Hello, Kyra here! This is [onegai!] #1. Objective here is similar to [onamae wa?], but characters appearing here were requested by readers and are not restricted to current airing Anime.
The very basic foundation of a restaurant is in its menu and I must admit that I had a rough time choosing which dishes to present. I decided to keep it simple and stick to a 3-course menu, featuring three main characters from Shokugeki no Souma, an Anime series based on a cooking manga. Due to special ingredients used, it is recommended to have savored at least the Season 1 of this show to avoid stomach-spoilers-ache.
This request was made by @AzumaGuilherme, thank you!
Entrée: Erina “God’s Tongue” Nakiri
First of all forgive me for not putting you as today’s Main Dish, 薙切(na.kiri)えりな(erina) . I just thought your overwhelming ability would make it easier for us mortals to open our palates in order to better digest this article. Yes, I swear!
Erina-sama is part of the Elite Ten Council in Tootsuki Culinary Academy and feared by anyone not named Souma Yukihira. Blessed with a highly accurate food tasting, she earned her reputation as the God’s Tongue. Lets see if there is more to it by looking at her name.
Family Name: 薙切 (na.kiri)
Couldn’t be more appropriate to Erina-sama. These two kanji convey so much about her! It is possible to taste every bit of Erina in each of those 20 strokes that make her Family Name.
薙 direct meaning is befitting our Queen here. For her, it is not just about winning. It has to be a victory where her opponent is put to the ground. She will mow down whoever dares to stand against her. 薙 represents this sadistic side of Erina.
切 adds a lot to our meal. This kanji has two complete opposite meanings depending on its reading. If you use its 訓読み (kun.yo.mi; Japanese reading), it carries the meaning of cutting. This can be the actual action of cutting or just something being sharp, both literally or figuratively. This is Erina’s つんつん(tsuntsun) side. But as soon as you start using its 音読み (on.yo.mi; Chinese Reading), you will get all sort of soft words like kind, sincere, gentle, keen, fervent. This is Erina’s でれでれ(deredere) side. It fits so well into her character that this is almost overwhelming.
But it doesn’t stop here. Yeah, I know it. A bit of fanservice. I know you all came here hoping to find some lewd pictures of Erina-sama, you bunch of pervs. As I’m in a good mood today, here it is, Nakiri fully naked:
Sorry! So, yeah, there is an actual word 菜切 (na.kiri), a kind of Japanese-style vegetable knife. I’m sure I could find a screenshot of it being used in Shokugeki no Souma, but oh well. I’m sure you guys can imagine it.
Now for her Given Name, えりな(erina)…
Awww, another kanji-less name! No worries though. This name is actually very popular in Japan because contrary to what I had thought, it is actually a Japanese name too. Origin here is quite vague, it appears as an Arabic, Celtic or Japanese name. In Arabic it means a beautiful lady; in Celtic it means from Ireland; and in Japanese… well. You know how it works by now after four weeks of [onamae wa] posts. Lets see some possible combinations for Erina in Japanese:
- 枝 branch
- 江 cove/inlet
- 恵 grace/beauty (same as Megumi in Tadokoro Megumi!)
- 絵 picture
- 愛 love (sort of rare reading for 愛, but happens. There are cases of girls named solely by 愛, read as Erina by itself.)
- 理 science/ reason
- 利 advantage
- 里 village
- 梨 pear
- 奈 a kind of plant
- 名 name
- 那 what
- 菜 green plant (veg)
Hmm. Think I’ll go 322? 恵理名 (e.ri.na), as it is just a logical name for someone blessed with such beauty and grace. 理 is also used in cooking related words like 料理 (ryou.ri; cooking) and 調理 (chou.ri; cooking). I’ll leave this to the taste of the reader, pick your favorite combination!
Main Dish: Souma Yukihira
Hope you enjoyed your Entrée. Time to move on into our main dish today, 幸平(yuki.hira) 創真(sou.ma) ! Is is hard to not love this guy. Creative, innovative and most of the time exhaling a laid back aura. He favors experience and practical training instead of theory, which often gets on the nerves of many people in Tootsuki, including our Entrée, Erina-sama. Let’s check his name!
Family Name: 幸平 (yuki.hira)
Alright. First of all, upon glancing over 幸平 I could swear it was 辛 instead of 幸. I bet you are now pressing your eyes, looking for the difference. Let me help you:
As you can see, slightly different. 辛い (kara.i) is how we say that a food is spicy or hot in Japan. So it was just natural for me to think it would be there in Yukihira-kun’s name, but that is not the case. And thinking now, it wouldn’t really fit his character. Much more suitable is 幸, whose main word is 幸せ (shiawa.se; happiness, blessing, bliss), that almost everyone reading this has heard at least once. Although 幸 can be read as Yuki in names, most common form of Yukihira is 行平 (yuki.hira) and there is even a ceramic cooking pan called 雪平鍋 (yuki.hira.nabe). Regardless, 幸 is fitting for Yukihira-kun, both in the sense of happiness or fortune.
We saw 平 already in our first [onamae wa?], when we spoke about Agata Katsuhira from Kiznaiver. Words like 平ら(tai.ra; smooth, calm) and 平らげる (tai.rageru; to eat up) both make sense when you think about Yukihira-kun (and his father as well). The reading used in their name is [hira], which when used as 平 (hira) means something common, ordinary, novice, low-ranking employee. Hmm. When you remember about how was Yukihira-kun learning process and how he prides himself of how “common” was his father’s restaurant, it does fit well.
