mouth like broken shards of glass. They scattered, falling around us, a cascade of illusion.

Of course, I didn’t mean any of them.

It’s just that such words hold captivating power. Possibilities bloom endlessly before me… certainly, it’s thrilling.

"I don't think... a relationship between us can work out."

"Are you dumping me?"

That face... looks even more marvellous than before. Breathtaking - in a flux of ego and emotion.

"Sorry, Kisaki-san, but I think our ways of thinking are too different. The reason I liked you is because..."

"...And also, having the girl you love tell you she only likes you for your face is..."


"O-Ogawa-kun?"

I didn't expect he would actually start crying.

Though... you couldn't say I was displeased with the result.

"Sorry, but I'll be going first."

I could only watch as he walked away from me, shoulders raised as if he was expecting an attack. I thought I could even make out the sound of sniffling... I must have been imagining things, right?

"Haaaaa."

I let out a big breath of air and sank to the ground. Behind me the Sakura tree rose up, branches blocking out the sky.

"Shit... this is... unexpected, Ogawa-kun. I really like you."

"Sorry..."

"Sorry..."

"So sorry. It was just so funny, you know? I couldn't help it... really..."

Am I a bad person?

I feel so happy right now, though.

It’s a beauty… that no-one else but me was witness to. That makes it precious.

Love is a common thing… but is it easy? Destruction on the other hand…

"Sorry."

I am one of the few that has already experienced both.

“…Sorry, Ogawa-kun. I didn’t mean what I said. I like you.”

“Please take me back.”

It was certainly beautiful… but under the curtain of pink blossoms my tears blocked out all.

-----------/TRANSITION BACK TO NARRATION/----------

How was that? It's pretty brutal, right? I tried to write down everything I remembered, my thoughts and feelings too.

Of course, as you've guessed, that girl is me. You must be shocked by now to discover my true colours.

That's how I am. I'm a twisted person that enjoys tormenting people... it's that word, you know, "Schadenfreude." It's German in origin.

Anyway, after that incident, I continued to annoy Ogawa for a whole year. I didn't change my behaviour, continuing to watch him play baseball as I had before and I did a lot of stupid things to catch his attention. Come to think of it, despite my reasons, it was Ogawa who really started to bring me out of my shell. Despite my feelings of inadequacy hailing from Ou, I was able to make many friends and even participate in school activities.

So? That's probably what you're thinking. "So, what? You got to live happily ever after? Good for you."

Normally, I wouldn't argue with that. But any "good" about the situation dissapeared completely, later in the year when my parent's shipping company collapsed and I had to accompany them to the city. I'd finally left Ou, Shi and Rin before. I'd finally left my school.

Isn't that great?

But I couldn't make friends. Not one person in the next school I went to - bland, boring, sterile - caught my attention. Truthfully, I was lonely.

Till then, I hadn't realized how important Ogawa was in my life. Without him, I had no reason to call attention to myself or volunteer for anything. Without him, I didn't want friends or a happy school life. All I felt was unending, mind-numbing boredom.

For three whole years, boredom.

I thought about it deeply. Would I be less bored if I could change myself? Become a better person? Are there other ways to feel fulfilled?

I spent so much time thinking and pondering, school was over before I knew it.

I had fossilized myself into inaction, frozen my past and my present. There was nothing to do but move forward.

Eventually I overcame my hesitation and decided to start over.

Go to a new school, try, find a way to feel things, maybe even make friends. I even moved out, leaving my family behind to travel interstate so I could attend the school of my choice. I decided to try changing the way I approached things, try to find a way to balance a taste for "Schadenfreude" and real companionship and affection with other people.

That was my goal...

So, how did it go? This is going to be a long letter...

----END PROLOGUE/TRANSITION INTO COMMON ROUTE – SCRIPT/NOT NARRATIVE/------
That Sakura tree... was gonna change it to a big tree students carved their names on for a similar meaning but I forgot to. Is a Sakura tree alright?

