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Author Topic:  [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic  (Read 7225 times)

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Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
MAHOUTOKORO NAVIGATION

Introduction
History
Setting
Arrival and Sorting
Houses
Student Ranks
School Layout
Uniforms
Meals
Classes and NEWTs
Sports and Culture Clubs
Duties
Daily Schedules
Unique Events



Credit: Mahoutokoro is the creation of author JK Rowling. The original content in this guide was created by MH members Ryuuji Kurosaki and Camm Erskine exclusively for MH. The final guide was contributed to by the MH admin team of October 2016: Ares Awning, Cameryn White, Étaín Regan-Mackey, Winifred Gwartney, Tabitha Whiting, Tess Gorman, Nala Jauregi, Mihaela Lupesco, Desislava Daskalova, Alvin Hadditch, Gaius Purcell, and Keela Doyle.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:12:12 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 09:23:29 AM »


Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic (魔法と精霊の研究所) is one of the eleven great wizard schools. This overview has been created to provide interested role players with the background information required to create a successful Mahoutokoro character.

Established in the early Heian period (810 AD), Mahoutokoro is East Asia’s only magical institute of its size and caliber. Every new school year starts in September and ends in June (the same time as the other major schools on MH), with regular students typically entering at age 11 and graduating at 18.  The classes focus heavily on ancient spiritual and elemental magic, as well as exploring the nature of magic itself. In addition to this, there is a great emphasis on fostering practical physical and magical skills in each and every student. Mahoutokoro is located on the “other side” of Iwo Jima, off the coast of Japan, shrouded by fog and unreachable by muggles.
 
Most Mahoutokoro students are recognised by their specialised cherry wood wands, knowledge and practice of arcane and ancient magic, extreme discipline, and skills in different forms of magical and non-magical combat. Students who graduate from the school all have extremely strong practical skills as they are intended to defend their nations in times of war. The founders of the school strongly believed that in order for a wizard to reach their full potential and thrive, they must not just strengthen their minds, but also their bodies and spirits. Training in magic takes mental and spiritual focus, but more often than not most wizards neglect their physical training and end up having weak bodies. Mahoutokoro trains students to value physical athleticism and combat.
 
Another characteristic of the school’s society is its stratified nature. Students are separated by houses, but above all they are separated by rank. First rank students are an elite group and are extended many more privileges than normal (or second rank) students due to their status. As a result, there is often tension between the different levels. Mahoutokoro’s environment is extremely competitive, academically and athletically, but the mutual (if occasionally begrudging) respect between all the students in their merit-based community maintains the balance between the highly competitive students. Amongst the students of Mahoutokoro, honour, diligence, and respect are valued above all things.
 
Originally, Mahoutokoro only accepted Japanese students, but in the 1200s, it began to accept students out of Japan with extreme discretion. In the first few years, less than 5% of the school was made up of non-Japanese students. Eventually the numbers began to grow, with a small community of Korean and Chinese students and an even smaller group of Southeast Asian students. Students outside of these areas were generally not accepted.
 
As Mahoutokoro was founded in Japan by Japanese sorcerers, the main language spoken there is Japanese. Incoming students who do not speak Japanese are allowed to use translation charms set in place by the faculty, but these students are also required to take rigorous Japanese language classes during their first year until they have mastered the language. Classes are all taught in Japanese, but students are allowed to converse in their native languages outside class. It is not uncommon for students to pick up other languages during their stay at the school.
 
Although smaller, private institutes are generally more favoured in Eastern Asia, Mahoutokoro is still widely known for producing well-rounded students, resilient in both body and mind.

 
MOTTO
KANJI  ROMAJITRANSLATION
健全なる魂は
健全なる精神と
健全なる肉体に宿る.         
kenzan naru tamashii wa
kenzen naru seishin to
kenzen naru nikutai ni yadoru.             
A healthy soul
Dwells within a healthy mind
And a healthy body.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:13:26 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 09:27:14 AM »

Many centuries ago when the world was still chaotic and dark, there lived the divine couple Izanagi and Izanami. The husband and wife were the most magnificent wizards in the East and wielded powers so strong they could have ruled the seven seas if they had so desired. Instead they yearned for peace and prosperity for their kingdom, so they lent their mighty gifts to the muggle ruler and his people, bringing them out of the darkness and into a time of safety and civilization.
 
Decades passed and the couple came to desperately want a child, and made the decision to leave the kingdom and find their own home. But the current ruler refused to let them leave, having “inherited” his wizard advisors from his father and knew that he could not rule without them. He held Izanagi prisoner and demanded that if Izanami wanted to save her husband, she would become the ruler’s wife so that he could have her magic at his disposal.
 
The foolish ruler was quickly defeated by Izanami, who in her tranquil fury did not kill him but destroyed his palace and cursed his land so that it would be ravaged by famine and war for seven years. She freed her husband and they escaped to a small village in the country where they thought they would be safe.
 
They lived in that town for three months, while two babies grew steadily in Izanami’s stomach. The couple was overjoyed in their happiness, but the villagers came to demand more and more from the magical couple, blaming them for not giving them a good harvest and for not saving all who died in the village. The villagers became so angry that one day they sent a nurse into the couple's house to poison Izanami.
 
Izanami, being a witch, survived the poison, but the damage was done and a few days later she gave birth to two monstrous and deformed stillborn children. In her anguish, Izanami brought forth a massive flood that leveled the entire village, but not before Izanagi managed to evacuate most of the villagers to a nearby hill.
 
Izanagi consoled his wife, whose anger had now turned to sorrow. The two realized they would never be safe amongst these muggles who had come to believe that a wizard's magic existed to serve and better their own lives, as if they were entitled to have wizard slaves. But there was no place devoid of muggles, no place where they could live in peace. So they went to the farthest reach of Japan, into the ocean, and used a powerful magical artifact known as the Amenonuhoko Naginata, and raised an island from the depths of the sea. This island came to be known as Onogoro island.
 
The couple settled there, and using their magical powers, they made the island a fertile paradise with lush vegetation and pleasant weather. They lived in a small house in the center of the island, far away from the prying and corrupt eyes of the muggles. A year later, Izanami gave birth and the couple had their first child. They lived together in peace for many decades, and in total the couple had five powerful wizarding children.
 
When Izanami and Izanagi eventually did pass away, their children left the island one by one to settle in different parts of mainland Japan and Eastern Asia. Izanami and Izanagi’s earthly forms became one with Onogoro and their spirits protect the island though the power of the Amenonuhouko Naginata which still stands in the middle of the island. Time passed and their blood became mixed with those of many cultures and people. It wasn’t until almost four centuries had came and went that the descendants of Izanami and Izanagi came together once more.
 
Most wizard children learned magic from their parents, but there was no formal place for them to learn how to become powerful wizards at the time. The five families descended from Izanami and Izanagi returned to Onogoro and begun construction on a formal venue for magical children to live and learn in a natural environment devoid of muggles. Mahoutokoro Institute was completed in 810 AD during the Heian period.
 
The school’s curriculum was mostly academically inclined until the 1400s. Before that, students took chakra and meditation classes and played sports, but the focus on combat was nowhere near the level as it has come to be present day. In 1450, Japan entered the Warring States period, characterized by disparate and hostile regions at constant war with each other. Like always, the wizards joined the efforts to bring peace, but they found that magic alone was not able to soothe the people, especially because they were not allowed to reveal themselves.
 
