Register
Sign in
3 Feb 2020, 20:51
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
The between times were currently Kazuo's favourite. The spaces between classes and meals and other events that might require his attendance. The times when he could do as he wanted - as much as he could within the cold walls and strict rules of this strange place. The times when he didn't have to politely smile and nod at every student who wanted to babble at him about this or that irrelevant detail of their lives using words he had to expend effort to understand. His tutor had told him that speaking to others in English would better increase his understanding and ability but if the topic wasn't engaging, why would he want to make the effort to talk?

This was a between time. And he had decided to go exploring, on a very specific quest to discover what he hoped would be the best place in the school. Others had made mention of its existence but he hadn't had time or reason yet to seek it out. He still had his own books from home to read, after all. But those would eventually be finished and curiosity about just what he might find on the shelves of this bizarre school's library certainly drove him to finally wander the halls until he came upon the place he was seeking.

As he stepped through the portal, by appearance nothing more than a set of doors, yet opening up onto a world of knowledge greater than anything he had seen before, Kazuo couldn't help but to stare in awe. His normally polite mask slipped as his eyes widened in genuine delight at the sight of rows upon rows of books. He began to wander up and down the rows, fingers tracing lightly over the spines of books as he stopped occasionally to read the section names and book titles. The deeper into the library he went, the older the books appeared to be and the more his fascination grew. He passed by the restricted section, pausing to glance at it with curiosity before continuing his exploration, finally reaching shelves that looked like they hadn't been touched in years. 

Reaching up, he pulled a random book off the shelve, sneezing abruptly and in sequence several times as dust rose in the air. He sat down on the floor, leaning his back against the shelf, and carefully opened the old book, taking in the scrawl of English, written in some ancient wizard's messy handwriting, not at all like the neat rows of hiragana and katakana he was used to. 

Don't confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are.
3 Feb 2020, 22:51
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
At the sound of sneezing, Jack looked up from his history book, curious as to who might have been poking around in the more dusty sections of the library and for what reasons. The redhead marked his place in the text and closed it before picking it up to carry with him on his quest to find the sneezer.

It didn't take him long to locate the young man since he was the only one lingering around that area of the library just then. At first glance, the boy's short, straight hair seen from behind reminded Jack of Selim's, but he quickly noticed that this boy seemed slightly closer to his own height than Selim was.

Furthermore, the kid was wearing a hoodie and pants which was far more casual than anything Jack had seen Selim wear before. Curious, he wandered over to get a better look at the student as he noticed him sit down to read.

"Bless you," he said, grinning, though he knew the response was belated. "You looking for the dustiest books you can find back here or something?"

As if to show the other boy he wasn't going anywhere, the Slytherin seated himself right next to the stranger and opened his own text in his lap. However, he didn't appear to have any attention of reading it just then as his gaze wandered over to the contents of the book in the other boy's possession. "Whoa...written instead of typed. That's crazy. Wonder if they used one of those enchanted quill things to write it."

@Kazuo Shimada

♪♬ "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities...so we act as though they don't exist!" ♩ ♫

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." — Oscar Wilde
4 Feb 2020, 05:40
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
"Hmm ."

It was the distinct sound of a person who was, somewhere in the back of their mind, conscious of the fact that another person had said something to them. That there was another presence near them. The sound of something intruding into the focus of their thoughts.

Which were currently quite thoroughly devoted to the daunting task of unravelling not only the oddities of English but also the uniqueness of the author's handwriting. Which made him ponder briefly on the importance of penmanship. An echo of his tutor's strict voice reminding him to be precise with every stroke, once nothing more than an annoying lecture when he'd rather be doing something other than copying kanji. Now a sudden realization of what it meant as he tried to decipher the difference between an 'a' and an 'o'.

"Oh." That awareness finally managed to creep its way into the forefront of his mind. "Oh. Ah… Sumimasen!" (Excuse me) He replied in an apologetic tone, finally looking at the other boy. "I was… Nothing in particular. Just hoping for something interesting."

He took a moment to study the other as he sat down uninvited. He seemed tall but then, many of the boys here were taller than him. His hair was something though. A natural red he'd only seen since coming to London. Not like the dyed reds he sometimes saw back home on the musicians and cosplayers. It was interesting. Slytherin by his robe.

