My first book club! Enjoying it very much so far, this is also the first manga I’ve ever read apart from bits of よつばと so lots to learn. So far I’m really noticing how the author uses different types of language and even kanji (e.g. more or less archaic kanji, more or less formal language) for each character to give them a distinctive voice, especially 黒巻 (くろまさ) who just seems to speak in riddles to me. Have just caught up to chapter 3 over the last week, will now try to read at the set pace.
It is a nickname though. 鮫吉 isn’t his real name according to what I’ve seen online (though I’ve mainly looked at the wiki so accuracy on this is not 100% guaranteed), so I more read it as a cute nickname similar to calling someone your good luck charm. However, if I wasn’t reading it as a nickname then yeah I don’t think the kanji would take on the fortune meaning.
Where are you seeing that exactly? According to this one site it is his real name:
I’ve seen lots of characters named (thing)吉 and never with any implied “good luck charm” meaning.
Edit: ok I found something on the english wiki that says it’s basically a name she gave him and his true name is supposed to be a secret and I can see how that could be taken as “nickname”. I still don’t think that implies that it means anything though. Off the top of my head, not even including Tom Nook, I’ve read two other manga where a tanuki is given the name たぬ吉 to literally just mean “mister tanuki” (怪物事変 and 罠ガール). Unless it’s made explicit in the manga that she picked 吉 because of its meaning, I still don’t think it’s anything more than an easily recognizable name pattern.
(Not to mention that while 吉 does mean good luck, it’s something you see on おみくじ, not good-luck charms).
鮫吉 is not his real name, it’s a nickname given to him by Wadanohara. This was only revealed in bonus content added on to the original game, and is otherwise not brought up in the main game or in the manga.
In the bonus content, it’s implied she did consider the meaning when choosing the nickname, because she mentions that she chose the “鮫” because he’s a shark. She doesn’t explicitly say why she picked "吉 ", though.
For anyone who’s curious, his real name is 青波 (あおなみ), which means “blue wave”. This has no impact on the story as presented in the manga.
I wasn’t meaning to imply that it mean’t good luck charm or that the kanji is what would be on them, I more was just equating it to something that is said in English. Since I am interpreting it as a nickname I think it’s perfectly reasonable to consider that the kanji meaning might be important since in nicknames that would be common (like calling someone smalls because they’re short etc). However, in all honesty I think this is pretty much open to interpretation and neither has to be right or wrong, so in the future I hope you can be a little more welcoming to other interpretations of things.
Listen, interpret it however you want but I think you would probably be more likely to see my perspective if you’d had the same level of exposure to people (especially made-up characters) with 吉 in their names. I don’t know if you saw my edit to my original question where I added a link to all the real-life names that 吉 appears in? It’s ultra common, same same kind of thing as 郎 or 子. If you break down the name 五郎 into its constituent kanji then it just means “fifth son”. Similarly, 菜々子 would mean…vegetable vegetable child? They’re just names.
This is the thing I was mainly talking about at the very beginning. It doesn’t mean “good luck shark”. If you translate it idiomatically it means “Sharky” or something like that. The fact that 吉 is so common in male names has led to it becoming used simply as way of identifying something as a name.
I don’t think it’s something anyone would feel the need to explain, honestly. If you named a character “Charlie MacWalrus” you probably wouldn’t point out that the “Mac” prefix comes from scots gaelic and means “son”. It’s just something that people will see and say “well yep, that’s a name”.
I would just like to remind you that this is the Absolute Beginners Bookclub. There are a lot of people in this club that are new to reading native material and that this should be a welcoming environment. It’s okay for people to have differences in interpretations and really what seems to be the main disagreement here is that you are interpreting it as just a name while I see it as possibly a nickname with meaning. (I don’t think that anything you’ve said is incorrect, but just that there can be another interpretation). It’s okay to not agree with someone else’s interpretation and explain why, but you’re going beyond that to the point that you’re trying to find anything that could discredit my interpretation. You are also doing so in a way that can come across as a bit rude/ condescending. I hope that you’ll be more considerate of this in the future.
I’m sorry to hear you say that because I did take pains to buffer my point in my first message Sorry if that didn’t come across. I know that I can come across as blunt and it can be difficult for me to tell when I’ve オブラートに包む’d enough but for what it’s worth, my intention is always to be helpful.
My goal in hanging around in this book club was to hopefully pass on some of the knowledge and intuition I’ve built up over nearly three years of daily reading. What you’re perceiving as unwelcoming, I’m intending as “no, I see why you would think that, but I can tell you from experience that it’s not the case”.
It’s possible to write Japanese in a way that is deliberately vague and open to interpretation, but in my opinion this is not one of those times. Maybe someday you’ll agree. With that said, I don’t want to keep derailing the thread so I’ll bow out here. Enjoy the rest of the manga everyone.
Posting because I don’t want anyone to feel the need to leave this club, and to hopefully help us all move past a miscommunication so we can continue learning together
I don’t think avoiding participating is necessary, I think that would make this book club worse off.
Politely @bearytoast I think you may have dug your heels in a bit trying to defend / justify. In my reading of the posts this is the first sharp point that leapt out at me (emphasis mine) - apologies if I missed something.
I interpreted those links as being citations / pointers rather than an attempt to discredit.
FWIW as an outsider I think the point where your reply felt pointed was later than your first post (emphasis mine).
As that phrasing is a little rough, I think I understand what you were trying to say, and by this point the conversation had already turned a bit heated.
(honestly asking) Is it common in Japanese to create nicknames based on meanings of alternative suffix characters?
I think @jacobalbano’s point is that while many things are open to interpretation, some things are common patterns, and they think this ~吉 suffix is a fixed pattern we should learn. I don’t have enough exposure to disagree.
