Toshiyori-no hitorigurashi-wa shinpai-da. (I’m worried about how senior citizens live alone.)

Situation 1: Mr. Okubo is chatting with his senior colleague Mr. Hashimoto about his parents.

橋本: ぼくは母親に毎日電話をしているよ。年寄りの一人暮らしは心配だからね。

大久保: ああ、声を聞くと安心しますね。

Hashimoto: Boku-wa hahaoya-ni mainichi denwa-o shite-iru-yo. Toshiyori-no hitorigurashi-wa shinpai-dakara-ne.

Ōkubo: Aa, koe-o kiku-to anshin-shimasu-ne.

Hashimoto: I call my mother every day. I’m worried about how senior citizens live alone, you know?

Okubo: Yes. You hear their voice and it’s reassuring.

Today we’ll introduce two words: 心配(しんぱい) and 不安 (ふあん). 心配 means “anxiety, worry, concern,” and can be used as a na-adjective 心配な or 心配だ. Examples: 私(わたし)の家(いえ)は古(ふる)いので、地震(じしん)が心配だ (I am concerned about earthquakes because my house is old); 台風(たいふう)のニュースを聞(き)いて、友(とも)だちのことが心配になった (I started to worry about my friend when I heard the news about the typhoon). 心配 can also be used as a verb: X(=noun) を心配する/Xの心配をする (to worry X, to be concerned). Example: お金(かね)のことを心配しないで勉強(べんきょう)に集中(しゅうちゅう)できる (I can concentrate on my studies without worrying about money) and 私(わたし)のことは心配しないで (Please don’t worry about me). X(=noun)に心配をかける means to make X worry and 心配性(しんぱいしょう) means “worrywart.” Example: おじは若(わか)いころ、家族(かぞく)に心配(しんぱい)をかけたらしい (My uncle apparently caused his family members a lot of worry when he was young).

Situation 2: Mr. Sere and his girlfriend Yuri are watching the news.

セレ: 最近のニュースを見ていると、不安になってくるね。

ゆり: うん、ミサイルとかテロとか、地球からなくなってほしいのに。

Sere: Saikin-no nyūsu-o mite-iru-to, fuan-ni natte-kuru-ne.

Yuri: Un, misairu-toka tero-toka, chikyū-kara nakunatte-hoshii-noni.

Sere: Watching the recent news makes us uneasy, doesn’t it?

Yuri: Yeah. I just want things like missiles and terrorism to disappear from the Earth.

不安(ふあん) means “worry, uneasiness, anxiety,” and can be used as a na-adjective 不安な or 不安だ, as in 初(はじ)めての外国旅行 (がいこくりょこう)はちょっと不安だ (I feel a little insecure traveling abroad for the first time). 不安 can be used as a noun. Example: 食品(しょくひん)の安全性(あんぜんせい)に不安がある (I’m concerned about food safety). 不安 is often replaced by 心配, but 不安 shows the vague uneasiness that something bad might happen in the future, while 心配 expresses an anxiety about specific matters in the present or future, such as あしたの天気(てんき) (tomorrow’s weather).

Bonus Dialogue: Young staff members are chatting about their concerns.

グレイ: 日本(にほん)は、地震(じしん)とか台風(たいふう) とかいろいろ心配(しんぱい)なことがあるね。

田町: でも、それは避(さ)けられないことだから、十分(じゅうぶん)に準備(じゅんび)をして、被害(ひがい)を最小限(さいしょうげん)にするしかないでしょ。

三田: そうだね。まあ、そのかわり温泉(おんせん)に入 (はい)れたり、いろいろな美(うつく)しい自然 (しぜん)があったり、いいこともあるじゃない?

グレイ: そうそう、おいしいものもたくさん食(た)べられるしね。

田町: それより私(わたし)は将来(しょうらい)が不安(ふあん)よ。だから、貯金(ちょきん)はしっかりしようと思(おも)っているの。

三田: 田町(たまち)さんは、心配性(しんぱいしょう)だね。まあ、来年(らいねん)は安心(あんしん)できるいい年(とし)になってほしいなあ。

グレイ・田町: ほんとにそうね。

Gray: There are so many things to worry about in Japan, like earthquakes and typhoons and so on.

Tamachi: But those are matters we can’t avoid, so we can only prepare thoroughly and minimize the damage.

Mita: That’s right. Then again, there are lots of good things too, such as hot springs and all the beautiful nature, right?

Gray: Yeah, and we can have so much good food too.

Tamachi: I’m more worried about my future, which is why I’m thinking to save up substantially.

Mita: You’re a worrywart. I do hope the coming New Year will be a good one.

Gray & Tamachi: Here, here!

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