Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Image: German + at the 5-Aside International Sports Club of Indonesia (ISCI) Tournament
Image: 5-Aside ISCI Tournament
Inst! This is what the Indo guys on my soccer team call me. It is not a nick name. They think my name is Inst. My name is Ian. They have heard my name said again and again from other players on the team. Early on I corrected them and told them my name is not Inst but Ian. They continued to call me Inst. Which is OK – it works. Considering the names on my team I am most likely, no I know I am – for sure - doing the same thing. But I am not sure if I am slaughtering names as thoroughly as they have done mine. We’ve got a Dongy, a Faddly, a Bhudi, a Doudu? and a Dani (which I am certain are all shortened and simplified for our convenience) representing the Indo contingent. The Germans are a bit easier to deal with but there are a few like Kolnya, Tsussi, and Malte that continue to give me some difficulty now and again. Then there are the Anglophones – Ian (me) and Glen. For some reason they have Glen under control but call me Inst. This name game adds an entire new element to a match as I have developed a style of play very dependent on communication. I am sure I sound every bit the lunatic to my teammates as I am spewing out my various interpretations of names.
But for all the difficulties here in Indo it does not compare to what I had to deal with on my team in Japan Japanese, being Japanese, take the name thing to a whole new level. When referring to someone by name in Japan you always use an “honorific”. I don’t know what the official term for such a word, but it is like “Mr.” in English. The problem is knowing what to call someone and understanding why they are calling you what they are calling you. The two most common honorifics in casual conversation are “san” and “chan”. San is typically a bit more formal and used among adults while chan is more likely attached to a child and used among children, but not exclusively. In Japan I was Ian San to most of the Japanese who worked in the office but my friends Dan and Scott were “chans”. I wanted to know why I was not a chan so asked several of the office workers and they said because Scott and Dan are “chans” and you are a “san”. Super, thanks for clearing that up. When I was trying out for and later practicing with my Japanese team I noticed the same phenomena. All of the players were adults yet some were “chan” to certain players and “san” to others and some were either “chan” or “san” to everyone. I didn’t know what to call anyone so usually would just end up yelling “hey” or “oy” or something to get their attention which usually sufficed but was not all that culturally cool and stuff. Eventually I figured out that it was more of a personality thing. Certain people who are childlike and immature such as my friends Scott and Dan are chan’s while more experienced and mature people like myself are sans – that’s what I am going with anyway.
Thus are the joys of playing the great sport of soccer here in Jakarta and beyond. Sayonara and sampai jumpa - Inst San.