I am currently a Canadian grad student about to publish my first paper. However, I really dislike my real legal name, to the point where very few of my real-life friends know my real first and last name. This is mostly because I come from China, and my legal name is a difficult-to-pronounce transliteration of my original Chinese name, which itself sounds very tacky and funny in Chinese. Even my parents are embarrassed at how they named me and use a totally unrelated nickname to address me even in Chinese. (to use an English analogy, I go by "Jake" when my real name is "Alexander")
Is it possible to publish consistently under a pen name that has no relation to your real name? I am not seeking to use it as a throwaway name for a single publication, but rather to simply be known as a different name. I don't even intend to hide my real name - it'll likely end up being in parentheses on my personal webpage or something. I just don't want to see a name I'm embarrassed of on every single thing I publish.