0

I want to express "patience" in the sense of "I don't have the patience lately to read a long novel." It's uncertain what exactly is the problem -- am I nervous? am I preoccupied with other thoughts? -- but the nuance of "patience" here will be understood by native English speakers. I've consulted dictionaries and read discussions about Japanese words for "patience"; but when I use them for this meaning of "patience", I get confused looks. What would be the best way to convey my intended meaning?

8
  • What words have you tried exactly?
    – Angelos
    Sep 2 at 16:34
  • 1
  • Yes, I suppose 根気 comes closest. But what I'm looking for is not really about "will power," in the usual sense of completing an unpleasant task, or refraining from an act of immediate pleasure. It's more of being in a state of mental equanimity that permits leisurely pursuits like reading a long book, or even putting together furniture from Ikea.
    – Bob41
    Sep 3 at 0:26
  • So, is "the mental capacity of being able to finish a long time activity" a correct paraphrase? Sep 3 at 0:43
  • Yes, "capacity" but also willingness, disposed to, etc.
    – Bob41
    Sep 3 at 1:39

2 Answers 2

1

"I don't have the patience lately to read a long novel."

I'm not very proficient at English connotation, but based on the context below:

what I'm looking for is not really about "will power," in the usual sense of completing an unpleasant task, or refraining from an act of immediate pleasure. It's more of being in a state of mental equanimity that permits leisurely pursuits like reading a long book, or even putting together furniture from Ikea.

there might be several strategies to form Japanese expression.

  • 最近長い小説を読む気が起きない
    最近長い小説を読む気にならない
    最近長い小説を読むやる気が(わかない/出ない)

    [verb] + 気 roughly means "feeling like [verb]-ing" and やる気 means "will to do", so they can be used in the situation where you cannot bring yourself to do something.

  • 最近長い小説を読む気力が(続か)ない
    最近長い小説を読む根気が続かない

    They would sound like you become "short-winded" and cannot make it to the end if you try. 根気 may be closest to translate "patience" but it usually describes one's character that is not thought to fluctuate much, so 最近根気がない sounds a little off.

  • 最近長い小説を読んでいられない

    ~ていられる has a nuance "able to keep an action (or non-action) for a longer while" that sometimes might be suitable for the word "patient". e.g. 待っていられない "can't wait (anymore)", "be impatient"

  • 最近長い小説を読む集中力がない

    It is a freer translation where 集中力 literally means "ability of concentration" thus implies you cannot exclude other things from your mind and absorb yourself in the activity.

1

One word that came to mind was 余裕, which can be used to talk about "having room to" in a lot of senses - in your case, having the 'mental room' to do something that requires some higher level of thinking.

From a quick google search, it seems like 精神的余裕 is a pretty common phrase used to talk about things like mental fatigue.

1
  • There's also 心の余裕, which sounds less formal (at least to me, a non-native) and does turn up in this context if you Google phrases like 小説を読む心の余裕, 小説を読めるほどの心の余裕, 本を読めるだけの心の余裕, etc.
    – Nanigashi
    Sep 6 at 1:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .