In order to add to the authentic 'flavor' of the time and country, I am going to use a few words and phrases that are unfamiliar to most readers. Among these will be terms for clothing, weapons, money, and other things. Titles and honorifics will be mentioned as well.
An honorific is a word added to the end of a name. The use of these shows respect, and are normally used without any conscious thought by the people of Japan. The name of Ryu will be used as an example.
Ryu-Dono: Used for an Emperor, Lord or Mistress. Shows that they are stronger and wiser than the user.
Ryu-Sama: Used for Samurai, Lords, or Mistresses that the speaker is slightly more familiar with, or someone you have great respect for.
Ryu-San: A term of respect. The equivalent of adding Mr., Miss, or Mrs. to a person's name.
Ryu-Kun: Normally added to a boy's name, this can also be used with a girl if the speaker does not know her well enough to use 'chan.'
Ryu-Chan: Normally used with girls. Indicates familiarity. If used for a boy, it is the equivalent of calling him 'little Ryu.'
Ryu: Although normally ignored, to have no honorific indicates a familiarity to the point of having a relationship with the person. This should only be used with the person's permission, because if it is used without it, it's considered VERY rude and offensive.
Ryu Sensei: The teacher. Can be used for any type of teacher, be it fighting, medicine, or gardening.
Ryu Sempai: A person in the same class or apprenticeship as the speaker but has more experience than the user. In high school, Sempai would be used by a freshman when addressing a senior.
Ryu Kohai: The opposite of Sempai. This is used when a senior is addressing a freshman.
Words and Terms
Arigato: Thanks. More informal than Domo Arigato, which would mean thank you very much.
Chakra Manipulation: The ability to use ones personal energy to do extraordinary things. The Shinobi have long been rumored to be able to use their chakra to assist in missions. Such uses could be walking up walls, or, on the extreme side of the scale, see through walls. Most of the rumored abilities of the Shinobi are romanticized though.
Chichi-ue: An archaic and respectful way to say father.
Cotton: During the Warring States era, many of the large Clan Leaders tried to strengthen their forces in ways that were bizarre at times. Cotton was one of the things brought back from China and Korea by traders.
Curtain: As most people were too poor to afford the expensive rice paper for all of their doors, most merchants and inns used removable curtains or banners to show if their store was open of closed.
Demon: While demon has a more evil connotation in the west, many demons of Japan are actually harmless or good luck to see or speak to. Most of them are considered, 'spirits,' while the dangerous species are known as 'demons'.
Dotanuki: Literally, 'the sword that cuts through torsos'. This is considered the best sword for combat, especially on horseback, because of its longer reach.
Edo: The original name of the city Tokyo. Tokyo was very important at the time, because it was a major port city.
Gomen ne: Sorry.
Hakama: Pants that are extra roomy. Will normally have a patch of fabric missing on the sides up at the waist.
Haori: A shirt that should be closed left over right. If the shirt is closed right over left, many merchants will not speak with you, because this is how the dead are dressed before cremation. They will think you are a spirit come back from the land of Death.
Hokkaido: The island that lies to the north by northeast of the main island, Honshu. Famous for the hot springs, colder weather, and monkeys that love to stay warm in the springs during the winter.
Honshu: The largest, and main island of Japan.
Houshi: A Priest or monk.
Imahara: Named in the honor of Grant Imahara from Mythbusters. Just because he's that cool.
Imoto: Little Sister. A more affectionate term.
Inari: The Japanese God of Rice and Fertility. His messengers are normally fox spirits, also called Kitsune.
Inugami: A dog demon. Can be summoned by sorcerers, but is NOT recommended, as the spirit will turn on the caster as soon as it has a chance. Afterwards, without anyone to send it back to where it came from, the demon will roam the forests. If spotted, it is suggested that one puts their head between their knees, and kisses their ass goodbye. Danger Level: Extremely Dangerous.
Iroko: The beautiful color
Itsumade: The cry of an Itsumaden. A type of youkai, with the head of a human, the mouth of a bird, wings, and a snake-like body. The Itsumaden is actually a relatively harmless creature. It has been known to help travelers who are lost in the forests. Danger Level: Harmless.
Jyorogumo: The Spider woman. Act like cultured ladies, but can and will kill a human if they disturb her lair. They prefer to stay in their lairs with their daughters, spinning cloth or just talking. Danger Level: Various.
Kansai: A different region of Japan, being closer to Kyoto. The Kansai accent is considered the Japanese version of the Southern drawl.
Kawarimi: Translated as the 'Transformation Technique,' the Kawarimi can be used to transport the user out of danger, switching him or her with something else, like a log or small animal.