Did everyone just wander about in their robes all the time? He hoped not. They were rather boring. It was a passing thought before his attention was drawn back to the book. "Ehhhh? Why wouldn't it be hand-written?" He asked with some confusion. "Seems wasteful to enchant a quill to do your writing for you but even if you did, I would think it would still be in your handwriting since you enchanted it?"

He knew these Westerners didn't view writing in the same way. There was no pride in their calligraphy, no sense of art to their letters but the idea that all books would be typewritten in this vast library drew a hint of a smile to his lips.


@Jack Burnett
Last edited by Kazuo Shimada on 4 Jun 2021, 19:47, edited 1 time in total.

Don't confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are.
4 Feb 2020, 06:25
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
Jack, who was thoroughly used to the sluggishness of a reluctant mind to pull itself away from an entrancing book in order to pay attention to more pressing matters, smiled as he waited patiently for the other boy to fully register his presence.

"Sue-me-my-what?" the redhead laughed once the raven-haired student finally seemed to respond to him. "Okay. I get looking for something interesting. But that's subjective." He beamed at his peer. "What do you consider interesting? Written words?"

When the other boy exclaimed surprise at the idea that the book wouldn't be hand-written, Jack recalled Selim mentioning doing calligraphy before and realized writing the words by hand was probably more of an art form to the Japanese than other cultures more west of them.

"Yeah...I was wondering if it would have your handwriting, too," the Slytherin confessed. "But I don't know any quills like that or any spells to enchant quills to do that, so I'm not sure." He shrugged. "I'm muggle-born, so there's still a lot I don't know about the wizarding world."

He gestured to the books lining the shelves. "I get that your kanji and calligraphy can be seen as an art form, but when you just want to get thoughts down, quantity and speed become more crucial than quality. I think that's why typing became more popular - at least for muggles. It helps them get more down on paper in a shorter amount of time. Maybe not as pretty to look at, but that's what they prefer illustrations and paintings for."

@Kazuo Shimada

♪♬ "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities...so we act as though they don't exist!" ♩ ♫

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." — Oscar Wilde
4 Feb 2020, 07:29
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
What did he consider interesting? A great many things but why was this boy asking him that? In fact, now that he wasn't focused on the book, he couldn't help but to wonder why the boy was talking to him at all. He studied the redhead silently for a moment as he thought about how to respond. He had heard bad things about the snake House. Not that he was inclined to give credit to rumours but he'd seen threads of truth beneath them. Was this boy typical of the members of his House? How much should he tell him?

"Many things are interesting. Not written words. Written words on their own are just marks on a page. Knowledge is interesting. Old knowledge is especially interesting."

His thoughts circled back around to the quill conundrum when the boy returned to the topic and he nodded slowly. "I think it would be some sort of charm. Since your thoughts are what direct the quill to write, I would be inclined to believe that it would reflect how you write as well. I don't remember my father using any kind of enchanted brush. I don't believe such a thing would be common practice where I'm from. It certainly would have made my calligraphy lessons more tolerable." Another faint smile at the memory of his tutor strictly making him write characters over and over until his hand ached. "I wonder if there is a book in this library that might teach a charm like that..."

He thought about the differences in writing between the languages then shook his head. "Hiragana can be written quickly. We have computers and typewriters for our language too. When you use a machine to type for you, you forget the forms. I think..." He paused, looking for English words. Sometimes it was hard to frame concepts properly in this clumsy language. "Do you know what emojis are?" He asked hesitantly. He had learned that some wizards avoided muggles and muggle things, things he took for granted since they had been as much a part of his life as his magical heritage. This one had said he was muggle-born so he probably knew... but it was better not to assume. "Ehhh it doesn't matter. It's like the difference between writing and just showing a little picture. When you go through the motions of the brush strokes, the thought process that forms the kanji, you're following the intent of your thoughts. When you are simply rapidly stringing together images, sometimes the outcome is not necessarily your intention because you are not giving full thought to it."

It was strange to him, trying to explain the things he had learned back home to someone else. He supposed this must be how the teachers felt about him when he didn't understand things they took for granted.

"Also," he added with a smirk. "Your language is- ehhh- I think the word is repulsive?" It was probably rude to say it so bluntly but he was curious to see how the boy would react.