When we do put it together, we could say Souma considers himself blessed (幸) for having a common (平) training, instead of being put into a class to learn theory. So Yukihira could be the happiness of being common. Well, we all know that Souma-kun is anything but ordinary, but yeah, you guys got the idea.
Now for his Given Name: 創真(sou.ma)
Hmm. 創 is the kind of kanji that shares meanings with a some others. In this case, 作 (creation), 始(start) and 傷(wound) are all related to it. I haven’t read much of the manga past what was shown back in Season 1, but I don’t remember anything like an old wound or something tragic on his background. You could use it in a very figurative way to depict his continuous defeat to his father but… I don’t know, I wouldn’t go that far, to be honest. 創 does bring the idea of creativity, as in 独創 (doku.sou; originality), so when coupled with 真 (we saw this on [onamae wa?] #3 about Makoto Kowata from Flying Witch), it would depict Souma as true creativity or genuine creation.
Hmm. This wound thing still bugs me though. Well… 傷 (kizu), which shares many meanings with 創, does have the idea of dishonor and stain on one’s reputation. Yukihira-kun boasts about his family restaurant and strongly try to keeps it honor. It does feel very edgy if you read Yukihira Souma as the true dishonor to the Yukihira family. Woah, 酷い(hido.i; cruel, harsh)！Picking from this line of thinking, but on a (slightly~) brighter point of view, 創 brings the idea of creation, thus we could think of Yukihira Souma as the one who creates the genuine Yukihira(-style).
As a trivia, the name Souma appears often as 相馬 (sou.ma), which means similar to a horse, including the name of a city in 福島県(fuku.shima.ken, where Ken means Prefecture). It was highly affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Dessert: Megumi Tadokoro
To finish up our 3-course meal I present you the sweet 田所(ta.dokoro) 恵(megumi), a 15 years old high school student that specializes in hospitality cuisine. Nervous, insecure, shy. Megumi has horrible social skills but is a lovely, honest and innocent girl, while also possessing great cooking skills, mostly associated with fishes and vegetables. Lets see what we can find out by examining her name.
Family Name: 田所 (ta.dokoro)
This is very straightforward. Megumi-chan is pictured as a classic 田舎人 (inaka.jin or inaka.bito; someone who lives in the countryside). 田所(ta.dokoro) is an old way to say farmland in Japanese, now replaced by 田地 (den.chi). It can also specifically denominate farm estates from before the 大化の改新(tai.ka.no.kai.shin; Taika Reform), a land reform that happened in Japan around 645 AC.
At first I thought this wouldn’t be relevant, but upon reading about the Taika Reforms, something stood out. At the time, the Japanese Emperor sought to implement a model based on Chinese Tang Dynasty and Confucian ideas, transferring power from clan and family leaders to centralize it on the throne. Politics aside, this also brought Chinese influence into many areas, including literature, weaving, dance, architecture, metallurgy, among many others. You were hoping to see cooking here, right? Here is the catch: cooking wasn’t. Chinese food and eating habits were not accepted during this time, thus reaffirming the intention to keep up traditional Japanese cuisine. And this leads us back to our little girl.
What is Tadokoro style if not a variation of the pure Japanese style? In these days where globalization leads away from traditional roots, Megumi-chan comes straight from the countryside, sticking to the basics and pillars of her small society. Tadokoro then symbolizes her link to simple and tender hospitality Japanese food. But don’t get it wrong. It doesn’t mean that she isn’t up to innovation, but if she has to do it, it is in order to convey this feeling to whoever eats her dishes, while keeping her roots well tended.
Now for her Given Name, 恵 (megumi):
恵 is usually written as 恵み (megu.mi), but cutting out the 送り仮名 (oku.ri.ga.na; literally accompanying letters, kana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese) is very recurring, specially for naming purposes.
恵 summarizes a lot of heartwarming feelings, from blessing to kindness. I’d say it is a very appropriate name for someone like Tadokoro-chan. Her personality and cooking style matches this kanji very well. This kanji also appears in 恵比寿 (e.bi.su; Ebisu, god of fishing and commerce. Noragami Aragoto, anyone?). Well, fish just happens to be one of Tadokoro specialties!
Two other interesting points that came up were 互恵 (go.kei; mutual benefit) and the expression 三人寄れば文殊の知恵 (san.nin.yo.reba.mon.ju.no.chi.e; equivalent to the English expression two heads are better than one). Both symbolize helping and receiving help, reciprocity. This is very well depicted in her relationship with Souma-kun.
Alright, now that we finished our meal, shall we review our dishes?
薙切(na.kiri)えりな(erina), the sadistic tsundere blessed with beauty and grace.
幸平(yuki.hira)創真(sou.ma), the one who creates the genuine, daily, ordinary food.
田所(ta.dokoro) 恵(megumi), the personification of the Japanese countryside kindness.
Thanks for your time, hope you guys enjoyed this. Also special thanks to @AzumaGuilherme for requesting it. If you have a request, feel free to leave it in the comments or send me a tweet on @kyradesuyo. I can’t guarantee this will be a weekly post, but I’ll try my best.