July 2nd, 2009

University exams in the US

Hi :) I'm writing a fanfic about an american girl who's studying Biology at the university, in New York City. I don't know how do the exams' marks work (for example, here in Italy the higher score you can get is 30/30). I've searched on Google, using the keywords 'university', 'exams', 'scores', and 'marks', combined together in various ways, but I haven't found anything.

Thanks for your help.

Forensic Accounting and the Japanese Police

I've lurked for awhile, but this is my first time asking a question, so here goes =)!

Search Terms: I've looked through relevant tags and searched "forensic accountants in Japan", "Japanese fraud squad", "Japanese police dress code", and pretty much every variation thereof =/. I've learned a bit about the profession, at least in North America and Britain, and I assume it's much the same, though if you know of any major differences, please let me know!

Setting: Tokyo, Japan, circa 2003

Fandom: Sailormoon. It's probably not relevant, but the roleplay takes place several years after the series ends. The character in question is Rei Hino (aka Sailor Mars).

Context: I don't need to know that many specifics (i.e. it doesn't matter if they use different terms in Japan than in the States), but I'd like to be able to refer to and describe her (professional) situation with relative ease, as it's pretty important.  Rei started as a forensic accountant with the Japanese police as soon as she graduated; she's only been working for a year or so, but she's distinguished herself through hard work and natural aptitude, so a) what kind of responsibilities could she expect to have? b) Approximately how many people would work in the office with her? How would their workspaces be separated from one another (cubicles, desks, etc.)? c) How many hours would she work? d) What would the dress code be (formal business attire, business casual, uniform, etc.)?  In Death Note, the task force wore suits, buuut that's not a great reference for a whole host of reasons, =/ and I don't feel I can use North American shows to help. e) What kind of struggles, if any, is she likely to face as a woman in a male-dominated environment/profession? What difference, if any, is it likely to make that her father is a well-respected politician*? I've read that sexism is/can be a pretty big problem (in certain careers or once women reach certain positions, so...).

*Just as a note, Rei doesn't trust her father, so she wouldn't name-drop or try to use the connection to her advantage in any way, but she'd probably acknowledge it if asked directly.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance! I know most of it's probably quite obscure, buuuut I'm particularly interested in the answers to c, d, and e (especially 'e', 'cause that's a huuuge issue for her character), as I feel a little more comfortable fudging the rest :3.

Slang in America in the 1940's & German help.

I have three quick questions. They're all in regards to characters living in America in the 1940's - one is an American and the other is an (exiled) officer of the Nazi party. The American is badly wounded and the Nazi is taking care of him; they're in New York City.

1) When did the term 'gesundheit' start being used in America? Would an American feasibly use that slang in the 1940's, or would that be pretty much taboo, considering the war? I've tried looking up 'gesundheit etymology in america' and 'gesundheit slang in america 1940s' and a few other variations, but haven't come up with anything.

2) I've found some pretty good sites that basically answer this question, but I'd like to clarify some finer points about it: How do you say 'I'm sorry' in German? Google tells me that 'Es tut mir Leid' is the general/informal way of apologizing and that 'Entschuldigen Sie' and 'Verzeihung' are formal ways, but would that be considered formal in terms of speaking to someone who is above you (like a boss or a higher-ranked officer) or simply formal in terms of speaking with someone you respect/don't know?
Edit: The context of the apology is the Nazi apologizing to the American for the whole situation (because it's his fault the American was hurt at all); he's doing so reluctantly (because they're archenemies) but sincerely. I'm probably gonna go with 'Es tut mir Leid.' :)

3) How would someone say the full sentence 'I don't give a damn'? I was looking up German sayings on Google and came across 'Keinen Bock,' which the site said was 'not give a damn.' I've used an online translator (which gave me something completely different), searched for 'how to say I in German,' 'how to complete sentences in German,' and 'how to say I don't give a damn in German,' but the best I've gathered is that maybe 'Ich Keinen Bock' would be right. Is it?

I really appreciate any help you can offer!

Edit: Holy wow, guys, thank you so much for all of your help!

Gunshot to thigh and recovery

Terms searched: Thigh gunshot, thigh gunshot recovery, thigh gunshot recovery physiotherapy, thigh gunshot recovery case study.