In addition, after this, the protag goes to a government school - which are special schools assigned to certain corporations and businesses (say police station, political council, national trading centre) that are built as annexes to existing important buildings and exist to teach talented individuals, rich kids, the sons of diplomats etc. skills that align with their sponsoring company. They also work kinda like colleges offering a career path once you graduate into apprenticeships and job opportunities. Well, not really like colleges.

Obviously these don't exist in real life. Anyway, if I use unique locations and stuff in Pseudo-Japan would that work? It's not even about the uniforms or conventions or festivals... I just really, really want to use honorifics because damn if they aren't a good indicator of personality/intimacy!

Bonus question:
What do you think of all the metaphors/extended metaphors protag uses? Too purple prosey? I don't usually write like that (bad at descriptions :cry: ) but I thought because she likes to read poetry it would be a good way of giving her character a distinct voice. Honestly, the prologue is the hardest bit because of the conflicting emotions :cry:
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#2 Post by fleet » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:56 pm

Write what you want the way that you want. Some folks will play your VN because it has a Japanese high school setting; some won't play it BECAUSE it has a Japanese high school setting.

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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#3 Post by 171 » Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:57 pm

The good/bad matter depends on each reader. They have their own thoughts of Japan.

I know that this setting has been used many times, but you can make yours look different than others by adding unique concepts.

About the Pseudo-Japan, I think it's okay. I've seen many works with fictional settings.

Also, about the honorifics, I think it can be good or bad. People who are familiar with Japanese honorifics can find it good, but those who aren't may have to understand it first.

Edit: I don't dislike the setting. Sorry for not reading properly :(
Last edited by 171 on Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#4 Post by SundownKid » Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:34 pm

Count me into the don't like japanese high school settings no matter how good the writing is group. Probably the closest I have come to liking it was Persona, but that didn't take place entirely in school.

Anyway, I'm sure there are people who do like the setting but you will never be able to please everyone.

That also doesn't mean I don't like school settings. I just would rather play something less cliched. Like, I dunno... superhero school. mech school, wizard school, future evil genius school, typical American high school... just anything but Japanese h.s. which is literally every other game or VN.

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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#5 Post by gekiganwing » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:17 pm

Akai85 wrote: So, my question is, can I write my western-eastern mesh setting, not basing it completely on real life without annoying people? Or should I stick to something else... say, Australia?
If you want to create a story driven by cold, thoroughly-researched realism... that's certainly an option. If you want to create a story that blends cultures, history, and mythology into a mix-and-match world... that's certainly an option. Create a fictional world that's relevant to your interests.

Also, consider what you *want to say* about your academic setting, or your world based on present-day Japan. What do you think about it? What aspects of the setting do you think are interesting? Which parts do you intent to criticize?

If you want to write about places you have visited, or places you know well, that's fine. I have thought about creating a story with a World of Badass version of my hometown, Chicago. Now that I'm thinking about it, I might try it again, and focus on creating imaginary versions of local neighborhoods that I find interesting.
SundownKid wrote: ... Probably the closest I have come to liking it was Persona, but that didn't take place entirely in school...
You can find some common elements between the first Persona game (1996) and the fourth game (2008), but their gameplay and their emphasized elements have changed over the years. If you want to know more, start with TVTropes' page for the sub-franchise as a whole. I'm most familiar with P4, which I think sometimes portrays its fictional world as a depressing place, and sometimes as a wonderful place.

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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#6 Post by Akai85 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:48 am

If it helps, I'm not necessarily portraying the setting as a positive thing. Elements of culture gap like focus on studying and being reserved, modest and such are a source of conflict for some of the characters who don't want to conform. Like dead poets society... but not. I hope that makes the setting a little more clear. Honestly it's a little hard to describe well since it's a mish mash of different things. I guess though if you really hate Japanese school settings, you'll still dislike it no matter how I write it.

You could say I have some experience with this setting myself, having attended a strict private school. Though not to that extent :lol:

As for what's being said about write what you want to write - yeah, I get that. The whole concepts already pretty niche though so I'd like to reach as broad an audience as possible. So to ask more clearly: From what I've written so far, do you dislike the setting? Are you rolling your eyes while reading? :) That's really what I want to know the most.

