Officials in Taiwan recently issued an unusual request. They are begging people to stop applying to formally change their name to include the word “salmon”.
This follows the Akindo Sushiro restaurant chain announcing a special all-you-can-eat deal for anyone with the Chinese characters for salmon (guīyú 鮭魚) on their ID card: all the sushi “Salmon” and five of her friends can eat!
Termed “Salmon Chaos” by local media outlets, over a hundred people rushed to officially change their name. For a new ID card and a registration certificate, people only pay around USD $3 (NT$80). Many of the people changed their name back as soon as they got their free sushi, because a person’s name can be legally changed up to three times in Taiwan.
However, government warnings rang true when a man called Hsu discovered that he may be stuck as a “Salmon”, when his alarmed mother revealed that she had changed his name twice when he was very young.
Taiwanese news sources reported that a number of students in Taichung had changed their names to salmon variables including “Kuo Salmon Rice Bowl”, “Salmon Prince”, “Salmon Fried Rice” and a mighty “Meteor Salmon King”.
Local media also ran interviews with people who had changed their names for the promotion. One college student told TVBS news, “I just changed my name this morning to add the characters ‘Bao Cheng Gui Yu’”, translating closely to “Explosive Good Looking Salmon.”
But Taiwanese officials remain unamused, citing the mounting identification-change workload as a waste of government time.
“This kind of name change not only wastes time but causes unnecessary paperwork,” Chen Tsung-yen, the Deputy Interior Minister, told reporters.
“I hope everyone can be more rational about it,” he added.
But a three dollar charge for six all-you-can-eat meals seems pretty rational to me.