Saturday, November 9, 2013

The HIGA Name


Minnasan konnichi wa: (Nihongo o benkyo shite imasu kara taihen heta desu yo.)

Higa no namae wa do iu imi ka na? Muzukashii desu ne? De mo kono 'explanation' wa anatatachi ni de gozaimasu.

I remember Mom describing the name once to me when I was in Okinawa searching for Granpa Higa's sister, Waniya Kobashigawa. Also, my good friend Stan Sotsuda (who retired from the US Army, married an Okinawan lady and raised his family there - he was the manager of the Commissary at Camp Butler, and of course, a bowler) who helped me to locate the Kobashigawa in Nakagusuku-son.

While there is no completely solid definition for "Higa" ('Fija' or 'Fiija' as it is said in Uchi-na-guchi - Okinawan Language) the characters in our last name are made up of "Comparison" and "Praise."

Mom and Stan both agreed that the closest definition could be, "peaceful cooperation," or "calm negotiation" - or something to that effect.

This uncertain definition and/or meaning in translating Japanese to English makes sense to me since, in my attempts to study Nihon-go, I'm finding that a great majority of Japanese words and phrases have only literal meaning when translated into English.

This is possibly why many English words are popularly used in the spoken Japanese such as, "I Love You," "Thank You, "Okay," "Good Luck," and "Congratulations." (Phonetically - "Ai Rub Yu" "Sank Yu" "OK!" "Guud Ruck" "Congra-chu-ray-shun" (remember Nihonjin learn to pronounce words by memorizing "ma-mi-mu-me-mo; ka-ki-ku-ke-ko; sa- shi-su-se-so; ta-tchi-tsu-te-to; etcetera)

When I was traveling in and out of Japan back in the 1980's, it was reported that the Crown Prince, (now the current Emperor of Japan) proposed to his fiancee in English because it was easier to say than in Japanese? Might be Urban Legend but that's what I understood it to be.

As omoshiroi as it may sound, modern-day Nihon-jin, nowadays, will tend to pop in an English word in the middle of a sentence, much the same way that Hawaii Japanese have been doing for many years. It's because the meanings of English words or phrases have a more direct meaning than if they were to be said in Nihongo.

Ta-to-e-ba, take the phrase, "I Love You." In Nihon-go the phrase could be said in various ways such as: "Suki desu," "Dai Suki Desu," "Anata no koto was suki desu," and so forth.

So, anyway, let's stick with "Peaceful Cooperation" or "Calm negotiation," for the meaning of "Higa," okay?

It's too bad I never asked Mom about, "Matsumoto." From my little knowledge of Japanese, the most common translation would be - "Matsu = Pine Tree" and "Moto = Foundation, origin, or base."

I-jyo, desu.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lynne and Leighton Moved Homes

Hello Higa clan,
Just to let you all know that the Tannos have moved.
We have downsized and now live in a two bedroom that accepts pets.  House was sold, but no profit at all.  It was our albatross to get rid of.
We found out our Kimokeo house was everyone’s store room.  Had Kavin’s, Mom’s, Great-grandpa Matsunaga’s, Grandma Tanno’s, Grandpa Tanno’s plus Carole’s stuff.  On top of that us LTs used it for storage too.  Found lots of boxes of fabric so want to start up crazy quilting like Mom did.  We still have stuff that we had to store, but will have to cut that down within the next few months.
Have been living here for about 2 weeks now.  I can walk to work in 5 minutes.  Lots of eating places within walking distance that we’re starting to explore.  Big difference between eating at the restaurant and doing take out.  Our lease is for one year and then we’ll decide what to do.  If we have to move again, I’m going to be hiring movers.  Leighton is coming up on age 64 this year and it was taxing for him.
We’re all well and trying to adjust.  Will drop a line later.
Aloha to all,
Sis Lynne