So … I have a confession to make. I’m not really Mach Kobayashi. I mean, I am in as much as anyone could be. But I was born with the name “Tony Kobayashi”. (And oddly enough, not “Anthony Kobayashi”. My mom’s from Japan and liked the name “Tony” and didn’t know it was short for something.) I used that name all the way up through high school.
Then I went off to college. It was clear on the other side of the country and I knew practically no one. I wondered, “If I introduce myself by a completely different name, will people call me by that name?” It turns out that yes, people will use pretty much whatever name you give them. So for five years (I took an extra year to get a second degree), I went by “Dexter T. Kobayashi”.
Then I went off to grad school. It was in a completely different country (in as much as Canada is a foreign country) so I thought, hey, time to try a new name. We had just spent a year in Japan so I was thinking of using something Japanese and tried “Makoto”. (My mom also liked that name but my dad wanted us to have American first names.) But it’s kind of a hard name to pronounce for westerners so I shortened it to “Mach”.
That turned out to be rather fortuitous because there are a ton of “Makoto Kobayashi”s out there. There’s Makoto Kobayashi, the mecha designer. There’s Makoto Kobayashi, the manga artist. And there’s Makoto Kobayashi, the Nobel laureate. And that’s only the famous ones. But you’re looking at the only Mach Kobayashi out there. (Well, maybe not so much “looking” as you are “reading the words of”, as it were.)
Anyways, I recently wondered if anyone from high school or college ever looked for me on the internet. Changing my name a few times might make that a little trickier, which led to this post. So, SPHS class of ’89 and CMU ECE & Math/CS class of ’93 and ’94, here I am!