Around this time, magical and non-magical combat training was introduced to the school. Most of the students were expected to join the battle once they graduated, whether they wanted to or not. The head of the school found it imperative that they prepare their students to deal with combat situations regardless of their occupational intentions. Training in taijutsu, genjutsu, kenjutsu, ninjutsu, and many other combat styles became required subjects for the students. As a result, Japan’s magical and non-magical defence was bolstered by the many skilled graduates who had the training and experience to protect the people. Mahoutokoro still trains all of their students in the martial arts in the event that one day they will have to go to war again.

 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 06:51:30 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 09:28:17 AM »

ONOGORO ISLAND AND MAHOUTOKORO-JO
Mahoutokoro is located on Ongoro Island near the 'uninhabited' (or so Muggles think) Volcanic island of Minami Iwo Jima. The island appears to muggles as a small land mass, when the much larger landmass known as Onogoro extends far into the ocean, spelled so that it is always somehow on Iwo Jima’s “other shore” when explorers come to visit. Onogoro island itself is perpetually shrouded in a thick fog and protected with spells to prevent muggles from accidentally discovering the school. If a muggle boat happens to get too close, the fog serves to mislead, and the waves in the water will guide the boat away from the island.
 
Onogoro is a small forested island that boasts beautiful waterfalls, bamboo forests, sakura orchards, and many other breathtaking natural wonders. In the winter the island is covered in a blanket of powdery snow and the lakes and ponds freeze over, hiding mysteriously blue water underneath. In the autumn, the entirety of the forested island turns a stunning array of colors, some not ever seen in the muggle world. And in the spring and summer, the island blooms to its full glory, becoming a mystical paradise covered in sweeping trees and vibrant life.
 
Mahoutokoro-jo, or “Mahoutokoro Castle”, is located at the top of a heavily-forested mountain on the North-Eastern side of Onogoro. The castle is modelled in the classical castle style of ancient Japan, with curved gables, steep castle walls, and a network of intricate pathways throughout the school. Even from afar, the beauty and majesty of the castle can be appreciated as it rests on a bed of emerald trees and red torii gates.
 
The castle is heavily fortified with physical and magical barriers in place to protect the school from outsiders, such as a system of moats, archer perches, a large stone gate, and a powerful force field surrounding the entire school. The force field is almost invisible, though someone with a keen eye would be able to spot the iridescent glow of magic swirling around the castle.

 

 

 
Students are allowed to travel to the nearby wizarding village of Takamagahara. Onogoro is inhabited solely by wizards and therefore it is less of a problem to use magic and magical transportation in public. Takamagahara is on the other side of the island and therefore a few hours walk from the school. Students have the choice of riding their brooms or taking the Night Fog Carriages, though the magic mist over the island can make it difficult to take a broom there. Night Fog Carriages are antique Japanese wooden carriages that fly through the air, riding the fog. The carriages are extremely swift and can hold 5-8 people at a time. Many students enjoy the peaceful ride and the view of Onogoro from above, making it the most popular method of inter-island transport.
 
Takamagahara looks like a traditional Japanese town nestled in the green valleys of Onogoro. The entrance is marked by a pair of stone maneki-neko, leading to the streets made of cobblestones and wooden houses with shōji (paper doors) inside. There are a number of small shops and stalls for everyone to peruse, ranging from clothing to food (students favour takoyaki, anpan and taiyaki which can only be purchased from street vendors) to magical artefacts. At night, long lines of lanterns illuminate the town, all leading to the main square, which is at the heart of the town. In the centre of the main square is a large fountain surrounded by benches and a few statues, where many people gather. At night, and on special days when the spiritual energy is high, the maneki-neko comes to life to play with the children, even going so far as to give them rides on their back through the island.
 
The people native to the magical town are queer folk, choosing to mingle amongst themselves and rarely venture outside. However, they are very friendly with the students of Mahoutokoro, and weekends in the village are always bustling with activity. If the students are lucky, they will be able to attend some of the festivals held by the island natives a few times each year. As a treat, if they are well behaved, professors may grant special permission for students of all ages to partake in certain festivities in Takamagahara. This may be granted to all students or students of a particular house, while the rest will have to make do with spending it in school.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:14:34 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 09:29:37 AM »

Students are to take the Kitakinki Tango Railway on the Miyazu line, stopping at Amanohashidate station. From there, it is a short walk to the Amanohashidate sandbar, where they will be picked up by an antique Japanese ferry at 7:00 pm precisely. It is a half an hour journey from the sandbar to the island, where the students will be dropped off at the docks and guided into the school by friendly buraburas (lantern yokai) for the annual journey to Mahoutokoro-jo.
 


 
Mahoutokoro is different from many of other major wizarding schools because it accepts students starting from the age of seven. These students are called “Day Students”. It is not mandatory to start Mahoutokoro as a day student at the age of seven, but it is very heavily suggested. Day students must pay tuition and pass an early entrance exam to prove they deserve a spot in the advantageous program. Day students do not board at the castle, and instead commute to school in the morning and home at night on the backs of the school’s flock of giant storm petrels. They also do not take classes in the castle proper, but in a separate facility more geared toward young children. Day school at Mahoutokoro is a mix of daycare and intense tutoring. Non-Japanese students learn the language early on, and it is considered a great honor to start school early and the program gives the day students an advantage over the students who comes in four years later. Day students are not officially sorted until they turn eleven, and therefore are house-less before then.
 
 
 
All students undergo sorting at the age of eleven. Sorting takes place in the Ceremony Hall. First year students are called up one by one, and the actual sorting process takes place behind the Byōbu, a six-panel screen decorated with elaborate drawings depicting the history of Mahoutokoro. The student is handed an ancient white death mask that is smooth and plain ivory. The mask has a very old, very powerful spell on it that allows it to reach inside and read one’s deepest desires and strengths, allowing it to determine where the student belongs. Once the student puts the mask to their face, it takes the shape of one of the five houses' animals and the student is sent to the appropriate table. It is not until every first year has been sorted that the start of term feast begins.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 06:52:10 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 09:30:30 AM »



KITSUNEBI
Kitsunebi are the tricksters. They are spirited, playful, and cheerful, always happy to be surrounded by a large group of friends, especially when they are the center of attention. But they are not to be trifled with, as they are also very crafty and clever. Kitsunebi can be unpredictable and mischievous, their passion occasionally consuming them.
 
The Kitsunebi mon is the sunflower, which is the embodiment of the sun: bright but with the power to burn all in its wake. The animal of the house represents the fleeting red fire spirit: the fox. The second rank students are represented by the fox: energetic and cunning. A Kitsunebi that passes Seishin test becomes represented by the nine-tailed fox, a little wiser and much more powerful than their fox cousin.
 
Kitsunebi was founded by Tamamo-no-Mae, who had the most ties with the muggle world, often venturing there for months at a time. Seemingly reckl-ess, she was the sole keeper of the sessho-seki, also known as the killing stone, and made sure its powers weren't abused way past her death.
 

