2011年5月20日金曜日

I miss you.

More than two months have passed since the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11. Even I, who live in Tokyo spent the days experiencing or feeling things I had never had. It will be a long while before Japan is able to get back to to the same condition as before. This makes me sad.

Probably this sadness causes this, but I have often heard jishuku in Japan since then.
jishuku: to choose to hold back your feelings or behavior
After the earthquake many events were cancelled: concerts, festivals, hanami, firework festival in August, and so on. Also, personal parties, weddings and dinners-out were even cancelled. It was because many Japanese thought that we should sympathize with evacuees and victims's sadness or suffering and not have fun now. This led to a tendency of "Let's not have fun, boisterous parties or unnecessary things." There was the problem of a shortage of electricity in the Kanto reigon as well, but people in West Japan where they didn't have a shortage of elecetricity, also turned off the bright lights. Jishuku spread all over Japan.

What do you think about jishuku? Some people say this is a Japanese idea and also a Japanese aesthetic. The other day one American who is often on Japanese TV shows introduced an article from an American newspaper. "In this article about jishuku in Japan, because there is no English equivalent of jishuku, they used jishuku." According to my dictionary, jishuku is "self-restraint". Is this a good translation?

There are words that do not have exact equivalents between foreign languages. For example, "miss". How would you say "I miss you" in Japanese? I think there is no one specific Japanese word exoressing "miss".
 miss: to feel regret about the absense or loss of somebody or something
 I miss you. : anata ni aitai. (I want to see you.)
 I miss my mom's food.: okaasan no ryori ga tabetai. (I want to eat my mom's food.)
Verbs change depending on the object of the sentence.

koishii is similar to "miss", but it is used only for song lyrics or poems, not used for everyday life.
 koishii: to feel attraction  for a person, place or thing that you are physically separeted from.
Moreover, many non-Japanese often use "natsukashii", but its usage could be wrongs sometimes, so please be careful. natsukashii means that you have a feeling of "miss" when you remember the distant past.
 shogakko jidai ga natsukashii: I miss my elementary schoold days.
 mukashi no tomodachi ga natsukashii: I miss my old friends.
Now the Japanese especially the people of Northern Japan, must be feeling that they want to go back to the days before March 11. This is also a feeling of "miss".

It is very important to feel "Let's share the pains of the evacuees/victims." However, more people are saying lately, "jishuku has been causing the secondary damage to the Japanese economy." Both the government and the people of Northern Japan are now appealing for all Japanese to support Northern Japan while continuing their lives as usual and not follow jishuku any more.