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I am making a jewelry box for a cousin who enjoys Japanese language and culture and would like to write "wonderful cousin" on the lid.

  1. Is Subarashī Itoko — すばらしい いとこ — be the best translation?

  2. Would hiragana the best way to write this, or should I be using some kanji? I would prefer to use hiragana as I don't believe she is as familiar with Kanji but can read hiragana reasonably well.

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    Side note: While there are many different conventions for the romanization of Japanese, those conventions that use the macron (the long bar over the vowel) to mark long vowels mostly align in only using the macron when both morae are part of the same morpheme (functional element). Example: for おじいさん, the じい is a single morpheme -- it never changes -- so it could be romanized as ojīsan. For すばらしい meanwhile, the しい on the end does change -- such as in すばらしく or すばらしかった -- so this would probably be romanized as subarashii instead, keeping the two "i" morae separate. – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 18 at 16:55
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I think this would work, but there are several issues here.

「すばらしい」 is literally "wonderful", but it feels a bit too distant/impersonal/flaky to me. There are other words that would semantically satisfy, but I'm not sure how acceptable/correct they are to use when conveying your feelings directly to someone.

  • [素敵]{す・てき}な~
  • [愛]{まな}~
  • [愛]{め}でたし~
  • [愛]{いと}(お)しい~
  • [親愛]{しん・あい}な(る)~

Also,「 いとこ」 has several kanji depending on the age and sex of the cousin. Since you mentioned your cousin is female, you could use:

  • 従姉妹 (general female cousin)
  • 従姉 (older female cousin)
  • 従妹 (younger female cousin)

Lastly, while it's acceptable in (American) English to address someone close to you by their actual relation ("Hey there, cousin/brother/sister/friend!", etc.), I don't know if this is done in Japan. My gut says that that they do not, and would instead just use their name, or nothing at all.

So I guess this is more of an objective answer, but this question itself may be too opinion-based as it is.

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    The alternatives seem good except 愛でたし, where does it come from? – broccoli forest Apr 19 at 2:48
  • @broccoliforest: From めでる/めでたい. – istrasci Apr 19 at 3:12
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    But I don't think the word can be used in such a way. It's "happy" as in "happy new year" or maybe "favored". – broccoli forest Apr 19 at 4:28
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    The definition is too short. 愛でる is more like esteeming its value. For example 妹を愛する sounds like loving her as a human. 妹を愛でる would be like as a doll. – broccoli forest Apr 19 at 5:13
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    「~たし」は終止形だから、名詞の前なら連体形で「愛でたXX」/「愛でたXX」にならないんでしょうか…? つうても「めでたいいとこ」て、なんか意味わかんないし、「おめでたい/呑気な/能天気な/間抜けないとこ」ていうバカにしたみたいな意味に聞こえそうな気も… – Chocolate Apr 20 at 0:58

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