In the wake of the dreaded Facebook Incident, which ended yesterday after they relented and allowed her to register, Hiroko Yoda writes about life as Yoda:
I'm a Japanese woman, and my last name really is Yoda. It's a common family name in Japan. "Yoda" the Jedi Master is actually pronounced with a long "o" in Japanese, which makes it different-sounding enough that the connection only becomes apparent when you write out my name in English letters instead of kanji characters. So even though I of course saw the films here in Japan, I never made a connection between the character Yoda and my own name.
But whenever I leave Japan, it's a different story. People think I changed my name because I'm a crazy Star Wars fan, or that I'm just kidding around. Even people who know I'm not making it up are always giving me Yoda trinkets and keychains and figures, so I had this little shrine to him going on for a while. Maybe because I'm female, or because I look foreign, people don't usually make a lot of comments directly to me. But Matt gets stuff all the time. Whenever he has to tell my name to an airline ticket agent or a hotel receptionist or something, it's totally common to get a response like "Ha-ha-ha! That's a good one, sir! Anyway, what's her real name?" Once he was even asked semi-seriously "Is her first name, then, 'Master'?" And then there was this latest incident with Facebook. I tried signing up like ten times, and it always rejected my name. Finally we figured out that a filter was blocking "Yoda" because it thought I was trying to register a fictional name! They finally let me sign up, but it took several days and a lot of emails.
Ironically, since Matt's last name is Alt, he gets his own share of funny business from people who think he's using an Internet handle name in real life ("is your middle name ESC? Are you going to name your kid 'Tab'?") But Yoda sounds even more over the top in English, so it can be a lot harder to convince people that my name really is real.
So we do occasionally have a hard time, but on the other hand, it's nice to have a short and memorable name because people easily remember us. :) "Alt and Yoda" isn't an easy combination to forget. At least we hope so.
By the way, I also named my dog Luke. So his full name is Luke Yoda! (He is so old right now, he sort of does act like a real Jedi.)