Q: Hello Richard! I write to you asking something I’ve been trying to figure out for some time now. How do you say you miss something? I know about 「寂しくなる」for talking about missing a person, but how do you state that you miss an object or action, like “I miss Japan.” or “I miss eating onigiri every day.”? Your help would be much appreciated! Thanks! Emily
A: Ooo, I think you might have got me there! I guess there must be a literal translation, but I’ve never heard it so it’s probably not used very much. What you usually hear is: somethingがないと寂しくなる ( something ga nai to sabishukunaru) If (something) wasn’t there I’d miss it.
On the other hand, one expression that you hear all the time in Japanese but which we don’t have a phrase for in English is 懐かしい – na tsu ka shii. This is a really cool phrase to learn. So for example if you’ve been out of Japan for ages and suddenly you return you could say “na tsu ka shii” to mean “I miss Japan, it’s great to be back!” or if you hadn’t eaten an onigiri for ages you could say 懐かしい to mean “I miss these soooo much!”
Does that help?