My brother and his partner just had their first child yesterday. Needless to say, it’s very exciting. They live in New York, unfortunately, which means I’ve heard about all this at something of a remove, and aren’t likely to see my new nephew– much less introduce him to his cousins– for a while.

The latest round of e-mails now involves the name. The baby’s mom is Chinese, so that name is taken care of; they liked the name Maxwell, so that’s in there somewhere; and now we’re all trying to work out the Korean name. So far as I can tell, there are rules for how to construct Korean names, based on what generation or age cohort you’re part of, and various other factors– except so far as I can tell, my aunt (who is my dad’s older sister and therefore The Family Authority on these issues) obeys these rules whenever she doesn’t have some other name that she likes better, or doesn’t feel like combining pieces of my grandparents’ names.

The one thing that is constant, of course, is that whatever my aunt comes up with is what we use. Some traditions are inviolate.