Most of my other works/ideas don't take place predominantly in a high school. Additionally this is my only idea set in a Japanese-ish setting. The setting can be tweaked - like I was experimenting with the district setup earlier - but it's absolutely necessary it takes place in senior high school because it's foremost a "coming of age" and "self-growth" story. I just thought for this type of concept a conservative society would work quite well and also... I wanted to play around with some common expectations people might have going in to the game and being a little familiar with the setting.
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#7 Post by MaiMai » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:57 am

Akai85 wrote:If it helps, I'm not necessarily portraying the setting as a positive thing. Elements of culture gap like focus on studying and being reserved, modest and such are a source of conflict for some of the characters who don't want to conform. Like dead poets society... but not.
Well, think of it this way. Would those themes of culture gap, studying, reservation, and modesty only work in a Japanese school setting? Those things are not exclusive to that culture after all.

For me, it's not that I mind the Japanese school/life setting. After all, it doesn't stop me from reading manga or watching anime with those settings and themes, but I do so because I know they're made by people who live and are essentially are an intrinsic part of the culture. When I see someone making a game using the Japanese setting, what I'm usually seeing is a game that's predominantly using Japanese culture as gleaned from anime/manga tropes, especially if it's just slice of life. And that's what usually kills my interest completely.

That isn't to say that happens all the time. There's a game in progress, Break Chance Memento that's set in Japan (made by two of our local forum members and you can search for the WIP thread here), but the story is unique and intriguing; probably because there's a sci-fi element to it. Katawa Shoujo, while mostly grounded in some realistic elements and by all means is a typical BxG slice of life game, still has the element of a cast characters that have disabilities, but in spite of those they do their best to live as people with dreams and deep relationships with one another.

So basically, what I'm saying is, is that you can write what you want as long as you do the needed research. After all, there's a long tradition of people writing about other cultures they're not necessarily a part of, but have experienced and researched. Japanese school settings have long been represented (hell, overrepresented) and for VNs, it'd be nice to see other cultures.
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#8 Post by Akai85 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:54 am

I think I do have something unique going for mine - It's a game where you choose to behave in a schadenfreudian (is that a word) or romantic manner and has two separate and distinct routes for each love interest. Not just the endings but the entire routes play out differently. It's about a girl that struggles to reconcile her mentality with the expectations of the world around her. Is it unique? I think so. But intriguing? ...um, I sure hope so! I certainly think the dual element is interesting since it shows different possibilities...

As for what you said about the themes not being exclusive to the setting - yup, that's right. I could have another setting, though I'd obviously have to research that too and I have no idea where to start. I will consider it though. If I stick with a Japanese setting I'll definitely research it - especially since it isn't exactly a "current-day" setting. Actually it's kind of um... entirely constructed... diplomacy is limited, and governors own towns farther away from the city and mobile phones aren't common or advanced... Jesus, it's really hard to describe. :cry:

Though it's not like the school setting is completely dominant. A lot of events happen outside of the school and one route almost completely doesn't feature it. If anything it's probably the city that's the primary location. So there's not too much school stuff but I can't deny the rest is based on Japan... hmmm.

Since I don't exactly think "high school" is the most fascinating setting but I think the period of time in which people go to high school, change and mature is.

Yeesh, I feel like the more I write the more confused I get. I'll just heave a big sigh of relief when (If?) I'm working on my next game... with an entirely made up setting. People should also like that one more too since it focuses on... an abstract data entity gathering information on the remains of the human race by acquiring data on individuals and observing them. No... wait... no-one will play that! :lol:
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#9 Post by MaiMai » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:11 pm

Akai85 wrote:
As for what you said about the themes not being exclusive to the setting - yup, that's right. I could have another setting, though I'd obviously have to research that too and I have no idea where to start.
So why are you falling back on a Japanese setting then? Why not start with the culture of where you live? I doubt the politics and society is perfect (spoilers, there is no perfectly functioning society; kind of like how here in the U.S. we're having furious online and offline debates about race, gender, sexuality, etc. even though by all means most everyday people can go on with their daily lives with such debates going on around them)
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#10 Post by Akai85 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:47 am

