Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Be Arisa, be International

Arisa is my name. My parents chose this name for Japanese and non-Japanese to pronounce it easily. The "r" sound seems to make my name "international." My sister name also has the "international r" sound.

They obviously wanted me to be international. I can now easily imagine that what they expected from me was to become fluent in English and to merge into the western world. I don't know if they included Asian, African or the Latin American countries when they said "international."

They also expected or expect me to be "Japanese", too. It meant to be ( in their point of view) fluent in Japanese( can use Keigo fluently), respect the parents and the older, be conservative, be a "girl", and stick with the flow. Those are really difficult to achieve once you have experienced the outside world. Being international in the means of communicating with non-Japanese cannot connect with the idea of being  Japanese at the same time.

So whenever I introduce my name to someone mostly to non-Japanese, because I rarely introduce my First name to a Japanese when I met him/her the first time. Look at their eyes, stretch my hand to shake their hands, and clearly pronounce "Arisa" with a big smile. They will sometimes say if it is a English name which some Asians have. I say no. Other times they tell me Arisa is a common name in their own country, Italy, Indonesia, France(well, may be the name of the sauce, "Harissa") and so on. At the same time,

 I feel "who am I?" International, Japanese, or neither or both.

I actually love my name including my surname because in the end it doesn't define me at all. It is my name. And that is all.

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