On Friday, I will be traveling to Hawaii, my childhood home, to attend the funeral of my beloved Auntie Pearl. She passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 77 years.
Auntie Pearl was never married, but she was like a second mother to her nephews and nieces. When I was about 11 years old, she promised to take me and my brother to see Star Wars (circa. 1977). The only catch was we had to get haircuts. As a boy growing up in Hawaii in the 70's, that was not a trivial request. Nonetheless, we got our prerequisite haircuts and saw the movie. IT WAS NOT WORTH IT!! The next Star Wars movie I saw was in 1999...and only because it was a company team building exercise.
When our daughter was born, we gave her the middle name “Chieko,” which was Auntie Pearl’s middle name. We didn’t know the meaning of Chieko, but I explained to my daughter that it meant “Little Chihuahua.” I believe “ko” in Japanese means “little” or “small” so this translation was totally plausible.
I have since been blessed with wisdom. At Auntie Pearl’s ceremony, a Japanese priest explained the meaning of Chieko:
is the basic form of “to know” as in shiru, or 知る。Adding the sun, or 日on the bottom is a more profound kind of divine knowledge, as in wisdom from the heavens. Wisdom vs. knowledge. The priest also explained that知is a person (left) speaking (right). Therefore, knowledge. On top of the sun, and it’s divine wisdom, as in speaking from the heavens.
Wisdom and Blessing. Blessed with wisdom.
26 January 2010 - Correction:
The priest was looking at the wrong kanji (Chinese characters) for Chieko. While clearing out Auntie Pearl's apartment, we came across the correct kanji for her name. The correct kanji for Chieko is:
Chi e ko
千 = One Thousand
恵 = Blessing
子 = Child