So one of the things that some people ask me is this:
“Why is your name Keefe Kaizen Chan on Facebook? What on earth does Kaizen mean, you weird J-pop wannabe? I see that you’ve watched too much Naruto! Are you planning on dyeing your hair red and eating ramen for the rest of your life?” (ok maybe not the latter part)
At any rate, the answer for the question is that kaizen is the Japanese pronunciation for 改善 (Gǎishàn), which in English, means improvement. That essentially means that my Facebook name is literally read in English as ‘Keefe Improvement Chan’ (I know, it looks and sounds horrendous- like ‘Bruce Dangerous Lee’ or something. Now you know why I chose to put it in Japanese).
So why the name change in the first place?
I’ve always found the notion of improvement terribly fascinating. It’s like growing a tree- watering and pruning it religiously daily for the purpose of watching something grow- to invest in something, and to look at the colourful, bloomed flowers at the end of the day and know that that achievement was all yours, and yours alone. Exactly why artists spend years putting finishing touches on their own Rembrandts and how writer edit and reedit what they hope to be their magnum opus. In more colloquial, gamer terms, this whole self-improvement thing is like ‘leveling up’ your character in an MMORPG like World of Warcraft (or in my case, a few years back, Maple Story. Yes, you may laugh at me now, but wait till you witness the might of my level 72 Spearman). It’s the reason why gamers spend hours and hours in front of a computer, gradually moving up the skill tree and getting better gear.
The reason why I mentioned gaming is because I find it analogous to my quest of self-improvement. The thrill and sense of achievement that one can get from attaining, perfecting, and finally, mastering a skill is immense, if not unobtainable elsewhere. That’s probably one of the reasons I was, and still am addicted to debating- watching your average speaker score rise by that fraction of a mark every tournament only makes you want to come back for the next one.
I look forward to a better Keefe- a more reliable, trustworthy, erudite, hardworking, friendly, loving, punctual, early-sleeping (this one is important), and healthy Keefe. Kaizen.