To: Crecente
From: Brian Ashcraft

Lady from the bank came over today so I could fill out some forms — starting to save money for the kids' college. College is expensive! My name in Japanese is rather unusual, granted, and when filling out forms, there's always the should-I-write-my-name-in-romaji? Or katakana?

But since it is possible to write out foreign words phonetically, people usually don't have a problem saying "Buraian". Easy!

The bank lady, bless her heart she brought balloons, could not get "Brian". My last name proved equally difficult, starting at "Ashukingu" and then going just to "Ashu". "Brian" starting out okay, and gradually went to "Brown". Every time she had to say either, she paused, to make sure she was getting it right, then got it totally wrong.

I tried to correct her the first couple of times, but that seemed to make things worse.

No biggie! Like I said, she brought balloons.

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