Saturday, April 29, 2017

West of the Sun

In addition to chipping away at my Japanese language skills (わたしの日本語がおじょおずじゃありません)I thought I'd read some Murakami (in English) to get ready for my trip to Japan this summer.  I just started reading South of the Border, West of the Sun, in which the main character (Hajime, meaning "beginning", which I know from "Hajimemashita", meaning "hello" when meeting someone for the first time), is complaining extensively about being an only child.  He says,
I detested the term only child.  Every time I heard it, I felt something was missing from me -- like I wasn't quite a complete human being.  The phrase only child stood there, pointing an accusatory finger at me.  "Something's not quite all there, pal," it told me.
Since I'm reading a translation in English, this made me wonder what the corresponding phrase for "only child" was in Japanese.  Then, in my Mango lesson today (#103), I learned how to say "only child"!  :)  It's ひとりっこ、which is literally "one child".

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