Saturday, June 13, 2009

Choosing Names...Still?

Yes, we are still working on choosing a name for this baby who is nearly 2 weeks old now. I am getting so tired of this topic of conversation which never seems to be moving in any specific direction. So, why is it so hard for an international couple to choose a name?

My theory is that it is more difficult to choose a boy's name because he will have to live with it for the rest of his life, so you want something that has a strong meaning. For girls, they will likely get married and take on their husband's name, and besides, you can get away with naming them something that means cute or beautiful, kind or loving...and you have a few more choices then.

When dealing with two different cultures and languages (and writing systems), you area also dealing with 2 different sets of connotations associated with each form of the name. Then, the pronunciation (or chance of mispronunciation) in each culture. As for connotations, the spoken form of the name might sound fine in Japanese, but then you have to choose some kanji to go along with it. The kanji really tells people what you hope for your child. For example, if you choose kanji that means "strong" and "kind", you are hoping that your son will become some kind of stoic and gentle man. If you choose kanji that means "beautiful" and "small", well...it might seem to others that you were hoping for a smaller than average man who might turn into a metro-sexual.

Then, needless to say, there will be certain connotations in English. For example, the name Leon, which is very easy to use across both languages, says to me "old guy", "lives in a maximum security prison." The name Liam makes me picture Liam Neeson, who has the persona of being a very strong and stoic guy.

After arriving at a standstill and not being able to agree on any one name, we decided to consult the elders (both sets of parents) along with a few close friends. We got their votes, and we also admitted each of our top 3's in order. Of course, we still couldn't agree, and Yusuke's mom sent him on a mission to find more suitable kanji for our top 3 names. Now, he is more frustrated than ever, and has even suggested that we start all over...which means we should give up every name on our list and find completely new ones.

3 comments:

Gina said...

I just wanted to say, good luck on choosing his name. I understand how hard it can be. I know your family will find the perfect name for your son though, I've got faith in you guys, I know you will. : ) And also wanted to say....congratulations to you as well!!! : )

illahee said...

i sympathize!! we actually managed to name #3 before he was born, but it was actually on the way to the hospital, yeah, just before he was born, and yoshi said, 'how about tomoyuki?' at that point, i didn't really care!!

and as a funny aside, my verification word is 'mytchul' which could be a boy's name, spelled funny...

stacy said...

This is my third attempt to leave a comment - seems since I don't have a blog or google account it's kind of difficult. I am enjoying your blog and congratuations on the arrival of Luca (great name!)

I'm also a Canadian, 34, married to a Japanese guy, living in Tochigi. due to become a mom in the next 5-7 weeks (son).

stacy@alumni.uvic.ca