My name is…not Slim Shady

Since I’m on Oahu I figured now was a good time to have my dad show me how to write my last name in Japanese. In kanji, the Chinese character style.

I can already write my name in hiragana and katakana which are the simplified characters at the right (last name on the first line, Baron on the second line). And I cheated, my name on the right was typed on my Mac though I can write it, just not as clean looking as my penmanship is poor in both English and Japanese :) So I videoed him doing it since stroke-order is important. Hopefully we got it right. My dad’s writing is pretty nice. Click on the movie to see.

UPDATE Read the comments for some insight into the characters and the original version of Sekiya in kanji.

4 replies on “My name is…not Slim Shady”

Is Sekiya written with just two characters, or did we miss out on the first one? In Chinese, usually, each character has only one syllable, so Sekiya would have three. (Although I know Japanese can be very different. For example, the character for "mountain" in Chinese is "shan", but in Japanese, it's "yama".)

The last character of your name in Chinese is "jia", meaning "home". (Very literally it's a two part character with the top part meaning "house" or "roof", and the second part meaning "pig". Yes, in Chinese, a pig in the house is a home. [Kind of like the idea of a "chicken in every pot" in English.]) I couldn't find the one before it in the dictionary, so maybe it's a traditional character (mainland China uses the simplified system, whereas Taiwan and Hong Kong use the old school system).

Put up an image of the first character. You know, there's a lot of similarity between Japanese and Chinese, even more than the kanji relationship. I was amazed at how I could get around Japan with my very limited understanding of Chinese characters (basic things like "phone", "entrance", "exit" and at the airport, "queue for foreigners" are all the same).

Even "jia" and "ka" are a bit linguistically similar (in many Asian languages, the "k" sound and the "zhe" [like in garage] sounds are sometimes found interchangeably.

OK. Fun linguistics lesson of the day…

That video shows a more modern rendition of Sekiya. Here's the original older version that I always grew up knowing. Old Sekiya Kanji

The newer version is more of a shorthand as the the 'flag' type characters have been simplified. I had my dad write it both ways so I'd have a record of both. We had to search through some documents to find the simplified characters as my dad also grew up with the older version. I think the older version is prettier.

Ah…OK. The "flag" character is the character for "door", or "gate" (said 'men' in Mandarin). The new one you posted is the traditional one in Chinese, too, but the simplified one, as seen in mainland China, is like the first one you posted, but there is something like an apostrophe in the space in the left hand corner. I still can't find what it means. I will let you know when I do.

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