happy new year

I love my life in Japan. I feel more at home than I have ever done. Yet in these holiday times, there is a longing to go back to Sweden and celebrate Christmas and New Year with my big family over there, especially so this year since my European family has not yet had the chance to meet our son. This has made me realize that there is a word, or maybe an expression I should say, that I can not find in the Japanese language, an expression that I really miss not finding; that I am really longing to use.

How do you say that you miss someone in Japanese, I asked my wife.
We don’t really say that in Japan, my wife said.
How can I say that I am longing to see someone.
I would not say that I think, my wife said, unless it was someone I was very close to.
So if you wanted to express that, I persisted, what would you say.
Maybe I want to meet you, my wife said (in Japanese).
Ok, but the nuance is quite different, I said.
Maybe I feel lonely when you are not here, my wife said (in Japanese).

That was a bit closer, I remember saying. But still, I lack the nuance of longing – that deep within, heart centered feeling, not necessarily of loneliness, that expresses a life affirming need to share presence with another human being. Such an expression would be very useful I think (along with a custom to express it of course), especially so in these days when so many people are isolated, when so many people are missing their old life, longing to see their loved ones, longing to do the small things that used to be every day events but that nowadays are all but that.

So to all you readers of this blog, where ever you are – I wish you a very very Happy New Year and may next year bring you closer to the people you are missing and longing to meet again.

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