@Jack Burnett

Don't confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are.
7 Feb 2020, 18:55
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
When told what the other boy thought was interesting, Jack nodded slowly and thoughtfully in acknowledgement and contemplation. He continued to remain attentive when the raven-haired student reflected out loud upon charms, quills, brushes, and handwriting. It both interested and amused the redhead to know that the other boy had had to take calligraphy lessons, and without magic, at that. Idly, he wondered if his peer had also been raised largely if not completely without magic as he had.

"Why do you have more than one set of characters you use to write?" Jack wanted to know. "'Hiragana' and...was it...'Katakana'?" he tried to remember what his acquaintance overseas had told him. "And one of those sets is made up of Chinese characters, right? Why is that?"

The Slytherin wasn't sure what the other boy meant when he said that typing made one 'forget the forms'. The symbols looked the same no matter how they were printed, right? Unless he meant the order in which the brushstrokes were made or something. Jack vaguely remembered hearing something about that being important to calligraphy writers as well.

"Emojis? Yeah, why?" But then his peer said it didn't matter. As he explained how the motions of brushstrokes were associated with the thought process forming the kanji, Jack's brow furrowed, puzzled but trying to understand. At last he thought he might have caught on to what the other first-year was trying to say.

"Oh, so it's like when you talk so fast that you don't think about what you're saying and it can come out wrong, yeah?" he asked. "And if that's typing, then calligraphy and writing your kanji with brushstrokes is more like composing a letter or thinking of what you're trying to say before you speak it out loud."

That made sense. When the foreign boy smirked, though, telling Jack he thought his language - English, the redhead assumed - was repulsive, the Slytherin blinked, snorted, and then promptly burst into laughter louder than was probably appropriate for a library setting. There was just something so funny about the fact that Japanese were usually so focused on being polite and formal, and yet this kid had just outright directly and bluntly insulted another's language to his face. He he hadn't exactly assuaged his choice of words, either.

"Wh-what makes you say that?" Jack asked once he had finally calmed down and regained enough breath to speak coherently amid his dying chuckles.

@Kazuo Shimada

♪♬ "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities...so we act as though they don't exist!" ♩ ♫

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." — Oscar Wilde
16 Oct 2020, 08:00
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
Kazuo watched the other boy burst into laughter, amused by his response to the somewhat insulting way he had described English. It seemed this boy was not one of those stuck-up purist types who got upset when the inadequacies of their language were pointed out. He waited until Jack had stopped laughing before launching into what would be a bit of a lecture.

"Three," Kazuo corrected with a hint of a smirk. "Although only two are commonly used. We use hiragana, katakana and some kanji. The root of hiragana is in the Chinese kanji system but it is much simpler. So it is used more commonly. Kanji is still used for some things, particularly when naming people or things, but kanji can be very confusing to decipher the meaning of and there are so many kanji it's very hard to know them all. Most Japanese don't know kanji very well at all anymore. Katakana is used to..." Kazuo paused, frowning slightly. "It's to translate words that aren't Japanese. Like your name. Or when we adopt English words for things. It's a really simple version of kanji that sounds out the word."

Kazuo paused then, closing the book and reaching into his hoodie pocket to pull out a small notebook and a pen. He carefully wrote three lines:

一雄
かずお
カズオ

"These are all my name. The first is kanji, the second is hiragana and the third is katakana. But our written language is based on the Chinese script because it was the Chinese who taught us writing. But yes, when you write kanji or hiragana, it is much like painting a picture. Each brush stroke must be done in the right way to ensure that you are conveying the right meaning. It's especially important with kanji because a single line done wrong could completely change the meaning. Hiragana is more forgiving but my calligraphy tutor was not."

He looked back down at his notebook, flipping back through pages of writing until he came to one page full of English words. Almost like a vocabulary list except all the words were homonyms: words that all sounded the same but had different spellings and meanings. "This is what I mean. How can a language be so confusing? It's vulgar and distasteful. How you English speakers can communicate without constant confusion is beyond me."

@Jack Burnett

Don't confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are.
14 Feb 2021, 23:15
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
Jack watched and listened to Kazuo's explanation, eyes wide with wonder and fascination. "Ohhhhh. I thought 'hiragana' and 'katakana' were types of kanji. Didn't realize they were something entirely different." He frowned, features screwed up in concentration as he stared at the three lines on the paper.

