What’s in a name?

I live in a tall, publicly managed apartment building, and when I provide my address on forms or recite it over the phone I leave off the name of the building, because it’s long and unnecessary. However, some forms and interlocutors insist on building names, and in the case of verbal communication it can be a real pain–all those distinct katakana syllables standing in for Western words. The thing is, this naming insanity is getting worse and worse.

The idea behind these names can be explained by the euphemism that has come to mead “condominium” in Japanese, namely the word “mansion.” No way could you call any apartment unit a “mansion” in the west, but that’s the acceptable word here. Most apartments use foreign words as names–the German “heim,” the French “maison,” and the English “heights” are the most popular–in order to convey a sense of elegance and high living that these apartments never provide. This practice has become so common that developers are running out of original names, but rather than come up with new names they’re just making them longer by stringing all the old ones together in new combinations. Here is a sampling taken from advertising flyers deposited in my mail box.

 

Excellent Higashi Nihonbashi Riverside

Lions Garden Nishi Kasai Marina 

Park House Urbansish (?)

The Tokyo Towers Sea Tower

Park Court Gakuen Daigaku Dual Place

Oval Grand Dio Bay Front

City House Yoyogi Station Court

Will Rose Tokyo La Luna

Classy House Hiroo Fiolire (?)

Tokyo Frontier City Parks & Parks

Lions Minowa Fair Marks

My Castle Gotanno

Proud City Umeshima

Sun Credor Nishi Arai Vivare

Gran City Radiant Tower

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