It’s September now, and my summer vacation in Tokyo with niece and son is long over. But I want to revisit it a bit….
This is near our hotel while my niece, my son, and I were staying in Tokyo for a couple of days. That’s the SkyTree in the background, the highest structure in Tokyo. I think it’s in the list of top ten highest towers in the world.
This is the reason I want to revisit. Haruka. The name of my bad ass female main character. I was so excited.
(Actually I don’t think she is that much of a bad ass. Just a regular girl. But bad asses are in now, so let’s just say she is a Fukushima version of Katniss.)
It’s a name I had thought about for quite a while when I began my manuscript. I don’t think that it sounds pretty to American ears–because Americans aren’t pronouncing it right. It’s not HaROOOOka. (with emphasis on the middle syllable.) It’s a rather flat pronounciation, like most Japanese words. Think more like: Harka. It’s a gentle sound like the sound that an angel might make when whispering in your ear.
It’s a beautiful name, a strong name, and it’s a common name. (When I went through my mental list of names, I thought about names that girls in Japan have nowadays. I didn’t want an old-fashioned name or a weird name for my main character, who represents “A Typical Japanese Girl.” Haruka is an extremely common name for a girl or young woman nowadays.)
My MAIN reason for choosing the name Haruka, though, was for its meaning. If you want to know its meaning, you’ll have to read the book! 😉
I gave the name Sakura to Haruka’s best friend. I again wanted a typical name for a modern girl because Sakura–even though her personality is very different from Haruka’s–also represents a “Typical Japanese Girl.” I am not sure how I arrived at Sakura…I was thinking of girls I had met and their names. What’s interesting is that since choosing this name (approximately three years ago, I more) I have noticed it is a common name in books by western writers. I just finished “Cherry Crush” by Cathy Cassidy. The main character is Japanese on her mom’s side and Scottish on her dad’s. Her Japanese name is Sakura and her English name is Cherry. I’ve seen the name elsewhere, too. I am not sure why this name is so popular with us western writers, but I think it is because “Sakura” connotes the beauty of a traditional Japan.
MY REAL DAUGHTER? Well, that name is a secret. It’s not Haruka and not Sakura. I never got to use it because I never had a daughter. My husband chose it. And I’ll probably never use it in any of my writing!