Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Monday, December 31, 2007

Or Is There Only One End?

Okay, this post IS related to DEVO, but kind of indirectly, or directly in an indirect sort of manner, or indirectly in a direct sort of manner, or...


(Bear with me. I've been overdoing the festivities a bit this year, and both my mind and body don't seem to be working quite right.)

As many if not most of you know, my musical tastes are many and varied. I happily listen to (as well as perform) a wide variety of music. I can enjoy laying back with some Mozart or Beethoven before going in the other room and putting on Nickelback. Put my iPod on random shuffle and you may get Enya followed by ZZ Top followed by Secret Garden followed by Rush followed by Vangelis followed by Tangerine Dream followed by Soundgarden followed by The Smashing Pumpkins followed by My Bloody Valentine followed by Muddy Waters followed by Adiemus. You just never know quite what is going to come next.

And of course, there is also DEVO. The "spudboys" from Akron, Ohio, who once described their music as "the important sound of things falling apart", have long been one of my favorites. In fact, when they started out back in the mid to late 70s they were so...bizarre...that no one quite knew what to make of them. Their sound became a bit more accessible by the time of their third LP, Freedom of Choice, which included the smash hit "Whip It", but they were always pioneers pushing the edges of popular music. As one of the first rock bands (if not the first band) to use synthesizers as a principal rhythm instrument, they literally set the stage for the techno-pop of the 80s. They were not only mainstays of MTV from the beginning, but they helped create the whole idea of music video since the band was created from the start with making movies its principal goal. By the end of the 80s the band had become almost a parody of itself, falling into the very swamp of commercialism that it had mocked in its early days, but it continued. Even now, though no longer making albums, DEVO is still at work mainly producing background music and themes for TV programs.

Segue to Japan in the late 90s.

In 1999 I was watching highlights of one of Japan's many excellent rock festivals on the TV when a band came on that I didn't know, but it definitely caught my eye. They were dressed in logo-sporting radiation suits and polarized goggles that looked a lot like DEVO's early costume. Some of the members also moved in a robot-like manner also reminiscent of early DEVO. However, the music, though similar to DEVO's in some ways, was much more energetic, hyperactive, even crazy, more like Japanese punk. The band also differed from DEVO in that it included two female members. I was intrigued with the band, but I never caught its name, and for years it was a mystery.

Now hop to December, 2007. An article about the band appeared in my newspaper. The name of the band is Polysics (named after the Korg Poly-6 synthesizer), and they are apparently in the middle of a highly successful tour of the U.S. after an apparently equally successful U.S. and European release of a compilation album. Learning the name of the band allowed me to do a bit more research. Apparently here in Japan, as with DEVO in the U.S., they are best known for making theme songs for cartoons. However, unlike DEVO, Polysics have become only marginally more "accessible". For the most part their music is as deliciously twisted and chaotic as it has always been.

Just for fun, here is a video of their song "Each Life, Each End", which dates from 2002, which was after their female keyboard bassist had left and before their subsequent female bass guitarist had joined, so there are only three members. It is interesting that the video starts with a uniformed officer giving a speech, very much in the manner of DEVO's "General Boy". The band says that they mold themselves "in the spirit of DEVO", though their music includes influences such as The Tubes, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and a number of Japanese bands. Anyway, have fun with this:

Here, just for fun and comparison, is a video of DEVO back in the late 70s performing their unique cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" live (at least before it gets pulled):

Hmm...can you see any similarity? Actually, vocalist/keyboardist/sometimes guitarist Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO apparently uses a Polysics CD as his call waiting music at his office. What does that tell you?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Beginning Is The End

No, this post is not a reference to DEVO. Rather, it is an announcement that I have finally posted samples from the three CDs that constitute my "Green Era", i.e. my earliest recording efforts dating from 1990-1992.

Since they are my earliest works they are naturally much lower in quality (not to mention much more embarrassing) than my more recent material, but they can still be fun to listen to. They also give a good indication of where I've come from in my home recording work. Please give them a listen if you like...and then scroll back up the page and listen to the more recent material for comparison.

Hopefully I'll have some new works to share with you in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How About a Nice Christmas Singalong?

