Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's in a name...

I have never been a person who has had many nicknames. When I was little I was called Sissy by my family and Chrissy by everyone else and I have one college nickname that’s stuck but for the majority of my life I have always been just Christen. In Japan however, I have more nicknames than I ever have before! Most often I get called Christen-san and I always introduce myself as Christen. My last name is a little difficult to pronounce in Japanese so I usually just stick to my first name.

In church I am often called Kuri-chan which comes from the first two syllables of my name when it’s transliterated into Japanese characters (Ku-ri-su-ten). Kuri also means chestnut in Japanese.

In the office at the youth center I am often called Ten-chan. Ten comes from the last syllable of my name and means “heaven” or “dot”. A few of the women I work with sometimes call me Ten-ten.

At work I am usually Christen-Sensei although in one English class I go by the English version “Teacher Christen”. The 2 year olds in Mitsuba just call me sensei but the 4 year olds in the kinder class can’t pronounce my name or remember to call me sensei so my name usually comes out as “tisten” or “sisssin“!

I also learned recently that my name when translated phonetically into Kanji means either:

"chestnut-vinegar-heaven” or “chestnut-bird’s nest-dot” I love that my name has a meaning in Japanese even though the meaning cracks me up!



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