The BlogHer prompt for Day 4 of National Blog Posting Month is:
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Are you named after someone on your family tree? Tell us about that person.
My mother gave each of her daughters a Japanese name. The only reason she didn’t give my brother a Japanese name is because he’s named after my father.
Since I was the first born, I was named after my maternal grandmother, my obaasan. Her name was Yoi, so my mother named me Yoiko.
I was always told it translated as “Sun Girl.” However, for this blog post, I thought I should verify this, since I don’t speak Japanese. Unfortunately, I checked four Japanese name websites and cannot verify the meaning of Yoiko.
So, I looked up the meaning of yoi, and in several places, found that it means “good.” And so, my name translates to “good girl.” Very interesting, as I know that is what my mother always wanted me to be.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know Obaasan, as she died before I was a year old. But I heard many stories of how she wanted my mother to practice her Japanese dance and music lessons, and how my mother used to complain about practicing. I used many of these stories in The Red Kimono, framing Mama after Obaasan and Sachi after my mother. To read an excerpt about how Mama was like Obaasan, read “M is for Mama.”
I think it’s interesting how my two grandmothers are tied together in a way. I always considered my paternal grandmother, Grandma, “the goodest woman in the world.” I know “goodest” isn’t a real word, but somehow it suited Grandma better than “the most good woman in the world.”
I’ve already fallen far short, but it’s a “good” goal to continue to work toward.