From: Peter Rivard
Date: Mon May 5, 2003 4:03:44 PM Japan
To: Rho and John
Subject: Takuya

Hi, Rho and John,

       I learned something interesting last night. You remember Takuya, the young guy working in his family's sushi place? Last night I was killing time, riding around the western part of town until it got late enough to go there for sushi--I'd come out earlier to go to a festival and didn't want to ride all the way home and back, though of course I probably ended up riding three times as far just killing time. A couple miles north of Alias Sushi, I ran into a teacher I used to work with (and the mother of two current students) and her husband--actually, they'd seen me ride by and jumped on their bikes to come after me. When they asked why I was out in the middle of nowhere so far from home and school and I explained, she said she she used to teach "Alias Sushi's son, Koki." I said I didn't know Koki, but the son who works there now is Takuya; neither of us thought there was another kid in the family (besides him and Yasuko), but we figured there must be. Anyway, later I asked Takuya if he had a brother named Koki. "That's me," he said, "I changed it." I asked why, and when the explanation seemed to require some thought, I thought it might have been an awkward question and apologized, but he said it was OK. He was just trying to come up with an explanation simple enough for me to understand. It turns out that when he was 15, the family took him to a shaman (same word in Japanese) who told him the name "Koki" was unlucky for him and that he'd die young if he didn't change it! So, from then on, he was Takuya.
       "Do you do anything like that in America?"
       "Um, no."

Peter

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