Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I miss you

There is no way to say “I miss you” in Japanese -- quite that way -- as saying “I love you” in direct translation sounds very false. This has to do with the inherent passivity in the use of verbs in the Japanese language. It is significant that the expression of love is more naturally stated from the point of view of the recipient than that of the giver. “Do you love me?” can be rendered as 「あたしのこと 好き?」「僕の事愛してくれる?」-- something like “Do you have affection for me?” and “Will you have love for me?” So, “I missed you” comes out as “It’s been a long time; it was so lonesome” -- 久しぶりね。淋しかったわ。It so happens that in French we don’t say “Je te manque” but “Tu me manques” meaning you are missed, you are missing from me, even though one can say “Je t’aime.” So, it is in Italian: “mi manchi,” and in German: “Du fehlst mir.” The English language is direct, and when an oblique expression is attempted, it sounds less than honest, as in the excuse “Mistakes were made,” and “Stuff happens.”