MIZUCHI
Adaptable, persevering, and goal-oriented, these are the traits that best describes students from Mizuchi. Like the animals that symbolise their house, they are caring and live in harmony with all the other houses always concerned about the wellbeing of others. They are open minded and accepting, and while they seem to be peaceful on the surface, they have a playful side and can be distracted from their course.
 
The Mizuchi mon is the lotus, which symbolises the purity of spirit and heart, untainted by the darkness of society. Inspired by the age old folk tale, the second rank students are represented by the koi. If they show enough perseverance and grit, then like the koi that jumped over the dragon gate, they will be embodied by the spirit of the water dragon.
 
Mizuchi was founded by Zennyo Ryūō, who, as the owner of the tide jewels, ruled the seven seas. Thanks to her, flood preventions and a much more advanced irrigation system were made possible.
 

TSUCHI
Tsuchi are the force of stability and balance. Although powerful both physically and mentally, rarely will they reveal their true strength. A Tsuchi speaks with few words, holding a certain confidence in their silence. They are proud and resilient and sometimes needlessly stubborn. They are down-to-earth and lead simple lives, priding loyalty and honour above all.
 
The Tsuchi mon is the peony. Typically regarded as the king of flowers, they are regal and honourable, perfectly representing the Tsuchi. The animal of the Tsuchi house for second ranks is the tanuki. Despite their small size, tanuki can is a proud and strong creatures, sometimes believed to govern all things natural. It is the spirit of the earth. After passing the Seishin test, a tanuki comes to represent the white tiger. The white tiger is the noble protector of the earth, strong and stable.
 
Tsuchi was founded by Kirigakure Saizō, he was a fearsome warrior and skilful ninja in his own right, but his magical prowess wasn't to be overlooked either. He was the one, through keen observational skills, who came up with the plan to shroud the island and the school in magical fog, and is a master of illusions.
 

KAZE
Kaze are the nurturing ones of all the five houses. They do not rely on clever-ness or merely booksmarts, but strive for true wisdom and spend much time alone, meditating and improving themselves. Virtuous and dutiful, one can always count on the Kaze to make the right and proper choice, shining the way with their knowledge. They are patient, but they rarely have the time of day for people who are not up to their standards or refuse to listen to them, considering them to be shallow, and can become quite sarcastic and snappy.
 
The Kaze mon is the evergreen pine. Although not a flower, pine has the symbolic meaning of wisdom and longevity, often also perceived as good luck. The second rank students are represented by the sparrow, which is believed to bring good luck and happiness if treated well. After Kaze progresses to first rank, they are represented by the crane, another prosperous and wise bird.The only worthy companions of deities, they embody the spirit of air.
 
Kaze was founded by Kaguya Hime. She is most remembered for her invention of the hagoromo, an elaborately woven cloak of magical feathers that allows the wearer to fly. She has a keen eye for aesthetics, and popularized many forms of art and music.
 

KUKAN
Kukan are the souls of the old world, spirits of the element of void. They are wise, though dangerous in their wisdom. Kukan are pragmatic and realistic and very slow to either forgive or trust, though quick to judge and condemn. They have their own code of justice, and this they will follow to the letter, regardless of who they hurt or help. But Kukan are not all bad. Those from the Kukan house are born to teach others. They are responsible and guiding, with an extreme capacity for understanding the underlying nature of magic.
 
The Kukan mon is the red spider lily. In Japanese mythology, the red spider lily growsalong the banks of hell, said to guide the dead into the next rein-carnation. The spider lily is not evil by nature, just by necessity. The second rank animal of the Kukan house is the turtle, wise and noble in its own way. The first rank evolutionof the Kukan house is the black tortoise. The black tortoise is a wise and worldly creature imbued with mystery and a certain otherworldly darkness. A darkness that is required to reach the light.
 
Kukan was founded by Urashima Tarō, the most elusive of all the founders. It is said that he has found the secrets of time, which is a refutable theory. He has made several notable contributions to medicine and alchemy, most of all for discovering the rejuvenating benefits of powdered dragon bone.
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« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:16:05 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 09:31:40 AM »
SEISHIN NO MEZAME ( 精神の目覚め)
(FIRST RANK TEST)


From the moment he or she is sorted, a student is considered a second rank student. All students start off in second rank, but there are a select few that are promoted to first rank students. After a student has had a few years of schooling and training, and with a professor’s endorsement, second rank students are eligible to take the Seishin no Mezame (or “spirit awakening”). The Seishin Test is a rigorous magical and physical test designed to determine if the student is worthy of becoming a first rank student, or “First”.

The test is held over a three day period, one day for each phase, and all of the applicants take the test at the same time.

PART 1: Mind
This is a 28 question written exam that tests students’ knowledge of various subjects, including history, magical creatures, spells, potions, and so on. The last three questions are essay questions that not only test their academic knowledge but also their problem solving skills and are worth more than the other questions. This exam is extremely hard and a minimum of 45/50 is required to pass. Many of the applicants are weeded out during this phase.

PART 2: Body
The second part of the exam is a grueling obstacle course that tests the students physical skills. The will have to run, swim, and climb great distances to simply finish the first part of the course. At the same time they will have to rely on their stealth to avoid being discovered by established Firsts, who will engage in physical combat upon contact. Only the ones who display extraordinary endurance, physical capability, and mental toughness are able to pass.

PART 3: Magic
Applicants are given a list of three extremely advanced spells they must be able to perform flawlessly. This would be hard enough if the students weren’t also being bombarded with spells. They have to be able to do the advanced spells and defend themselves, pushing their discipline to the edge while maintaining their focus. If they make it past this part, the final stage is a magical showcase. The student is to pick one spell (usually a flashy and highly advanced one) and perform it for all the teachers and students. All of these spells are judged on technique, focus, mastery, and performance.

COMPLETION
At the end of every year, the results of the Seishin Test are announced during the End of Term ceremony. The selected students individually undergo a special ritual where their uniforms change from light pink to gold. The different ranks are also differentiated by the number of mons on their uniforms. Second ranks only have a single mon on the back, but in addition to that, first ranks also have them on their chests, and zero ranks have even more on their sleeves. The evolution is as follows:

Kitsunebi: Fox → Kyuubi (Nine Tailed Fox)
Mizuchi: Koi → Water Dragon
Tsuchi: Tanuki (Raccoon dog) → Tiger
Kaze: Sparrow → Crane
Kūkan: Turtle → Black Tortoise

First rank students are an elite group. The actual numbers vary every year as the teachers judge who are able to progress based on character as well, but generally only the top 10% of every year are able to become first ranks. These students take separate and smaller classes compared to their second rank counterparts, and have access to more resources and areas. Particular among these resources is access to the catacombs of the ancient library that are home to thousands of magic scrolls, later curfews, and a number of other perks. First rank students are much like a student council, as they are in charge of student activities and talking with the administration.

TENGU (Zero Ranks)

At the very top of the ranking system, even higher than the first rank students, are the Zeros (or zero ranks). Contrary to the way it may sound, Zeros are held in even higher esteem than the first ranks. Zeros are the leaders among the first ranks, and have a position comparable to the Prefects of Hogwarts. The top Firsts in the seventh year become Zeros, and the ten of them are the voices of their schoolmates. One of them is then picked as the head of all the Zeros, and is in charge of all the decision making and everything goes through him/her first. They are all extremely disciplined, intelligent, qualified students who are the law of the school, and are given permission to dock points and dole out punishments as they see fit.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 12:57:11 PM by Taed »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2016, 09:32:33 AM »




LIBRARY
The first building students see when they enter the front gates is the library, a tall and elegant building that seems heavy with knowledge and sparkling with hidden secrets. The first floor of this multi-story building is a wide arch that students walk under as they enter and exit the school. The library floors are organized based on subject and are covered wall to wall in books, scrolls, and papers. Each floor has long tables for students to study at, and scribes seem to always be running around the silent library.