MaiMai wrote:
Akai85 wrote:
As for what you said about the themes not being exclusive to the setting - yup, that's right. I could have another setting, though I'd obviously have to research that too and I have no idea where to start.
So why are you falling back on a Japanese setting then? Why not start with the culture of where you live? I doubt the politics and society is perfect (spoilers, there is no perfectly functioning society; kind of like how here in the U.S. we're having furious online and offline debates about race, gender, sexuality, etc. even though by all means most everyday people can go on with their daily lives with such debates going on around them)
I would write about where I live... if my experiences weren't generic western culture with the boring dial on maximum. Our politics are ludicrous. Back when we had a female prime minister the opposition used... sexist jokes as a tactic. Really. Our current prime minister thinks that being gay is a fad and he doesn't believe in intersex genders. The school I went to was a small religious school so I can't even write about a public school experience based on what I myself, know. Sure there were "racial cliques" and dodgeball, but it's all just so... boring. Also a lot of people back in high school were pretty homophobic and such and it's just ugh. I get what people mean when they say "consider your own culture" but it's just not enjoyable ever - ever. And sure, settings don't have to be enjoyable but it would just be boring and stifling and punishing.

Edit: I'm not dissing Australia, just my own localised experiences. There are other parts of Australia which I love.

Anyway, based on what you and other have said I find myself considering a Japanese setting less and less. Certainly it does feel a little tired. I'm now heading in a different direction - constructing a fictional country to meet my own needs. But I won't take it overboard... practically impossible given my skill in describing things anyway. Here's a little of my setting, direct from the story. I hope you can give me some critique since it seems like you have strong opinions and know what you're talking about.
Bracketed words lead to the glossary entry - all of which I included.

Setting that comes up direct in story:

I was 13 years old. I lived in [Ou], in a suburban residential area near the coast. I don't know if you're familiar with the place... it's pretty far from where you live and _quite_ different to the city, I imagine.

Well even if you haven't heard of Ou, I'm sure you remember the [OSR Combination School incident] that was on the news awhile back. I remember it got a lot of coverage because the politician, [Kindou], originally came from a powerful city near the capital.

It's funny how it's only now that his actions have been discovered, huh? Somehow, it feels like fate... right as I'm about to transfer the founder of my old school is exposed for fraud. Now, my thoughts can't help but turn towards the past...

Living in Ou is, I imagine, a lot like living in the country. As a coastal town we get a lot of ships coming in but not much else. In addition to that, while living there there were about... five people my age living anywhere nearby. As you've no doubt already concluded, we did _not_ get along.

My parents were well off, being owners of a small shipping company. The company they ran operated nationally, and matching the location of where we lived, was a purely boat-run service. I might as well admit that despite my parent's occupation, I have never been on a boat. Somehow, I just never got the opportunity.

Despite our small wealth, we lived in a modest building near what's called the "well of Ou", a place where the ground curved inwards that was particularly prone to flooding. We didn't live in the well, but in front of it, halfway up the slope of a hill. Real estate there was cheap... due to the treacherous terrain.

To get to school, every morning I woke up at 4am and waited outside for the bus. Every day, that bus was late. Every day I was called in at lunch to attend [reform].

It's partly because of my experiences living in Ou that I decided to move as far as I did.


Setting from glossary:

++ OSR Combination School incident

The new reports surrounding my old school, the OSR Combination School. As you know the triangular formation of the three main districts in the B-15 area - Ou, Shi and Rin - was a source of political dispute for... well, it still continues today.

My school, we called it OSR High for short, was at the centre of an incident involving fraud. A popular politican from Shi, Makata Kindou proposed an allied school to diffuse tensions between the districts and create a convenient place of learning for all residents. Amazingly, he even offered to pay for the land - he had a location all ready to go. It wasn't just any location either, but a prime piece of land right between the three border lines.

