Midori

Kiko Mizuhara as Midori in "Norwegian Wood"

Origin: Japanese
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Green"
Pronunciation: MEE-DOH-REE
Other Forms: N/A

Today's name is long-standing guilty pleasure of mine - Midori!

Midori comes from the word midori, which first came into the Japanese language during the Heian period (794 AD-1185). Before that, there was no word for green in Japanese, and the word ao, which is used for blue or a blue-green color, is often used to refer to green plants and vegetables and even the green light at an intersection! Midori originally represented the "freshness" of newly grown things, and people who are young and inexperienced are called "blue" instead of green, like we say. In fact, students weren't taught the word midori as something separate from ao until WWII!

I think it is very pretty, especially once you know the history behind it. Midori brings to mind the character from Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, as seen in the photo above from the 2010 adaption of novel. But there is a wealth of namesakes, from violinist Gotō Midori to Itō Midori, who won Silver at the 1992 Olympics for figure-skating, and the young actress Midori Francis. 

For most English-speakers Midori is probably recognized as a type of green liqueur with a melon taste, which I've noticed some count as a mark against the name. Personally, I never even heard of the stuff until after becoming interested in the name, so I wouldn't let that keep you from using it!

Sora

Korean ballad singer, Lee So-ra

Origin: Japanese and Korean
Gender: Unisex in Japan and Female in Korea
Meaning: Japanese: "Sky"; Korean: "Conch Shell"
Pronunciation: SOH-ruh, SOR-ah
Other Forms: So-ra

For those who weren't aware, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so I thought it would be a wonderful idea to feature some Asian names! I admit to not knowing as much about them as I would like, so if any native speakers know the correct pronunciation, spelling, etc., please don't be afraid to let me know in the comments below!

Our first name of May is Sora. Sora, for the Japanese, is a unisex name meaning "sky". One of its oldest bearers is that of poet Kawai Sora, who famously wrote of his journeys with his Master, Matsuo Bashō, a renowned poet of the Edo period in Japan. His recordings of the middle of this period are seen as the most detailed and exact on record.

In Korea, it is more commonly So-ra, with Sora being the common Romanization. It has the lovely meaning of "conch shell". Conchs have all sorts of purposes, across many, many cultures. The nagak (also called na, godong, and, of course, sora) is an instrument made of a large sea snail's shell, that is played during military processions. They have similar ones in Japan, and in Hinduism they have the shankha, and its call is used as a victory over suffering. In Buddhism, it is one of eight auspicious symbols. Of course it has more material values as well, such has being made into jewelry (Bengali brides are adorned with conch shells and coral bangles), being used as shell money, and food.

Sora has two beautiful meanings, and a wealth of history, making it a poetic choice, especially for those drawn to the ocean.

Matsuo Bashō, being followed by Sora

Lalisa

Lisa

Origin: Thai
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Praised"
Pronunciation: lah-lee-SAH
Other Forms: N/A

My sister is a huge fan of K-pop, and after a long time resisting I have a confession to make: I like it. In fact, I think it's fun, catchy, and uplifting, and did I mention, absolutely addictive? Her favorite group is BLACKPINK with her "bias" (for those uninitiated, her favorite member) being Lisa.

Lisa, the lead rapper, is actually Thai, and is the first non-Korean to be agented by YG Entertainment. She was born Pranpriya Manoban in Buriram Province, Thailand and is the only child of her mother's. Her stepfather, Marco Brüschweiler, who helped raise her, is a renowned Swiss chef. 

She later changed her name to Lalisa, which means "praised", at the behest of a fortune-teller, who claimed it would bring her prosperity.

I can easily see this name catching on, especially amongst fans. What do you think?

Goodbye, Grandpa...

A few days ago I lost someone very important: my Grandpa. He lived four hours away and I didn't get to see him as much as I wanted (or as much as I should have). I drove up there but didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him, or to tell him how much I loved him or how silly I thought he was. How he made me laugh. 

My family has set up a GoFundMe page to help my Grandmother pay for his memorial. I would be so, so grateful if you could pledge just a few dollars. Thank you.

Princess Eugenie Welcomes Baby Boy!

Jack and Princess Eugenie


Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, have welcomed their first child together, a baby boy. They named him August Philip Hawke. He is said to be named after some great grandfathers - perhaps Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband and Eugenie's four-times great grandfather, whose middle name was Augustus, and Rev. Edward Hawke Brooksbank, Jack's four-times great grandfather.

Jenny Slate Welcomes Baby Girl!

Jenny and Ben


Comedian Jenny Slate and her fiancé, Ben Shattuck, have welcomed their first child together, a girl they named Ida Lupine.

Eugenia


Origin: Latin, Greek
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Well Born"
Pronunciation: yoo-JEEN-ee-ah, yoo-JEEN-yah
Other Forms: Eugeneia,  Eugénie, Yevgeniya, Eukene, Uxía; Eugene, Eugenios, Owen, Eugen

Our Holiday names come to a close with the name of a Saint whose Feast is on Christmas day.

Eugenia of Rome, according to the popular rendition of her story, was the daughter of Philip, a Duke of Alexandria and Governor of Egypt. She left her father's home, dressed as a man, and was baptized by Helenus, a Bishop of Heliopolis, and later became an Abbot, still under her disguise. Eugenia would later cure a woman of her illness, and when the woman made sexual advances towards her, which she declined. That woman, incensed and embarrassed, made a public accusation, that would bring her before the court. She declared Eugenia an adulterer, and came before the judge, her father, still as a man. When it was revealed she was not only a woman but his very daughter, she was instantly exonerated. Her father himself converted to the faith, becoming Bishop of Alexandria, only to be killed for it by the Emperor. 

Eugenia went on to convert many others. On September 11th of 258, Christ appeared to her in a dream, telling her that she would killed on the Feast of the Nativity. On December 25th of the same year, Eugenia, along with Saints Hyacinth and Protus, was beheaded.

The name Eugenia is the feminine form of Eugene, which is the Latin form of the Greek Eugenios, meaning "Well Born". Though occasionally used in the Middle Ages, Eugenia didn't come into popularity until the 19th century, but is not used often today. A beautiful, romantic girls name with lots of history and a lovely sound - I think Eugenia is ripe for revival.

 
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