CEREMONY HALL
The ceremony hall is a wide, somber room that’s only used for formal occasions, such as the first year sorting, plays, or announcements. The Main stage is at the front of the hall, and students are seated in front according to house. Tengu, First Rank, professors, and other honored guests sit on the sides or raised balconies.  Entrance on a day-to-day basis is strictly forbidden, and eating, with the exception of the welcoming feast, is prohibited as well. Tea ceremonies, when they are held, would also take place here. Students, if found sneaking in or disrespecting the ceremony hall in any way, will face disciplinary actions as severe as expulsion.
 
DINING HALL
Situated on the second floor of the main keep and overlooking the courtyard, the dining hall is a large and spacious room with excellent ventilation. There are five long and low black lacquered tables for each house, separated by a walkway. Students can either sit in seiza or cross-legged on the zabuton, but they must maintain good posture as slouching is frowned upon. For dinner, it is a more relaxed affair so the eating area is transformed to horigotatsu style so everyone can stretch out their legs, and students can sit on zaisu as well. The staff sits at a table perpendicular to and away from the students.
 
DORMITORIES



The living quarters of the school are separated by house, age, gender and rank. There are two dormitories: west (Seibu Dorm) for 1st-4th years, and east (Azuma Dorm) for 5th-7th years. All houses are on the same floor, but in different sections, and the each gender of each year gets a separate wing.
 
The rooms are very simple, with tatami flooring, a huge cupboard, and little else. Students sleep next to each other on futons, which they’re expected to lay out before bed and pack up into the communal cupboard after they wake up. Foldable desks are propped up in the rooms during the day so that students can get extra work done undisturbed. The different sections of the quarters surround a common room (usually one common room for five rooms), where students can gather to socialise and play games if they so wish. During winter there will be a long kotatsu and enough zabuton/zaisu to go round, and the students may take their midday meal here.
 
Across the hall is the sleeping quarters of the first ranks, also on the same floor. The layout is largely the same, except that four of them share the same room, allowing more space and freedom. Zeros are situated in a room of their own, nearest to the teachers’ quarters.
 
The bath house is on the ground floor. Built like an indoor onsen, the bath area is communal for the different genders. There are separate pools for hot soaks and cold soaks, as well as shower options for students who want to get clean as quickly as possible. Each student is also entitled to a limited amount of bath salts and herbal soaks, for when they need some extra relaxation. The first and zero rank students get a special area of their own, with screens that offer some privacy. There are lockers for them to put their belongings away near the entrance, and bathrobes that students are to return after, all neatly folded.
 
          Ground Floor: Bathhouse
          Second  Floor: Tsuchi
          Third Floor: Kitsunebi
          Fourth Floor: Mizuchi
          Fifth Floor: Kukan
          Six Floor: Kaze

 
HOT SPRING
A mile from the school is a wonderful hot spring that is hidden amongst thick foliage to avoid detection or sudden attacks. It is a naturally occurring hot spring with three sources in three separate rock pools, the largest one of all even has a mini waterfall. The hot springs are a place of rest, relaxation and meditation, as well as being a privilege for first and zero rank students. The waters contain healing properties as well, and it is not unheard of to carry sick or injured students there for a long soak. It is rumoured that the teachers have a separate, private hot spring that no one has found yet. The pools are gender-segregated, though there is one wall where students can yell across at each other.
 
CLASSROOMS
There are many different types of classrooms in Mahoutokoro. There are many of the simple classrooms set up with the teacher in the front facing the pupils, but there are also many rooms set up for varying types of magic, like empty classrooms with summoning circles, and viewing rooms for when dangerous yokai are brought in for viewing. Basically, whatever kind of classroom is needed, Mahoutokoro has it somewhere. Most of the normal classrooms have large windows and let in a lot of natural light and view of the gorgeous island to keep the students motivated.
 
Mahoutokoro castle is not constrained to just one dimension. The majority of the classes are held in either Nishi or Higashi Class Hall, but there are mny other locations. One of the most unique aspects of the castle is that it extends into the sky. Students in advanced classes get the privilege of attending classes in the floating towers and pagodas that sway gently in the breeze, buoyed high above the castle connected by bridges. The floating rooms are also the offices for some teachers and other club activities. This network of floating pagodas is navigable by bridges and flying steps, so students must be careful to look where they are walking. Depending on the time of year, giant friendly goldfish fly through the air and sometimes offer students a lift from one end of the school to the other.
 
WATCHTOWER
Located directly in the centre of the island, the watchtower houses the Amenonuhouko Naginata, the source of the Island’s power. From the tall tower, you can see all the way from one end of the island to the other. The tower can be reached by long staircases that wind around the hollow inner wall of the tower. The top of the tower offers a 360 view of the island, as it is open on all sides aside from above, which has a roof. Students on Barrier Patrol and one or two Yosuzume work in the watchtower in shifts.

OTHER FEATURES
Mahoutokoro castle is a varied and complex campus, with enough features to keep the students living active, exciting lives. There are dojos for every sport, zen gardens and normal gardens for relaxation, and even shrines for students to pray to their own gods.
 
HANASAKA JIISAN: Responsible for bringing all the beautiful foliage on the island to their peak conditions each season, Hanasaka Jiisan is a friendly yokai whom students can see around the campus all year round. He can revive the most dismal of plants and bring fertility to any plot of barren land. The most exotic of flower seeds can be found in the pouch he carries with him at all times, and a lucky student might just receive a special present from him should they be observed being kind to the flora and fauna or exceptionally gifted with plants.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:17:35 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2016, 09:34:18 AM »
 


UNIFORMS

When students are officially enrolled in Mahoutokoro proper, they receive their uniforms, which they are to treasure and treat with the utmost respectful, as they will be with them for the next seven years. These robes grow as they do, and change with the seasons into more appropriate lengths and styles. These uniforms also change color depending on the student’s skill level. Second rank students have a faint pink color, reminiscent of cherry blossoms. And if a student becomes a first rank, in addition to their number of mon changing, their robes turn an elegant yellow that shimmers like gold in the sun. The third color a robe can turn is all white, but this not a good thing. If a student “turns white” it means that they have adopted illegal magic practices or broken the Statute of Secrecy, which results in expulsion and a Ministry trial.


Students at Mahoutokoro wear traditional Japanese attire. In Japan, it is not strange for a men to wear clothes of similar design as women's, and therefore the only difference between many of the male and female uniforms through out the year come down to nuances in fit, but are essentially unisex.

REGULAR UNIFORMS
Students have the choice of wearing yukata (cotton kimonos) or hakama (long pants) year round. As mentioned above, all second rank students wear sakura-colored robes with a single house mon on the back, and first rank students wear gold robes with a mon on the back and on the chest. Tengu, or zero rank students wear first rank robes with an extra set of mon on the sleeves.