Okay, friends, let's all sing together...

The 2007 Xmas tree

Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree,
How lovely are thy branches

...or was that:

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
With all our hearts we greet thee

Whatever. Either version of the song works fine. As you can see, my precious, little Christmas tree, bought at Yac's Drugstore back in the early 90s, is now gracing my drink cabinet rather than my TV. (I got a flatscreen type last April, and I don't think the tree will balance on it very well!) It doesn't seem to have affected the amount of loot this year!

2007 Xmas decorations

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la la la la la!

Well, maybe not. The outer hallway is gone now, eliminated when we had the new living room built. Now the tinsel graces the ceiling of our living and dining rooms, and I think it looks much better there...especially with BLUE Christmas balls attached!

Incidentally, "Deck the Halls (with Boughs of Holly)" is not a Christmas song but rather a Welsh Yule song meant to be sung while decorating the house. Oh, well. Regardless of your spiritual or cultural leanings, it's the heart that counts, right? (Thought, whatever.)

2007 Stockings

You'd better watch out,
You'd better not cry,
You'd better not pout!
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Hanging the stockings was a bit of a problem this year. The old living/dining closet room was ringed by a traditional flanged plank for hanging pictures and things. There were plenty of hooks available for hanging stockings. Now those planks are gone, and the carpenter recommended that we not try to hang anything by putting nails or tacks into the plaster. Instead, I made good use of available resources. Whatever works, right?

2007 House lights

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go...

This year the light string didn't go in the east sliding-glass door because that door no longer exists. Instead, it went into the new bay window. It still can't be seen from the main street, but at least now it's in view of the neighbors. I think of it as spreading Christmas cheer, kind of like wassailing only different.

2007 Chocogift

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos...

Sorry, no chestnuts, and no fire. The temperature went up, and it rained yesterday, so no frost. The term "Eskimo" is wrong and actually insulting to the people who are more properly called "Inuit", but it's not cold enough for people to dress up like them, anyway. However, though my son isn't exactly a tot anymore (though he often acts like it), his eyes are definitely aglow after receiving this chocolate monstrosity from his grandparents!

Maybe we should sing "cuspids roasting on a sugar fire, plaque frost nipping at molars..."

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright...

No pic needed here. It's late, it's dark, it's quiet, and it's time for Santa to go to work. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It Came With Boxes, It Came With Tags...

(In case you're wondering, the title is a play on a line from "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss.)

Not long ago I managed to hurt Selba with my usual verbal carelessness (i.e. my big mouth). Now I've been reassured of our continuing web friendship by my being tagged yet again, this time for the following Christmas quiz:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I haven't even seen egg nog for years. Hot chocolate rocks!!!
2. Does Santa wrap the presents or just sit them under the tree? He most definitely wraps them. Or at least his elves do. I can't imaging his wrapping skills would be THAT bad!
3. Colored or white lights? Colored lights are an American invention. Need I say more?
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I haven't even seen mistletoe for years.
5. When do you put your decorations up? I usually dig the Christmas boxes out of the closet two weeks before Christmas.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I always loved the seafood chowder my mother always made on Christmas Eve.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Any Christmas I could spend with either set of grandparents.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? One of my friends showed me the "Santa" gifts (not very) cleverly hidden in his parents' bedroom closet. However, I still believe in Santa. The person may not be real, but the spirit most definitely is and always will be as long as Christmas (Yule, whatever) continues to have a special place in our hearts.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Absolutely. That has always been a family tradition.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I have a collection of ornaments I have amassed since coming to Japan. Some of them are old ones from my childhood. Others are ones I've bought. The remainder have been given to me by various special people. Those are my favorites.
11. Snow: Love it or hate it? I love it until I have to drive in it. Then I loathe it.
12. Can you ice skate? I've only tried it once. I was able to do it, but...
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My son was born only five days before Christmas, so I consider him a very special "early" Christmas present.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? That deep, hard-to-describe sense of warmth, the one that makes you remember all the people that are important in your life and fills you with the desire to share with them, either through your company or your gifts. In other words, all the things that DON'T exist in Japanese Christmas...
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Yes.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The music. I used to love caroling back home, and I enjoy singing Christmas songs in my classes at the school.
17. What is on top of your tree? A silver star I bought at Honda Home Center for a few hundred yen.
18. Which do you like best giving or receiving? Definitely both, though giving leaves me feeling better afterward.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? “Stille Nacht” ("Silent Night"). When it comes to Christmas, I'm a traditionalist.
20. Do you like candy canes? Not as much as I used to. They're too much trouble to eat.

