A Message from the Author:

Hello to the three or four of you that read my old works. I've discontinued them because I want to focus on a more developed writing style (I wrote those a few years ago, and it's changed quite a bit). I'm not going to take them down, though, because I've decided I'd rather own my past mistakes (not that I don't understand or have sympathy for people who do take their works down; it's just a personal preference for myself, and it's not like I haven't thought about it before). If anyone wants me to finish them, I think I have a vague recollection of how I was going to end them; I might cobble an ending together if begging is involved (not that it ever will be, so the point is essentially moot).

I prefer to use native Japanese Romanization for Japanese terms, which is called Kunrê-Siki Rômazi (which means "Cabinet-Ordered Roman-Characters"). The type of Romanization that most English speakers are familiar with is called Hepburn Romanization (which is its inventor's name). Kunrê-Siki is based on the ancient sounds of the phonetic characters in Japanese (kana) and does not reflect modern pronunciation. For anyone who's read anything by CLAMP, you'll notice they tend to prefer this system; look at the Romanized Japanese in Tsubasa and Cardcaptor Sakura. So here's a conversion table for the major differences, and a bit of a guide on Japanese pronunciation in general.

â = ā, aa (basically the "a" in "father"; there's nothing closer in English.)

î = ī, ii (like the "ee" in feet; in some words it's virtually silent (ex: asita ("tomorrow") desita ("was"), and ~masita (a suffix used to make past-tense verbs more polite)).)

û = ū, uu (just say it like the "oo" in "boot"; there's no English equivalent for this one; like "i", it's almost silent in some words, like desu ("is"), amaterasu (the name of the Sun Goddess in the Japanese folk religion, Sintô), and ~masu (the present-tense equivalent of ~masita).)

ê = ē, ee, ei (somewhere between the "e" in bed and the "ai" in "aid"; probably closer to the first one.)

ô = ō, oo, ou, oh (similar to the "aw" in "straw".)

si = shi (not exactly like English "sh", but as (one of) my mother(s) would say, it's close enough for government work. It's the same as "xi" in Mandarin Chinese.)

ti = chi (same as "si", but with a "t" in front of it. It's the same as "ji" in Mandarin Chinese.)

tu = tsu (basically the "ts" in "hats".)

hu = fu (although this sound is much closer to "hu" in English, so you might as well pronounce it that way.)

n, n' = m (before m, b, or p; this sound is really dynamic, and changes based on the sounds directly following (or sometimes preceding) it; if you want to know more, look up the Wikipedia article called "N (Kana)".)

zi = ji (technically pronounced like the "g" in "gym" at the beginning of a word, but like the "s" in "vision" in the middle of a word, though not all speakers make a distinction; the same is true of the "z" in "za", "zu", "ze" and "zo": like the "ds" in "kids" at the beginning of a word, and like the "z" in "zebra" in the middle; again, this isn't followed as carefully anymore. Some older Japanese speakers make a distinction like this for "ga", "gi", "gu", "ge", and "go": in the beginning of a word they pronounce them like the "g" in "game", but in the middle, like the "ng" in "ring"; nowadays they're both pronounced the first way, but you may hear the "ng" sound in some older movies or songs; for the latter, especially in Enka, where it's even occasionally used by younger speakers imitating their older counterparts; if you listen carefully to "Otoko Sibuki" from Digimon Tamers, which is based off Enka songs, you'll notice that Hirokazu and Kenta do this about three times.)

sya = sha (for anyone who knows Cardcaptor Sakura, now you know where all that confusion over whether to write a certain Chinese boy's first name as "Shaoran" or "Syaoran" came from.)

syu = shu

syo = sho

tya = cha

tyu = chu

tyo = cho

zya = ja, jya

zyu = ju, jyu

zyo = jo, jyo (this is the source of the dispute over whether to spell the name of a certain Chosen Child from Digimon Adventure as "Jou" or "Jyou"; using differing systems for long vowels, this could become "Joo", "Jyoo", "Joh", "Jyoh", "Jō", "Jyō", "Jô", or even "Jyô", not that you needed to know all that.)

Also, "r" is pronounced like the "d" in "ready" in American English (there's really no equivalent for other English dialects; some Japanese people say it's more similar to the English "l" than "r"; if you speak a language other than English, and it has an r-like sound, chances are it's pronounced this way).

I'm also going to use Japanese name order (that means last name first) and the original names (because I hate the dubs with a deep passion; the fact that they assume that people are so stupid that they wouldn't be able to figure out how to pronounce "Taichi" or "Matsuda", or (for God's sake) "Li" is something that kind of infuriates me. And if it's because they don't think the original names are stereotypical enough (which is what I suspect) well, that's even worse). Finally, I'm going to try to avoid using random Japanese in the story, so it'll mostly be limited to names and a few honorifics that I can't find an appropriate English translation for (like "~tyan" and "~kun").

And now, after that 'little' rant, here's the story (which I certainly hope is worth all the trouble it took to read all that…).

—Dreamstrider