(credit) Beads Bracelets Charms
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
My name is Tamiko, yes. My name at work is just Tami…which basically looks like a variant spelling of Tammy. My name is absolutely not Tammy. My name should actually be pronounced “Tah” – “me” (not “Tammy”) — it almost sounds like “tummy”. I respond to Tammy, of course, but I much prefer my pronunciation.
These days I introduce myself with Tamiko, because I find it is much easier to remember for people than Tami. I’ve been mistakenly called Teri, Tracy, Amy, or Tamara when I’ve introduced myself as Tami. When I introduce myself as Tamiko, then I’ve been called Tamiko (yay!), Tamika, Mika, or Miko.
My mother called me Tamiko when I was in trouble. Nowadays, my mother calls me Tamiko-san or Tamiko-sama when she’s being sarcastic. She’s a hoot, yes. Most often my mother calls me Tami, but says my name in two tones with an emphasis on the syllables — Taaaah (high tone) – meeeeeeeee (low tone).
During my time in Washington DC, I surprisingly came across other women named Tamiko. Yet they were not Japanese, nor knew that their name was Japanese. Rather they were African-American, and they told me Tamika was an equally used name amongst African-American women as well. How fantastic that a Japanese name has spread across boundaries as such.
No one calls me Tam. Oh no, no, no. I dislike that very much. Well, my former certain someone way back in the day called me Tam, but he was the only person I never corrected and didn’t mind all that much. Please don’t call me Tam….ever. Thankyouverymuch.
Once I doubted that I’d change my surname when I married, but now I don’t mind the idea of it. It amuses me that people will be flustered and confused when they see my newly acquired surname, and see that my face doesn’t match it all that much. Much like my friend Christine Wong. Despite her very Chinese (husband’s) surname, she’s as blonde as can be!
My kanji (Japanese characters) for my name Tamiko is highly unusual. Commonly, Tamiko uses the following kanji: 多美子 which translates into “Lots of Beauty Child.”
However, my parents decided to use these kanji for Tamiko: 田実子. My characters translate into “Bountiful Harvest Child”. Thanks.very.much…right? Just kidding. My parents explained that this set of characters roughly means “abundant,” which is lovely. Plus, my characters match my surname which basically means “warehouse” (so you put the “bountiful harvest” into the “warehouse” = abundance and wealth).
When Japanese people see the characters of my name, they are often full of wonder and smile. They say the “story” of my name is beautiful and enchanting. Well, then…thankyouverymuch to my mom and dad for being quite savvy on that front.
I was ultimately named after my great-grandmother whose name was Tama, which means “jewel” in Japanese. In Japan, Tama is a common name for cats, in particular cartoon cats. I’m not sure why that is, but nonetheless that’s a bit of silly trivia.
My parents were also quite adamant of choosing a name that could be understood and pronounced in both English and Japanese. Hence, they had narrowed my name down from a list that included: Naomi, Emma, Erika, and Tami (which won, of course).
Tamiko. Yes, I like it very much.