COLD WEATHER
Students have a number of choices when it comes to attire in the colder autumn and winter months. Students have the choice between a long padded haori or a hanten for when it get colder. Students can wear these over their other warm-weather uniforms, but most choose to wear a thick plain grey kimono underneath their hanten or haori because it it a little cozier and easier to move in the snow.



LOUNGE CLOTHING
Most students wear their uniforms from the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep. When not in class, students can wear their own clothing, but Mahoutokoro's robes also offer two additional lounge and sleepwear options. One option is a jinbei, which is a matching set consisting of a top and matching shorts, the length of which can be changed according to taste and worn as sleep and loungewear. The other, more popular, option is the sleeping yukata, which is light and made of cotton.



YOSUZUME
Students on Patrol Duty wear dark clothes reminiscence of military attire when on duty. These clothes allow for a wide range of movement and increased speed. They are also extremely comfortable, as well as fire-proof.

CEREMONIAL ROBES
Ceremonial robes are only worn during formal occasions, namely the beginning and end of term ceremony. Mahoutokoro ceremonial robes are of the highest quality fabrics and are seen as a sign of high education when worn to certain formal events outside of school.
 

 
ACCESSORIES
Aside from the different colors and mon, students have another way of personalizing their daily look. Over-the-top accessories are banned at the school to cut down on distraction, but students still find little ways to incorporate their own style into their clothing and the items that they carry.
 
There are a number of other traditional accessories that are allowed on school grounds and can be used to show taste or wealth. Students often give these sorts of gifts to their friends,  crushes, and professors at different times in the year. Richer students can buy these accessories, and less wealthy students often make their own. The most common examples include: gamaguchi (clasped purses, pouches, bags), kinchaku (cloth drawstring bags), tabi (Japanese socks), furoshiki (large pieces of cloth used to carry personal belongs and wrap both presents and bento boxes), chirimen (small decorative brooches, knick knacks,  or hair ornaments made of Japanese crepe fabric), tenugui (decorated handkerchiefs), sensu (folding fan for hot weather), and tekagami (a small hand mirror).

Kanzashi
Kanzashi are a kind of hair ornament that vary in their color, material, and design. Small, subtle kanzashi are allowed in school as long as they are not distracting, and most teachers look the other way. Female students treat them as a little secret as they peek out from under the hair, and the quality of a kanzashi is often a sign of wealth and social status among the students. The most common kinds are kogai kanzashi (a spike for hair arranging, often for men), kushi kanzashi (combs), bira bira kanzashi  (dangling ornament), hana kansashi (fluttering cloth flower hairpins) and ogi kanzashi (fan shaped).
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:19:29 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2016, 09:35:09 AM »

MEALS

For every meal, cuisine from all cultures, though predominantly Japanese, will be served. Students are expected to eat what is laid on the table without any complaints. Doing otherwise would be seen as rude and disrespectful, especially since food from the predominant countries (Japan, China and Korea) do not differ greatly. Unlike western schools, each dish is in its separate plate or bowl and students can ask for seconds by tapping the empty crockery gently on the table.
 
The daily meal plan is the same for teacher and students alike. However a wide range of options is served on a rotational basis, and changes with season. Mealtimes are generally a quiet affair where conversing privately is allowed, but no form of raised voices or other shenanigans should be observed. Exceptions are made when celebrations are in order.
 
Breakfast
A staple of rice and miso soup with various side dishes is the typical breakfast at Mahoutokoro. Salad, grilled fish, eggs and different types of pickles from respective countries are some of the more popular choices for side dishes. Breakfast is meant to be nourishing and filling, so despite the more simpler fares, students are generally encouraged to help themselves to as many servings as they want.
 
Lunch
Lunch is a relatively light meal as to ensure students are less likely to fall asleep during their afternoon lessons, so it is generally frowned upon to ask for more. The menu varies more compared to breakfast dishes, but curry rice, ochazuke, noodles such as different kinds of udon and soba, chow mein and japchae are most common. Bentos and more compact choices such as donburi or onigiri/kimbap are also available on request for students who wish to venture outside. However, eating is strictly forbidden on the training grounds as well as in the library.
 
Dinner
The biggest and most filling meal of the day, dinner is a slightly more lavish affair. This meal fulfills the “ichijyu sansai” (or one soup and three side dishes accompanying the main dish) requirement. It also gives students a more communal option as big platters of sushi, sashimi, and if it’s winter, steaming pots of oden and shabu-shabu are served. Bulgogi, jjigae and bibimbap from Korea, as well as hot pot, roasted meats and dumplings from China are also popular choices amongst the students. There is also dessert after the meal, depending on the season as well. Hotter days would see desserts like anmitsu and jellies, while colder ones would have oshiruko and dango. The meal is normally finished with green tea, sometimes sake or umeshu for the older students.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:19:54 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2016, 09:36:17 AM »

CLASSES

ADVANCED MAGIC THEORY
This class focuses on the theory of magic: it’s origins and the very nature of magic itself. While this is a very theoretical class that focuses a lot on studying old works, they do perform many experiments to try to explore even more. This class is one of the classes that could have Mahoutokoro be considered a research institute. They have made great strides in the theories of magic so far.
 
CHAKRA CONTROL
Students learn to control the flow of their ki through points in the body called chakra, aided with the knowledge of the chinese meridian system and anatomy which are studied intensely. By balancing their inner yin and yang, they will be able to block or release ki, which directly affects their magic, at will. It is a skill often used in physical combat.
 
COMBAT MAGIC (STEALTH AND HEALING)
This class focuses on defensive magic. Through controlling the ki and magic coursing through their body, students should be able to conceal or detect magical aura. They will also be taught on wilderness survival, differentiating poisons, and purging said poisons from their bodies with the aid of spells and restorative potions. This class is mostly for advanced students, and most of them will be sent out for field work with the professors during their final years.
 
COSMOLOGY
Enhancing what is taught in Onmyodo, Cosmology is about the prep work that goes before actually going out into the field. It is about predicting what is going to happen, and calculating the best time and place for certain events to take place through studying the sky and stars. Topics covered over the entirety of the course consists of the heavenly stems and earthly branches, purple star astrology or “zi wei dou shu”, the the Chinese Almanac and much more. The Ba Gua may also be taught, which is particularly useful if learnt together with Scrying.
 
GENJUTSU
Simply put, Genjutsu is the Mahoutokoro equivalent of Illusions. This class tests the students’ intelligence in their ability to create complex settings and attention to detail, enlisting all five senses to create a believable illusion. One small mistake on the student’s part will lead to the whole illusion falling through. There are various techniques in which this is achieved, the most common of which is by manipulating the opponent’s ki, which is why only students adept at Chakra Control will be accepted. Advanced students will be able to pull of feats such as invisibility, shapeshifting and cloning, all under the guise of elaborate illusions.
 
HERB STUDIES
The combined knowledge of magical plants and potions is what a student can expect to learn from this class. Restorative draughts, antidotes, hyorogan (military ration pills) and other healing recipes are commonly taught, as well as the ability to differentiate herbs and plants, and knowing how to use them effectively for maximum medicinal qualities. This is a very hands-on class and there are frequent field trips into the mountains with the teachers so that what is learned in theory can be put to test.
 
