Today I received my acceptance letter from Kobe University, which means I’m officially an exchange student for the spring semester in 2012. The acceptance letter came as an attached document in a e-mail. The e-mail was also sent to two of my other class mates who have been accepted into Kobe University as well and reading that e-mail reminded me of another thing – the fact that I didn’t just change my last name when I married a Japanese, I also lost my first name.
The e-mail said: Dear, Nicolai-san, Anton-san and Kayashima-san.
The first two were addressed by their first name, but I was addressed by my last name.
Later on in the e-mail my class mates were mentioned by their last and first names, where I once again was only mentioned by my last name.
This is not an one time incident. It’s actually something I’ve gotten used to when it comes to most Japan-related aspects of my life.
Ever since I got married my Japanese teachers stopped calling me by my first name and are now only using my my last name when they address me in class.
This is quite unusual in Denmark, where you rarely use your last name and now after marrying I get called by it all the time. Of course if I married any other nationality nothing would have changed, but since I married a Japanese, it seems like my new last name has caught the interest of other Japanese people and now they refuse to call me by anything else.
I guess Japanese people are just more familiar with a Japanese last name rather than the name Isabella, but what about my teachers who has known me and called me by my first name for almost a year before I married last spring?
Why is it that my first name suddenly disappeared as soon as I changed my last name? Of course there is not really any problems when coming to non-Japanese speaking people, since they prefer to not having to pronounce my last name.
My husband thinks that Japanese feels more “safe” by using my Japanese last name, rather than my first name, since it avoids confusion and possible mistakes, but what about my teachers?
“Maybe they just feel like saying it” my husband answered.
Like I said, we rarely use last names in Denmark, not even when we address our teachers, so I guess it just feels weird to me when my teachers suddenly starts calling me by my last name.