Setting: Unites States, 2006

My character is a Caucasian, otherwise healthy female, approximately 40 years old. I need her to be shot in the thigh, either from the side or from the back. She's shot in a hospital, and receives prompt surgery and treatment.

I need her to be in physiotherapy for at least the minimal amount of time after she's discharged from hospital.

1. Assuming the bullet doesn't hit bone or an important nerve that could impair use of the leg in the long term, how long would she be in hospital after surgery?

2. Would she need a wheelchair in the first stage(s) of recovery? For how long?

3. Would she be able to go straight into physiotherapy? Could she regain full use of her leg in a matter of a couple of months?

Ideally, I would like her to be in a wheelchair for no more than 2 weeks, to suffer some chronic pain for 7-8 weeks and to regain full use of her leg by the end of 12 weeks. Is this realistic? Adjustments to this timeline are welcome.

Transferring to a new high school

Okay, I'm back, with a related question to my last one. Last post, I asked about jobs that would make a family move around. Now, I'm wondering about what happens when a student transfers to a new high school.

I really want personal experience of the first day etc. I don't care too much about the paperwork, unless it really plays a big role. The only thing I know about transferring is from popular culture, and I want to make sure I'm realistic.

My biggest question is, is it likely for a new student to meet with someone, the principal, guidance counselor, whoever, on or before their first day? Or, are they just thrown into the mix with hardly anything? I want to have my character meet with someone, but I don't know if that's normally done. Also, how is the first day handled? Anything special? If it makes a difference, my character's coming in halfway through the school year, perhaps right after winter break.

This takes place somewhere in modern-day America in a public school. I know every district is different, but I need some type of guide.

I tried searching, but all I got was the paperwork stuff. No personal experiences.


Edit: If it matters, I haven't really decided on the size of the school. Probably a smaller-medium size, it could be more personal?

Questions relating to a library insurance investigation

Setting: Present-day small town America.

Search terms: "library revenue," "how do libraries make money," "privately owned library," "insurance investigation," "insurance investigator"

In this story, a woman owns and runs her own library. It is open to the public, but privately owned (obviously). I gather that such libraries exist, but I am curious about the details of how they make their money, whether or not they are eligible to receive public funds, and anything else that might come up if the owner were being questioned by an insurance investigator. Most of the information I can find refers either to public libraries that are mostly run by civil servants, or libraries that are privately owned by large organizations, neither of which helps me much.

Now on to the insurance investigation itself. The library is broken in to, a small amount of money is stolen, and some property is destroyed. An insurance claim and "investigation" ensue. (The "investigator" isn't really, as it turns out, but that's another matter.) What I need to know is:

1. Are there any special criteria that would lead to an insurance company investigation in this case? Is there a dollar amount, or would the odd circumstances (an almost motive-less robbery in this case, the library wouldn't have had much cash on hand and nothing valuable in it) be enough? The claim would just be to replace some furniture and a broken door.

2. What are questions an insurance investigator definitely would - and definitely wouldn't - ask? I'm particularly curious if there's anything you might THINK they would ask, but that they most definitely would NOT ask - in case I want my impostor to slip up.

Thanks in advance :)
  • Current Mood: contemplative

Train Travel in 1930s Britain, GWR and Southern

I have a character living between 1925 - 1935 who needs to travel from Worcester to Dover by train.

Can anyone give me details of how long this would take? I assume the journey would have to go via London. How many changes would they have to make? 

Was there a train that went from Worcester to London direct? Was there a train from London to Dover direct (I assume so)? How many trains a day between these destinations?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! 

1920s - 1930s Travel in the Alps

So I'm writing a fic set in the late '20s or early '30s where two of my characters are holidaying in the Alps. What I'm wondering is this: how would they get around?

I've looked at old maps and I'm fairly sure there were a few train stations at least in the foothills, but then presumably they've got to get to whatever little hamlet they're staying in. Oh and it's winter, by the way. Just in case things weren't complicated enough.

Would '20s/'30s cars be up to snowy roads? Would it be more practical to hire a horse-drawn sledge or cart? Or is there some amazing, Alpine-specific piece of transport that I know nothing about?

EDIT: Should've probably mentioned that my characters are wealthy Londoners and well able to afford any fancy type of transport, should it be required. The place they're heading for is a small village in a valley near the Swiss border, if that helps.