Sometimes I wonder what my husband was thinking when he named Leiya.
In Japan, parents choose a child's name because of the sound, depending on the meaning of the characters and often because of what luck the number of strokes used to write the name will bring. When we were choosing our children's names, we spent a lot of time considering the ease of pronunciation for friends and family in both America and Japan. Once we'd decided on the "sound" of the name, we started thinking about meanings that could be applied depending on which Japanese/Chinese character was used. We gave no thought at all to fortune and what were lucky or unlucky numbers.
Tetsu made the final decision in naming our children. We knew that we were having a boy when I was pregnant with Takumi so Tetsu had gone through a list of names and had decided upon one. He seemed to think that for a boy, only one character was very important. When Takumi was born however, Tetsu took one look at the baby and declared that Takumi looked nothing like the chosen name. Instead a new name was suddenly presented to me and I was happy either way and so Takumi was named thus. "Takumi" means "skillful" and the nuance is skillful as in carpentry (Jesus was a carpenter, right?). This is how we write Takumi's name in Japanese/Chinese characters. I can write Takumi's name fairly easily.
Then when Leiya was born, I pretty much decided the sound of the name for her and Tetsu started thinking of characters again. He chose two characters which mean "Beauty, lovely" and "Jesus". Wonderful. The sound is nice to the ears and it has a very nice meaning. BUT..... This is the way you write it!
Leiya's name has 28 strokes to it!!! Even by Japanese standards these are extremely difficult Chinese characters and the poor child wasn't even able to write her own name until she was in about 4th grade! Not to mention me, her American mother! She's 18 years old now and I still can't write the fool thing!
I remember when Leiya was first born and my mom was visiting. We had to take the baby for a check-up and I was asked to write her name. No way!
"I'm sorry, I can't write my child's name."
The nurse looked at my mother (remember, she's Japanese-American) and said "Oh, then Grandma can write it."
My mom backed off and said " Don't look at me!"
This is the way it's been for the last 18 years and I don't know if I'll ever be able to write it correctly.
And this by the way is our last name! Makes you wonder why I agreed to marry Tetsu in the first place!