The governors from Ou and Rin were only to happy to accept the offer. Kindou was given an amount of money with which to procure materials and labour after being unanimously voted on as "Head Project Supervisor."

But Kindou had other plans from the start. He contacted an acquaintance of his and hired labour cheap, out of capital. The remaining money he pocketed... only to be discovered now, almost 55 years later. Currently governors from Ou and Rin are trying to mount a case against him... without much sucess.

++ Ou

A crappy rural province and the smallest corner of the OSR formation. Known for it's natural beauty and a terrible commute Ou is one of the leading areas in housing for retirees.

++ Kindou

A bright man who despite living with his family near the Capital relocated to the provincial district of Shi at the age of 14. With his father's support, he ended up attending the sole private school in the OSR area - The Accelerated Learning Institute of Shi - and graduating top of his class. He's since moved to Moire, an industrial district where he lives with his wife and three sons. Despite quitting politics some time ago he is still widely regarded as being a sharp and cunning man.
So, how's that? There's politics, geography, society and industrial stuff in there and I'm already thinking about architecture and class strata and some other things. It's probably gonna be a little old-fashioned in the end, but I like old fashioned settings more than modern day anyway. I actually think I like this setting better... might have to change some names though :lol:
I did nothing. And still I rise.
And still I rise.

czxcjx
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#11 Post by czxcjx » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:00 pm

Of course you can write any setting and still make it good. That's why people write fantasy or historical settings after all. The problem is representing it in a fair way. Most Japanese slice of life anime or visual novels mainly play with the sense of nostalgia, which requires a good amount of personal experience or at least a pretty good estimate of the kind of life there. The problem is that people usually only have the setting so they can write about the glamorous aspects, like School Festivals and Clubs. A good bit more sociological analysis needs to be done to conceive of how a real Japanese school life would function.

Anyone who has been a part of a highly meritocratic Asian society has a good estimate of what the life there is like. The amount of freedom and joy that occurs in anime usually only happens in Upper tier or Private high schools. The social reality of Japanese High Schools is the amount of soul-draining mugging for exams that has to be done and the extreme elitism and social divide that occurs as a result of it. Underlining many Japanese high school experiences is rigorous group study sessions, cram schools and a desperate struggle to reach the top. Some anime such as KareKano will make use of this to develop character.

Anyone who wants to do a high school setting should probably read this. Life-crushing ennui and angst is a huge social reality in high schools, especially for those who can't make the cut for the top ones.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-david_h_-slater/3279
The place where I dump my reviews because I'm too lazy to make my own website:

http://myanimelist.net/profile/czxcjx

Akai85
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Re: Good writing even with a japanese/school life setting?

#12 Post by Akai85 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:09 pm

Wow. I only read the first bit about the "new labour force" but yeah. I already had an impression of the kind of meritocratic society you were talking about due to my background but I hadn't looked so deeply into it yet. That's... pretty intense.

I'm not doing Japan anymore, though. I'm building my own society now, based off a few different things and in this one education is not as valued, but jobs are and education is skewed towards teaching you career skills before you ever enter the workforce. Jobs are focused on from a younger age too, where teachers will determine skills and recommend subjects for students. Also, being a politician is one of the best types of jobs. This is also a more "urban" attitude, so not everyone shares the same values. People of lower classes have less expectations placed on them as well, whereas the others will be expected to be as good as or outperform their parents. Anyway there's a divide in attitudes based on the circumstances one grew up in and um... yeah?

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this very well. W-Well it's a developing (not third world) country and there's a divide between the rich and the poor and women can't be politicians and governors (Placeholder title) rule over large areas of land. Mobile phones are uncommon and none of this sounds original but it's not really meant to and argh. I mean I'm not going to shove this down the throat of the reader or whatever, none of this is a central theme but it's a younger type of society.

...I don't know what I'm saying anymore :oops: (Well, there's some setting stuff I posted above that you can read which is pretty much what I just talked about.)
I did nothing. And still I rise.
And still I rise.

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