What the heck. I'll pass this tag on to:

Snabulus / Ladybug

This should make for some divergent views...if any of them do it...
Just for fun, I'll close this post with a view of the best home Christmas light display EVAR:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lucky Seven?

Forgive me if I get a bit high on myself this evening. I'm still in kind of a state of shock.

Today was the 7th annual regular (classics) concert of the Kashima Philharmonic (motto: "Stop sucking and BLOW!!!") This was the concert I'd complained about before...

...the one featuring The 7th... in Beethoven's 7th Symphony... of my favorite classical works...

...a piece we had no business even trying to play...

...a piece which I wound up not playing anyway...

...but I did wind up conducting in rehearsal...

...meaning I was shouldering much if not most of the actual training load...

...even though I had no business even pretending to do so...

Now I can't help thinking back to all the disbelief and uncertainty I felt when it was first announced we were doing The 7th. I still remember the utter shock I felt when they first asked me to start directing the rehearsals, still hear my protests getting drowned out by the urgings of the other members. I can recall clearly the hideous knot in my stomach when I first picked up the baton and gave the first wave to start the first movement.

I'll never forget all those hours I spent with a baton in one hand and my self-confidence in the other. I came very close to dropping both of them when the lead oboe player, himself an experienced music director (and a friend of the professional conductor who directed this performance today) noisily took issue with my conducting style. I listened to his advice but made it clear there were lines drawn, and I intended to stand my ground even if behind my hazel eyes I was worried sick I was wrong. I was facing musicians I had performed with numerous times, musicians I had come to respect, some of whom had more experience than me if not more training, and here I was telling them how to play. I wasn't always nice about it, either. The trumpets' control was sloppy. The horns and tympani kept falling behind the beat. The woodwinds couldn't match their rhythms or note duration. The cellos kept rushing. Sometimes I was polite. Sometimes I wasn't. On at least one occasion I threw down my baton and yelled, "WHY??!?" when the trumpets bricked a tough passage that was otherwise going really well. I realized there was a very good chance of my being labeled an asshole by the group, but they just kept asking me to continue. I also had the full support of (and got lots of encouragement from) both Mr. Ogawa and our concertmaster, who is quite an accomplished abnd well-positioned musician.

I also noticed the professional conductor, when he directed rehearsals, was saying a lot of the same things I was. That was encouraging, too.

Well, today was the day. I played lead clarinet in the opening number, Berlioz's Hungarian March from Faust (also known as "Rakoczy"). Of course I didn't participate in the next tune, Vivaldi's Concerto for Recorder, Strings, and Harpsichord (because it only included a recorder, strings, and a harpsichord)(DUH!), but I really enjoyed listening to it. And then there was The 7th.

I sat backstage in the stage left wing watching the performance together with a flute player who also had sit out the piece. She seemed pretty enthralled. As for me, I was overwhelmed. My fists and teeth were often clenched, not out of disgust but for encouragement...sometimes together with a silent "Come on...come on...COME ON..." The peppy first movement was solid. The second movement, a surprisingly melancholy work that is extremely difficult to play well (and even harder to conduct) mainly because it's so deceptively simple, was f*****g brilliant (and admittedly had me just holding back tears). The frenetic third movement kept threatening to fly apart, but somehow it held together well enough to get through to that bombastic (What else could I call it?) fourth movement. As usual, the fourth movement is where Beethoven kicks out all the stops, and it showed the orchestra's weaknesses. There were a couple of spectacular bricks in the trumpet section, and the horns and strings struggled with parts that would (and did!) challenge even professional players, but for the most part they were in the groove. Overall, the movement was full of energy and surprisingly tight. Heck, it was pure fireworks! When it ended, my mouth was hanging open.

