I finally got the Christmas cards stuffed, addressed and stamped.
One of my colleagues came by & noticed my labels. He said "I can't even pronounce half these names".
I didn't say "that's because you are an idiot" but he probably read it in my thought bubble.
"Mata . . masa. . what???"
Matsubyashi. Mat-soo-buy-ah-shi. Break it into syllables. It's really not too hard.
"This one is hard. It has 2 i's at the end."
"I know. Pronounce both of them. Yakushijii. Ya-koo-shi-ji-i. Japanese names are pretty phonetic."
"So this one is pronounced Koo-oo-sh. . . what the hell?"
"It's Kuusisto. Koo-sis-to. And it's not Japanese. It's Finnish."
"Okay -- then this one is Hway?"
"No. That's Chinese. Hui. It's pronounced Huey."
"I thought you said they were phonetic."
"I said Japanese names are phonetic. Chinese names aren't always."
"Like this one? How do you say this one? NGAH?"
"Actually, she pronounces it Eng. Ng is generally pronounced Eng."
"Don't you have any white friends?"
"Yeah. Kuusisto is white. He's Finnish. They tend to be white."
"Wow. Who do you know in Hawaii?"
"That's Greg's Uncle".
"Oh. This his first name?"
"Toku? Yep. Uncle Toku."
"Uh, Homer? I gotta take this call."
My friend Homer is a name bigot. He figures if he's never seen it before, it's weird. When I was a kid, if you had a name like Homer in our school, you'd get beat up. In South Texas, Homer is a perfectly normal name. So is Beto. And Servando. Narciso. Guadalupe. All very nice names, but not so common in Minnesota.
So please. When I introduce you to Homer, don't say "HOMER?!! Like Homer Simpson? Weird!"