I very much agree with you that I see no reason why @jacobalbano would need to leave the club and do think he’s been very helpful in answering questions thus far. You are also correct that I really had no issue with the first post. As for your question on Japanese nicknames, I’m honestly not sure. What I was mainly trying to get at and what I think was the main issue is that because it’s a nickname or just a new name given to him by Wadanohara that I thought that the second kanji’s meaning was important/ specifically chosen as opposed to it just being there since it’s a common component of male names. I really don’t think that anything that was said was incorrect, but just do to the nickname context that perhaps there was a bit more to it than usual. I kind of equate it to like Sailormoon having the nickname bunhead. (I’m assuming it’s probably not written in kanji, but for this example I’m pretending it is.) If I knew what I was looking at was just her name I probably wouldn’t really look at the kanji, but once I found out it was a nickname I would and I’d go oh that means bunhead lol he’s actually calling her bunhead etc. (In all honesty, I think there’s a few ways the name in the manga could be interpreted ranging from just a straight up name, to a normal name with chosen meaning, to a nickname like Lucky Shark.)
The first thing you pointed out me saying was really just me trying to say hey let’s drop it, but I do realize that I could have phrased it better. I also could have phrased the discredit part better.(In retrospect I could have just left it at going beyond that). I was fairly frustrated at that point and though the earlier examples seemed like citations/ justifications the later ones seemed more pointed which is why I think I ended up phrasing the way I did.
My last message really came down to a lot of tone stuff/ things you pointed out like the listen, italicizing, and quotations, which I generally see as rude or condescending. Though it could just be his way of stylizing writing and maybe he didn’t mean for it to come across that way. In the end I just really want the club to be a chill place where people can discuss things. My last post was just really kind of meant to be a reminder that it’s okay to disagree, but there needs to be a cut off point and that tone/ word choice/ formatting etc should be considered, so things are read as helpful as opposed to negatively. Though once again I was a bit frustrated when I wrote it and it would have been better to just wait a bit before responding.
I appreciate you reading and replying to my post in a positive light
I was sweating over the exact phrasing for quite a while
I totally understand why you were considering possible extra meaning in that character and being uncertain how much the meaning of the character might play a role in the name’s origins. Generally it’s unclear to me how much a character’s meaning influences the names meaning (and meta: what a name having a meaning even… means), beyond just influencing why it was picked (e.g. picking positive characters, avoiding negative characters like death/disease).
Googling around I was able to find a post which mentioned the 吉 suffix giving a name an old-timey, older male, possibly rural feel - looks like it may have even been written by our very own @Leebo =O
Maybe this gives us a feeling like “shark-bud”, “shark-lad”, “shark-boy”, “shark-dude” - which naively feels like it fits with the little context we have so far.
Oh no worries! You were very moderate in your response and I think everything you said was correct and reasonable. I do realize that though I indicated that I just wanted it to be dropped that I did make the choice to keep it going and that we both probably said stuff that in turn made the other respond more negatively. I also, do think I really should have considered my phrasing more and waited until later to respond.
I think the old-timey feel also sounds very reasonable considering some of the other language used in the manga so far. I’ll be sure to read the post when I get home! Also, yeah I do think it can be hard to tell with names jus how much is going into them/ how hard you should look at them especially when it’s in books.
I also found a reddit comment where someone said ～吉 was more common historically.
Agreed, and this feels like a way of semi-unifying the 2 streams of thought, we have “just a name” but while possibly still smuggling some feeling and a set of connotations along for the ride.
So since I was the one posing the question about 鮫吉: I am absorbing all the input I get (since I am a true beginner ) and the discussions about names and implied meanings were really interesting to me and will surely help me to in the future put names into context. I really learned a lot, so thanks everyone!
A general side note: I am really enjoying the book club so far (it’s the first one I joined ). It always helps me tremendously in understanding the manga (grammar, vocabs, spoken language, implications, unfinished sentences, etc.) and I am sure I would not be able to read it without you!
Thanks so much for the explanation! I guess it really is tricky to get used to…
Your post in the other thread is really exhaustive!
The good news is that you don’t need to fully understand it or remember all the details right away. You’ll see these kinds of grammar come up often, and it gets easier to understand them as you see them more and more.
Oh my. I had a busy week, but looks like this thread has too! @bearytoast tbh I was with you the whole time. For lack of a better term, there’s a lot of mansplaining that has been getting thrown around that definitely rubs the wrong way. I think you did just fine in trying to give direction on how we can have more constructive conversations. My two cents
Thank you everyone who added to the vocabulary list! I hunkered down and got through the whole chapter this morning so as to not fall behind, and that list was what kept me from giving up several times!
I was wondering, could it be something in the vocab list to add links for things that look to be set phrases? I really like to have a full break down of them, for example something like なんとしてでも translating to “by any means necessary” has me stumped as to how?
I actually tried to google the etymology of this one to have as an example, but am coming up short Perhaps it’s not entirely necessary- but I guess for me it’s just a random string of sounds unless I can really understand what each word is and at least roughly how it applies to the meaning. Perhaps if someone just knows how to parse the phrase so I can look up the different puzzle pieces?
I think it would be great to add links to that sort of thing in the vocab sheet! They could either go in the notes section or we can make a new row for links. I’m open to either! I’ll do some looking around later to see if I can figure out なんとしてでも. There’s for sure been a few times where I’ve seen set phrase and just went uh okay.
(Also thanks )
This page I found is the type of breakdown I like. For example:
(also this intro to いっらしゃいませ- once in Japan I was the only person in a shop and I felt like the woman was a motion detector just going off as I looked around I couldn’t tell if she just kept forgetting me or what! Guess it’s a thing though lol)
This page actually seems super helpful! I do think it’s a lot easier to remember stuff when you understand the breakdown as well.