I was still blown away when I came in with an alto sax to help perform the encore, a tune called "The Lone Ar-Ranger" (a clever arrangment of the William Tell Overture including clips from 30 famous classical and folk tunes).

Afterward I had to listen to the recording to make sure my ears hadn't lied to me. Then I was stunned.

My god...the Kashima Philharmonic successfully performed Beethoven's 7th!

The conductor thanked me afterward for my help. So did several of the musicians who had performed it. It would have been nice to play it myself, but I'm both proud and happy to have had a hand in making it possible. Bear with me if my ego seems a bit inflated for a while....

I guess the conducting lessons are paying off! :-)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Vanishing Culture of Japan? (pt. I)

Culture, like language (or disease), is constantly evolving. Unless it is totally bottled up in its own environment, it is a given that it will be influenced by other civilizations which come into contact with it. Even countries with the strongest sense of ethnic and/or national identity will find themselves adapting if not borrowing outright customs from beyond their borders, and this will lead to some native customs being abandoned in favor of foreign ideas which prove more popular. The result is a change in the host culture.

Darwin called this process "natural selection". Whether you believe in evolution, Intelligent Design or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it is a very real and observable process, and the clash of civilizations is a very good example.

Culturally speaking, Japan has always been a very resilient country. In his novel "Silence", Japanese author Shusaku Endo describes his native Japan as a "swamp". He says that, no matter what ideas and customs may come in from abroad, they all wind up sinking into the swamp. Rarely is anything imported verbatim. Once a foreign custom or idea is brought in, it winds up becoming something Japanese in the end. Columnists and politicians here in the Land of the Rising Sun are fond of complaining of the Westernization of Japan and the corresponding demise of Japanese culture, but is this really the case? Well, let's look at some fading traditions and draw our own conclusions.

1. Chopsticks


This is a favorite of the local media. It seems that many if not most Japanese children nowadays can't use chopsticks properly. They hold them in all kinds of bizarre ways, often with messy results. Given a choice, most will choose Western-style forks and spoons. Now more and more convenience stores are giving out plastic forks with salads instead of the traditional waribashi (disposable chopsticks) unless specifically asked. Even maps and car navigation systems indicate a restaurant (even a traditional Japanese one) with a symbol of a knife and fork.

However - I actually ran into some trouble when I first came to Japan because the Japanese have their own system of manners regarding use of Western eating utensils. Once when I ate at an American-style restaurant in Kashima I followed the usual pattern of starting with the outermost utensils and working my way in. Apparently that was wrong, because, with a huff, the waitress replaced the knife I'd used with my first course, took away the next one in line on my table, banged it into the dirty dish tray, and said, "Baka ja nai?" ("What an idiot!") I've also noticed that it's the custom here to eat plain rice on the underside of the fork. Actually, though, I don't think chopsticks will disappear completely. They're still what you get if you eat at any traditional Japanese restaurant.

2. Kimono

Back in my high school days I remember watching a Japanese exchange student perform a traditional dance in a lovely kimono. After she was done, she grabbed the microphone and said, "You probably think I dress like this all the time. Wrong. I don't. This dress is really uncomfortable, and I don't like to wear it." Back then I couldn't help but be a bit surprised by her caustic attitude revelation. (Now, thinking about it in retrospect, I'm only surprised by her English ability!) I of course had always harbored an image of Japanese girls as being polite, graceful, and at least sometimes clad in kimonos. Boy, was I mistaken! Yes, kimonos are rather uncomfortable. (No, I've never tried wearing one myself, but I know how tight they pull those obi sashes...and I also know how well kimono don't fit the Westernizing Japanese female figure!) They are also very expensive. At the same time, Japanese women tend to be obsessed with European name-brand clothing anyway, so kimonos just don't enter the picture.

