The origin of my pseudonym Toshihiko Atsuyama

I once introduced myself with my pseudonym to an American teenager in a chat room.

Then she said, “Wow, your name is Toshihiko Atsuyama? Cool! I like Chinese stuff. There is this Chinese restaurant that I frequent, you know.”

Yeah, and you’re bloody frigging cool too.

For a bunch of you American hermits who can’t differentiate between Chinese and Japanese names, I’m telling you now: Toshihiko Atsuyama is a Japanese name.

And yes, China and Japan are two separate countries. Their languages aren’t even distinctly related: the only thing that they have in common is their writing system!!!

You see, Americans are very obtuse when it comes to knowing the culture of another country. The only foreign capital cities that they know are Toronto and Mexico City. That’s if they can pinpoint the country, of course (which is bloody impossible if there are only 48 states shown in the map and two other faraway states in the inset).

Ask any Americans (apart from the politicians, of course) to name of the capital city of PRC, and I’d bet all the money I have that they… do NOT know the answer.

Well, that would make me an exceptional American. I can even mention the capital city of countries in the middle of nowhere such as Tajikistan. It’s Dushanbe, right?

Anyway, I seem to be straying far off topic now. I’ll talk about that some other time.

Toshihiko Atsuyama, as some of my close acquaintances may have known, exactly renders my own real initial of TA.

Toshihiko wasn’t adopted from the Japanese politician’s name of Toshihiko Fukui. No, I never liked politicians, and I’d never adopt my name from such people.

Rather, I adopted the name Toshihiko from the main character of the Japanese manga series Shoot!, Toshihiko, a high school football player who has a determined character that had inspired me during my childhood.

Later did I found out that Toshihiko is a unisex name in Japan; which means that the owner of the name can be either a male or female!

But oh well, I’ve taken that name anyway, and on the cyberworld people already recognise me more with my pseudonym rather than my own. If I take a new pseudonym, it would mean that I have to kill my alter ego “Toshihiko Atsuyama”, a thing which I’m very much reluctant to do.

FYI, the name Toshihiko is more frequently used by guys than ladies, so using that name still wouldn’t turn me into an epicene.

About the name Atsuyama (which corresponds to my real surname), I couldn’t recall where I picked this name from. Probably from the tabloids or newspapers, and the only thing that I remember is that I adopted Atsuyama at a later time than Toshihiko.

The name “Atsuyama” (厚山)bears the meaning of atsu, which means thick, and yama, which means mountain. So in the wholesome it means “Thick Mountain”. I know how base such a meaning may sound but hey, I only found it out after I learned Japanese!

The name “Toshihiko” may carry six to eight meanings, depends on which kanji name combinations do I use. For now, the kanji I’m using for Toshihiko is still a temporary one (利彦) as I have yet to find another meanings for the kanji collections of “Toshihiko” I’ve gathered this far.

One thing for sure though, my nickname Toshi carries the meaning of “alert”.

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