HISTORY OF MAGIC INTERFERENCE
What muggles may not know is that Shinto-ism is closely linked to the magic world, and this class teaches precisely that. A concise breakdown of Shinto history, wizard interference in Shinto-ism as well as famous wizards in the wizarding and muggle world are some topics covered. Students can also go on to learn about ancient rituals and arcane magic, and old texts such as the “Go Rin No Sho”, “Kojiki” and “Shan Hai Jing” are studied closely.
 
KEKKAI AND FUUIN
Through this class, students will be able to create protective barriers from their magic with the optional aid of objects, as well as seal evil Yokai into inanimate objects. Advanced students will go on to learn elemental barriers, trapping barriers, containment barriers, as well as sealing into animate objects. Advanced kekkai/fuuin students are required to complete a prerequisite of 50 hours of Barrier Duty per year.
 
MAKIMONO
The skill of making a useful magical scroll is what every Mahoutokoro student is expected to be adept at. This class teaches how to write spells onto blank scrolls, and mastery of the class means control over different types of jutsu/ninjutsu, as well as being able to summon creatures, objects, and have temporal control over elemental magic. Activated by kuji-kiri, students have to be at least decent at kuji-in before they’re able to use this method. It is considered an advanced class as it relies heavily on self studies due to the unlimited number of combinations for hand seals, which often leads to students creating their own techniques.
 
MEDITATION
The precursor to Chakra Control, this class is designed to introduce incoming students to the concept of chakra and help them become more familiar with it. This class is also meant to ready their mind and bodies for higher level ki (and therefore magic) control.
 
OFUDA
This class focuses on the practice of imbuing items (most commonly rosaries and rectangular pieces of paper and leaves) with spells as a way to channel the users’ magic. A certain level of proficiency in speech magic (a component of kuji-in), taught in Onmyodo, is required for this class as well.
 
ONMYODO
Covering I Ching, kuji-in, and kotodama, students will learn the arts of prediction and the abilities to see through Yokai’s harmful magic and manipulative illusions. They will learn how to read prophecies, as well as how to properly use objects such as the Yata no Kagami and Magatama, etc. This is learnt in tandem with Chakra Control as well as Summoning.
 
PARTICLE SYNERGY
This class, along with Advanced Theory of Magic, is one of the newer additions to the curriculum, less than three centuries old. This class focuses on the magic of physics with a focus on calculations and doing them magically. This has to do with advanced probability and numerous advanced magical calculations that if a student is able to do this instinctively it helps them in the field immeasurably. By focusing on proper spell series and combining certain spells, they can make the magic very effective. This is one of the school’s advanced research classes.
 
PURIFICATION
This class teaches the basics of purifying evil or possessed objects, expelling unwanted yokai from homes and how to deal with the aftermath. Techniques on how to ward off evil spirits and how to make omamori (talismans) are taught, as well as ancient purification rites and the use of elemental magic in the process.
 
SCRYING
Although Mahoutokoro fosters practical skills and divination is thought of as a fuzzy subject by some, an accurate reading can sometimes save a life. Good diviners do not just rely on one unreliable source or tool, Mahoutokoro teaches students to be well versed in an array of divination methods; pyromancy, geomancy, hydromancy and aeromancy being the most common ones. If paired with what is learnt in Cosmology and Onmyodo, the most accurate readings can be produced.
 
SUMMONING
Advanced students are allowed to learn the classic wizarding art of summoning shikigami. Shikigami are spirits called forth to act as servants for the summoner, similar to a familiar in Western mythology. Many of them have spirits or minds of their own and therefore the summoner and the shikigami have to make a pact before they can act together. Shikigami can be summoned using a number of physical objects such as paper dolls or talismans. If the talisman is destroyed the shikigami will disappear, and vice versa.
 
YOKAI
The Japan-specific form of Care of Magical Creatures; though it focuses less on the care part and more on the knowledge of the indigenous spirits and the dealing with them. Practical lessons are spent on identifying these creatures in their natural habitat, and how to escape when caught in a situation, practicing on more benevolent yokai types. As the student increases in proficiency, classes will progress from basic identification to defensive/offensive spells, with yokai that are aggressive instead of passive.

 
GRADING
そ (So) - 壮大な (Magnificent) Sōdaina
す (Su) - 優れた (Excellent)  Sugureta
よ (Yo) - 良い (Good) Yoi
へ (He) - 平均 (Average) Heikin
ふ (Fu) - 不十分 (Insufficient) Fujūbun
ひ (Hi) - ひどい (Bad) Hidoi
 
Unlike most other wizarding school, Mahoutokoro does not have O.W.L.s. Students are responsible for their own learning and are expected to be prepared to take their N.E.W.T.s at the end of their seventh years. This does not mean that there are no resources available for students, it just means that students are not required to peruse further studies, but are expected to so do of their own volition. Mahoutokoro does have exam cram schools, or juku, at the castle, and getting into a juku program is highly recommended for any student who wants to pass their N.E.W.Ts. Juku programs are offered during the year and also during breaks, and are a good way to make friends and form study groups.

 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:20:35 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2016, 09:37:58 AM »
SPORTS
The founders of Mahoutokoro were firm believers in the idea that magical strength comes from the strength of the mind, body, and spirit. So while students at Mahoutokoro are very academically inclined, they are also all trained to be skilled fighters and to live healthy lifestyles. Students are required to take at least one of the physical classes offered every term. Almost all of the students understand that intense magic use can lay a heavy burden on one’s body, so having a strong body will eventually allow them to do more powerful magic. Below are a list of sports practiced at Mahoutokoro.

Quidditch
This classic wizard sport is naturally played at Mahoutokoro. The Japanese Quidditch team and the current Champion's League winners (the Toyohashi Tengu) attributes their prowess to the grueling training they were given at Mahoutokoro.
 
Kyūdō
Mastering the skill of the bow and arrow mainly teaches focus and the ability to find one’s centre, as well as being a method for meditation. Marksmanship is secondary to the spiritual development a student achieves in the process, as a connection is made between man and arrow.
 
Kenjutsu
This sport pertains to techniques that entail the use of swords used in combination with magic in order to achieve more devastating techniques. It is regarded as a branch of bukijutsu, but due to its historical importance and complexity, it has been separated.
 
Flying
Flying at Mahoutokoro is much more complicated than just being able to stay airborne. The focus is mainly on evasive maneuvers, the ability to navigate in terrible weather conditions, multi-tasking while maintaining balance on a broom and other practical survival skills.

Taijutsu
A blanket term for bodily combat skills, taijutsu is one of the more intensive classes where many forms of martial arts can be learnt. The ones given more precedence at Mahoutokoro are jujutsu, judo, aikido, karate and kenpo.
 
Bukijutsu
This is a widely varied sport that entail the use of any handheld weapons in combat. Student can choose multiple weapons techniques to study, including: bojutsu (wielding staffs for close range fighting), shurikenjutsu (wielding throwing weapons such as kunai, shuriken, senbon), kusarigamajutsu (wielding the uncommon sickle), tessenjutsu (wielding the martial art Japanese war fan), and other weapons (including escrima, naginata, etc)


CULTURE CLUBS [/size]

Clubs are a big deal at Mahoutokoro. Mahoutokroro students live very busy lives, as they have to make time for their classes, sports, duties, and clubs. Clubs are more relaxing and recreational than the rest, and are a way for students to find like-minded peers and have fun with them when class time is over. Teachers are assigned as advisors but it is really the students who determine the club’s daily activities. Students are heavily encouraged to join clubs by the time they finish their first year, as along with sports, clubs are a primary opportunities to socialize with peers. It is rare for a student to change clubs from year to year, and also uncommon to see someone in more than one club as they are quite the commitment.
 
