A Note From A “Hitorikko”

Growing up as an only child means nothing to me. Really, nothing. “Oh, are you an only child? So, your parents must love you so much.”

Do I like being an only child? I actually have a ZERO idea to think about it as problem. I may be lucky in a way, but also unlucky in many ways.

The description, “Only Child” sounds really strange to me. In Japanese, “Hitorikko (一人子)”. 一人/子 meaning one child. Just one.

“(Just) one” sounds a little bit of sad though, you are alone anyway. However, in English, we are called ONLY child. ONLY is adverb and adjective, so it sounds more like pressured to me because adjective contains somebody’s subjectivity.

Living as an only child is sometimes a bit stressful. Since you don’t have any people whose age is close to you (even relatives), you have to spend much time in your house with the adults. I laughed with adults, so I had to pretend like I can understand their humor. I had to.

I became an “adult child”, one can fairly say.

Maybe that is one of the reasons why I was suddenly confronted by a tinder girl whom I recently hang out for the first time, “You look really young, but it feels like I’m hanging out with an uncle”. How should I react to that statement? The exact reaction at the time was “Yeah, I know”. Then I realized the reaction was really tasteless like a diluted American coffee appeared in Back to the Future I.

I like old things because older thing is just better made. iPhone seems pretty smart and cool, but I can’t forget the simple and timeless toughness and the beauty of a record player, typewriter, and paperbacks. Therefore, I’m always thinking like I want to be a person who has the timeless toughness and beauty. I believe strongly that someday I can share this timelessness with somebody.

Author: Tomoharu Watanabe

Hi there. I'm 28 years old Japanese guy who currently live in northern part of Japan; Hokkaido, and a high school English teacher. Love reading books and watching movies and especially traveling around the world. Playing the guitar and kendo (Japanese traditional martial arts) is also my pastime.

4 thoughts on “A Note From A “Hitorikko””

  1. Very interesting reflection on being an only child! I never would have thought about that- only children have to hang out with adults more. I didn’t really play with my brother too much, but on family vacations and get togethers, I always had him to play with or annoy while my parents were talking or doing “boring adult things.” So it’s interesting to realize that you didn’t have that, so you could develop an appreciation for those “boring” adult things.
    Do you feel like you missed out on the chance to be a crazy, dumb kid or do you feel like you don’t have any interested in that?


    1. Thanks for the deep insight comment Chris! Now I think maybe I missed out on a chance to be a crazy because you have great conservative critics in your house! But the beauty of it was maybe I could have good eyes to tell what has timeless worth or not on certain things. Anyway, it is so true that I feel I can’t get out from adolescence, and am touched by some films describing such a crazy adolescence days.


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