Around the beginning of July in Japan, you’ll start to see shops, stations, streets, and homes being decorated for the Tanabata festival (in English often referred to as the Star Festival), which happens on the seventh of July (or, depending on who you ask, the around the seventh of August)each year. Most typically you’ll find large branches of bamboo leaves, called sasa, hung with colorful origami decorations, and wishes written on strips of paper by people hopeful that they will be granted when star-crossed lovers Altair and Vega meet.

Generally you’ll find typical wishes for happiness, good health, getting into a good school or finding a good job… At times, you’ll also see some witty ones that will give you a good chuckle. Or, you know, ones that invoke pity for the wisher whose parents named them Elmo.

Japanese Tanabata originates from the Chinese Qixi Festival. In the legend, lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are represented by the stars Vega and Altair, are separated by the Milky Way and are only allowed to meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. However, these days it is most often celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar, but the tradition of writing down one’s wish and hanging it on the sasa bamboo branch has remained, no matter which day it is celebrated.

untitledImage: Minitana Blog

Twitterer @dhu23 posted a photo this past Tuesday on Tanabata of a particular wish that not only caught his attention, but the attention of many other Japanese netizens across the Interwebs. He wrote: “The kids in my hometown are having a showdown on Twitter to find the most heart-wrenching Tanabata wish. I don’t think there is anything more crushing than this one.”

The wish, written with black marker on light pink paper, reads: “I wish I had been born with a normal name,” and is signed by Erumo Aoba.

If you’re not too familiar with the Japanese language and the way foreign names and words get “katakana-ized” when changed into Japanese, this name might not seem too out of the ordinary. But the truth is, until this poor child can convince his/her parents to change his/her name (or until they’re old enough to legally get it done themself) they will have to live their life with the same name as that jolly little red muppet from Sesame Street.

Elmo_from_Sesame_StreetImage: Wikipedia

Yes. Erumo is the Japan-ized pronunciation of Elmo.

It’s hard to say if this is just a hoax or not, but it’s not completely unbelievable, as there has been a recent trend of parents giving their children very flashy, unusual names like Pikachu and Rizumu (Rhythm), a phenomenon known as kirakira neemu (kirakira name, or “flashy/sparkly” names).

If you really are out there, Elmo, next year I’ll make sure to write a wish for your normal name too.

Source: Hamusoku
Featured image: Wikipedia (hanasakijijii)