However - while modern Japanese women may not like to wear kimono often, they still take great pride in them. You can often see them parading around in them at festivals or important events like weddings. Also, young women go to a lot of expense and trouble to dress up in special kimono for their "Coming of Age" ceremony. Little girls are also dressed up in kimono for their Shichigosan (7-5-3) celebrations. While we're talking about female dress, I suppose it would also be appropriate to add that clothing fashions here do NOT exactly match those of the countries whose brand names they adore. In fact, when my wife and I visited Burberrys, Liberty, and Laura Ashley shops in London during our honeymoon she was shocked at how "boring" the selections were there compared with those of the same shops back in Japan!

3. "Squatty Potties"


Western-style toilets weren't always easy to find back in the 90s. Many if not most houses as well as the overwhelming majority of public restrooms had the traditional Asian "squatties". Even at Ye Olde Academy there were only three restrooms in the entire, sprawling campus that had sit-down types, and they were all intended for either guests or the principal. Actually, "squatties" aren't as bad as you probably think; many people, including a lot of ex-pats here, believe them to be a more effective way of emptying one's bowels. I also appreciated the fact that you didn't have to worry about pressing your naked cheeks against a freezing-cold seat in winter. However, it's impossible to relax when using them. Medical experts have even gone so far as to claim they present a possibly damaging strain on the legs. At any rate, public opinion seems to be turning against them, and they are rapidly disappearing. Now it seems like most restrooms either offer a choice (like most of them now do at Ye Olde Academy) or have only Western sit-down types.

However - As Western-style toilets have become prevalent, so have the heated toilet seat and the bidet. Now it is even harder to find a simple, unpowered toilet than it is to find a "squatty". Moreover, toilets of any sort in Japan have always been equipped with 2-speed flushing, i.e. "little" (for "number ones") and "big" (for "number twos"). Most Japanese would probably find a single-speed flush toilet hard to understand.

4. Keigo


The term "keigo" (敬語) directly translates as "honorific speech". In addition to separate plain and polite forms of the verb, the Japanese language includes a number of unique words, expressions, and even grammar patterns that are used to indicate either respect for someone else or polite self-degradation. Honorific speech can be quite complex. Indeed, it was one of the most difficult parts of my Japanese language study before I came to Japan...

...and discovered that few people actually use it. In fact, most adults here seem not to know it very well at all, and they often use it as a trivia game topic to quiz each other during parties. The overwhelming majority of teens have no concept of it whatsoever. It used to be simple, everyday, common sense etiquette, but now it is virtually a dead language.

However - even though the Japanese people tend not to use keigo very much anymore, their machines certainly do! Withdraw cash from any modern ATM machine, and a soft female voice will probably bathe your ears with some classic polite speech (usually while a doe-eyed cartoon woman bows demurely on the monitor screen). The same is true of a lot of vending machines. Keigo is also what tends to spew from those obnoxious speaker vans and planes that blast political campaign messages during election season. In other words, keigo has become something that is heard but not spoken, but that will help ensure its existence for some time.

5. Kanji

The Chinese written system, known locally as kanji (漢字), was brought into Japan as early as 47 AD(/CE) but didn't come into widespread use until around the 5th century. It has been a problem ever since. True, there are many advantages to using kanji; the fact that it is mainly read for its direct meaning rather than its phonetic pronunciation actually speeds up the reading process (though it makes writing more tedious) and makes misunderstanding less likely. However, the Chinese written system was obviously designed for use with the Chinese language, which is totally different from Japanese. Since compatibility was all but impossible, Japanese priests, scholars, scribes, and nobles adopted the habit of simply writing everything in Chinese but reading them in Japanese. That was more than a little inconvenient, obviously, (Imagine going through life with everything written in Greek but read in English!) , but the practice was maintained for around 500 years. To make things a bit easier, a system of markings was developed to add to the Chinese writing to at least help the reader understand the differing word order. That was still a pain in the butt, of course, so finally female aristocrats in the 10th century got fed up with it all and designed a pure phonetic alphabet which could be used to write Japanese directly. That script is now known as hiragana. It quickly caught on with everyone except the male nobles and Buddhist scholars, who stubbornly went on writing in Chinese (rather like IBM stubbornly sticking with "sophisticated" text-based operating systems even when Apple had proven people like GUI things better) and then invented their own, parallel phonetic script, which is now known as katakana. Eventually the three written systems settled into a sort of uneasy symbiosis, with kanji providing the meaningful components of most words, hiragana indicating the grammar constructions, and katakana spelling out all the foreign stuff.

