Every morning I am subjected to the performance that my daughter doesn’t want to go to school

My Japanese teacher is as much a language nerd as I am, I had ten minutes between Japanese class and my next class, so here we are, talking about cool stuff that the Japanese language can do.

We started by talking about the Chinese medicine=漢方薬 (kanpouyaku) my teacher is taking because she feels a cold coming on. That is 風邪をひきかける(kaze wo hikikakeru). 風邪をひく(kaze wo hiku) means to catch a cold (literally “to pull a wind”). Adding –kakeru to the verb stem (we determined after a lot of back-and-forthing) adds the sense that the verb is about to begin. So my teacher felt the 風邪のひきがけ(kaze no hikigake)=the early signs of a cold, and started taking medicine.

When I asked whether the medicine worked, I found out that there’s no single translation for “work” in Japanese. People work= 人が働く(hito ga hataraku), but Chinese medicine has an effect =漢方薬が効く(kanpouyaku ga kiku), and phones are used =電話が使える(denwa ga tsukaeru).

Then the subject shifted to my daughters, and how they each misbehave in different ways. My younger daughter might want to play with a toy=おもちゃで遊びたい(omocha de asobitai), so she takes it. Some hypothetical good children might seem like they want to play with a toy =おもちゃで遊びたそう(omocha de asobitasou) so you give it to them. But my older daughter performs that she wants to play with a toy=おもちゃで遊びたがる (omocha de asobitagaru) so she manipulates you into giving it to her.

A good example of this sort of thing is what my older daughter does every morning, which is 幼稚園に行きたがらない(youchien ni ikitagaranai)=she performs that she doesn’t want to go to school. There are tears and declarations that every moment spent away from home is torture, but then once we’re in the car, it’s all smiles and happy plans about playing with her friends. She doesn’t really want to miss school. It’s just that maybe, if she cries hard enough, she might get to stay home and watch cartoons all day, so why not give it a try? Every goddamn morning.

毎朝娘に幼稚園に行きたがらないにされます(Maiasa musume ni youchien ni ikitagaranai ni saremasu)=Every morning I am subjected to the performance that my daughter doesn’t want to go to school.

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