Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Okay, according to some, this is not very politically correct, but I'm a psuedo-Christian--i.e. a Catholic who hasn't gone to church in ages and has a number of questions about some of the stuff the sisters force fed me in elementary school. Still, my core beliefs are similar enough to consider myself a Christian of sorts, and as a result, I still celebrate Christmas. It is, for me, the season of giving, and hoping for peace for everyone.

So Merry Christmas
to you all

...and just to cover all the bases,
Happy Holidays too!

Peace to all all of you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's in a name?

Thanks for all the good wishes. Any birthday beyond the half-century mark needs all the happy wishes it can muster. Thanks to those of you who wished me well on FB, too. I am truly grateful.

should i call u Onigiriman or Ray Kanzaki then?

On Xanga, I will always be Onigiriman, so please continue to call my Onigiriman.

Sounds like a Street Fighter name.
Street Fightin' Japanese literature professor. Sounds about right.

I agree. It has an edgy sound to it. More street fighter than J-Lit prof, if you ask me.

Happy Birthday to you! But I still like calling you, O-man!

Girl, you can call me anything you like, but O-man will do nicely.

The last name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but it will do. xD What kanji would you use to write your new last name?

There's a critic in every crowd. Personally, I think it sounds rather cool. And for your information, Kanzaki would be written 神崎, but he will be a Japanese American so the kanji is not so important, I think.

today i made onigiri with some college kids for a party. i was a bit worried bc i've never made them before- but they turned out ok... but we argued over how to pronounce the word.. so i come to the expert- the o-man! :)

I'm glad to hear that you made some tasty rice balls. And just for you, Jerjonji--play this to hear the pronunciation of my namesake and my name.

People may not understand this, but I'm actually pretty particular about how I pronounce my name. "Onigiri" is a Japanese word and so should be pronounced with a Japanese accent. Oh-nee-gi-ri. The "r" in Japanese is a tongue flap of sorts, much like how it is in Spanish, but only one flap. Don't roll it, or you'll sound like a Japanese hoodlum. "Man", on the other hand, is English and should be pronounced with an American accent, much like Spiderman. For me, at least, the name itself has that quintessentially American comic book ring to it. Superman, Batman, Ironman, Onigiriman... Okay, maybe its just in my head...

Now this may be a stretch for you guys--please feel free to disagree--but for me it is the perfect representation of who I am. A Japanese American who values both heritages, is steeped in both cultures but tends to keep the two distinct, if not exactly separate. Like, Onigiriman--both Japanese and American (English), but joined together to make a single identity.

Back to Ray...

Just so we're clear about this: Ray Kanzaki is the name of the main character for anything I will now write. In fact, you can plug his name into any of my old stories, as well. I've felt that using my screen name sounded wierd in some of the stories. It'll be good to use a name that actually sounds like a name instead of the obviously fictitious Onigiriman--although this is preferable to some mixture of alphabets and numbers that represent aspects of my life, but end up looking like words in the game, Jumble. I could have used eastla55bruin, but that would really sound stupid in a story.

So I'm still Onigiriman--or O-man, if you prefer. Ray is just my in-story pseudonym.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ray Kanzaki

Classes have come to an end, and I now have finals to look forward to. One has already been graded, for the most part. The rest is of my exams are scheduled for next week, which means once again I will be grading until Christmas.


But that's life for a teacher... grading, grading, grading.

Not much has been happening as of late, except for school. As the semester winds down, I get busier and busier

Sensei, sensei, can I take a make up quizzes I missed?
--Make up quizzes must be made up within a week.
Oh, sensei, sensei, pweeze, pwetty pweeze?

Sensei, sensei, can I come to your office? I don't understant how to conjugate these sffixes.
--You mean the ones we did at the beginning of the semester? Why didn't you come and see me then?
Well, I thought understood them then, but... but... (tears well up) as I look over my quizzes, (head droops) I'm not so sure anymore.
--Oh man, DON'T CRY! Anyone who walks by might get the wrong idea!

I tell ya, it never gets easier... But then that is the beauty of this job. Every year I get a new group of students, each different, each bringing their own personalities. It definitely keeps me on my toes and helps me stay young... well, young at heart, anyway. Students I don't even know are starting to open the door for me. Is this a sign of aging? Noooooooooooooooo!

Speaking of which...

I turn half a century plus two today. Every joint in my body tells me that these numbers are not lying. So I've decided to give myself a rebirth. Well, not really a rebirth, but a new name. I've always wanted to see if I could actually write something that people would find intersting--not that this blog is an indicaiton of my talents, or lack thereof. But I thought it would be cool to write some stuff down, perhaps basing it on my own experiences. I would, of course, need a name for the main character--my alter ego, as it were--and I came up with the name Ray Kanzaki. Say it out loud. I think it sounds pretty good.

Before M came to the US, I used to go for a beer or two or five at a local hang out and the bartender there, for whatever reason, started calling me Ray. I'm not really sure why, but I never corrected him. I would just nod my head and say, "hey". In a way, it was fun--I felt like a different person, actually. But I also wondered if maybe I looked like a "Ray". You know how some people have names that seem to fit them perfectly? Well, maybe riceballs kind of look like Rays. Anyway, that's where I got the first inspiration for a character name. The last name just kinda came to me. It's not a common Japanese surname, but not overly obscure like my real name. And besides, it sounds like a real name.

So today, I release the name of my alter ego. It is now officially his birthday, as well. Please, say it out loud with me: Ray Kanzaki.

1:00; 5.13 mi.