Family Names – Gaijinhan

Family Names

There’re quite a number of things to show you guys, especially a picture of myself in はっぴ, a traditional top that よさこい dancers wear. Yep, my よさこい classes have begun and I’ve been enjoying it pretty much although I was expecting more people to be joining. There’re like only 3 students, including myself and I’m the only guy there. There’re around 8 先生 and none of them are guys, so I came to the conclusion that not many guys do よさこい. I guess I kinda expected it when I actually looked at some よさこい videos on youtube. There were barely any guys but the experience of the traditional art is really interesting especially since it originated from Aomori’s Nebuta festival.

I already knew we were going to get to perform in the Summer Festival this August, which was a major reason why I signed up for this. It is not an experience money can buy. But what I didn’t expect was the number. I just learnt yesterday that we were not going to be performing with the teachers since they have their own teams to perform for. And I had thought Japanese students would be invited to dance with us but the teachers didn’t mention anything about it. They said only 3 of us will be performing. Unfortunately, that’s not so true. One of the girls would be leaving after this term which ends in June, leaving only the 2 of us to perform. Now, that sounds nerve-wracking but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

So what’s it gotta do with family names? Nothing so far but from here, yes. We were supposed to do an interview on a topic that the teachers are experts in and we get to choose whom we want to interview. I chose the teacher who’s an expert in 歌舞伎 and learnt a great deal of interesting and cool stuff, but more on that in another entry. 2 of my classmates chose the teacher who is an expert in family names and there began an interesting chain of quizzes…

*Note: These are completely true and not some shit I made up.

How do you read these as a surname?

Question: 一
Clue: What number does it come before?
Answer: にのまえ (二の前 – before two)

Question: 十
Clue: Using the unit for general items, count from one to ten (i.e. ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ、よっつ…) and see what the difference is between ten and the rest.
Answer: つなし (「つ」なし – without つ)
For the benefit of those who don’t get it, let’s count together, ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ、よっつ、いつつ、むっつ、ななつ、やっつ、ここのつ、とお. see that とお is the only one that doesn’t end with つ?

Question: 月見里
Clue: The surname means to look at the moon, so what condition is necessary to see the moon? (This is a difficult one ’cause it kinda applies more to the olden days I guess)
Answer: やまなし (山なし – no mountains)
We don’t really have mountains blocking our views from the moon, do we?

Question: 小鳥遊
Clue: The surname means a little bird having fun, so what condition is necessary for it to have fun? (This is similar to the one before but more difficult maybe. I kinda guessed ねこなし as in no cat, but that wasn’t it)
Answer: たかなし (鷹なし – no hawk)
Told you it was difficult.

Look forward to the cool stuff I found out about 歌舞伎 in the next entry!

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