Perhaps the biggest danger lie in the fact that hiragana was also used for children's writing. In other words, kids learned it first followed by katakana and kanji later. That meant that not only did people retain hiragana easier, but they tended to fall back on it whenever they couldn't remember how to write a particular kanji. Over time, it became more and more common for more difficult kanji to disappear from writing altogether, replaced instead with hiragana as the standard. Even now I'm occasionally told that kanji I learned in college are no longer considered part of everyday written discourse, and my using them makes me sound rather stuffy or bookish. Even worse is the fact that it seems to be an increasing fashion trend for young people , girls in particular, to write ONLY in hiragana...i.e. teens and twains writing like grade school students. They say they do it because it "looks cute", but it has also become a custom in SMS messaging an cell phone e-mails. Kanji has suddenly found itself being dragged closer and closer toward life as a museum exhibit.

However - the Japanese in general still seem to have a lot of pride in kanji, and they consider its knowledge a mark of good character. Even teens who rarely write anything but hiragana outside the classroom occasionally quiz each other on their kanji knowledge. Finding difficult kanji on a sign also arouses intense curiosity more often than not. Also, as I mentioned in a recent post, the Japanese still take great pride in the kanji they use in their names. Yes, kanji may likely fade from general use, but it will never disappear completely.

(To be continued...)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Naming Game

It was Friday, and the last exam was over. The homeroom teacher that I assist was occupied elsewhere, so I had to take care of the closing homeroom session. It was easy enough; only a couple of relatively routine announcements followed by the regular cleanup routine. The kids were relieved to be finally out from under the towering cumulonimbus of exams they'd been under for most of the week. The atmosphere was very much a jovial one as they finally started scattering for the day. As sometimes happens, a couple of the friendlier girls came up to chat with me afterward. However, I was unprepared for what they had to say:

"Sensei, your kanji signature is dasai (uncool)!"

Woah. That was a surprise.

All Japanese carry one or more name stamps, or hanko (判子), whose seal (inkan 印鑑) is used in lieu of a signature. The one that is used on official documents is registered at the local city office and/or one's bank. Many if not most foreigners that live and work here use name stamps engraved with their name as it is written normally in Roman letters. (I have one of those, too.) However, some such as myself make it a habit to use a seal that is in kanji, or Chinese characters.

Typical Japanese hanko, or name stamp. Image from Japan Culture Club.

That's not as strange as you might think. It is becoming more and more common for Japanese parents to give their children Western names such as Mary, Sally, Lisa, Len, or even Johann, but written in kanji. Of course, doing so means that the kanji are chosen for their (often irregular) readings rather than their meaning. This can result in some pretty ironic names (for example, one common way to write "Mary", 麻里, actually means "hemp country"), but no one really pays attention to the literal meaning of name kanji nowadays.

Apparently not everyone thinks this is a good thing. Take the two girls that were talking to me then. My kanji signature is well known all over Ye Olde Academy and many other places around town. For (I admit almost totally pointless) reasons of privacy, I won't say what my last name is here, but my kanji signature includes three characters (松楠原), the first two of which were chosen for their reading and the third of which was chosen because of its meaning in English. If the whole thing were translated literally, it would mean "field of pine and camphor trees". Students at Ye Olde Academy have always seemed to get a big kick out of it, and they tend to get really excited when I reward their good work with a name seal on their paper! Not these two, though. They were firmly convinced that a field of pine and camphor trees was hardly an appropriate image for me.

Therefore, they set to work trying to come up with a better one. Making intensive use of their brains (even after those exams??!?), their imaginations, their senses of poetry and humor, and my well-worn electronic dictionary, they tried and ditched several ideas before finally settling on one they liked. This is what they came up with:


Again, I won't go to too much detail, but two of those characters were chosen for their meaning in English, and one was selected because it has one very irregular reading found in a historical proper name somewhere. Translated literally, the combination would mean "a wave of maximum feeling".


Yes, I think those girls might be on to something. Now if only I could find a kanji combination with musical implications to represent my first name...