"So...kanji is purely Chinese...hiragana is a more forgiving and more Japanese version of Chinese kanji...and katakana is a Japanese alphabet of sounds used to write foreign words like those in the English language?" He paused to run a hand through his hair. "So...does that make 'romaji' the same as katakana because they spell out the same sounds, only spelled using the English language instead?"

He chuckled softly at the comment about Kazuo's calligraphy tutor not being as forgiving as hiragana.

When asked about how English could be so confusing, Jack grinned and shrugged. "Beats me. Some people might say your language is more confusing since you have three or four ways to write the same word or name in the same language without it even having a different meaning. But every language has its pros and cons. English just happens to be more prevalent than, say, Welsh, so I use that more. Helps me communicate with people more smoothly than trying to avoid misunderstandings just because of a small change of word choice."

He reached over and tapped Kazuo's notebook. "Speaking of your name...mind writing that in romanji? Or even English? I've love to maybe try and pronounce it without butchering it."

@Kazuo Shimada

♪♬ "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities...so we act as though they don't exist!" ♩ ♫

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." — Oscar Wilde
17 Feb 2021, 04:39
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
Image

”I suppose you could classify hiragana as a type of kanji… Katakana, though, I don’t think can be classified that way.” Kazuo replied with a nod of his head. ”Yes, romaji is… A bridge I suppose, a way for English speakers to understand Japanese pronunciations without having to learn the hiragana. It isn’t exactly the same because we use katakana to bring new words into our language while romaji is used only for English speakers to sound out our words.”

He twirled the pen in his fingers as he spoke, watching Jack with his head tilted slightly. The redhead seemed genuinely interested in what he had to say. It wasn’t something he was used to. Most of the children he had interacted with since coming to England were more interested in playing games or asking him about silly things. He considered Jack’s commentary on English as a language and nodded in understanding. “Welsh? So you’re from Wales, then? You choose the more common language in order to avoid misunderstandings…” He frowned slightly at the explanation. “Yet English seems to be a very vague language, very open to misunderstandings.” He tapped the pen against his lips in thought. “Isn’t it simply that you use English because it is the dominant language here?”

He looked down at his notebook, the three lines he had written staring back at him. Beneath them he added a fourth line, one he was getting more and more used to:

Shimada Kazuo

He lifted his pen after neatly printing the English letters, turning the journal toward Jack. ”Write yours and I will try to pronounce it.” Kazuo gave Jack a grin. He actually enjoyed trying to puzzle out the foreign names of his classmates, seeing it as something of a challenge for his growing English skills. ”And I will try to write it in my language if you’re interested.”
@Jack Burnett

Don't confuse my attitude with my personality. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are.
24 Apr 2021, 00:19
The Most Singularly Delightful Discovery  PV Jack Burnett 
Jack nodded at Kazuo's explanation of romanji and its differences compared to katakana, intrigued. When the other boy asked about his Welsh, he laughed.

"Well when I said I use English more often because it happens to be more prevelant than Welsh, I meant that it's the dominant language here, yeah. But I end up using English more often than Welsh even in Wales because I've come to learn the nuances of the language more. And I've learned the nuances of the English language better than Welsh because it's more widely-known, so I figured it's a better investment of my time and resources."

Pleased with their conversation, Jack wondered idly what house the other boy was in. It couldn't have been Slytherin, he thought, or he'd have seen him around. Still, he was quite intelligent for their age, especially compared to the other kids Jack was used to talking to and the conversations he was used to having with them. It was a refreshing change.

When Kazuo wrote his name in English letters under the three lines he had already written, Jack tried sounding it out. "She-ma-da...Ka-zoo-oh," he attempted. Then he thought he recalled something about last names being written first in Japan and wondered which way Kazuo had wrote it.

"Er...is your first name Shimada or Kazuo? In Japan, you guys go by your last names unless you're more familiar with each other right? I try to use last names too. Keeps things more formal and less intimate."

As the journal was offered to him, he contemplated it a moment, then noticed the noiret's grin and grinned back. Borrowing the pen, he wrote his own name with the last name first.

Burnett, Jack

Once he finished writing, he passed the pen back and studied what Kazuo had wrote again, pondering something. "How...how do you write names in your language if not all of the symbols represent sounds? You said some represent pictures, right? But there aren't really any pictures for names like mine, are there?"

@Kazuo Shimada

♪♬ "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities...so we act as though they don't exist!" ♩ ♫

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." — Oscar Wilde