October 1st, 2011

Routine of a Victorian-era Store Owner

I've only recently discovered this lovely little community, and it's actually inspired me to create an LJ account so that I might be able to contribute and ask questions.  (I'm going to need it rather a lot soon, I feel, with some of my most current projects.)  But!  That's enough of an introduction.  On to the question, right? 

The Setting:  
Although in another world, the general atmosphere is mid-1800's America in a mid-sized city.  Large enough to be decently active, small enough to have the upper class be rather insular and thus terribly concerned about each other's doings.

The Scenario:
I have a writing project that I am doing as the main character's private journal.  Since it is what he carries around basically all the time and is very meticulous when it comes to his records, it is interspersed with notes to himself, memos, anything that needs to be done.  Basically,  whatever he thinks he needs to remember, from numbers to bits of music or directions.

Now, at the beginning of the story (and thus, the beginning of his current journal), he is the owner of the local general store, or at least the one on Main Street.  To emphasize the blandness and repetition of his daily routine, as well as to give the feeling that he uses it regularly and as your Average Joe would, I wanted to include a "to-do list" for the next day in regards to his business.

The Questions:
1.  What sort of activities would he feel it worth noting to complete the next day?  I imagine his usual routine, like sweeping the front stoop or stocking shelves, would be so much a part of his normal day he wouldn't feel the need to mention them.  But what would be something weekly/infrequent enough that he would want to make a note to remember to do?

2.  This might seem like an obvious question, but what sort of wares would a Victorian-era general store stock that he might need to remember to order or pick up from a supplier?  I imagine dry goods like flour and sugar, and perhaps household items like tin kettles or nails.  Any other suggestions?

3.  Similarly, what sort of quantities would he be looking for?  Dozens?  Just a few?  I understand it depends on the item and quantity/demand, but I'm looking for it to sound plausible.  I don't know if five sacks of sugar is ridiculously low or ridiculously high or just fine, for instance.

4.  Would it be conceivable that he knows his suppliers personally and would make his orders in person?  Basically, would it be out of place for him to write something along the lines of, "Pick up a dozen boxes of nails from Mr. Smith," or "Stop by the mill and request 5 sacks of flour from Miss Clementine"?

Other Information:
My protagonist is a well-bred, well-educated, intellectual gentleman, and when I say "gentleman" I do mean from the upper class and from an old and respected family.  Although fairly young to be running his own business, for his world, it's not unheard of.  He is very meticulous, but more than that, he is rather eccentric and has a tendency to look at things from a different perspective.  He's not so odd as to be thought poorly of among his peers, he also fits in purely because he's polite and doesn't make waves.  However, I thought it worth noting just as a bit of information on his outlook.

Research:
I've Google'd rather incessantly, but it's sort of hard to narrow down exactly what I need to find.  Over the course of a few weeks, I think my search terms have been "(historic/Victorian/1800) general store inventory," "(historic/Victorian/1800) general store wares," "(historic/Victorian/1800) general store owner," "managing a general store in the 1800s/Victorian era," "duties of a general store owner."  

I've also looked up the "history of Victorian/1800 general stores," in various forms, but that's mainly about the architecture.  Actually, most of my searches revealed stuff about the physical buildings of historic general stores, but not a whole lot else.

I've also looked for documents via Google image search with (historic/Victorian/1800) "general store inventory," "inventory forms," "inventory list," and a few others I can't recall.

I believe I also poked my nose into Wikipedia, but I can't recall with what specific terms.  Likely "history of general stores" or something akin to that.

I've also flipped through all of the "1800's" tags here, as well as "usa (misc)" but with no luck.

Thank you in advance for any and all help!

Youths in Japanese Correctional System, Women in Yakuza, and Cancelled Sporting Events?

'lo all! I'm writing a fic that heavily involves juvenile delinquency and crime in Japan. I've muddled through some articles in English and some stuff on Japanese Wikipedia (I'm not fluent, and I'm finding the more law-oriented articles pretty brutal). Tried searches included: japan reformatory life, japan reform school life, juvenile detention in japan, juvenile probation in japan, women in yakuza, cancelled sporting events...

Most of this takes place in present-day Japan (~2005-2010, if specifics matter), in a really small fishing town in Kanagawa.

1) After a lot of searching I found that there are ways that a few of my characters could get off in family court and sent to a reform school / reformatory (少年院) for a period of time. I'd like to know what a reform school is like. I get that they "correctional" lessons (to help them adapt back into society), receive schooling / career training, medical or psychological care if they need it... I also read articles about bullying and possible abuse in those facilities, particularly by the staff, or questioned their effectiveness, but not a lot about how every day life goes. For instance, what do the kids do in their spare time, and how do they interact with each other?

2) I'd particularly want to know about how visitation is approached, and if / how visits and calls are screened in such a facility. Would a member of the yakuza be able to have contact with someone in the facility if they had approval of or where accompanied by the child's parent or guardian? Would a disguise or fake documents make it possible for such a person to have access to the child? Could their be corruption on the inside that would allow this kind of thing?

3) After the above kiddos get released, I'm under the impression that there's an equivalent to probation, but details are sketchy after that. How does probation work for juveniles?

4) So women in yakuza are often prostitutes or something of the sort, but would being a so-called "yakuza princess" be enough to escape such treatment? What would such a woman's childhood be like? Would it be harder than your average thug for her to break all ties because of her position?

5) Finally, this is a bit (lol) different but if a sporting event were canceled halfway through the proceedings because of an emergency, how would that be handled? A simple rescheduling for those who didn't get a chance to perform? It's a gymnastics meet and the results determine who competes in a future meet.

Thanks in advance to anyone who gives this a read, or takes the time to answer!