I suppose an explanation of my url is in order since it appears so random and completely unrelated to my quest to reach out to other writers. 

"Planting bamboo" comes from my maiden surname, "Uyetake." My father's side is Japanese. He was raised in Hawaii, but my grandparents were mainly raised in Japan. They were both bilingual, and my great grandmother spoke only Japanese and came to Hawaii as a mail-order bride. The name Uyetake comes from two kanjii, "Ue" (pronounced "ew-aye" the "y" is ancient Japanese and not really used today) which means "planting" and "take" (pronounced "tah-kay") which means bamboo. 

The story goes that my ancestors worked in the sugar cane fields digging dikes throughout the field for irrigation purposes. The dikes frequently would cave in, so my ancestors planted bamboo (because of their intricate root system) along the edges of the dikes to keep them in place. 

I loved my surname and learned how to write it in shouji while I was living in Japan (the images above are "Uyetake" in Japanese). I hated losing my surname when I got married because it was so rich in history. So, my blog stands as a memento to the name, plus it serves as a conversation point, and it's intriguing enough that you just might remember it forever. 

Tell me your history. Have you studied your family name? What have you found? And, where did you get your handle for your blog--if the answer isn't obvious from the get-go :)


Stacy Nyikos said...

I didn't change my surname for exactly that reason. I love it. It's rich in history. My husband wasn't too excited about my keeping my name, but he got used to it. The ironic twist is that he is the last male in his family to carry the family surname. Now he has to hope his daughters are as stubborn as their mother if they want the family name to live on. Who would have thought.

a.c.b. said...

actually for quite a while i couldn't wait to change my last name because it has an umlaut in it, which does not work for languages without umlauts... and then, it is far too common. there are even more than a handful of people with my same first name and spelling, so that i have to use my middle initial to distinguish myself from a child psychologist, swimmer, gymnast, and a bunch of others. i guess it is a little like being named john smith. my last name just means "from bohemia" and as you can imagine, more than a handful of people come from there. :-)
as for the handle for my blog, "appletowns" - it is from my favorite poem of all times, dylan thomas' "fern hill" ('i was prince of the apple towns' is one line in the poem) that poem also aided me in picking my email address. lol.