Search This Blog

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What's in a Name?

Growing up with a name like Takeharu (yes, that's my real whole first name) followed by a Toyoshima, I had trouble finding my name on key chains at the souvenir shop. I was always jealous of people with "simpler", shorter names like John, Bob and Matt. There was this one Chinese kid who I hated named Ed Ng. I always thought he had an unfair advantage during tests where we could start as soon as we finish writing our names.

Kids started calling me "Tak" sometime in the 5th-6th grade, I think. They actually started to call me "Rock" being that I had such a chiseled, Roman God-like physique. "Rock" became "Tak" and it stuck ever since. Over the years I came to learn Tak is a rather common nickname for any Japanese name that starts with a "Tak". But as far as I know I'm the only Takeharu Toyoshima in the universe and that's OK by me.


  1. My unique name is the reason I have a 'Starbucks Name.' Don't get me wrong, I love my name, but sometimes its just easier (and more fun) to have an alternate personality. :p

  2. Sadly I fall in-between unique and common, which is just as bad. Add in the whole "you look like a " face and its really annoying. I've tried the Starbucks name on a few occasions, only to be told I'm not me.

    On a side note, the posted name is a nickname.

  3. I know the feeling. Growing up , Juliet wasn't that common a name. You only really heard it in Shakespeare. I did wish for a more "common" name. But now, I like the uniqueness of my name. Even though you hear it a little more now (including on one of my favorite shows, Psych), it's still not awfully common. I like that.

    Incidentally, my sons are named William (fairly common) and Alexander (we call him "Xander", which makes it ever so slightly less common, unless you are a Buffy fan). Our three week old daughter is named Aria. I don't know of any other Arias out there.

  4. you have an awesome name. Not too many other Takeharu Toyoshima. Plus, it sounds badass and like a CIA spy name, hahahaha.

  5. I liked that while I had a "conventional" first name, I had a whole Japanese name too. Felt pretty unique for a lot of years until I went to Japan and met a kid half my age with my exact Japanese name (both given and surname).

  6. I could never find anything personalized with my name either, but luckily all I needed to fix most of those keychains, pens, etc was a marker and an 'i' and Tah-dah Kim becomes Kimi. Incidently, I use my Japanese middle name instead of my "American" first name because Kimi was just easier for people say than Shalon. Can't count the number of times people called me Sharon or Shannon.

  7. I got an e-mail from someone who told me they found another Takeharu Toyoshima who wrote a paper on "Synthesis of Stereodifined 3-Alkylideneoxindoles by Palladium-catalyzed Reactions of 2-(Alkynyl)aryl Isocyanoates with Thiols and Alcohols". And another on "Synthesis of aromatic compounds using combinations of ring-closing olefin metathesis, dehydration, oxidation, and tautomerization". Pfft. Great, I share a name with some unintelligent moron.

  8. I am Hispanic and my name is Carlos...a fairly common name. As a matter of fact, on my dad's side of the family, there have been at least five people named Carlos and most of us have a middle name that begins with the letter "A." My dad and older brother are Roberto. I do have an aunt and a cousin named Julieta (Juliet).

    But having grown up in Tupelo, MS since the age of 14, I was the only Carlos around and there was only one other Hispanic in the whole school...yes just the two of us. So, most people knew us. I too had a hard time finding anything with my name on it until I saw a mug at JCPenney one day. Of course, I had to buy it.

    Now that Hispanics are the largest minority in the country, maybe I will find more things with my name on it as well.

    I have met quite a number of Asians and I can understand why so many translate their Asian name into an English name but after hearing their Asian name, I always preferred it to their English name every time. I like it because it is so unusual and they stand out from the crowd.