[/size]
IKEBANA
The art of Japanese flower arrangement.
KABUKI
Traditional Japanese Kabuki theater (dance drama)
UKIYO-E
Traditional painting technique
TRADITIONAL MUSIC
For students with an interest in traditional asian instruments
CHORUS
For those interested in traditional and modern singing
ORIGAMI
The traditional art of paper folding with a little magic thrown in
TEA CEREMONY
Learning the traditional, scared art of tea ceremonies
GEISHA
About entertainers performing traditional Japanese arts
LITERATURE
Looking at classical Japanese literature and stories
NEWSPAPER
Students write about Takamagahara and Mahoutokoro news
YOKAI RESEARCH
For students with an interest in the other beasts 
COOKING
For students who want to cook and bake new foods


Above are the names of clubs that are constant every year, but it is not uncommon for students to start their own new clubs built around their interests. In the past there has been a Gardening Club, Occult Research Club, Noh Club, Kimono Club, and many more. As long as they have an advisor and enough students, almost any new club can be formed.

 
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« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:21:54 PM by Christine »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2016, 09:38:57 AM »
[div style="width:700px;text-align:justify"]
DUTIES

Duties are a part of daily life in Mahoutokoro and are meant to teach good work ethic and responsibility. Mahoutokoro is traditional in the sense that much of the upkeep, maintenance, and protection is done manually, and often by students. This helps the students see Mahoutokoro as their home, and therefore their responsibility to take care of, building a strong connection to the castle and their peers. Students learn to take pride in their handiwork, though doing it by hand can be tedious and some students wish they could just do it with magic instead. In some cases, extra duties are assigned as punishments for rule breaking. Some duties, like Patrol Duty and Barrier Duty, cannot be performed by every student, but only those who pass certain requirements and are qualified. Beautification Duty can be performed by everyone.

BEAUTIFICATION DUTY
This is by far the most common duty and encompasses a large number of tasks. The majority of students are assigned this duty. Beautification has to do with the upkeep and maintenance of the castle grounds. Tasks range from sweeping the steps to scrubbing the floors to clearing leaves and fallen branches, and new tasks are often added at the professor’s or Zeros’ discretion. These duties can take from 20 minutes to a few hours and vary in their requirements. Students who violate rules or act out on purpose can be doled out with extra gruelling beautification duties, such as washing dishes or something horrible to that effect.

LIBRARY DUTY
Mahoutokoro contains a large library of ancient scrolls and books, and therefore some students are trained to act as librarians. Those on library duty must have a working knowledge of the organizational system and the works contained in the catacombs, which can be used by students and professors alike.

PATROL DUTY
As almost every inch of Onogoro is covered in forest, it is difficult to maintain proper vision of the entire island. To keep both the students and the citizens safe, twelve groups of older students and professors patrol their assigned sectors of the island on a rotational basis. Their main concern is to protect the people from threats by yokai or ill-meaning intruders, but more often than not they simply act as the eyes and ears of the school, reporting areas that have been damaged by storms, strange occurrences, field requests from the citizens for assistance, and so on. These patrolling groups of students are referred to as Yosuzume squads, and all wear matching arm bands and stealth uniforms when on patrol. They signal each other with bird calls. To the residents of the island, the calls of the Yosuzume are reassuring, indicating that the Yosuzume are protecting them. To the evil yokai on the island, the call is a warning for them to return to their hiding places lest there be blood.

BARRIER DUTY
Onogoro is surrounded by a powerful force field that protects the school and the island from both detection and attacks. The barrier is maintained by professors and advanced Kekkai/ Fuuin students who work in groups of ten on 2-4 hour shifts on a weekly basis. The source of the barrier is one of Mahoutokoro’s most important treasures: the Amenonuhoko naginata. The Amenonuhoko is a an ancient magical artifact that was used to raise Onogoro from the sea and continues to protect the island. The Amenonuhoko can be used to create a powerful barrier, and when the naginata’s power is combined with that of ten wizards, the barrier can easily cover the entire island. Eight of the students focus their power on maintaining the barrier, while two focus their power inward and imbue the naginata with their magic. Barrier duty is one of the most important duties on the island and failure to maintain it can be disastrous. Barrier duty takes place in a watchtower located directly in the centre of the island, which is an unfortunately long walk away since students are usually drained and completely exhausted afterwards. As such, students have to at least be in their fifth year to sign up for barrier duty.

Note: Students performing barrier and patrol duty are extra vigilant and accompanied by teachers on Hyakki Yagyo (night parade of one hundred demons) and Setsubun, due to spirits and yokai being more active. Students and alumni who live in the village normally lend a helping hand on these occasions, so the rest of the island can enjoy the festivities in peace.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 04:09:39 PM by Gianna Regan »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2016, 09:39:37 AM »
[div style="width:700px;text-align:justify"]
SCHEDULES


WEEKDAYS


Wake up (6:00-8:00am)
The bell in the bell tower is rung promptly at six o’clock in the morning. By the twelfth chime students are expected to be washed up, beds made, and on their way to the dining hall for breakfast. Breakfast is an hour long, and if students are quick enough, there is enough time to cram in a study session before lessons start for the day.

Morning classes 1-4 (8-12am)
The first lesson starts at 8 o’clock sharp, and each lesson lasts for fifty to fifty-five minutes depending on the teacher. The remaining five or ten minutes is for students to have a light snack, return to their quarters to retrieve a forgotten item, or make their way to the location of the next class. Students have a say in arranging their own timetables before the start of term, but their liberty ends at only shifting it around limited time slots. For the morning session, certain sedentary classes such as Cosmology and Magic Theory are locked in for all.

Lunch Break (12-1pm)
Lunch is an hour-long affair. Students are not to dawdle about after the meal, and should report to their next class straight away.

Afternoon classes 5-8 (1-5pm)
Physical classes and general sporting activities held outdoors are locked in for this time period, but not straight away after lunch. Afternoon classes are generally seen as more fun, with special classes held during this time. Students can use the one hour before dinner to play sports, catch up on duties, and do whatever they want.
Wednesdays are special as it is club activities day, and only one afternoon lesson is held.

Dinner (6-7:30pm)
More relaxed than either breakfast or lunch, where conversing is kept to a minimum, many spend dinnertime socialising with peers and catching up on the day's events. The noise level shouldn’t go up too high, however, as it is still important to be respectful.

Evening classes (7:30 onwards)
Compulsory for those taking or preparing for exams, these are for the advanced classes. Normally lessons are held till around 10, but the actual ending time is at the teachers’ discretion, with some running as late as midnight. At the end of the lessons the students are expected to have a half an hour to one hour revision session before they go to bed. Overnighters are not forbidden but not encouraged either as students should  preserve their mental faculties for the next day’s activities.

