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What's the best way to say "to miss" in the sense of feeling a longing for something, or that something pleasant is missing? I understand there's [懐]{なつ}かしむ, but it seems to me that, like 懐かしい, is more appropriate for recalling your childhood home or a great vacation or something like that, not a "smaller" context like "I miss having lunch with you on the weekends" or something like that. Am I wrong?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In that situation, it is more natural to express that you are lonely without the person.

週末はあなたがいなくて寂しかった。
'I was lonely without you during the weekend.'

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What about "to miss doing a particular activity with somebody"? –  Flaw Jun 9 '12 at 11:49
    
@Flaw In that case, "be puzzled" 困った shall fit. –  sawa Jun 9 '12 at 11:54
2  
Are you claiming (in the comment) that the last example in the question is translated as “週末はあなたと昼ご飯を食べられなくて困った”? That sounds like an uncommon situation. I would expect 寂しかった also in this case. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 9 '12 at 16:26
    
@TsuyoshiIto Depending on the situation, either may work. –  sawa Jun 9 '12 at 22:13
    
@sawa, depending on the context, "stuck" or "at a loss" might be better glosses for 困った than "puzzled". And in describing the situation of not having the pleasure of someone's company, "puzzled" does sound a little... puzzling. ;) –  Eiríkr Útlendi Jun 2 at 23:44

I think one way is to use 会いたい

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A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to converse with a professional J-E conference translator who is native Japanese, and I asked him this very question. After some thinking about it, he suggested 恋しい【こいしい】.

Looking in the Wisdom J-E dictionary to verify, I came across the following example sentence and translation that seems to support this:

あの人がとても恋しい "I miss that person very much."

Some other examples I've found include:

  • 故郷が恋しい "I miss my hometown."
  • 寒くなると火が恋しい "When it gets cold we long for fire"

So in short, while most English speakers would take 恋しい at its basic meaning of "beloved", it seems it also carries overtones of longing as well which lend itself to the purpose of "I miss X" in English.

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