Ethnicity of Tansa Province
Two main cultural groups exist in Tansa Province, the Old People and the Earthstalkers. They are similar in appearance and manner to people of Japanese heritage, but physically a bit taller on average. The Old People, despite their name, are actually more "enlightened" as far as science and culture go. They achieved their own age of reason a century ago, and have a robust philosophical and scientific community, though their science has not progressed much beyond simple machines powered by waterwheels. The Earthstalkers were given their name by the Old People out of derision for their penchant to only ever build semi-permanent homes and leave after a few seasons. True to their nature, however, they took the name and used it for their purposes and now wear it with pride. They have a simpler life without many modern comforts -- not out of aversion but because they cannot afford them or take them with them as they travel. They do not sow crops but gather what they need from the wilderness, game and greens alike. This has given them an image of being uncultured savages at best, and dirty thieves at worst. Many farmers will blame a bad harvest on the Earthstalkers, even though there is rarely any substantial evidence that they took anything. Additionally, far from being uncultured the Earthstalkers have a rich spoken tradition with poetry and song being their primary art. Hand-woven cloth of infinite pattern and very good durability (if not great comfort, for being woven from unprocessed plant matter) is their primary source of trade. Though the Old People do not trust the Earthstalkers they act as a cultural repository, remembering much of the Old People's traditions even as their society slowly moves away from it. While most of the modern world have grown lax in their worship of the gods and pass off phantoms as old superstition, the Earthstalkers remain believers. They are more aware of the patterns in the natural and metaphysical world, and will often send their children to become apprenticed to shamans if they show signs of the Sight. This is part of the reason that shamans have a less favorable image in recent years.
Tsarushen Yaashi Hiraje Iyumi
Koami Oniyo Tirocho Kaiiro
Noni Itotsumi Anui Aratsun
Family names come before given names. Given names are usually kept private, with nicknames used in place for those who are acquaintances rather than strangers. Only family and friends know a person's given name, and they only use it in the appropriate circles. Examples: Hinake Kioto Haziwure Ariwe
Nicknames are usual similar to a person's given name, if not in sound then often in meaning. Examples: Tsaru Goro Kino Atsu
Major language groups and dialects
There are two common languages spoken in Tansa Province: Irumese, the language of commerce; and Gaeolian. the language of art. Everyone speaks these two languages, though the Earthstalkers and nobility use Gaeolian more frequently. Inhabitants of the upper inland mountains speak a dialect of Irumese that is difficult for most to understand when they first encounter it, though it has not yet diverged into a separate language even though the grammar has been modified.
Common Etiquette rules
It is impolite to mention phantoms while a guest in someone's house, as superstition holds that speaking of them attracts them or gives them power to enact misfortune. Strangers are greeted with kindness and fed a simple meal. Family are expected to visit often without preamble, and are greeted as if they were always there -- though affection and attention are showered on them throughout their visits, which can be several days to months if winter has set in. Romantic affection is considered sacred and only expressed within the walls of the home. A kiss in public, or even a gentle touch, can be cause for scandal. However, should someone happen upon a couple expressing affection when they had presumed to be alone, the intruder is beholden to make a swift exit and never mention it to them or anybody else. Cleanliness is considered beautiful. Body odor is considered both unattractive and inconsiderate. Urgency is given priority. If someone is rushing others are expected to make way for them. As such, most people live at a leisurely pace, becoming agitated and hurrying only when necessary. An overly-rushed person can either be viewed as diligent, distressed, or inconsiderate of others (if they are always hurrying and not letting others' urgency take precedent over their own constant rush).
Common Dress code
Men and women wear simple, modest clothing. Men's clothing differs little from women's, though they tend to wear more durable outfits for hard labor while women enjoy more comfortable clothing for indoor work. Bright colors are reserved for festivals, weddings, and other special occasions. Indoors it is common to wear a loose-fitted robe and soft sandals, and trousers are unisex. It is not uncommon for women to wear a sash high around their middle which accentuates their chest, or men to wear short-sleeved shirts. Hair is generally short, but women may grow their hair long. Men do not grow out their hair unless they are of noble rank. Men may remove their shirt for intensive labor in heat or humidity, and women may breastfeed in public, but it is considered impolite to disrobe otherwise. Bathing is done by gender within a family's home or a nearby stream.
The Old People value smoothness and strength as the most beautiful attributes, and makeup is used by both men and women to smooth features and cover blemishes. The Earthstalkers consider a clear voice with pure tones and perfect pitch as the highest form of beauty, though they also view amble bosoms and powerful shoulders as desirable.
Most professions are divided along a gender line, the more physical and managerial tasks to the men and the more intellectual and finesse-based professions to the women. Shamans are one of the few professions that include both men and women, since the Sight comes to both, though male shamans usually take up a circuit from town to town and female shamans more often stay in one location.