Kitsune: A fox spirit. They are much like humans, as some can be good, and some can be bad. Their pelt colors, of which there are many, and the number of tails measure their ranks and abilities. Nine is the maximum number, and once obtained, their pelt changes to gold, white, or silver, and they have the chance to ascend into Heaven, much like a person who has reached Enlightenment. Original colors range from white to black, and mud brown to a rich blood red. Danger Level: Various, depends on the fox.
Kudagitsune: A Pipe- Fox Spirit. A type of spirit, one that brings good luck to the one who owns him. Danger Level: Helpful.
Kunai: A type of knife used by the Shinobi. The handle is wrapped with cloth, and there is a ring at the dull end where it can be hung. The blade itself is very sharp, and many new Shinobi tend to slice their thumbs while at the beginning of their training.
Kunoichi: A female Ninja or Shinobi
Kyuubi: Nine-tails. Used as a title for Kitsune who have obtained all nine tails and have ascended to become messengers for Inari. Danger Level: Various.
Matsuri: Festival. The Japanese tend to have multiple festivals throughout the year.
Miko: A priestess. Most miko were thought to have spiritual powers, such as healing or the ability to exorcise evil spirits or curses from people.
Ninjitsu: The techniques of the Shinobi and ninjas. This emphasizes heavily on quick, agile attacks, designed to wear out the opponent before going in for the kill. Ninjitsu also covers the ability to sneak around in the shadows undetected.
Oni: A type of Demon that lives in the mountains. Depicted as having red/blue/green skin, horns, and clad in little more than loincloths. Danger Level: Dangerous.
Oniichan: Big Bro
Oniisan: Older Brother
Owatatsumi-no-kami: The god of the sea. The first-born of the deities Izanami and Izanagi in the myth of the creation of the island of Japan.
Pine Trees: Pine trees are considered symbols of good luck and prosperity. Many legends involving a sudden influx of money have something to do with the pine trees.
Japanese measurements: A basic unit: KEN the length of which varied
from town to town. In Kyoto, it was 1.9 meters. In Edo, it was 1.75
meters. (6 foot 3 inches to 5 foot 9 inches)
Then, next up in the scale, was CHO, which was 60 KEN's. (114 meters to 105 meters.)
Increasing in size again, was RI, which was 36 CHO's. (About 3.80 kilometers to more than 4.1 kilometers. Or about 2.5 miles.)
Ronin: Masterless Samurai. During the Feudal Age, many of the Ronin turned to thievery to survive. Very few would become farmers, but it was more likely for them to become bandits.
Ryo: The currency of Japan until the end of the 19th century. They came in different sizes and were made with gold, silver, and bronze.
Samisen: A type of guitar that is played with what equates to a large guitar pick. Takes a lot of skill to play well, and many people sing while playing. However, this style of music is an acquired taste among Westerners.
Sengoku Jidai: The Warring States Era
Shimatta: Basically translates as 'Oh, crap.' It has other fouler ways to be translated; this is one of the gentler meanings for the word. During the story, no swear words will be used in English. Instead, they will be in Japanese.
Shimenawa: A straw rope with white zigzag paper strips. These mark the boundary to something sacred and can be found on the gates to a shrine, around sacred trees and stones, and other things. A rope similar to the shimenawa is also worn by yokozuna, the highest ranked sumo wrestlers, during ritual ceremonies.
Shinobi: A Shadow Warrior, commonly known as a Ninja to the people of the west. During the Sengoku Jidai, they were commonly hired for assassinations, stealing, and scouting.
Shippo: Tail. As Shippo looks like one long tail, the name fits.
Shoji: The type of door and screen that are commonly used in the old-fashioned houses of Japan. Famous for their see-through quality.
Spiders: I am not joking when I say that there really are spiders the size of your shoe in Japan! No larger than that though.
Tatami mat: A woven mat made with straw. Surprisingly tough and durable, but hard to clean, so it is common practice to remove your shoes before stepping on them.
Too much wood … makes her stubborn: In both Japan and China, it was thought that a person's personality was influenced by five different elements: Wood, Water, Metal, Fire, and Air. In order for a woman to be able to bare children, she had to be deficient in at least one element. If she had trouble getting pregnant or keeping the child for full term, then the problem was that she was in 'balance' with the elements in her body. Youko has too much Wood in her, so much that her eyes are green, a rare sight, but not completely unheard of. The blue flecks indicate a fair amount of Water in her as well, and combined with the Wood, means that she's stubborn, but able to adapt to her surroundings when necessary.
Tsukimono: The People (house) of The Moon
Yakitori: Literally translated as 'Chicken-on-a-stick.' This is a very delicious meal of grilled chicken, basted with a mix of fresh ginger, cooking sherry, and soy sauce.
Youkai: Demons, most commonly animalistic demons, like the fox or raccoon demons.
Yukata: A lightweight kimono, normally used in the summer or during warm weather. A yukata is considered slightly more informal, like jeans are in America.
Yuuhrei: Ghosts. Normally, human ghosts.