Practice exams, or moshi
(模試), can be compared to the PSAT (Preliminary SAT), although college entrance exams in Japan carry much more weight than the SAT, and so moshi are also treated much more seriously. In the United States, although you can retake the SAT, there is a diminishing value in doing so. Other factors such as GPA and a student's overall record carry equal or greater weight.
Plus, it is accepted practice in the U.S. to transfer from a junior college to a university, or from a second-tier undergraduate university to a higher-ranked graduate school. However, in Japan, students who fail to score high enough to get into the college or university of their choice will often sit out a year (similar to "redshirting" in college sports) and take the test again. Such students are called rounin
(浪人), or "masterless samurai."
High school regulations, called kousoku
(校則) dictate everything from the style of school uniforms to the length of girl's skirts, the length of boy's hair, and may prohibit the wearing of jewelry and the coloring of hair.
Youko says, "She has homework six days a week," because in Japan a half day of school is still held on alternate Saturdays.
使令 [しれい] shirei, youma who serve the kirin
班渠 [はんきょ] Hankyo, one of Keiki's shirei; he first appears in chapter 5
of Shadow of the Moon,
described as a "big dog."