Curfew
There is technically no set time for lights out for the upperclassmen, nor are they restricted to their sleeping quarters, as long as they don’t wander off campus after dark. However, the same rule does not apply for the younger students, and they are expected to be in bed by 10. There are routine spot checks just in case a rowdy underling decides to sneak out.

Throughout the day: Duties, clubs, individual studies


WEEKENDS

Mahoutokoro can be referred to as an open campus. Students are technically always allowed to leave the castle except after it gets dark out, but most choose not to unless they have a valid reason, reserving trips for the weekends. No classes are conducted, but if a teacher feels the need to, advanced classes or special classes are held occasionally. Takamagahara is the most frequently visited on these rare days for rest, and due to the frequent amount of matsuris (festivals) that are happening in the village, can always expect to join some kind of celebration or other. Students who remain in school spend their time by practicing magic and sparring skills, as many facilities can be opened with permission from the teachers, and many clubs also choose to continue their activities. Generally, students are free to do whatever they want, as long as they don’t get into too much trouble. If they do, they won’t be treated favourably by their teachers or their peers. Duties carry on as per usual during weekends.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 06:04:10 PM by Niska Zukov »

Albus Dumbledore [ Portrait ]
3528 Posts  •  played by Dumblydore
Re: [Background Information] Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2016, 09:40:29 AM »



Hanami
Hanami, although not an official holiday, is considered a major event for  Mahoutokoro students. A day, any day during the first two weeks of April chosen by the principal, is set aside for the viewing of cherry blossoms. On this day, the whole school will take all their activities outdoors, including meals, which are packed in bentos. Lessons are still held as per usual in the mornings, but with a more relaxed vibe as they are conducted outdoors as well, ending an hour earlier than normal. Students typically spend the afternoon eating, interacting and playing games with peers. This will continue well into the night when it transitions into Yozakura, which is the viewing of sakura blossoms at night.
 
Kimodameshi
The Test of Courage is held only for first years as a rite of passage or unofficial welcome to the school. Held any time during the first term, it is set like an obstacle course/maze with a map where a senior will ask a pair of students to retrieve an object through a specific route. Each pair will get to choose between two “fates” at each junction, representing the older students, and they can be either the “tenshi” (angel) or the “akuma” (devil). The older students will then in turn use spells to either guide their way or scare them. Held deep in the woods, the students are protected by friendly youkai who keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get lost or veer too far off the designated tracks. At the end of the evening students break into groups for the Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, where they try to make up as many scary stories as they can, before being given a light snack and sent to bed.
 
Double Seventh festival
(Also known as Tanabata in Japan, Qi Xi in China and Chilseok in Korea)
This holiday is one of the students’ favourite, as it is the unofficial Valentine’s Day in many Asian cultures. Festivities begin on July 7th of the gregorian calendar, the actual day itself falls on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Lunar Calendar. Bamboo decorated with wishes written on tanzaku and handmade paper chains can be found all over the school. Large, colourful streamers and various paper decorations, all handmade by the students, also serve to brighten up the school. Couples often wander off by themselves to stargaze and regale in the story of the weaver girl and the cowherd. Traditional foods from each culture is available in stalls, carnival style, and the event is filled with dancing, singing, and fireworks at the end.
 
Mid-Autumn festival
(Also known as Tsukimi in Japan, Zhong Qiu Jie in China, and Chuseok in Korea)
This is a holiday dedicated to celebrating the arrival of the Harvest Moon, typically in September according to the Lunar Calendar. It is not a lavish affair compared to the other festivals held at Mahoutokoro, but it is seen as a bonding opportunity between the different cultures. All students can participate in typical activities such as moon-viewing, poetry reciting, riddle contests and so on. Lanterns and sparklers also play a big part this evening, and students can compete against each other to make the biggest, most intricate paper lanterns.
 
Gakuensai/Bunkasai
The only time when Mahoutokoro opens its doors to the world, the School/Culture Festival is a major event that all students spend weeks preparing for. Held on the 3rd of November, it coincides with the muggle holiday so as to not arouse any suspicion for the increase in activity around the island. Cultural showcases such as skits, dances, ikebana, kodo and more are what visitors can expect to see. There are also sports demonstrations, temporary food stalls and other games and attractions. It is a student run event led by the first and zero ranks, and everyone pitches in to help.
 
Setsubun
Here to celebrate the beginning of spring, this is an event celebrated in Takamagahara, and the whole school will flood the village, teachers included. Students will first spend the morning throwing fuku mame (fortune beans), which are roasted soybeans, out the doors of the castle while chanting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (Demons out! Luck in!) They will then eat the beans to bring the luck in after chasing the demons out. Time after that is spent in the village, taking part in festivities and watching performances. The priests in the shrine will toss gifts such as candies and small prizes to the crowds below, and special foods such as ehomaki can be purchased.
 
School Holidays
The longest holiday takes place over summer starting from late July, with students returning to school in early September. There are two, short, week-long holidays; once at the end of May and one over the Christmas/New Year period, before breaking for the last month-long holiday from March to April. Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian students are granted a special four extra days off to go back home for Lunar New Year should they choose to return, while the remaining students can take it as a short study break. They are expected to make up for all their duties and missed lessons rigorously afterwards. The school is always open to students to stay over the holidays if they do not wish to return home, are already residents on Onogoro, or seeking a part-time job nearby.
 
Five House Competition
All seventh years compete in a huge week-long competition, where morning classes are suspended but duties and special classes are not. The Five House Competition takes place before the end of the school year after the exams while students wait for their results to be posted. It is the final event of the year, seen by many as the highlight as it determines the winner of the house cup. The format of the competition is really quite simple; it is set up like a Shogi (General’s Game, or more commonly known as Japanese chess) board, where each chess piece represents a different challenge. The pawn will be the easiest challenge, the king will be the hardest and they vary from physical to intellectual to magical. The aim of the game is to complete the challenge well for the chess piece to advance or risk losing the turn to their opponents. The houses that win the first game advances advances to the next round until there is a final winner. There is a huge board in the courtyard set up to track the progress, and a “virtual” version of the game is inscribed on the board for all to see.
 
Most of the challenges are created by teachers, but there are a few created by the opposing teams to mix things up a little. It is a game that relies on strategies and tactics because the challenges are normally quite difficult, or sometimes just tricky and misleading. The Zero ranks, the natural leaders for this event, have to pick and choose the members carefully throughout the course of the game as each student is only allowed to participate a maximum of three times. There are many prizes given to the participants for titles such as “quickest thinking”, “most innovative house”, “best teamwork” etc. Prizes range from something small such as deciding the school menu for a week, to those a little more complicated like duty exchanges, a trip to the hot springs and so on. The overall winning house earns bragging rights (although it’s in poor taste to do so) for the next school year, and they get a special privilege of their choosing at any time, which can also be used to get out of a punishment. All in all, this competition is in good fun and seeks to foster team-building skills as well as provide a bonding experience for everyone.
 
Summer at Mahoutokoro
There are many very important cultural holidays and festivals over the summer, when most students would be at home. Mahoutokoro still wants its students to be able to celebrate these together and thus has a summer system in place. Over the long summer break, students are encouraged (and sometimes required to) still go to Takamagahara to organize and participate in cultural festivals, which will are open to the public and often attended by students and alumni from the other great wizard schools.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 07:22:50 PM by Christine »

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